Blues to cover old ground as goals keep flowing

Sam Sodje in action against Scunthorpe on Tuesday night  Picture: Joe Pepler
Sam Sodje in action against Scunthorpe on Tuesday night Picture: Joe Pepler

It’s back to the training ground for Pompey today in a bid to rid them of their defensive ailments.

Then again, for caretaker boss Guy Whittingham, it has long been a weekly routine set in stone as those sloppy goals keep rolling in.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Scunthorpe marked an eighth successive loss and 18 matches without a win in all competitions for the Blues.

It also highlighted more abject defending from the rearguard who persist in handing the oppostion advantages which continue to prove costly.

In the 40th minute against Scunny, Akpo Sodje was allowed a free header to break the deadlock, while more poor defending saw him grab the winner five minutes from time.

Of the defence who conceded three goals in the opening 20 minutes against Colchester the previous game, Ricardo Rocha and Dan Butler were on the bench – largely due to injury.

Gabor Gyepes and Adam Webster took their spots – but the mistakes continued.

Whittingham insists he and Andy Awford have long made the point of concentrating on such scenarios during training.

Regardless, those goals keep on flowing.

‘I thought the first 10 minutes we did okay and we were on top of them,’ said Whittingham;

‘Then, for whatever reason, we just sat back and let them have too much of the ball. Their confidence grew and they certainly put us on our heels. The first goal was a free header at the near post – we didn’t mark that area correctly.

‘The second came because, as the ball was first cleared, we didn’t clear our lines quick enough.

‘That allowed them to put another ball back into an area which is that sort of territory just beyond centre-halves and just in front of the goalkeeper.

‘Neither is too sure who is going to get it or not and ended up neither committing to it and Sodje got ahead again. We practice those things weekly. It is easy enough to do on the training pitch when you are shouting through it – but this is in the heat of the moment and is something we are bitterly disappointed with.

‘I have said it all along, if it was one person every week he wouldn’t be playing but it’s different people week in, week out.’

Butler and Rocha are expected to be available for selection against Bournemouth on Saturday.

That will provide Whittingham with defensive options for the derby.

Although the caretaker boss did feel sympathy for Sam Sodje on Tuesday night at the hands of referee Steve Rushton.

He added: ‘Sodje was winning headers when he was allowed to win headers. Their man is backing in and Sodje is already in the air yet is fouling his man. I don’t understand that.’