'Concerns' grow for head coach Gareth Richards as Portsmouth's winless start goes on after Alton's second-half blitz

Gareth Richards was at a loss to explain Portsmouth's second-half capitulation as they suffered a sixth successive London 3 South West defeat to start the season.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 5:58 pm
Portsmouth head coach Gareth Richards. Picture: Neil Marshall (171124-384)

Alton were rampant after the restart, running in 34 unanswered points, to leave the visitors' shell-shocked and on the end of a 34-7 defeat.

Richards revealed he was really happy with his side's first-half showing, with Portsmouth going in at the break 7-0 to the good thanks to Scott Weatherhead's converted try.

But the visitors were blown away by Alton's efforts after the restart and slumped to second-bottom in the division - still without a win in six games.

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Richards said: ‘It’s difficult to put my finger on it, if I’m honest (second half fall-off).

‘Everything we did so well in the first half coming up the hill - we just stopped doing.

‘We went in at half time saying if we could continue to play in the manner we had and keep applying pressure on Alton then I thought we were going to get the result we’d been after.

‘But we just fell away and we didn’t come out in the second half. I think the manner of the second half, the way we played was very disappointing. Not just the way we played, the way we dealt with the added pressure in the second half, we didn’t respond to it at all really.’

Richards, in his first season as head coach, conceded the early season form is now beginning to become a concern for him and his coaching team.

And a difficult weekend was compounded with Portsmouth's second team unable to raise a XV for their latest fixture.

Richards added: ‘I think I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was becoming more of a concern. As a coaching group, you’re always reflecting and thinking about how we can try to do things better and get more out of the lads.

‘I think that’s couple with a realisation that perhaps some of those things are beyond our control - we had upwards of 40 unavailabilities on Saturday across the squad.

'It is a growing concern (season start) for the coaching group, definitely.’