Portsmouth City coach resigned to relegation

Portsmouth City's losing streak in the National League division two south continued with another defeat at Team Southampton on Saturday.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 8:00 am
Roy Evenden, nine, in action for Portsmouth City. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170015-297)

City, who haven’t won a match since November, were thrashed in straight sets by their relegation rivals at Itchen Sixth Form College.

The match, which was originally scheduled to be played at Crestwood College at 5.30pm, had to be moved and brought forward because of health and safety concerns.

While Nasser Ssemuwemba managed to get a team out despite the late switch, it was not strong enough to stop Southampton from completing a double over his beleaguered side.

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City are now hot favorites for the drop to division three.

They are glued to the bottom with 14 points – six behind Southampton who also have four games in hand.

Ssemuwemba believes any hopes of survival are now gone.

The player-coach said: ‘The table does not lie. We’ve just been poor all season.

‘On paper we have one of the strongest teams in the division but only once have we been able to field our strong line-up.

‘And that was in the one match we managed to win – away to Wessex, who could end up being promoted to division one.

‘It actually hurts but there is nothing we can do right now.

‘It has simply been a troublesome season for us.’

Southampton pocketed the opening set 25-20, thanks to their powerful outside attacks.

City responded through middle players Richard Ferguson and Roy Evenden.

However, the duo’s success at the net – together with Mark Byerley’s back-court attacks – could not help their team to success.

They went on to lose both the second and third set by 25-21 scorelines.

Newly-recruited utility player Moses Mukasa Ssebidde impressed on his debut, while the man-of-the-match accolade went to Evenden.

Despite the loss, setter Alex Menya thinks City played well.

He said: ‘It’s never a good feeling when you lose but in this case, I thought we actually played well.

‘We competed for every ball and there were some very interesting rallies we won.

‘We were just unlucky when it came to the latter stages of each set.’

Portsmouth host table-topping London Aces on Saturday.