Kenny Jackett unable to unravel reasons behind Portsmouth’s second-half speciality

Pompey’s second-half specialists continue to excel – and Kenny Jackett is unable to pinpoint why.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 6:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 6:08 pm
Brett Pitman's late winner against Coventry was Pompey's 48th second-half goal of the League One campaign. Picture: Joe Pepler

No League One side has scored more second-half goals than the Blues this season, with 48 registered during 43 matches so far.

That is compared to 31 arriving in the first half.

Easter Monday provided the latest example, with Jackett’s men bouncing back from a lacklustre opening 45 minutes to come from behind and beat Coventry 2-1.

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Brett Pitman's late winner against Coventry was Pompey's 48th second-half goal of the League One campaign. Picture: Joe Pepler

It has been a familiar tale in a campaign which has now positioned the Blues three victories away from the Championship.

On Saturday, they travel to Sunderland for a fixture they must win to maintain pursuit of second-placed Barnsley.

Certainly an effective first-half display would be beneficial for Pompey, an often-absent characteristic Jackett cannot explain.

He said: ‘We have very good characters in the team, that’s a focus for us. Similarly, is playing well in the second half good – or are you unhappy with the first half?

Brett Pitman celebrates his late winner against Coventry Joe Pepler

‘It depends how you look at it.

‘But the stats do show we come on strong in the second half of games.

‘It’s not necessarily something you set out to do in terms of set-up, it’s just one of those things which has developed like that.

‘Is it a strength to finish strongly? I think it is, but if you can get it right in the first half you will.

‘I can’t explain why. People ask me why that is the case, it’s certainly not something I’ve set out to do. We try to play well all the way through the game and win every single match, 100 per cent we do.

‘Fitness, character, togetherness, those things do come into it and we have them.

‘It’s not something I can necessarily put my finger on and certainly not a deliberate thing to wait until the second half for a good spell.

‘You could say it’s inspirational half-time talks or poor ones at the start! It depends how you look at it.’

In terms of second-half goals in League One, Pompey lead the way with 48.

They are followed by Luton (44), Doncaster (40), with Sunderland and Barnsley tied on 38 and then Peterborough on 37.