THE game was one we needed to win to show we had bounced back from last week’s defeat.
I don’t like to speak in a negative way about Burton Albion but if I don’t do so in respect of this match then I would have to lie or not submit any comment at all.
From the start it looked as though the Albion players were not working well as a team.
They lacked the apparent hunger to win the ball.
The main tactic seemed to be to fire the long ball from defence up to Rene Howe.
The midfield was bypassed most of the time.
Howe says himself on social media that he is currently not playing well.
He is not alone.
He and Michael Symes do not seem to make a potent attacking threat.
They certainly did not combine well together in this game, looking slow and predictable and were relieved of the ball almost every time by the Portsmouth defence.
Knowles looked a much livelier prospect in attack when he came on as a substitute.
I think Rene was relieved to be substituted.
He is a good striker, but he is not having a good time at the moment.
There were no real quality shots on goal from Albion.
Some of the shots were way off target or lacked any pace.
I do not think Burton had any real chance of scoring during the first 90 minutes.
The midfield struggled until (Alex) Macdonald and (Matty) Palmer came on.
Those two breathed some fire back into the side, but it was too late to reverse the goal defecit.
Up until the time they came on, there was no real play-making from midfield.
(Adam) Reed did little to justify his starting position based on his impact in this game.
There seemed to be a lack of leadership from Lee Bell (pictured).
He spent too long arguing with the referee about decisions – the referee is not going to reverse his decision and to shout and swear is only going to aggravate him for future decisions.
That is precisely what happened as Bell (pictured) was given a yellow card for a tackle following a protracted spell of arguing over a previous decision.
I would have thought Lee would have been wary of aggravating officials after his red card ban just before the play-offs last season.
While the captain is debating with the referee he is not motivating his team.
On Saturday they needed leadership not a verbal spokesman.
I think it may be time to give the captain’s armband to Zander Diamond.
Zander played well in defence.
If he was less than match fit it didn’t show.
He also scored a consolation goal, showing more attacking instinct than most of the strikers whose job it is to score goals.
Something is not right in the Albion camp, but I am confident that Gary (Rowett) and the players can sort it.
They need to do it soon, we do not want this losing run to continue.
Where do you even begin to put some perspective on that?
They more than had the measure of us and top marks to there amazing travelling support.
I’m not at all sure that Howe and Symes are it.
For me we missed Rory Delap and Chris Hussey.
Strikers were too similar and we couldn’t do anything other than lump it up.
I thought our midfield was pretty weak.
We missed Robbie Weir’s fight, and McGurk needs to learn to keep his feet.
Jimmy (Phillips) in the team was the highlight for me.
I know a lot of fans don’t rate him but he needs a run.
The guy will always get free kicks – just give him the ball and let him run at the opposition.
We beat teams last season by keeping the ball on the deck and creating chances in and around the box with good link up play.
Without (Billy) Kee we look short on goal-scoring instinct. Hurry up and get fit Billy, we need you!!