PORTSMOUTH CITY suffered yet another bruising defeat in National League division two south after a straight sets loss away to fellow strugglers Tendring VC seconds.
Both teams stepped onto the Tendring Technology College court knowing a win would give them the advantage over their adversaries in the battle to beat the drop.
But it was the home team who emerged supreme thanks to the reinforcement from their two senior team players Alex Porter and Jermain Miles.
Despite their eighth loss of the season, player coach Ssemuwemba, who was named man-of-the-match, is still optimistic his side will be able to pull it off by the end of the season.
He said: ‘I’m hoping we can get our best players available for all the crucial games coming up from next month.
‘I think we’ve now done all the long trips and our next mission is to solidify and be ready for the return legs at home.
‘On the flip side, I’m already destined to field another weak team for our next home match this weekend.
‘Most of our players will not be present for that one as well.
‘It’s going to be a very big task, but I’m confident we shall eventually do it.’
Portsmouth travelled with a weakened team after most of their influential players could not play in the match due to work commitments and injuries.
The visitors had to recall reserve setter Alex Menya from the non-league Army team to assume the role of playmaker, with both Leandros Tsikras and Matthew Jackson’s unavailable for the match.
Louis Bachu came in for absent opposite player Joan Francesc Cabrer Gomila, while the Worthing-based trio of Mark Byerley, Damian Roberts and Dominic Wisdom also made their return to the fold.
Lack of team cohesion was evident right from the first whistle as Portsmouth looked disjointed in the early stages of the first set which they went on to lose 25-19.
The start of the second set saw Menya grow in confidence as he started bringing his attackers into play.
His improved ball distribution allowed Egyptian middle blocker Akram Mahmoud Samir El Saka and outside-attacker Roberts to flourish. But a well drilled Tendring side quickly recovered to double their advantage, taking the set 25-22.
Portsmouth looked more fluid in the third set with Ssemuwemba successfully finding his way through the opposition defence.
Although his side huffed and puffed, it was Tendring who took the big points en route to a 26-24 victory.
On Saturday Portsmouth play host to London Lynx seconds at the Mountbatten Centre (12midday).
Ssemuwemba’s team are now in eighth place, just two points ahead of second bottom side Tendring who have three games in hand.