THE fall-out from Tuesday night’s dismal 3-3 draw at home to Coventry City continues to fester around Portsmouth with many fans seemingly ready to give up on manager Kenny Jackett and his coaching team.
The supporters at the stadium made their feelings clear on 90 minutes with a chorus of boos echoing around Fratton Park and their fury has, perhaps unsurprisingly, permeated all post-match discussion on social media.
Pompey appeared home and hosed at 3-1 up when Coventry’s Fankaty Dabo was shown a second yellow card for handball. But soon after Matt Gooden converted from the spot after Ben Close fouled Liam Kelly in the box to give the visitors hope. That hope, however, appeared to fade when the visitors’ substitute Gervane Kastaneer became the second player to see red after two yellow cards within 11 minutes of coming on.
But Portsmouth somehow allowed the nine-men to engineer an equaliser in the 86th minute leaving many amongst the 18,748-crowd both confused and angry.
What appeared to really annoy the fans was the decision to replace goalscorer Gareth Evans with centre back Christian Burgess in the 84thminute, before deciding to throw on Brett Pitman in search of a goal in injury time for defender Sean Raggett.
The hope at the club is the break in action may cool the situation with Pompey not due back at Fratton Park for a League One game until September 7.
But at present Jackett is under attack from many fans who see his style as negative, and his substitutions bewildering at times.
Owner Michael Eisner, whose enjoyment of the game back in America was spoiled by problems with the iFollow coverage on Tuesday night, is seemingly well aware of the flak the manager is under and moved to give him his full backing.
He recently reiterated his belief in keeping the club stable both on and off the pitch, and there appears little chance of any knee-jerk reaction to a poor run of form.
Eisner, who extended Jackett’s contract to the summer of 2021, tweeted: “Disappointing Tuesday at Fratton Park, on the pitch and on I follow, but Mark (Catlin) and Kenny (Jackett) will, with the support of the fans, steer the ship with skill and passion as we play 43 more league matches.”
Perhaps as importantly, the local media appear to remain fairly solidly behind Jackett who, in two years, has guided the Blues to an eighth-placed finish, a fourth-placed finish and play-off defeat, and a Checkatrade Trophy win at Wembley. The message clearly to remember the progress the club has made in the last few years, the effect of the loss of players such as Matt Clarke and Jamal Lowe, and the fact that a host of new faces are still finding their feet at the club.
The real test for Jackett would appear to be how the fans respond in the game against Southend, and whether the supporters heed Eisner’s plea for their backing.