Sleepy starts are costing Pompey

Jordan Cross looks back on Pompey's 2-1 defeat at Doncaster and assesses the main talking points.

Wednesday, 18th October 2017, 1:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 6:06 am
Dion Donohue was sent off against Doncaster. Picture: Paul Currie/Bluepitch media


It was a clear view of what led to Pompey’s downfall.

‘We weren’t second best, weren’t outclassed but we gave away key goals,’ Pompey boss Kenny Jackett asserted.

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Yes, the Blues are developing an unsettling habit of shipping early goals.

And, after leaking two decisive efforts in six minutes at Doncaster, it’s now becoming a troubling issue.

Okay, there was an unfortunate intervention from Christian Burgess for both of the hosts’ goals.

Liam Mandeville’s opener took a decisive change of direction off the defender, as did Tommy Rowe’s unopposed header two minutes later.

And it could have been worse as Joe Wright’s free header ended up going just wide, nearly giving Doncaster a three-goal cushion.

Jackett highlighted early goals conceded against Scunthorpe (12 minutes) and Northampton (18 minutes) as further evidence of a growing issue.

You can add Oldham (16 minutes) and Wigan (eight minutes) to that list, as Pompey develop a trait for shipping early goals which is proving costly.


It’s a landmark worthy of celebration.

And chalking up a 100th appearance for your club at the age of 20 makes it an even more laudable achievement.

Yet, Conor Chaplin wasn’t in the mood for back-slapping at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The homegrown striking talent took time out to reflect on the help from family, who’d provided the platform for him to make his Pompey breakthrough.

But the frustration was evident there hadn’t been a positive return for his team to mark the occasion.

Chaplin was the width of the post from ensuring a point was harvested with a 51st-minute free-kick, which keeper Ian Lawlor could only prey stayed out.

The woodwork came to his rescue.

While Chaplin spoke of his contentment at his record, he didn’t hide his feelings that more of those appearances should have been from the outset.

The stats read 27 starts and 73 sub appearances off the bench. The challenge is to at least switch those figures around over the next 100.


The initial reaction was a surprise.

And there was even a degree of indignation at the manner in which the Doncaster bench screamed blue murder to play a role in Dion Donohue’s dismissal.

Few people at the Keepmoat Stadium couldn’t quite fathom why the ex-Chesterfield man was given a straight red.

That was until the replays showed a pretty innocuous yet petulant nibble at Niall Mason, after the Doncaster sub closed down the Pompey man.

In different circumstances, the Welshman could’ve escaped with a yellow, but with referee Martin Coy acting on the advice of the fourth official and Darren Ferguson up in arms, the dismissal ensued.

There was plenty of pluck about the Blues’ push for a leveller after Donohue walked, but it was a costly error.

Kenny Jackett was prepared to give the 23-year-old the benefit of doubt, but you get the feeling he won’t be so lucky next time.