US Portsmouth’s double half-time change pays dividends in come-from-behind victory over Wessex League strugglers Hythe & Dibden

US Portsmouth recovered from a dismal first half showing to claim all three points against lowly Hythe & Dibden.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 30th January 2022, 1:03 pm
Tom Jeffes headed the winner as US Portsmouth came from behind to beat Hythe & Dibden. Picture: Nathan Lipsham
Tom Jeffes headed the winner as US Portsmouth came from behind to beat Hythe & Dibden. Picture: Nathan Lipsham

US trailed at the break following what boss Tom Grice described as ‘the worst first half performance since I have been manager.’

But after making a double change at the interval, US hit back through Dan Sibley and assistant manager Tom Jeffes.

‘Some of the lads looked as if they didn’t want to be there,’ said Grice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

‘There was no point getting angry at half-time - the team knew they hadn’t played well.

‘We just had a grown-up conversation and we got the reaction we wanted.’

Recent signings Luke Slade and Yusapha Badji were replaced by Joe Johnson and Munir Hadir.

It was Slade’s third start in eight days - after not previously playing regularly at Fareham - while Badji was making his first league start having made his debut last Wednesday at Gosport Borough in the Portsmouth Senior Cup.

Against a Hythe side fighting for their Premier Division lives, US equalised through Sibley.

Jeffes then headed in a Tom Dinsmore corner as US collected their 10th win in 29 outings in their debut Wessex top flight campaign.

Dylan Kramer was back in goal, having replaced Tom Price from the side that had drawn 1-1 at Baffins the previous weekend.

With Moneyfields next up at the Victory Stadium on Tuesday, Grice said he hadn’t yet decided whether Kramer or ex-Moneys man Price will feature in the Portsea Island derby.

USP now have 34 points with 11 games to play. Grice insisted he doesn’t want his side to be ‘sucked into a relegation battle’, though as they are now 26 points ahead of second from bottom Hythe – the bottom two go down – that seems highly unlikely.

‘At the start of the season I was targeting 40 points,’ he said. ‘Now I’m looking for something between 45 and 50 points.’