Edged Out

DEREK Adams was disappointed to see Portsmouth defeat his Argyle side 1-0 in a match he felt neither side deserved to win.

In a match that promised so much but offered very little, a draw seemed attainable against a Pompey side who, much like Argyle, were missing a key centre back and centre forward. Both teams would struggle to argue that their performance warranted all three points, but the home side did just that thanks a defensive error in the 25th minute. 

A long ball into the Argyle half looked to be falling just short of the penalty area, prompting Remi Matthews and Sonny Bradley to try and clear their lines. But, indecision and miscommunication allowed Kal Naismith to step in and prod the ball into an empty net – a moment that summed up the quality of the game. 

“I thought it was a poor football match,” said Adams.“It was a 0-0 game written all over it. 

“We make a mistake and they get a goal. They weren’t in our box in the first half. We were the better team in the first half. I thought we passed the ball well at times in the first period, but still we didn’t get enough opportunities at goal. Second half, we pushed on. But overall, from a spectacle, it wasn’t great.

“There was nothing in the game. Both sides probably lacked a bit of firepower today. A poor game from the point of view of chances created. 

“We had some good balls in the box. We just weren’t able to get the second ball to get that goal to get back in the game. I don’t think the creative players on both sides today did enough. There were a number of players that didn’t do well enough today in midfield and attack. 

“Both teams didn’t have any real efforts on goal. From my point of view, it was the worst Portsmouth v Plymouth game I’ve been involved in. It was rubbish.” 

The sub-par display all round was not through lack of trying. Whilst the players endeavoured, but struggled to click into gear, Adams switched things around in the second half. Ruben Lameiras, Lionel Ainsworth and Nadir Ciftci were all brought on to add more of an attacking threat, but the game’s sparse moments of quality rarely looked like being added to by either side. 

“I didn’t think that it changed the concept of the game,” Adams said of the substitutions.“We had to put on players to try and get at their back four, but we didn’t really have an opportunity that we can say was clear-cut in the second half. 

“I thought we were better in the first half. We created better opportunities in the first half. We went to two up front in the second half. We went a bit more direct and I don’t think it helped us. I think it helped Portsmouth. 

“Today, I don’t think we deserved to lose the match.We’ll just go onto the next game. We’ve been on a very good run. We’ve picked up a lot of points and we just move on. 

“I don’t think anyone deserved to win today. There’s no way that Portsmouth are better than us today; not a hope in this world. It was 0-0 written all over the game. Anybody [who] says that Portsmouth deserved to win today has no clue about football.” 

It also would not be a week at Plymouth Argyle with a concern about the goalkeeping position. Remi Matthews, still shaking off a pair of knee injuries picked up against Oxford United, limped to the final whistle after colliding with Naismith. With apprentice Michael Cooper on the bench and still on the mend after dislocating his finger this week, Derek’s dilemmas with shot-stoppers never seems to end. 

“There’s a big concern,” Adams said of Remi’s condition. “We’ll to look at it tonight, and he might have to get an x-ray tomorrow. 

“He’s got a lump on his shin, with the follow-through from the player. He’s got a bit of bruising there as well. A major concern, because he wasn’t able to put much pressure on it just now. Michael Cooper wasn’t fit. He’s not fit. 

“It’s not good. To have as many [injuries], and the different injuries to them; it’s been really unfortunate for us.”