US Portsmouth fail to show fight required as lowly Christchurch inflict defeat

Tom Grice felt US Portsmouth’s fight was lacking as they succumbed to a 2-0 Wessex League Premier Division defeat at struggling Christchurch.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 28th November 2021, 3:14 pm
Simon Woods, right, made his US Portsmouth debut in the defeat at Christchurch. Picture: Vernon Nash (230219-124)
Simon Woods, right, made his US Portsmouth debut in the defeat at Christchurch. Picture: Vernon Nash (230219-124)

First-half strikes from Luka Chalwell and Tyler Forbes proved enough to wrap up just a third win in 21 league matches for third-bottom Christchurch.

Grice conceded just too many of his players were not at the races as USP slumped to a 12th defeat in 21 Wessex Premier matches.

US Portsmouth handed debuts to forwards Simon Woods and Dale Mason, signed from Fareham Town and Baffins Milton Rovers in time to feature at Christchurch, but they ended up on the losing side making their first appearances for their new club.

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Grice said: ‘I said to the lads yesterday, too many people had an off-day. You can afford one or two people to have an off-day and perhaps get a result against teams like Christchurch, with respect.

‘We didn’t feel like we had any fight in us at all. It was frustrating.

‘On the flipside, Christchurch are fighting for their lives and it showed. They fought for every ball and going forward they looked dangerous, which showed.

‘They went in 2-0 up at half time, the goal just before half-time killed it.’

Chalwell fired Christchurch ahead after 18 minutes with USP debutant Woods then forced off with a back injury four minutes later.

US Portsmouth then suffered the sucker-punch of conceding a second in first-half stoppage-time as Forbes doubles his side's advantage.

Grice admitted things could have been different had his side taken one of their numerous chances.

He added: ‘At 2-0 you still think you can get things out of it because we did create chances but we couldn’t put them away.

‘The half time team talk was in and around trying to get people’s spirits up.

‘There were plenty of chances to be had, we had them in the second half, we just didn’t put them away.’