Boss bemoans set-piece defending against Rochdale
It had all looked so promising for Pompey at Spotland.
The Blues started brightly against League Two leaders Rochdale and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.
But Bondz N’Gala’s header was hacked clear from the line and Joe Devera then missed the target from close range after the ball had been sent back into the box.
Instead the visitors soon found themselves a goal down and it all unravelled from there in a 3-0 defeat.
Pompey were once again punished from set-pieces, with both Matt Lund and Peter Vincenti taking advantage of defensive frailties to score, either side of Ian Henderson’s finish into the bottom corner.
And Richie Barker was left to lament the same old problems costing his side.
The Blues boss said: “We actually started the game well and then missed one of the best chances we’re ever going to create.
“You rely on opportunities like that, but then a few minutes later they go and score.
“The game-plan was working well and we created more chances in the first 20 minutes than we had done in quite a while.
“The first goal was conceded was the most disappointing because it set the tone for the rest of the game.
“There were two headers from a corner – Joe Devera didn’t win the first one and then somebody doesn’t win the second either. There has to be a greater desire to win those.
“Every time we think we’ve solved a problem then it crops back up again and that’s because of the mental capacity to take the information on board.
“It’s their job to win those headers in the box, but we’ve conceded twice from set-pieces and then another from a long ball that we’ve not defended.
“We gave them all the information and they have to realise that wasn’t good enough. They need to work harder and do the right things.
“There are too many people who think they can turn up and go through the motions and that can’t be the case.”
Barker felt that the performance of Patrick Agyemang in a lone role up front was a rare bright spot for Pompey.
He said: “I thought Pat was excellent and stuck to his task well. He was a focal point for us and that’s what we asked him to be.”