Inexperienced Blues put to the sword by dominant Pompey

Southend United 0-3 Portsmouth

Southend United’s youthful sided were handed a harsh EFL Trophy lesson by a Portsmouth side that governed proceedings at Roots Hall Stadium throughout this largely one-sided contest.

Mark Molesley made six changes to the side that started at Crawley on Saturday. However, their lack of experience was brutally exposed by a ruthless Pompey outfit.

Skipper Ben Close and Ryan Williams whistled agonisingly wide, while Rasmus Nicolaisen bundled over as Pompey displayed their early intent.

The traffic remained distinctly one-way. Mark Oxley used his feet well to deny Williams. But when Tom Clifford was clumsy on Haji Mnoga, John Marquis made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick to hand the south coast club the lead.

Timothee Dieng nodded into the midriff of Pompey stopper, Alex Bass, as Southend finally provided a viable threat of their own. But on a cold, damp evening, Pompey continued to dictate. Oxley saved from Marquis after Williams had fashioned an opening and with their next foray forward they doubled the lead. Ronan Curtis tried his luck – a deflection helped his cause – Oxley helpless as the ball fizzed low into the rigging.

Mnoga blazed wide, while Marquis and Curtis sent efforts over. It was grim viewing from a Southend perspective.

Portsmouth started the second period similarly. Curtis curled wide with Oxley left clutching thin air, while Cameron Pring somehow missed the target when it appeared easier to score

Having missed a sizable chunk of his early career due to an injury sustained in an EFL Trophy tie at Colchester, the sight of Lewis Gard departing on a stretcher was particularly worrying for the 21-year-old Blues midfielder.

Oxley superbly clawed out Nicolaisen’s goal-bound header, while Andrew Cannon was off target. In between, Harry Kyprianou not far away from reducing the arrears as the home side staged a rare assault of their own.

But another Portsmouth goal wasn’t far away. Curtis again struck from distance – but the game had long since ceased to be anything of a contest.

Matt Rush drew a smart save from Bass late in the game. Molesley’s group needs to learn from these experiences in double-quick time otherwise this type of setback is going to become a regular occurrence during what is already panning out into a difficult campaign.

Southend United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, October 10 when Exeter City are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium (3pm)

Southend United: Mark Oxley (Capt), Shaun Hobson, Timothee Dieng (Kenny Coker 46’), Terrell Egbri, Tom Clifford, Lewis Gard (Oli Coker 52’), Harry Phillips, Emile Acquah (Ashley Nathaniel-George 74’), Matt Rush, Richard Taylor, Harry Kyprianou Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK)

Booked: Matt Rush (foul), Kenny Coker (foul), Richard Taylor (foul)
Goals: None

Portsmouth: Alex Bass, Paul Downing, Ryan Williams (Bryn Morris 87’), Ben Close (Capt), John Marquis, Ronan Curtis (Callum Johnson 80’), James Bolton, Andrew Cannon, Rasmus Nicolaisen, Cameron Pring, Haji Mnoga Subs not used: Craig MacGillivray, Ellis Harrison, Marcus Harness, Sean Raggett, Michael Jacobs

Booked: James Bolton (foul)
Goals: John Marquis (penalty) 21’, Ronan Curtis 40’, 78’

Referee: P Howard
Assistants: S Finch and S Williams
Fourth Official: A Bennett

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]