Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis slams poor defending as Portsmouth snatch rare victory
STEVE Davis admitted his side were "inept" after rock-bottom Pompey ended their 23-game winless run with an easy victory at Gresty Road.
Mathias Pogba pulled one back for the Railwaymen after first-half goals from Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly had put the visitors in the driving seat.
But despite dominating second-half possession, the Alex couldn't find a leveller and the beleaguered south coast club held on to complete the double over the home side.
Davis said: "We didn't defend well enough for their goals and we didn't create enough.
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"The crowd showed their lack of appreciation, and quite rightly so as there was a lack of effort drive and ideas.
"We went long and tried to miss out a lot of the pitch because of the condition of the pitch.
"First half we were inept, but second half we were much the better side and might have nicked it.
"We had a lot of crosses and got a lot into the box, but we never had anything really clear-cut.
"On another day we might have clawed it back, but it wasn't to be.
"We haven't got a poacher in there. We are not clinical. We rarely score more than one goal in a game, and that is a problem when you go two down."
Agyemang fired the visitors ahead with six minutes gone.
Liam Walker fed the striker who spun Mark Ellis with ease before sticking the ball in the bottom corner to notch his first goal for Pompey.
Gabor Gyepes then shot over from range before Connolly shot straight at Crewe keeper Steve Phillips from 25 yards as Portsmouth looked to extend their early advantage.
Jed Wallace then drilled a low cross across the face of goal, but this time Ellis snuffed out the danger before the lurking Agyemang could pounce.
But Agyemang was the main protagonist again when the visitors doubled their lead on 29 minutes.
He hit the byline and then clipped the perfect cross for Connolly, at the far post, to side-foot home on the volley.
The Alex were woeful, but Pogba should have given them a lifeline minutes later. Instead, the winger totally missed the ball with just Pompey keeper Simon Eastwood to beat from 12 yards out.
That was as good as it got for the Alex in the opening half, and Connolly hit the side-netting before Jonny Ertl's cutback was spooned over the bar by Wallace as the visitors continued to dominate.
After the break Ertl dispossessed the dithering Abdul Osman before racing towards goal, but his shot was straight at Phillips, who beat the ball away to safety.
The Alex pulled one back on 63 minutes when Pogba's off target shot fell to Byron Moore. His first-time shot was saved by Eastwood, but he fired the rebound back at goal where Pogba was waiting at the far post to fire into the roof of the net.
Kelvin Mellor then cut the ball back for Ajay Leitch-Smith, but the striker's shot was easily saved. Moore then failed to keep Pogba's low cross on target.
Substitute Adam Reed almost settled the visitors' nerves with 10 minutes to go, but his curling shot came back off the foot of the post. However, Portsmouth held on.
Their manager, Guy Whittingham, said: "There is a huge sense of relief. We didn't like to say it, but we felt it was building and the team was starting to gel, so to come away and get that first win in many a day is just great.
"You can't be happier for anyone than the fans who have been superb again. They haven't stopped singing, and this is as much for them as for the players.
"We were getting worried and tense towards the end, which is natural for a team who hasn't won for so long. It was nerve-racking, but we got our bodies on the line and held on.
"It was like we had got promoted when the fans came on the field at the end, but we have to keep things in perspective. It's one win and there is another game next week.
"But hopefully this will give us confidence to move on and get more points on the board.
"Our first-half performance has got to rank among our best for a while, and it is good to see the players buying into what we are doing in training.
"There are a lot of people working hard at the club and this is one for the whole club and anyone who has dedicated themselves to helping the club."