Mahlon Romeo shines, Sean Raggett scores 'deserved' equaliser, and how Portsmouth can utilise a back-three: all the key talking points as Blues ended their losing streak against Plymouth Argyle
There were a number of key talking points following Pompey’s draw with Plymouth, as the Blues ended their four match losing streak at Fratton Park.
Pompey showed resilience last night as they battled back in injury time to prevent Danny Cowley from suffering the worst run in his managerial career.
There were a number of standout performances from Cowley’s side including Millwall loanee Mahlon Romeo, who flourished at right-wing-back, while Sean Raggett became the Blues’ hero in stoppage time .
Pompey were arguably the better side in the first half and took a well deserved lead into the interval, thanks to Lee Brown’s second goal of the season.
Two defensive mishaps allowed Ryan Hardie to bag a brace which almost condemned Pompey to their fifth consecutive defeat, before Raggett popped up in the last minute of injury time to snatch a point.
Up-and-coming Pompey writer Sam Cox spoke to Blues reporter Pepe Lacey, who attended last night’s dramatic draw, to gauge his views from Fratton Park.
Q: What were your thoughts on last night’s draw?
A: It was a great start from Pompey last night, with Lee Brown’s smart free-kick giving Danny Cowley the perfect opening. He would have wanted that fast start to put the disappointing game against Cambridge behind them.
Pompey were the better team in the first half and certainly on top of Argyle, but in the second half Plymouth scored two goals on the counter attack where Kieron Freeman and Shaun Williams could have done better, respectively.
There was a feeling of ‘here we go again’ after the defeats in recent weeks, but Sean Raggett was there in the last minute to salvage the draw.
Q: How have you rated Mahlon Romeo in recent weeks?
A: It’s clear that he is high-end Championship quality, especially with the formation last night that allowed him to play as a right wing-back.
I was able to speak to him at the training ground when he first joined the club, and he came across really well. He’s a really nice person, and you can see he’s already passionate and committed to the club.
He said that his preferred position is usually as a wing-back over a traditional right-back. Last night this was clear due to the runs he was making and the creativity he was providing. His crosses were consistently tricky for the defenders and he caused Plymouth a whole host of problems last night.
By operating as a right-wing back, he was able to help stretch the pitch which assisted Harness who was playing as a number 10. He also linked the play well with everyone in attacking positions.
First half, he was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch, and no one came close. It was testament to how he played that Plymouth tweaked their system to limit him more in the second half, but he was still outstanding.
Pompey have done very well to bring him to the club.
Q: We saw Cowley use a back three last night, how did Pompey adjust to the new formation?
A: It was clear to see last night that the Blues were missing key defenders as Williams and Freeman adjusted to playing at centre-back. I think the defence will look tighter when Ogilvie, Downing, and Robertson are all available.
We’ve seen in the past where Oli Hawkins slotted in at the back under Kenny Jackett, so it could work with unconventional centre-backs playing there.