Jim Dixon writes…
Portsmouth travelled the short distance to Eastleigh with a slightly changed side from last weeks victory. It was a cold and breezy day but at least the rain stayed away.
Portsmouth kicked off and Trojans gathered the ball and kicked back down field. The ball was fielded by full back Jashan Solanki who started off on a rather tentative run. As he gathered pace and the opposition seemed to stand off him he broke through the defence and just kept on going until he was tackled inches away from the line but he managed to stretch out and place the ball over the try line. Chandlers conversion just missed and the led 0 – 5 with only a few minutes on the clock. From the restart Portsmouth were penalised for not releasing the tackled player and from the penalty Trojans narrowed the gap to 3 – 5 on 7 minutes. Trojans began to string some good moves together and a penalty against Portsmouth saw them take a kick at goal from almost in front of the posts but the kick went wide. From the restart Portsmouth were penalised for holding on to the ball after the tackle. Taking play deep into the Portsmouth half Trojans took the lead with an unconverted try following some poor tackling by the visitors. This gave them the lead 8 – 5
Portsmouth then hit back when a good run by No.8 Ollie Simpson which eventually took play into the Trojans 22 and from a resultant maul Fooks crossed for Portsmouth’s second try which was converted making the score 8 – 12. Trojans were soon back on the attack and pressure at scrum time saw them retake the lead with a converted try giving them a 15 – 12 score line. Just before half time they again managed to stretch that lead to 22 – 12 after some poor defensive work by Portsmouth as the half time whistle went.
The second half started badly for Portsmouth as Trojans stretched their lead to 27 – 12 after some defensive lapses by the visitors. Portsmouth then managed to string some good moves together and they set up a driving maul heading for the try line but managed to loose possession in the process. Trojans were then able to relieve the pressure with a good touch kick. Portsmouth were soon back on the attack but again they couldn’t hold on to the ball and Trojans again were able to clear their lines. Portsmouth were able to cross the Trojans line from a good driving maul but the referee deemed the ball held up. Portsmouth were now getting into their stride again and from a successful driving maul Max Clarke was credited with the touch down. A difficult conversion by Dan Gates closed the gap to 27 – 19. With the game flowing from end to end and both sides managing to repell attacks it was Trojans who scored next through a penalty taking the score to 30 – 19. Again Portsmouth set up a series of attacks in an effort to get that 4th. bonus point try but eventually the full time whistle went with the spoils going to Trojans.
This was definitely a game that Portsmouth could have won but it just wasn’t their day. There was a bit to much poor kicking from hand when it might have been better to run with the ball and their usual strong defence wasn’t quite there today with too many missed first up tackles. This result sees Portsmouth slip back to 10th. Next week sees Portsmouth on the road again, this time to Basingstoke who are still bottom of the league,