Feb 202018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Fleetwood Town    1

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Jamal Lowe and Oli Hawkins were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Fleetwood.

They edged a fairly uneventful first half at Highbury Stadium and forged ahead through Lowe’s smart finish.

Hawkins’ close-range effort looked to have wrapped up a comfortable night for the Blues, although a stunning strike from Conor McAleny ensured a nervy finale.

Kenny Jackett made three enforced changes from the side beaten at Southend on Saturday.

Matty Kennedy, Hawkins and Adam May were all recalled, with the injured duo of Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman making way, along with the suspended Nathan Thompson.

Matt Clarke was handed the captain’s armband in Pitman’s absence, while there was a welcome return to the bench for a fit-again Jack Whatmough.

The first half was not one to get the pulses racing, with clear-cut chances at a premium at both ends of the pitch.

There was a shot from Conor Chaplin that took a deflection and looped safely into the arms of Alex Cairns.

Fleetwood then went close at the other end when, following good build-up play from Joe Maguire and Bobby Grant, a drive from Kyle Dempsey flew just past the post.

It was Pompey looking more dangerous, though, and Cairns had to get down to his right to keep out an effort from the impressive May.

And they broke the deadlock on 24 minutes after Ben Close’s strike from the edge of the box had been blocked.

LOWE was on to the loose ball in a flash and showed great composure to curl it past Cairns’ grasp and into the net.

Kennedy then bent a free-kick over the wall after Chaplin had been fouled, but Cairns was equal to this attempt.

The goal had given the Blues a spike in confidence and Dion Donohue’s dangerous low delivery had to be intercepted by Cian Bolger before Chaplin could convert it.


Half Time

Fleetwood Town 0

Portsmouth 1


The visitors made a bright start to the second half and Bolger cut out Donohue’s cross with Hawkins ready to pounce.

Then, from the resulting corner, the ball almost flew into the net off a Fleetwood player before it was scrambled clear.

But the Cod Army soon had a chance up the other end, as Ashley Hunter’s daisy-cutter flew inches past the post.

It was the Blues looking more likely to add to the scoring and Chaplin had a couple of efforts blocked, while a third chance flashed wide.

Hawkins then did well to juggle the ball and get a shot away that narrowly cleared the crossbar in front of the noisy travelling support.

Fleetwood substitute Wes Burns was off target from an acute angle on 65 minutes, while Close also saw an effort fly wide.

It looked like the visitors’ lead was to be doubled soon after when May hit a sweet curling effort from 30 yards.

The ball flew towards goal and clipped the inside of the post, but instead of nestling in the net it bounced back out.

But Pompey did have a second goal on 75 minutes, when Chaplin fed a pass through to Lowe down the right.

The winger’s low cross could only be parried away by Cairns and HAWKINS was there to convert the loose ball from close range.

Fleetwood almost pulled one back immediately, as Hunter rose in the box to meet Burns’ cross and glance a header narrowly wide.

Jackett decided the time was right to bring on some fresh legs, with Chaplin withdrawn for Connor Ronan.

And the Cod Army then saw their spirits raised, courtesy of a thunderous shot from McAleny that flew past Luke McGee and into the top corner.

Hawkins soon had a fierce effort of his own, although the Blues player was not quite able to beat Cairns.

Fleetwood poured forward in search of a late leveller, but the visitors held on to secure a welcome three-point haul.

Fleetwood (3-5-2): Cairns; Eastham, Pond (c), Bolger; Coyle (Burns 61), Dempsey, Biggins (McAleny 69), Grant, Maguire; Hunter (Sowerby 82), Madden
Goals: McAleny 81
Booked: Hunter, McAleny
Subs not used: Neal, Oliver, Jones, Schwabl

Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Donohue; Lowe, May, Close, Kennedy; Chaplin (Ronan 78), Hawkins
Goals: Lowe 24, Hawkins 75
Subs not used: Bass, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Deslandes, Widdrington, Smith

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 2,561 (470 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

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