By Jon Harries
It’s hard to sum up Tuesday night’s performance away at Lincoln. The Dons travelled to the LNER Stadium against a team that had just returned from Covid 19 a few days prior and low on confidence from previous results. The first half was controlled by the away side with Will Grigg seeing a header deflected wide the clearest change created. Lincoln came close when Brennan Johnson played a ball across the box that nobody gambled on. What was to follow in the second half I can only describe as a capitulation. 3 minutes into it Josh McEachran was dispossessed just outside the Dons box and Morgan Rogers played Johnson through to clip over Fisher. 4 minutes later Darling was caught in possession and the Rogers and Johnson combination did the damage again. Two became three shortly after when Rogers won a dubious penalty when it appeared it was handbags between Rogers and Lewington. Johnson completed his hattrick after Lincoln encroached for his first attempt. Utterly shocked and disappointed throughout that half but full credit must go to Lincoln. That is the reason they are a playoff team. Cohen Brammall put the icing on the cake with a brilliant free kick late on. Hopefully big lessons will be learnt because that second half of football was truly awful.
Portsmouth are the visitors to Stadium MK Saturday lunchtime and after the “managers bounce” under the Cowley brothers they were defeated by Burton then picked up a point against Crewe on Tuesday night. Crewe were much more organised after their off day against Oxford, Portsmouth though will be ruing the missed /saved penalty by John Marquis (poor penalty IMHO). A point is better than nothing though and cements their playoff place. One interesting stat I saw was Portsmouth have never been promoted via the play offs. Danny and Nicky could be the ones who break that curse.
Craig McGillivray is a very good goalkeeper although he does have the odd mistake in him. Sean Raggett is a very old school CB who loves getting stuck in. Charlie Daniels is a very experienced professional at Premier League level and provides a threat down the left. Michael Jacobs led Wigan to promotion under Paul Cook and Tom Naylor provides the steel. John Marquis, Ellis Harrison and Marcus Harness are different goal threats, the former a very experienced L1 striker with Doncaster previously.
The man in focus is Ronan Curtis. A mercurial player that can provide an individual moment of magic to win games. He was very in and out under the previous manager Kenny Jackett (some fans wanted him gone sooner for lack of ambition on the pitch) after having an incredible season beforehand. Under the stewardship of the Cowley’s though I believe he can reach the next level. Able to beat players either side the only thing against him is lack of consistency and his short temper. 12 goal contributions (7 Goals 5 Assists) in 36 games backs up that statement.
Laird – Lewington – Darling – Jules – Harvie
Kasumu – Surman – Fraser – O’Riley
GriggThis team needs some steel and bite I feel. Even if Kasumu does not last the whole game his inclusion is key. He provides such a key part of the way we play and can dictate the tempo brilliantly. We have certainly missed him.
I’m going with a 2-1 home win. I’m expecting a reaction, some fight and desire. Portsmouth are no pushovers, but I just have a gut feeling we will see a different animal.
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