Dec 112021
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Morecambe 0


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON WON WON DRAWN

Pompey stretched their unbeaten League One run to nine games by beating Morecambe to send the Fratton faithful home full of festive cheer.

Marcus Harness took his tally for the season to 10 goals by firing home after George Hirst and Miguel Azeez had both gone close.

And while it was not exactly a Christmas cracker of a performance from the Blues, they wrapped up the points when Connor Ogilvie headed home after the break.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week.

But Michael Jacobs and Paul Downing had recovered enough – from illness and injury respectively – to be named on the bench.

After a slow start, it was Pompey who settled quickest and a fizzing effort from Ronan Curtis was not too far over.

Scott Wootton then just about got to the ball before Hirst after Azeez’s clever dummy allowed Mahlon Romeo to whip in a cross.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 11 minutes – even if they did make harder work of it than was perhaps necessary.

It started when the hosts broke quickly up the pitch through Azeez and Curtis hit a fine first time pass over the top for Hirst.

He was forced wide, but still managed to angle in a shot that was cleared against the crossbar by Wootton.

The ball then hit Azeez and ricocheted against the post, while the midfielder’s second attempt was blocked by Liam Gibson.

It looked as if the chance had gone, but HARNESS raced in to finally slam a shot into the net and end a frenzied period of play.

Morecambe tried to hit back and Gavin Bazunu got down well to deal with a low effort from Cole Stockton.

The hosts were, in the main, looking comfortable without really getting out of third gear and continued to pass the ball around nicely.

A shot from Curtis was spilled by Kyle Letheren, but the keeper recovered to grab the loose ball before Azeez could capitalise.

And Letheren then did well to gather a dangerous delivery from Harness while under pressure from Curtis.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Morecambe 0


It was the visitors who were first to threaten when the action restarted and Hirst had to acrobatically clear a dangerous Alfie McCalmont free-kick.

Harness saw a shot blocked at the other end, but sent the ball back into the box, where a stretching Curtis could only nod straight at Letheren.

Morecambe were certainly providing more of a threat than before the break and substitute Jonah Ayunga dispossessed Kieron Freeman inside the Blues box.

The former Hawks forward sent a low ball into the mixer, but Romeo came to the rescue by clearing the danger.

Cowley decided the time was right to change his striker on 70 minutes and Hirst made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were still struggling for fluency, however, and Bazunu had to deal with a glancing header from Stockton.

But they had some breathing space when Azeez swung in a corner and OGILVIE was left unmarked to head home his first Blues goal.

A second switch soon followed, with Harness given a breather and Ellis Harrison coming on in his place.

The Shrimps came close to setting up a grandstand finale when Adam Phillips hit a long-range piledriver, only for Bazunu’s fingertips to divert the ball against the crossbar.

But the hosts saw out the closing stages to add a fourth successive league clean sheet to their three-point haul.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Azeez, Williams, Hackett; Harness (Harrison 80); Curtis, Hirst (Marquis 70)
Goals: Harness 11, Ogilvie 77
Booked: Hackett
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Jewitt-White, Jacobs, Gassan

Morecambe (3-4-1-2): Letheren; O’Connor (c), Wootton (Delaney 56), Gibson; McLaughlin, McLoughlin, McCalmont, Leigh; Phillips; Obika (Ayunga 59), Stockton
Booked: Gibson, McLaughlin, Delaney
Subs not used: Andrésson, Cooney, Jones, Wildig, Gnahoua

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 15,001 (182 away fans)