Apr 142018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Plymouth Argyle    0

 


 

Portsmouth    0

 


Pompey’s unbeaten run continued as they collected a point in a tense – if mostly undramatic – clash with play-off rivals Plymouth.

There was plenty of energy on display at a sunny Home Park, but too often a lack of quality in the final third.

Neither goalkeeper was given too much to do, although the Blues almost snatched the win late on, as Lowe had a shot cleared from the line before the crossbar came to Argyle’s rescue.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that secured a thrilling draw at Rochdale the previous week.

Anton Walkes missed out with a hamstring injury, so Stuart O’Keefe made a return to the starting line-up in midfield.

With Matty Kennedy also carrying a knock, spaces opened up on the bench for both Conor Chaplin and Sylvain Deslandes.

There have been plenty of classic contests between the clubs in recent years, but the first half of the latest encounter was one to forget.

Neither side was able to find any attacking fluency, while both were guilty of giving away possession far too easily.

Pompey did showcase some neat passing football at times, but the final ball into the box was often wasted.

There were long-range attempts at either end of the pitch, not that efforts from Graham Carey or Dion Donohue were ever going to test the respective goalkeepers.

The first decent chance fell the Blues’ way on 31 minutes, with Kyle Letheren called into action to deal with Lowe’s angled drive.

He soon turned provider with a low cross towards Brett Pitman that the skipper could only scuff into Letheren’s arms.

The visitors were looking solid at the opposite end and when Matt Clarke lost the ball, Jack Whatmough and Donohue combined to deny Joel Grant.

There was some drama just before the break when Ruben Lameiras went down in the box under pressure from Whatmough.

But referee Dean Whitestone was not impressed and Pompey’s defender berated the tumbling Pilgrim, feeling he had dived.


Half Time

Plymouth Argyle 0

Portsmouth 0


The second half was an immediate improvement on the first, with both sides having an early opportunity to break the deadlock.

First up were Pompey, as Lowe cut inside from the right and sent in a low shot that rippled the side netting.

It was more of an opportunistic effort for the hosts, with Carey’s looping strike not quite able to get down in time.

Nathan Thompson then had to stretch to intercept Oscar Threlkeld’s cross before it could reach the unmarked Carey at the far post.

Argyle were starting to look dangerous and it was Carey who also provided the next threat, although his attempt with the outside of the boot arrowed over.

Their top scorer also tried a curling shot from the edge of the box, with the ball flying comfortably into Luke McGee’s arms.

Jackett made his first switch just before the hour mark, as Connor Ronan replaced O’Keefe in the centre of midfield.

It was a period when Pompey were getting pushed further back, although they weathered the storm and started trying to make an impact at the other end.

There was a chance on 73 minutes when Whatmough met a Gareth Evans’ corner and headed towards goal.

Lowe was stood right in front of Letheren, but the Plymouth keeper did well to deal with that distraction and gather the ball.

It was Lowe who needed to grow an extra couple of inches late on, as he tried to convert Evans’ cross.

And Whatmough was also unable to guide the ball on target when he stooped to meet Donohue’s corner.

The game suddenly came alive in the dying seconds and Pompey had two great opportunities to claim the victory.

Firstly, Lowe ran across the centre of the box and tried to slot the ball into the net, only for Zak Vyner to clear from the line.

Threlkeld then headed a cross against his own bar, as Plymouth held on to ensure the points would be shared.

Plymouth (4-3-3): Letheren; Threlkeld, Vyner, Bradley, Sawyer (c) (Taylor-Sinclair 72); Makasi, Fox, Ness; Carey, Grant, Lameiras (Fletcher 89)
Subs not used: Cooper, Miller, Songo’o, Paton, Sangster

Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Close; Lowe, Evans, O’Keefe (Ronan 58), Naismith; Pitman (c)
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Deslandes, Chaplin, Hawkins

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 14,634 (1,600 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

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