Boss fuming after Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit
A suicidal opening goal set the tone for Pompey at Newport.
That was Guy Whittingham’s verdict following a 3-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat in south Wales.
A defensive mix-up between Bondz N’Gala and Trevor Carson handed Conor Washington a simple finish early on.
And there was more dithering at the back to allow Deji Oshilaja the chance to double the hosts’ advantage.
David Pipe’s second half red card failed to turn the tide and Washington added a third late on.
But Whittingham believes it was the opening stages that inspired Newport to book their place in the southern semi-finals.
The Blues boss said: “To give away a calamitous goal like that in the first five minutes was suicide. It was a miscommunication and it gave them a huge lift.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming to Newport because they would be up for it – just like any side that faces Pompey.
“So you have to make sure you’re strong and give nothing away in the first 20 minutes, but we did it twice.
“We keep harking back to that York game and this was a repeat of that. I can’t think of too many positives at all.
“We picked a side that we thought could go out and play good football, but it just didn’t work.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that we haven’t worked hard, but we gave them that early lift and from there it was an uphill struggle.
“You want to win games no matter what competition it is and we’re disappointed to have lost the last two.”
Newport lined up in an unusual 3-4-3 system, although Whittingham does not believe that was the deciding factor.
He said: “We suspected that they would do that before the game, but it wasn’t shapes that beat us – it was the desire to win and we handed that to them with the first goal.
“We made a few changes, but if we’d had a full-strength squad we might not have done that. We hoped to have some of them back, but that’s not an excuse for the performance.”