Jan 182022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
AFC Wimbledon 0
Portsmouth 0



Pompey were held to a draw at AFC Wimbledon, despite applying plenty of second half pressure.

They grew stronger as the Plough Lane contest progressed and ultimately had the better chances to claim all three points.

But Mahlon Romeo struck the woodwork, while Sean Raggett forced a fine save from Nik Tzanev to ensure the spoils would be shared.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that were beaten on home soil by MK Dons at the weekend.

Tyler Walker and Hayden Carter were both handed debuts following their loan captures from Coventry and Blackburn respectively.

Lee Brown returned to skipper the team out on the left, while Louis Thompson was given a midfield role.

Ronan Curtis, Kieron Freeman and Shaun Williams all dropped to the bench, but Reeco Hackett had a foot injury and was not named in the matchday squad.

Much like the dramatic Papa John’s Trophy contest earlier in the season, it was the home side who were quickest out of the traps.

Luke McCormick raced pass Connor Ogilvie to meet Ollie Palmer’s delivery and square for Jack Rudoni, but Gavin Bauznu got down well to deal with his close-range effort.

There was not too much to excite the crowd in a cagey opening 45 minutes, however – not that the lack of goalmouth action kept the large travelling contingent from the south coast quiet.

Most of the noteworthy incidents came courtesy of referee James Oldham, who drew the ire of the visiting team for not punishing McCormick following a heavy challenge on Joe Morrell.

The man with the whistle did show two yellow cards soon after, with Marcus Harness and Alex Woodyard both having their names noted down.

Pompey finally threatened on 26 minutes, when Raggett’s deep free-kick into the box caused problems.

Harness sent the ball right into the mixer and it took a couple of ricochets before being cleared as Walker looked to capitalised.

George Hirst did well at the other end, hacking away at the back post when Cheye Alexander nodded towards the net.

But the Blues almost broke the deadlock before the break, as Romeo swung in a particularly dangerous delivery.

Brown used his head to try to guide the ball into the net, only for a well-placed Dan Csoka to hook it over the bar.

Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 0

Portsmouth 0

The visitors looked to attack right from kick-off and when Romeo picked out Walker, the debutant’s low effort had to be turned around the post by Tzanev.

They had another opportunity soon after, but Tzanev just about beat Carter to the ball when Ogilvie headed Brown’s corner into the mixer.

And Pompey thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Hirst went down under Czoka’s challenge, only to have their appeals ignored by Oldham.

Romeo was causing plenty of havoc down the right and one marauding burst almost led to the opener, with the loanee’s angled drive fizzing narrowly past the post.

It was the Blues looking more threatening, although Alexander should have done better the bend his shot well wide after McCormick’s free-kick found him in acres of space.

Cowley made a switch straight after that, with Curtis replacing Hirst to provide Walker with a new partner up front.

And a second substitution soon followed, as Thompson made way for Williams in the midfield engine room.

It looked like the deadlock would be broken on 75 minutes when a corner was worked out to Romeo, whose thunderous 30-yard strike cannoned against the crossbar.

And the visitors went close again after a corner was not fully cleared and the eventual angled effort from Curtis had to be parried away by Tzanev.

The keeper then made an even better stop when Raggett roses highest in the box to make a firm connection with a Williams flag-kick.

Pompey’s final switch came with 10 minutes remaining, as Michael Jacobs was tasked with trying to unlock the Dons defence in place of Harness.

He did embark on one promising run before lifting the ball towards Walker, who could not guide his header on target.

The Blues continued to apply pressure as the seconds ticked down, but they were unable to find a breakthrough.

AFC Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Tzanev; Alexander, Nightingale, Csoka, Osew (Guinness-Walker 82); Marsh, Woodyard (c); Rudoni, McCormick, Mebude (Assal 64); Palmer (Ablade 76)
Booked: Woodyard, McCormick
Subs not used: Oualah, Kaja, Chislett, Cosgrave

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Ogilvie; Romeo, Thompson (Williams 71), Morrell, Brown (c); Harness (Jacobs 80); Walker, Hirst (Curtis 67)
Booked: Harness, Romeo
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Robertson, Tunnicliffe

Referee: James Oldham