More misery for Portsmouth as Wessex take the victory
PORTSMOUTH CITY could be running out of time to save their season after another defeat in the National League division two south.
The city team were thrashed in straight sets by a well-drilled Wessex M2 side at the Mountbatten Centre.
It took the visitors one hour and five minutes to subject the hosts to their sixth loss of the campaign.
As expected, the home team struggled to thread together any meaningful attack due to the continued absence of their two natural setters.
The first set was no spectacle as Portsmouth’s regular attacking and back court defence errors ensured.
This allowed Wessex to seize the initiative by strolling to a 25-15 opening set win.
They later went on to double their advantage 25-19.
Stand-in setter Joan Francesc Cabrer Gomila was not impressed with his side’s early showing.
He said: ‘I have never played in a game like this before where everybody on the team is quiet.
‘We’re playing at home, but are behaving like the visitors.
‘We need to show steel and create more noise on court, we have to make it more intimidating and uncomfortable for all our visitors.
‘And we have to try and motivate ourselves when things are not going our way and also celebrate every single point together.’
Cabrer’s rallying call after their second set loss, ignited a morale boosting fight back.
Player-coach Nasser Ssemuwemba led by example as he defended and attacked with more precision.
And he was joined by the attacking trio of Adamantios Xanthoudidis, Richard Ferguson and Akram Mahmoud Samir El Saka who also found success with the serve and in attack.
But despite their efforts, Wessex went on to wrap up victory 25-22 thanks to a mixture of quick middle play and powerful outside attacks.
At the end of the match, Cabrer, who earned his third man-of-the-match accolade, said he was impressed by his side’s third set fighting spirit.
‘The third set performance gives me hope,’ he added.
‘Although we did not win the match, I must say that was the best performance I have ever seen since joining this team.
‘Everybody seemed angry. People started picking up most of the loose balls and attacking aggressively. It was as if we had a different team on court.’
Portsmouth hope to have a natural setter back soon so Cabrer can assume his opposite playing duties were he is more effective.
On Saturday, they travel to the Oakmead Technology College (LeAF Academy) in Bournemouth for the reverse fixture with Wessex M2 (2pm).