Portsmouth were unexpectedly comfortably beaten by League Two side AFC Wimbledon in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, losing 5-2 at Fratton Park on Tuesday night.
Despite being the highest ranked side in the competition, as well as overwhelming favourites to progress to the next round, John Mousinho’s men would lose to Wimbledon in what has to be one of their worst performances of the season.
Although it was a much-changed starting eleven put out by Mousinho, there were very few excuses for the performance. There were a total of nine changes from the side which beat Shrewsbury last Saturday, a win which would extend Portsmouth’s gap at the top of the league to second-placed Peterborough to seven points.
The performance against Wimbledon was a far cry from the one in which they put in away at Shrewsbury on Saturday, easily surpassing the Shrews 3-0 without ever needing to get into second gear. Complacency may have crept in after that dominant performance, and that may have got the better of Pompey as the were embarrassed by the League Two side.
Wimbledon deserve plenty of credit for the result and nothing can be taken away from their performance and to make the result even more impressive, manager Johnnie Jackson decided to leave talisman Ali Al-Hamadi, on the bench. Al-Hamadi, who has 14 goals in all competitions this season already, and has been the subject of plenty of interest from higher ranked clubs, would add the 5th in what was a great night for the Dons.
Portsmouth found it very hard to respond to the Wimbledon’s attack, and despite having 67% of the possession they would allow 16 shots, seven of those being on target with keeper Ryan Schofield having to pick the ball out of his net five times. Some serious questions can now be raised regarding the depth that Mousinho has on offer at Portsmouth and the loss potentially highlights it could be something which needs to be looked into in January.
Obviously the Bristol Street Motors Trophy is not the club’s main priority this season, far from it, but the result could severely knock the confidence of the players as well as halting their winning momentum.
Going into the match, Pompey were unbeaten in their last four games, keeping clean sheets in all four, yet changes in the back line would cause them to be hit for five by a ruthless Wimbledon side.
Fortunately for Mousinho, they have a relatively easy task on Saturday, at home to a struggling Fleetwood side but it will be very interesting to see how the side respond. It is paramount that Portsmouth get back to winning ways straight away, or they could be at risk of being caught up by some of the team’s below them.
Mousinho will no doubt put out a full strength side on Saturday in order to respond but there are potentially some cracks beginning to show in his side.
Very few would’ve expected Wimbledon to beat Portsmouth and even less would’ve expected they’d put five past them. Although it is was a much changed line-up and hardly an important competition for the club this year, to lose in that fashion to a side in the league below is worrying.
Having beat Bolton the week prior in a top-of-the-table clash, complacency has definitely crept into the players, and must be irradiated if they want to keep their winning league form going. With a congested Christmas fixture schedule coming up, Portsmouth need to get back on track as soon as possible or they could be susceptible to some freak results in the league as well.