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Second half was appalling

10 March 2013

Peter Shirtliff on the Portsmouth game

“That was a game that was there for the taking, we should have been in front at half time comfortably and I cannot explain how we got entangled for the two goals that we have conceded.  It’s very frustrating and then the game just fizzled out at 2-0.


We had a good chance with Craig Fagan, he knows that he should have scored, but you have to create more than one chance for any striker.  They will miss chances, but you have to keep it clean at the other end as well.

If you’re not in front come half time, then you have to drive on in the second half and I don’t think we did that at all.

Goals change games, and when you come to a place like Portsmouth, you always know that they are going to have a go at some stage of the game.  They have a tradition of being a tough home side.

At the end of the day, we were in control of a football match that we should have gone ahead in, and we haven’t.  We have to sustain it and drive into that second half to make it work.

Their first goal, there was a bit of football going on in the corner and then David Connolly is free in the box on the far post with nobody anywhere near him.  How has that happened?  He’s a centre forward and you would have thought that one of our defenders would mark him in our own box!

It was nearly the same for the second goal, another bit of football and some body has left the runner and Connolly has shown a bit of skill on the far post to get another – it’s just disappointing and a disappointing day.

Might have’s, should haves and could haves – it’s the story of the season, it sums it all up.  We have ten games left and 30 points to play for.  Sooner or later we have to win four or five on the spin.  It’s difficult but it’s not impossible.

It’s about belief and the players have to believe that they can do it.  If they don’t believe they can do it, then they might as well not bother.

The frustrating thing about this game is that we were in control; we needed to win there to set us up for a run of three home games against teams that are around us.  A result at Portsmouth would have put us on our way to stringing some results together.

I’ve been in this situation when I was at Charlton and we showed spirit to get out of it.  That’s what we have to do, if we don’t show spirit, then we won’t get out.

That second half on Saturday was appalling; it was on a par with the Crawley performance.  The first half was good and I don’t know who switched it off.

We have to put a 90 minute performance in and win a football match, not a 45 minute performance, and we have to score goals, we’ve got to be ruthless and do all the things that it takes to win a football match.  We might do it for half a game or we might do it for a third of a game or even two thirds of a game – but we are not doing it for the full game – it’s as simple as that.’

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