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League 1 Fixture
Izale McLeod scored one penalty but missed another against Leyton Orient
Pompey’s losing run was extended to seven games as they went down 3-2 at home to Leyton Orient tonight.
An awful first-half paved the way for the loss, which made it the Blues’ worst run of defeats in 37 years.
Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham’s side were better after the interval but too many mistakes and missed chances proved costly.
None came clearer than Izale McLeod’s first-half penalty miss - summing up an insipid 45 minutes from the home side.
Darel Russell had a volley blocked early on before Martin Rowland’s effort was deflected wide for the visitors.
But then came McLeod’s chance to end the barren run in front of goal from the spot after Brian Howard was pulled down by Ryan Allsop in the 27th minute.
The striker’s effort down the middle was pushed away by Ryan Allsop, however, as the goalless spell continued.
It got worse for Pompey five minutes later when Kevin Lisbie was freed by Dean Cox and tucked the ball past Mikkel Andersen.
Gabor Gyepes then limped off 10 minutes before the break and was replaced by Ricardo Rocha, who was given an ovation on his return.
Pompey were sent out early for the second-half by Whittingham and Andy Awford - no doubt after being read the riot act.
But Orient doubled their advantage after 51 minutes when Moses Odubajo bundled his way through and tucked the ball through Andersen’s legs.
McLeod at least ended Pompey’s barren run of 546 minutes without a goal after 56 minutes.
When Nathan Clarke pulled down Paul Benson, the former Barnet striker stepped up to smash home from the spot.
But Lisbie then buried the visitor’s own penalty after 62 minutes when he was judged to have been pulled down by Rocha.
Hopes of a grandstand finale were lifted with a fine finish from Scott Allan with 25 minutes left.
But, despite plenty of huffing and puffing, Pompey could not get the leveller needed to end their losing streak.
Leyton Orient delivered one of the lowest footballing moments in modern Pompey history.
And, last night, they ensured the Blues even eclipsed that miserable landmark on another depressing Fratton Park night.
It was almost 11 years ago when the O’s inflicted a 4-1 FA Cup defeat on Graham Rix’s side at the same venue.
A 3-2 victory for Russell Slade’s men in the driving rain in front of just 9,955 fans last night was clearly not as comprehensive.
However, a seventh successive defeat means Pompey are now on their worst losing streak for 37 years.
Previously, Ian St John’s men endured nine on the bounce in the 1975-76 campaign – a season which would end in relegation to division three.
The current crop are spiralling in the same direction and, in truth, their latest blank was another deeply-disappointing affair.
Izale McLeod missed a penalty in the 27th minute during a woeful first half from the hosts, who headed to the interval 1-0 behind courtesy of Kevin Lisbie’s 32nd-minute strike.
Moses Odubajo doubled the visitors’ advantage before McLeod pulled one back from the spot in the 57th minute – ending the Blues’ run of 546 minutes without a goal.
Lisbie grabbed a second – this time from the spot – before Scott Allan responded in the 65th minute to make it 3-2.
It was an improved final 30 minutes from the hosts but Guy Whittingham’s men could not find the equaliser – even during five minutes of time added on.
As it was, it ended up being a miserable end to the loan spell of Mikkel Andersen, who now returns to Reading, and a disappointing return for Ricardo Rocha, who came on as a 35th-minute substitute.
More importantly, Pompey’s horrific run continues and those relegation concerns deepen.
With Carl Dickinson returning to Watford and Lee Williamson injured, Whittingham made two enforced changes to his team.
Jon Harley came in at left-back, having been on the bench for Saturday’s defeat against Doncaster Rovers.
In addition, Allan was available again after serving a three-match suspension and he was restored to the team on the right-hand side of midfield.
Meanwhile, Rocha was named on the substitutes’ bench after signing a month-long deal on Monday.
When the match got under way, the hosts were relieved to see Lee Cook’s fourth-minute free-kick from the right fizz through the area and just past the far post.
The slightest of touches would have seen Whittingham’s men slip behind so early in proceedings.
At the other end, a corner fell into the path of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who lashed a powerful half-volley which was destined for the net.
However, the ball instead cannoned off an unaware Gary Sawyer and bounced harmlessly clear.
David Mooney then had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock only to take a bad touch when clean through and Gabor Gyepes gratefully tidied up.
Pompey were rocking and, in the 14th minute, Martin Rowlands drilled a first-time shot from just outside the box narrowly past the post.
In the 26th minute the Blues were awarded a penalty when Ryan Allsop brought down Brian Howard.
McLeod took on the spot-kick duties but Allsop produced a brilliant stop – saving with his legs while off the ground – and the chance was wasted.
Barely a minute later, Orient were given a four-on-one situation during a swift counter-attack but Anderson managed a superb save to deny Cook.
In the 32nd minute the deadlock was broken, though.
A sublime ball down the middle from Dean Cox was flicked first time by Lisbie past the advancing Andersen and into the net.
In their next attack, Cox swung in a free-kick from the left which was met with a free header from Mooney only to flash narrowly wide.
Whittingham swiftly reacted by hauling Gyepes off and replacing him with Rocha on 35 minutes, much to the delight of the Fratton faithful.
Yet Pompey limped to the interval relieved they had not leaked any more goals as Orient continued to run them ragged.
At half-time, Pompey were sent out early for the second period by the caretaker boss, clearly an indication of his anger at the opening 45 minutes.
However, in the 51st minute they fell further behind when Odubajo shrugged off Howard and slotted the ball through Andersen’s legs and into the net.
Moments later, Allan just failed to thread the ball through to McLeod as the pair bore down on goal.
But in the 57th minute Pompey had their lifeline when Paul Benson nicked the ball off Nathan Clarke and the defender brought him down. This time, McLeod finished the penalty in clinical fashion and the deficit was one goal.
That didn’t last long, though, and when Lisbie was brought down by Rocha, the striker stepped up to net from the spot.
Still the goals flowed and in the 65th minute, Allan twisted and turned on the right-hand side of the box before drilling in a shot which was deflected into the net to make it 3-2.
Pompey pressed for an equaliser and Allsop did well to produce a smart reaction save to keep out substitute Johnny Ertl’s shot in the 85th minute.
Yet there was no stunning comeback and it was defeat number seven for the limping Blues as their depressing run continues.
Pompey 2 Leyton Orient 3 by Neil Weld at Fratton Park
Pompey finally ended their goal drought, but it was not enough to stop them sliding to a seventh successive defeat.
Leyton Orient did the damage with goals either side of the interval from Kevin Lisbie and Moses Odubajo.
Izale McLeod earlier had a penalty saved to stop the Blues from opening the scoring, but made amends by netting a second spot-kick to pull one back.
Lisbie then grabbed his second of the night, before Scott Allan’s strike ensured an exciting end to the game.
Guy Whittingham made two changes from the side that lost at home to Doncaster three days earlier.
Scott Allan returned from a three-match suspension wide on the right, while Jon Harley started at left-back.
Ricardo Rocha was named among the substitutes after completing his move back to the Blues on Monday.
Pompey survived an early scare when Lee Cook’s free-kick from wide on the right evaded everyone as it curled narrowly wide.
The action was soon at the other end of the pitch, though, and Darel Russell met a corner with a cleanly-struck volley that was well blocked.
Both sides were looking capable of opening the scoring and it was Leyton Orient that were next to go close on nine minutes.
David Monney burst through on goal, only to take a dreadful first touch that allowed Gabor Gyepes to get back and clear.
Martin Rowlands then fired in a shot from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection as it fizzed just past the post.
But the Blues were given a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on 27 minutes when Os keeper Ryan Allsop brought down Brian Howard in the box and referee Graham Scott pointed straight to the spot.
Top scorer McLeod stepped up to take the penalty and hit it powerfully enough, but Allsop dived the right way to make a fine save.
Leyton Orient almost made Pompey pay for their profligacy as they broke straight down the other end. It was four-on-one in favour of the visitors, but Mikkel Andersen stuck out a foot to deny Cook.
But it was only a temporary reprieve, as the Londoners did open the scoring on 32 minutes. Lisbie ran onto Dean Cox’s incisive pass and coolly drilled a shot past Andersen and into the net.
It almost got even worse for the Blues as Mooney was allowed a free header inside the box, but failed to find the target.
Whittingham made his first change soon after, with Rocha earning a rapturous reception as he came on for Gyepes.
But it was still the visitors who looked more likely to score and Rowlands saw his shot deflected over just before the break.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Leyton Orient 1
Pompey were sent out early for the second half, but it was still Leyton Orient causing the problems once play got underway.
Cook went close in the very first minute, sending a dipping shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.
And Pompey found themselves further behind moments later, as full-back Odubajo wriggled into space and fired the ball through Andersen’s legs.
The Blues soon went close to reducing the deficit, but Allan’s cut-back was not hit powerfully enough to reach McLeod.
But Pompey did have a goal back on 57 minutes as McLEOD atoned for his earlier miss from the spot.
He was handed a second chance when Clarke tripped Paul Benson in the box and made no mistake this time, smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
The Blues’ hopes were soon dashed, however, as Rocha fouled Lisbie just inside the box and the Orient striker picked himself up to stroke home the penalty.
But the action was not over yet and Pompey again pulled a goal back on 65 minutes.
ALLAN ran onto Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s through ball, eased past a couple of challenges and fired in a shot that caught a deflection to beat Allsop.
Benson then went close to drawing the hosts level, only to see his instinctive volley fly inches over the crossbar.
The same player had another opportunity on 74 minutes, but was unable to divert Allan’s powerful cross on target.
Benson then had a third chance, this time meeting Allan’s free-kick with a header that was well saved by Allsop.
Pompey kept pouring forward and Ertl was almost an unlikely hero, sending in a fierce volley that Allsop did well to keep out.
But they were unable to find another goal and the referee’s final whistle meant the Blues have lost seven in a row for the first time in 37 years.
Pompey: Andersen; Dumbuya, Michalik, Gyepes (Rocha 35), Harley; Allan, Russell (Ertl 53), Howard (c), Mendez-Laing; Benson, McLeod
Goals: McLeod 57 (pen), Allan 65
Subs not used: Eastwood, Webster, Walker, Compton, Harris
Leyton Orient: Allsop; Odubajo, Clarke (c) (Baudry 73), Chorley, Sawyer; Cox (Smith 78), Rowlands, James, Cook (Griffith 86); Lisbie, Mooney
Goals: Lisbie 32, 61 (pen), Odubajo 53
Booked: Clarke, Cook, Baudry
Subs not used: Jones, McSweeney, Brunt, Symes
Referee: Graham Scott