York 4 Pompey 2

The octogenarian York fan leaned over to the press box at the final whistle, at last breaking a match-long silence.

Wes Fletcher, far right, compunds Pompeys misery by scoring his second of the day past John Sullivan, as Danny East and Johnny Ertl look on Picture: Joe Pepler
Wes Fletcher, far right, compunds Pompeys misery by scoring his second of the day past John Sullivan, as Danny East and Johnny Ertl look on Picture: Joe Pepler

‘Your lot aren’t going anywhere,’ came his cutting observation before making his steady exit from Bootham Crescent.

Highly perceptive from a supporter who had just surveyed one of the most abject Pompey performances of recent times.

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Supporters of the Minstermen anticipate another season of struggle as they attempt to cling on to their League Two membership. Certainly before Saturday it was panning out that way.

Then came the humbling of Pompey – a shock result against a side the home fans could only gauge over that 90 minutes as a shocking team.

It was hard to distinguish whether that pensioner was being sympathetic or blunt with his post-match words, having witnessed it all unfold.

Yet it was impossible to disagree with his assessment of a ragged Blues display in which, almost to a man, Guy Whittingham’s side had been abject.

Certainly they were abysmal in each and every unit, from the goalkeeper, the defence, the midfield and the attack.

Some of the substitutes weren’t too clever, either.

To think a minority booed Pompey off following the previous week’s 1-0 home defeat to Fleetwood – a disappointing display which doesn’t even warrant comparison to Saturday’s woeful showing.

How Jed Wallace must have longed to have booed his own team-mates as the curtain was brought down at the Bootham Crescent debacle. Perhaps he will send them abusive Tweets instead.

As it was, he found close pal Dan Butler’s consoling arm around his shoulders as he made his way from the pitch with anger etched on his face and clearly a desire to lash out verbally.

His wonder goal had drawn Pompey level in the second half, only for John Sullivan’s horrendous error to gift York the lead once more as they went on to canter to a thumping victory.

Whittingham later pinpointed the industrious Wallace as the only one who could be proud of his contribution and the sole player whose place is not under threat for this weekend’s visit of Rochdale.

Ironic, considering he had been recalled for York having been dropped to the bench a game earlier to accommodate the return of leading-scorer David Connolly from suspension.

Still, Wallace scored a goal-of-the-season contender, laid on another for substitute John Marquis and provided the energy, enthusiasm and insatiable desire criminally absent from the vast majority of his playing colleagues.

Granted, he also made mistakes on occasions. Yet what shone was his bravery and willingness to get back on the ball and once again attempt to pose problems for York.

As for his goal, even some home fans were applauding it, such was its excellence.

Receiving the ball from Bondz N’Gala in his own half, Wallace embarked on a run down the middle which took him past four Minstermen challenges before calmly slotting it beyond the exposed keeper.

Breathtaking and completely out of context from the away side’s showing, you will not see a better individual goal for Pompey this season.

Yet not even that piece of genuine class could eradicate the overall memory of such a woeful team display from a talented squad who undeservedly had 1,357 Pompey fans backing them.

In fairness, Wallace aside, Danny East kept plugging away in his preferred right-back spot and N’Gala didn’t do too bad, either, particularly in the air.

The remainder of those on display were appalling, however, during a leggy and uninspiring performance which should leave them with plenty to contemplate during the aftermath.

Even Sonny Bradley, surely the undisputed Blues player of the season so far, let himself be dragged down and was found wanting.

Marcos Painter had to be substituted before he was sent off, while Andy Barcham’s performances continue to go into reverse following his break-neck start to the season.

As for Connolly, it was comfortably his most ineffective Pompey display yet – even on the rare occasions he was presented with the ball in the right areas.

And while many call for Romain Padovani to make the starting line-up, his entrance following a first-half injury to Simon Ferry hardly convinced.

Given 75 minutes to impress, he and Johnny Ertl chased shadows and were frustratingly wasteful in possession throughout the proceedings.

With Ferry nursing a hamstring injury, the centre of midfield is now a massive concern for Whittingham moving forwards.

As for Sullivan, for how well he played against Fleetwood last weekend, and it was a highly-impressive showing, he was at fault for two goals at Bootham Crescent.

The first on three minutes when he failed to hold Josh Carson’s low free-kick, and Wes Fletcher reacted quicker than the defence to net the rebound.

The second saw Sullivan inexplicably drop Carson’s right-wing cross from a corner and Lewis Montrose was on hand to fire home.

It could have been worse after substitute Ryan Bowman blocked the keeper’s attempted clearance in stoppage-time. But the ball then didn’t bounce kindly with the goal gaping and the York chance had gone.

Rival Phil Smith was dropped for less and it remains to be seen what happens to Sullivan for the visit of Rochdale.

The second error from the former Charlton man came just four minutes after Wallace’s stunning solo effort had drawn the sides level – and the Blues did not recover.

Ryan Jarvis drove home a third from the right-hand side and then the top scorer crossed for Fletcher to head home his second of the match.

There was still time for substitute John Marquis to turn in Wallace’s left-wing cross at the near post in the 88th minute to make it 4-2 but the visitors deserved nothing more.

For those present, it was difficult to come up with a more insipid and shambolic performance from a Pompey side in recent times, even through three relegations.

Afterwards, Whittingham, who rightly didn’t spare any criticism towards his side, promised it will never happen again.

Let’s hope so, let’s see if it was a blip, a one-off, a freak performance, because they certainly have never played in that manner under him before.

Unquestionably, the lack of heart has not been a regular occurrence.

But if it should happen again, this ‘lot’ will be going somewhere – and that will be right out of the exit door.