Wycombe 2 Pompey 2: Slow starts will derail promotion bid

Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler

Enda Stevens warned Pompey more slow starts will derail their promotion bid.

And the defender knows his team have to find defensive strength to keep their bid to get out of League Two on course.

We never showed up in the first half and we can’t be doing that.

Enda Stevens

Stevens admitted his side were ‘outplayed’ in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Wycombe.

Paul Cook’s side failed to find their feet in the first 45 minutes against the Chairboys.

They were punished for that with two quickfire goals in the 28th and 30th minute.

Brian Murphy’s poor clearance allowed Michael Harriman to break the deadlock.

Garry Thompson then doubled the Chairboys’ advantage from a lovely Harriman delivery.

Pompey felt that both goals were preventable and were the product of sloppy play.

Equally frustrating for Stevens was the manner in which Cook’s side allowed Wycombe to gain a foothold in the game.

The left-back told his team that has to be eradicated if they are to have a succesful campaign.

Stevens said: ‘We gave ourselves a mountain to climb in the first half.

‘We struggled with the balls over the top and weren’t at the races.

‘We never really started the game and struggled to get it down and play. They outplayed us.

‘They were the first to every ball and second ball.

‘We couldn’t get ourselves up the pitch and conceded two sloppy goals.

‘But we got ourselves out of jail and back into the game. I thought there was only one team likely to win it at the end.

‘We got ourselves back in the game but just couldn’t get that final goal.

‘We never showed up in the first half and we can’t be doing that.

‘We’ve got to get straight out of the blocks, which we have been doing.

‘We’re conceding too many at the minute, too. We need to get back to keeping clean sheets the way we were.’

Despite their stuttering perfformance, Pompey found their way back into the game thanks to Caolan Lavery’s goal in first-half stopapge time.

That lifted Cook’s side and they restored parity 10 minutes after the restart thanks to Adam Webster.

Stevens admitted the timing of the goal lifted his side.

He said: ‘They were dangerous and getting in behind us.

‘We conceded bad goals.

‘But the goal before half-time sent us into the dressing room full of confidence and we knew we could get back into the game.’