John Mousinho ‘totally frustrated’ as Portsmouth draw with Fleetwood

By Sports Desk December 23, 2023

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho admitted the Sky Bet League One leaders were below their best after being held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home by lowly Fleetwood.

Colby Bishop’s penalty goal on his return from injury was not enough to earn Pompey all three points.

A visibly unhappy Mousinho said: “It was totally frustrating today.

“I thought we controlled the game in the first half and just about deserved to go in a goal up.

“We again didn’t have the quality in the final third to put the ball in the net and in the first 20 minutes of the second half we were awful.

“We were on the back foot, the passing was poor, the crossing was abysmal, and we got punished for it.

“We picked up a bit after the equalizer but looked vulnerable when they counter-attacked.

“It’s difficult to put a finger on anything in particular about what was wrong today. Although not an acceptable defence, it was like we were not playing a ‘Bolton’, and just took our foot off the pedal and switched off.

“We’re all better than that, and the players can perform a lot better. We now need to step up a gear on Boxing Day at Bristol Rovers.”

There was very little for the fans to cheer about in the opening 45 minutes, but it was in added time that Pompey took the lead.

They were lethargic from the start with very little imagination against a defensively minded Fleetwood.

Half chances from Abu Kamara, who hit a post in the 40th minute, were the best they could produce.

Then a handball in the box gave Bishop the chance to increase his goal tally for the season to 12, which he did comfortably.

Fleetwood came out with more urgency and unexpectedly equalised in the 61st minute.

A corner caused a scramble in Pompey’s six-yard box, and Josh Earl stabbed the ball home.

Chance after chance went begging for Pompey, but they just could not find the winner.

Fleetwood manager Lee Johnson said: “It was a really charismatic performance from the team. They followed the game plan to perfection really.

“We know how good Pompey are, but we have a lot of strength and athleticism, and put a real shift in.

“We felt there were a lot of poor refereeing decisions out there today.

“It was disappointing to go a goal down right on half-time, but everyone rallied round in the dressing room, and we responded well.

“We’ve got 13 players out, and the academy made eight players available for the squad, so it shows we have depth at the club and can compete on any given day.

“It was good to stem the flow of results we’ve had recently, especially against a team riding the wave at the top, and we could have gone on to win it near the end if we had made the right decision on the ball.”

Related items

  • Orlando City v Columbus Crew: Pareja praises ever-growing Lions Orlando City v Columbus Crew: Pareja praises ever-growing Lions

    Oscar Pareja admires the fight Orlando City are showing as they prepare to welcome Columbus Crew to Inter & Co Stadium on Saturday.

    Orlando are unbeaten in their last three matches, including a late victory over San Jose Earthquakes last weekend.

    They are now within one point of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, sitting 10th on 16 points.

    Pareja praised his team for being able to hold onto results in recent weeks, but he now wants to translate that into consistent success at home.

    "I see a team that is growing," Pareja said. "Their confidence is growing.

    "The way we're playing is much better in terms of efficiency on the other side of the box, and we're proud. The thing that we're most happy with is seeing them try to do the right thing.

    "They've got through difficult moments together. The way they fight every single game is always the same. We're more knowledgeable now that we're getting results, but I haven't seen one game where they gave up.

    "Now we need to go and do it at home in front of our fans. Nothing has changed, we just haven't been very good in some home games, but we will be."

    Columbus sit five points above Saturday’s opponents, having won back-to-back games against CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire.

    Going into the third of their successive away matches, head coach Wilfried Nancy hailed the Crew’s spirit.

    "It's true that last year I didn't like the spirit that when we were playing away - it was not the same spirit," he said.

    "Now, they try to play their game home or away. This is something that for me, this is growth. This is something that has been better."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Orlando City – Pedro Gallese

    Gallese has kept clean sheets in two straight matches after Orlando managed just two in their first 11 regular season matches in 2024.

    The Lions have never kept a clean sheet in three straight league matches within a single season before.

    Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi

    Rossi managed a goal and two assists in Columbus’ win over Chicago last Saturday. It was his sixth MLS match with at least three goal contributions (including playoffs) but his first with the Crew.

    MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

    Orlando City have won just one of their first seven home matches this MLS season (three draws, three losses), with their six points won equalling the fewest they have ever recorded in their first seven home matches of a season (also in 2015).

    Meanwhile, Columbus have lost only one of their last eight away matches in MLS (four wins, three draws incl. playoffs), including winning their last two in a row on the road. The Crew have not won three consecutive away matches in the league since a four-match run between August and September 2015.

    Columbus knocked Orlando out of last season’s MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 road win in the Conference Semifinals. That win was just the Crew’s second in their last 11 meetings with Orlando dating back to October 2018 (one draw, eight losses).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Orlando City – 34.5%

    Draw – 26.8%

    Columbus Crew – 38.7%

  • Girona aim to end on a high as Dovbyk eyes Golden Boot Girona aim to end on a high as Dovbyk eyes Golden Boot

    Girona are hoping to round off their most successful campaign in LaLiga with victory against Granada on Friday, while Artem Dovbyk is in the hunt to finish as the league's top scorer.

    Michel's team, the surprise package of the season, already know they will finish third in the standings behind champions Real Madrid and runners-up Barcelona.

    Girona, whose previous best finish was 10th in 2017-18 and 2022-23, have clinched their place in next season's Champions League and simply want to enjoy their outing on Friday.

    "Tomorrow the stadium will be full and afterwards we want to celebrate with our fans," Michel said on Thursday. 

    "The best way to end the season is to win and make the fans proud, that's what we're playing for. We have to end the season in the best way possible, which is to win. 

    "If we do it with two goals from Dovbyk, that's even better. We have a chance for him to finish as top scorer and for us to surpass 80 points. We will try to win for him."

    Dovbyk, who has netted 21 times this season, is two goals behind Villareal's Alexander Sorloth and two ahead of Madrid's Jude Bellingham.

    After enjoying such highs this season, their 24 league wins including thumping home and away victories over Barcelona, Michel has already turned his attention to the future.

    "It worries me because we need to build a competitive squad for the big year ahead. I would like to keep a lot of people, but I know there are players who are not ours and who have to go back to their teams," he said.

    "However, I think we will do things right and I am convinced that we will have a top squad that will be able to compete in all three competitions."

  • D.C. United v Chicago Fire: Klopas adopting 'relegation battle' approach D.C. United v Chicago Fire: Klopas adopting 'relegation battle' approach

    Frank Klopas and the Chicago Fire may not have to worry about demotion from MLS, but he wants them to adopt a "relegation battle" mentality ahead of Saturday's visit to D.C. United.

    The Fire sit 14th in the Eastern Conference standings after losing four straight games, with three of those defeats coming at home including last week's 3-1 reverse against the Columbus Crew. 

    Their current losing run is their fifth streak or four or more regular-season defeats since the start of 2021, though they have not lost five in a row in league play since 2018.

    "The thing is trying to simplify things in practice, I think that's the most important thing with teams going through a difficult moment," Klopas said.

    "The mental state of the team is obviously down. I think that's expected when you don't get results, when performances are not going your way.

    "Even though there's no relegation battle in this league, we have to approach every game right now like it's a relegation fight until we can get out of this situation we're in."

    D.C. are also looking to respond after back-to-back losses to the New York Red Bulls (1-4) and Inter Miami (0-1), with those results leaving them ninth in the East.

    Troy Lesesne's team have won praise for their counter-pressing approach this year, but he says they still have plenty of room for improvement when playing on the break.

    "No matter who the opponent is, we want to be difficult to play against and to break down, but we're also doing that so we can create," Lesesne said.

    "We're top in the league for expected goals on the counterattack, but we have to finalise those situations.

    "We're going to keep working on that, keep gaining those moments and keep improving." 

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    D.C. United – Christian Benteke 

    Benteke has scored 11 of D.C.'s 20 goals this season, with no other team-mate netting more than once in MLS play.

    D.C. United are one of two MLS teams (also the Houston Dynamo) to only have one player with multiple goals this season.

    Chicago Fire – Carlos Teran 

    Teran scored the Fire's only goal against the Crew last week and has now netted once for them in each of the last four seasons, making him the only player to score in each of the last four campaigns for Chicago.

    The Colombian defender is hardly a goal machine, but Chicago will hope he can have an impact at both ends here.

    MATCH PREDICTION – D.C. UNITED WIN 

    Chicago's tally of 10 points through 14 matches in 2024 is their worst total at this stage of a season in club history.

    Things may not get any better for them on Saturday against a team known for employing an energetic approach.

    D.C. United recorded a 4-0 home win over Chicago in the teams' last meeting last September, and they are looking to post back-to-back victories over the Fire for the first time since a four-game winning run against them between 2014 and 2016.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    D.C. United – 47.7%

    Chicago Fire – 26.6% 

    Draw – 25.7% 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.