Mar 172018

Match Report

League One


Oldham Athletic    0



Portsmouth    2


Brett Pitman bagged a brace on his comeback, as Pompey returned to winning ways at Oldham.

The striker headed home the opener before taking advantage of some comical goalkeeping from Johny Placide to double the advantage.

With snow falling throughout the game, there were fears that it might be abandoned when play was stopped during the second half.

But it started up again and the Blues saw out the closing stages with relative ease, claiming a clean sheet to complement their three-point haul.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side beaten at home by Gillingham the previous week.

Pitman returned from a three-game injury absence to skipper the side, while Brandon Haunstrup also started, as Christian Burgess and Sylvain Deslandes dropped to the bench.

The snow had been falling heavily before kick-off, but bright sunshine had taken over as the sides emerged from the tunnel.

It would not be the end of the white stuff, however, with plenty more flurries following throughout the afternoon.

There were not an abundance of chances in the opening stages, although both sides looked to get forward whenever possible.

Anton Walkes’ failure to deal with a Cameron Dummigan delivery caused a few butterflies, but the right-back recovered well to clear the danger.

Placide was also giving the home support reason to be nervous, with the keeper dallying in possession on several occasions.

One instance saw Connor Ronan tackle him, only for the ball to land clear and let the maverick stopper off the hook.

A quick break presented Oldham with their best chance of the half, only for former Fratton loanee Eoin Doyle to stab his shot straight at Luke McGee.

Jamal Lowe soon had an opportunity at the other end, bursting between two defenders and seeing an effort deflected wide.

And they went even closer soon after, with Matt Clarke sending Dion Donohue’s corner into the mixer, where Jack Whatmough’s header was cleared from the line by Wilfried Moimbe.

But the deadlock was broken on 29 minutes, as PITMAN rose to meet Ronan’s cross and send a deft header past Placide and into the net.

Pompey’s skipper was also proving useful at the other end of the pitch, getting back to nod clear a corner.

The hardy travelling support were then given more reason to cheer when the Blues doubled their advantage before the break.

Placide had failed to learn the error of his ways, with PITMAN stealing the ball from his feet and slotting home from an acute angle.

Half Time

Oldham Athletic 0

Portsmouth 2

The Latics were given an opportunity to get back into the contest straight after the restart, when Clarke was booked for a foul on Craig Davies.

Kean Bryan took the free-kick from just outside the Blues box and although his effort went through the wall, it was straight into the arms of McGee.

It was becoming to difficult to spot Pompey’s white-shirted players, as the snow fell more heavily – and began to lay.

There would have been a few worried fans in the Zen Office Stand when referee Sebastian Stockbridge called a halt to proceedings.

“Off, off, off,” cried the Oldham supporters, perhaps in hope more than expectation and – following an eight-minute delay while the lines were cleared – the action resumed.

Doyle then had a couple of shots saved by McGee as the hosts tried to find a route back into the contest.

The second was closest to finding the net, with Pompey’s keeper just about getting his fingertips to it and diverting the ball over.

And McGee also dealt with a low drive from substitute Duckens Nazon, as time started to run out for Oldham.

But the Blues almost wrapped things up on 85 minutes when Pitman teed-up Kal Naismith, only for Placide to put the forward off, with Dummigan hacking the ball clear.

The earlier delay meant 11 minutes of stoppage-time were displayed by fourth official Ken Haycock, giving hope to the home support.

But it was Pompey who almost added to the scoring when Lowe cut inside from the right and drilled a low shot against the inside of the post.

Oldham (4-4-2): Placide; Dummigan, Wilson, Bryan, Moimbe (Nazon 80); Byrne, Fane, Gardner, McLaughlin (McEleney 55); Davies (c) (Amadi-Holloway 59), Doyle
Subs not used: de la Paz, Hunt, Edmundson, Pringle

Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close; Lowe, Donohue, Ronan, Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 29, 42
Booked: Clarke, Pitman, Donohue
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Deslandes, Widdrington, May, Kennedy, Chaplin

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge

Attendance: 4,306 (767 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 102018

Match Report

League One


Portsmouth    1



Gillingham    3


Poor form continues.

It was the proverbial game of two halves at Fratton Park, as Pompey’s poor 2018 form continued with a 3-1 defeat to Gillingham.

They dominated the opening 45 minutes and forged ahead through Jamal Lowe, only for some wasteful finishing to deny them a healthier advantage at the break.

That proved costly, as Conor Wilkinson and Lee Martin – with the latter bagging a brace – both hit the target in impressive fashion to turn the contest on its head.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that were beaten at home by Blackpool a fortnight earlier.

The most noteworthy inclusion was that of Jack Whatmough, who made his first appearance since injuring his knee against Rotherham at the beginning of September.

There were also returns for Kal Naismith – playing alongside Lowe up front – Connor Ronan and Sylvain Deslandes, as Pompey switched to a 3-5-2 system.

Conor Chaplin, Matty Kennedy and Adam May all dropped to the bench, while Oli Hawkins missed out with a hamstring injury.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of Hall of Fame inductee Billy Wilson, who sadly passed away last month.

The Blues might have been on a poor run of form, but it did not show as they set about attacking their visitors in the opening stages.

Ben Close and Naismith both had chances from long-range and while the former’s effort was well off target, the latter’s flashed inches past the post.

And Lowe also missed a great opportunity by nodding Anton Walkes’ delivery over from just a few yards out.

But it was LOWE who broke the deadlock on 19 minutes, lashing the ball into the roof of the net following good work from Dion Donohue and Naismith.

There were cries for a penalty soon after when the ball appeared to hit Max Ehmer’s arm in the box, although referee Carl Boyeson decided the defender was unable to get out of the way.

Lowe should have extended the hosts’ advantage when Walkes’ long pass sent him racing through on goal.

But the forward spent too long getting his shot away, allowing Luke O’Neill to get back and make a timely challenge.

Pompey kept driving forward against a Gills defence who looked nervy, although keeper Tomas Holy was an assured presence between the sticks.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Gillingham 0

Gillingham brought on Wilkinson – who made one substitute appearance for Pompey when on loan from Bolton in 2016 – at the start of the second half.

And the striker made an immediate impact by grabbing the equaliser moments after the restart, beating three men before curling a fine finish past Luke McGee.

That, unsurprisingly, gave the visitors a lift and the Blues were forced to deal with some more pressure.

But they almost restored their lead just before the hour mark when Ronan curled a free-kick against the post.

Pompey were starting to look more of a threat again, only to then fall behind seconds after Brandon Haunstrup had come on to replace Deslandes.

A free-kick had been awarded to Gillingham before the switch and when it was played to Martin, the skipper’s curler somehow evaded everyone and bent into the net.

The hosts tried to fight back and Close’s 25-yard drive was not too far off target, while Donohue was unable to test Holy after being teed-up by Naismith.

Chaplin was brought on for Whatmough on 76 minutes, as Jackett tried to add some attacking vigour to his side.

But instead it was the Gills celebrating another goal – and it was a fantastic long-range strike from Martin that rocketed into the top corner.

Pompey tried to get forward in the closing stages and force a nervy finale, but there was to be no late drama on the south coast.

Pompey (3-5-2): McGee; Whatmough (Chaplin 76), Burgess, Clarke (c); Walkes, Ronan, Close, Donohue, Deslandes (Haunstrup 65); Lowe, Naismith
Goals: Lowe 19
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Widdrington, May, Smith, Kennedy

Gillingham (4-2-3-1): Holy; O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Reilly; Byrne, Hessenthaler; Wagstaff (List 79), Martin (c) (Nasseri 90+2), Parker; Eaves (Wilkinson 46)
Goals: Wilkinson 48, Martin 66, 80
Subs not used: Hadler, Nugent, Garmston, Moussa

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 18,247 (1,551 away fans)

Feb 242018

Match Report

League One


Portsmouth    0



Blackpool    2


Pompey conceded a goal in each half as they slipped to defeat against Blackpool in a dire contest at Fratton Park.

The visitors were not exactly sparkling, not that there would be much concern from them as they headed back north with three points in the bag.

Sloppy defending cost the Blues once more, with Kyle Vassell and Clark Robertson taking advantage to find the net.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that secured victory at Fleetwood earlier in the week.

That meant Matt Clarke continued to wear the captain’s armband in Brett Pitman’s absence, while a fit-again Kal Naismith had to be content with a place on the bench.

The first half was an instantly forgettable affair, with both sides guilty of a lack of quality and a poor range of passing.

It was not without chances, though, and Vassell dragged a shot past the post after Conor Chaplin had lost possession in the centre.

Jamal Lowe whipped in a decent cross at the other end of the pitch, but a diving Oli Hawkins could not quite make a connection.

He did get on the end of another Lowe delivery on 15 minutes, although this time the ball was diverted over.

The striker was left punching the turf after going down injured soon after, but was thankfully able to run it off.

Blackpool then had a chance from a Jay Spearing corner that centre-back Robertson glanced past the post.

Lowe had earlier been booked for kicking the ball away, although Vassell somehow escaped the same punishment for a blatant off-the-ball trip on Christian Burgess.

Hawkins should at least have tested Seasiders keeper Joe Lumley on 31 minutes, only to hook wide when Dion Donohue’s deep free-kick was headed down by Clarke.

Vasell was more clinical just before the interval, however, calmly slotting the ball home after stealing possession from Burgess.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Blackpool 1

Anyone expecting an increase in entertainment following the interval was in for a disappointment, as the action continued to meander along.

That was no concern for Blackpool, though, who were more than happy to protect their slender lead.

A promising move involving Lowe and Anton Walkes eventually broke down just inside the visitors’ box, while Clarke slid on to deny Jimmy Ryan at the other end.

Jackett made his first switch just before the hour mark, with Kennedy withdrawn for the fresh legs of Connor Ronan.

With things not improving a second change soon followed, as Naismith was brought on for Hawkins, who still appeared to be affected by his earlier knock.

But it soon got worse for the Blues, with Ronan’s clearance only finding Jay Spearing, whose cross from the right was nodded home from close range by an unmarked Robertson.

A late fightback was not really looking on the cards and it might have got worse, with Curtis Tilt only able to head Ryan’s centre straight into Luke McGee’s arms.

Plenty of fans took an opportunity to beat the traffic, with a steady stream heading for the exits as the minutes ticked away.

But they did not miss much, as the only cheers were of the ironic variety when Pompey finally had a late shot on target.

Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Donohue; Lowe, May, Close, Kennedy (Ronan 56); Chaplin, Hawkins (Naismith 61)
Booked: Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Deslandes, Smith

Blackpool (4-2-3-1): Lumley; Turton, Tilt, Robertson, Daniel (Taylor 90+2); Spearing, Ryan (c); Mellor, Delfouneso, Solomon-Otabor (Philliskirk 68); Vassell (Gnanduillet 83)
Goals: Vassell 41, Robertson 63
Booked: Ryan
Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Aimson, D’Almeida, Agyei

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,895 (264 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 202018

Match Report

League One


Fleetwood Town    3



Portsmouth    0


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

Feb 172018

Match Report

League One


Southend United    3



Portsmouth    1


Pompey suffered a nightmare afternoon in Southend, with injuries and suspensions adding to a 3-1 defeat.

Matt Clarke’s own-goal and a Jason Demetriou strike saw the hosts roar into an early lead at Roots Hall.

Gareth Evans reduced the deficit before the break, only to pick up a knock and have to be withdrawn.

Hopes of a comeback were then dashed in the second half, as Nathan Thompson was sent off before Brett Pitman also limped down the tunnel and Demetriou added a third for the Shrimpers.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that were narrowly beaten by Blackburn on home soil earlier in the week.

And it looked to be a good decision as the visitors came flying out of the traps in the warm Essex sunshine.

They should have broken the deadlock when Evans fed Conor Chaplin in the box, but the striker could only fire narrowly past the post.

Instead it was Southend who took the lead against the run of play – and thanks to a large slice of fortune – on six minutes.

Anton Walkes was caught in possession by Shayon Harrison and when Clarke tried to nick the ball from him, he could only succeed in burying the ball into the net.

That saw the confidence levels switch, with Southend unsurprisingly lifted and the Blues looking stunned.

The hosts soon capitalised on that by doubling their advantage, as Demetriou collected a pass from Stephen McLaughlin and lashed the ball home.

They almost added a third goal moments later, but Dru Yearwood’s drive flew inches wide of Luke McGee’s post.

It failed to dampen the spirits of the travelling fans packed into the North Stand, who kept backing their side.

But they were not given much reward, as Pompey struggled to find any kind of fluency going forward.

They managed to reduce the deficit on 36 minutes, however, thanks to good work from Jamal Lowe on the right.

He sent in a teasing cross and Pitman was able to turn it back into the centre, where EVANS was waiting to bundle the ball over the line.

Unfortunately, the winger got injured in the process of scoring and limped off to be replaced by Connor Ronan.

There might have been a leveller in stoppage-time, but Pitman could not quite get on the end of another dangerous delivery from Lowe.

It was Southend who had the final say of the first half, though, and Freddie Lapado should have done better than divert a free header straight at McGee.

Half Time

Southend United 2

Portsmouth 1

Chaplin had a speculative strike that only narrowly missed the target just after the action got back underway.

A Southend break then looked concerning for the Blues, only for McLaughlin to over-hit a pass and the danger to subside.

Lowe was looking lively at the other end of the pitch, but was unable to find the net from an acute angle after leaving his marker on the turf.

It was the visitors now looking the more ambitious side, although they were struggling to test Mark Oxley in the Shrimpers goal.

But Pompey’s task was made much tougher when Thompson caught Ben Coker with a late challenge on 64 minutes and was shown a straight red card by referee Lee Probert.

It almost – and really should have – got worse for them, as Harrison glanced Michael Timlin’s cross wide from a few yards out.

More bad news was just around the corner, though, with Pitman limping off to be replaced by Oli Hawkins.

Southend came close to making their numerical advantage count when McGee failed to claim McLaughlin’s cross.

But the keeper redeemed himself with a superb save using his legs from Simon Cox’s ferocious follow-up.

Lowe was looking the biggest threat for the Blues and after twisting his way into space on the right, the winger’s cross somehow evaded everyone as it flew out of play.

Southend wrapped up the points on 84 minutes, however, as Demetriou collected a pass from Yearwood and rolled the ball home.

Southend (4-4-2): Oxley; Demetriou (Bwomono 90+4), Turner, Ferdinand, Coker (c); McLaughlin, Yearwood, Timlin, Harrison; Cox (Wright 87), Ladapo (Fortune 73)
Goals: Clarke 6 (og), Demetriou 12, 84
Subs not used: Bishop, Kyprianou, McGlashan, Robinson

Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Evans (Ronan 38), Close, Thompson, Lowe; Chaplin, Pitman (c) (Hawkins 69)
Goals: Evans 36
Sent off: Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Haunstrup, May, Naismith

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 9,397 (1,920 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 132018

Match Report

League One


Portsmouth    1



Blackburn Rovers    2


Pompey conceded a late goal as high-flying Blackburn left a chilly Fratton Park with all three points.

It looked like Conor Chaplin would be the hero for a second game in succession when he headed the Blues level early in the second half.

Adam Armstrong had earlier scored for Rovers and the same player struck again to deflate a large home crowd.

Lewis Travis saw red for the visitors in stoppage-time, but they held on to boost their automatic promotion hopes.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that dramatically beat MK Dons at the weekend.

Chaplin was rewarded for his stoppage-time winner with a start, along with Jamal Lowe and – returning from suspension – Christian Burgess.

Matty Kennedy, Connor Ronan and Oli Hawkins were the men to make way, with the trio dropping to the bench.

There was an early warning for the hosts when Ben Close lost possession to Jack Payne. He found Bradley Dack, only for Luke McGee to come to the rescue with a smart stop.

Pompey tried to make an impact at the other end and Dion Donohue’s volley was kept out by David Raya, while the keeper then prevented Chaplin’s cross from reaching an unmarked Brett Pitman.

It was the visitors looking more dangerous, though, and when Charlie Mulgrew whipped a free-kick into the box, Paul Downing glanced just wide.

And the deadlock was broken on 21 minutes, as Mulgrew flicked on Richie Smallwood’s cross and Armstrong turned the ball home.

The Blues picked up the pace in the search for an equaliser, with Chaplin and Close both seeing efforts blocked in quick succession.

Ryan Nyambe then made a vital header when Nathan Thompson tried to float a pass to Close in the Rovers box.

Pitman had the hosts’ best chance on 32 minutes, as he wriggled into a shooting position, with Raya getting down to save his angled drive.

Pompey kept plugging away, but Gareth Evans ballooned over when Donohue picked him out in the area.

Pitman also lacked his usual composure by firing wide, while Lowe was then off target with a diving header.

But the Blues finished the half strongly and Raya got down to save when Evans met another dangerous Donohue delivery with a deft flick.

Anton Walkes also had a decent effort in stoppage-time and there were gasps as the ball curled agonisingly past the post.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Blackburn Rovers 1

The hosts had improved as the first half progressed and found themselves level within five minutes of the restart.

Donohue sent a cross in from the left and Walkes did well to hook it back into the centre, where CHAPLIN was waiting to head home from close range.

They might have had another soon after when Raya came tearing from his box, but failed to collect the ball.

Pitman did gather it and steadied himself on the left side of the area, although he was unable to curl his shot on target.

Raya had collided with team-mate Nyambe in that incident and the defender received warm applause as he was stretched off towards a waiting ambulance.

McGee denied Dack at the other end, but the action had started to lull following a breathless start to the second half.

But Pompey injected life back into proceedings when Donohue’s cross was not properly dealt with and Close’s follow-up was deflected narrowly wide.

There was a sense of urgency at both ends of the pitch as the clock ticked down into the final 15 minutes.

Close did well to get down the right and centre the ball, with it being headed behind before Lowe could take advantage on the back post.

A seemingly innocuous cross from Armstrong then crept narrowly wide, as did Mulgrew’s deep free-kick moments later.

Chaplin was cheered off the pitch when Jackett decided to replace him with Hawkins for the final few minutes.

But the mood soon soured, as Rovers restored their advantage. Darragh Lenihan’s cross ricocheted off Matt Clarke and fell kindly for Armstrong to lash in his second of the night.

Hopes were raised by the display of seven additional minutes, while Travis’ red card for a late challenge on Thompson provided more cause for optimism.

Pompey threw men forward in a desperate search for another equaliser, but Blackburn held on to secure the spoils.

Pompey (4-4-2): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Evans, Thompson, Close, Lowe (Kennedy 90+2); Chaplin (Hawkins 85), Pitman (c)
Goals: Chaplin 50
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, May, Ronan, Naismith

Blackburn (4-2-3-1): Raya; Nyambe (Lenihan 56), Downing, Mulgrew (c), Williams; Bennett, Smallwood; Payne (Travis 56), Dack, Armstrong; Samuel (Graham 82)
Goals: Armstrong 21, 87
Sent off: Travis
Booked: Dack
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Bell, Evans, Conway

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 18,152 (884 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 102018

Match Report

League One


Leyton Orient    1



Portsmouth    2


Conor Chaplin struck deep into stoppage-time as Pompey battled from behind to secure a dramatic victory at MK Dons.

Matt Clarke had already grabbed a late equaliser on his 100th appearance to cancel out Ike Ugbo’s opener.

Luke McGee also made several fine saves, while Brett Pitman and Oli Hawkins both went close as it seemed as though the Blues were heading for defeat.

But Clarke’s header lifted a large travelling army and substitute Chaplin sent them delirious at the death.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Doncaster on home soil the previous week.

Both were enforced, with the injured Stephen Henderson and suspended Christian Burgess making way for McGee and skipper Pitman.

It meant that striker Hawkins was once again forced into the central defensive role, where he has featured on many occasions this term.

Burgess was present at Stadium MK, however, sat with team-mate Stuart O’Keefe among the 6,257 away supporters.

The first half was an open affair, with the contest quickly switching from one end to the other, although it was the visitors who had more of the ball in the early stages.

Connor Ronan’s curling effort drew a save from Lee Nicholls, while the keeper also punched clear Matty Kennedy’s cross under pressure from Pitman.

Peter Pawlett’s drive was pushed away by McGee at the other end, but the first clear opportunity fell to Kieran Agard on 12 minutes.

The striker was slipped through on goal by Ed Upson, but was unable to keep his composure and shot wide of the post.

Pompey then threatened themselves when Gareth Evans picked up a loose ball and hit a fierce effort that Nicholls was just about able to parry behind.

Dion Donohue was next to force the stopper into action with a low drilled attempt after cutting along the edge of the box.

But it was MK Dons who broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, even if Ugbo almost managed to miss a simple chance.

Josh Tymon did well down the left and centred for Agard, who saw his effort saved at point-blank range by McGee.

Ugbo was left with an empty goal to fire into, however, and his shot clipped the inside of the post before nestling in the net.

Pompey tried to hit back and Kennedy’s sighter flew wide before a better effort from Ben Close swerved inches over the bar.

A brilliant effort from Pitman almost drew them level, only for a back-pedalling Nicholls to tip over the striker’s lob.

But the Blues might have found themselves further behind at the break, as McGee first saved Callum Brittain’s shot and then kept out a thumping Scott Wootton header from the resulting corner.

Half Time

MK Dons 1

Portsmouth 0

Jackett made a double substitution at the start of the second half, with Kennedy and Ronan withdrawn for Jamal Lowe and Chaplin.

Pitman thought he should have won a penalty when he went to ground under pressure from Dean Lewington, but referee John Brooks was not interested.

Chaplin then cut the ball back for Evans, who hit his shot cleanly enough, but the ball flew straight at a grateful Nicholls.

But the Blues were again indebted to McGee for a couple more fine pieces of goalkeeping around the hour mark.

Firstly, he used his feet to deny Ugbo and then, from the resulting corner, somehow managed to athletically tip over Upson’s header.

Again the action switched back down the other end and Pitman went it alone, bundling his way into a shooting position, only for a well-placed Wootton to hack the ball from the line.

The ball then fell for Lowe inside the area, but it bounced up at an awkward angle and forced the winger to fire over.

Pompey were struggling to break down their stubborn hosts, although they came close to levelling when Hawkins headed Donohue’s corner against the post.

Close then did well to steal possession and although his pass was too heavy for Pitman, the skipper managed to win a corner.

And it was from that set-piece that the Blues levelled on 84 minutes, as Evans played the ball to Donohue and his cross was headed home by CLARKE.

The visitors then survived a scare at the other end, as Upson’s free-kick somehow evaded everyone and flashed just past the post.

But it was the Blues who grabbed a last-gasp winner when Donohue’s cross deflected into CHAPLIN’s path and the striker swept the ball into the net.

MK Dons (3-5-1-1): Nicholls; Williams, Wootton, Lewington (c); Brittain, Pawlett (McGrandles 58), Upson, Cisse (Ebanks-Landell 80), Tymon; Ugbo; Agard
Goals: Ugbo 21
Booked: Tymon
Subs not used: Sietsma, Nesbitt, Rasulo, Muirhead, Thomas-Asante

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Walkes, Hawkins, Clarke, Donohue; Thompson, Close; Evans, Ronan (Chaplin 46), Kennedy (Lowe 46); Pitman (c)
Goals: Clarke 84, Chaplin 90+3
Booked: Clarke, Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Widdrington, May, Naismith

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 14,762 (6,257 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 032018

Match Report

League One


Portsmouth    2



Doncaster Rovers    2


Pompey twice battled from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Doncaster in an eventful contest at Fratton Park.

They recovered from a disastrous start that saw James Coppinger score and Anton Walkes grabbed a deserved equaliser.

The hosts dominated from that point on, only for John Marquis to leave them trailing once more after the break.

But Brett Pitman came off the bench to level and the Blues saw out a nervy conclusion that saw Kal Naismith go in goal following an injury to Stephen Henderson, before Christian Burgess was sent off.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side narrowly beaten at home by Shrewsbury the previous week.

New signings Henderson and Walkes were both handed debuts, with there were also starts for Matty Kennedy and Connor Ronan.

That meant Luke McGee, Jamal Lowe and Naismith all dropped to the bench, while Adam May was serving a suspension.

But Henderson’s first job was to pick the ball out of his own net, as – for the second time this season against Doncaster – Pompey made a terrible start.

Walkes blocked Alfie Beestin’s path to goal, but Coppinger picked up the loose ball and managed to force the ball home.

It might have got even worse for the hosts, as they struggled to keep hold of the ball in the opening stages.

The evergreen Coppinger was proving a nuisance and one shot was dealt with by Henderson, while another was deflected just past the post.

Rovers did have the ball in the net again on 16 minutes when former Fratton loanee Marquis stooped to convert Coppinger’s cross, but their celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Pompey suddenly found their feet, though, and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first half.

Burgess was not quite able to take advantage when Ben Close’s free-kick was helped on, first by Matt Clarke and then Oli Hawkins.

But a leveller did arrive on 19 minutes and it was WALKES who was able to celebrate a goal on his Blues bow.

A corner was sent into the box by skipper Gareth Evans and that led to a scramble in the visitors’ box.

Clarke and Walkes both tried to stab home the loose ball, although it was the latter who got the vital touch before wheeling away to celebrate.

Pompey did not stop there, though, and a shot from Evans was deflected behind, while Tyler Garratt did well to beat Hawkins to Kennedy’s cross.

Ian Lawlor then made a stunning save to keep out Clarke’s header from point-blank range when the centre-back met Dion Donohue’s excellent corner.

There were plenty more dangerous deliveries into the Doncaster box – particularly from Kennedy – although the visitors were defending firm.

But there was late drama at the other end just before the break, as a late challenge from Donohue led to a melee.

Referee Graham Salisbury calmed things down, though, showing yellow cards to the initial perpetrator, as well as Burgess and Marquis.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Doncaster Rovers 1

It was still the hosts on top once the action restarted, although clear-cut opportunities were at a premium.

Hawkins met a low cross from Kennedy, only for a well-placed Andy Boyle to make a vital block in the Doncaster box.

Pompey almost took the lead just before the hour mark, though, as Ronan sent Close through on goal, only for Lawlor to tear from his line and make another fine save.

Jackett soon made his first change of the afternoon, as Hawkins was withdrawn for top scorer Pitman.

But the Blues then undid all their good work by leaving Marquis in acres of space to head home Coppinger’s corner and restore Rovers’ advantage.

The hosts tried to battle back, but some wayward crossing was undoing their progress into promising areas.

A double substitution was made to reinvigorate Pompey on 72 minutes, with Kennedy and Evans withdrawn for Naismith and Lowe.

Naismith almost levelled when he tried to sneak a long-range shot inside Lawlor’s near post, only for the keeper to get down and save.

But Pompey did find another equaliser from Donohue’s resulting corner, as PITMAN managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Delight turned to concern soon after, though, as Henderson went down off the ball and – clearly distraught – had to limp off.

Jackett had already made all three of his allowed changes, meaning Naismith had to don the gloves for the closing stages.

The challenge became even harder early in the seven minutes of stoppage-time, when Burgess handled and was shown a second booking to leave the Blues with nine men.

Naismith came to the rescue, though, making a key save with his feet to deny Ben Whiteman and ensure Pompey secured a point.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Thompson, Close; Evans (c) (Lowe 72), Ronan, Kennedy (Naismith 72); Hawkins (Pitman 59)
Goals: Walkes 19, Pitman 81
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Booked: Donohue
Subs not used: McGee, Deslandes, Widdrington, Chaplin

Doncaster (4-1-2-1-2): Lawlor; Blair, Anderson, Boyle, Garratt (McCullough 59); Houghton; Whiteman, Rowe; Coppinger (c) (Kongolo 73); Beestin (Kiwomya 59), Marquis
Goals: Coppinger 4, Marquis 63
Booked: Marquis, Anderson
Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Mason, May

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 17,364 (366 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 312018

Stephen Henderson

Loan : Nottingham Forest – Portsmouth

Stephen Henderson has returned to Pompey in a loan deal from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper made 27 appearances after joining the Blues in the summer of 2011, but financial problems saw him shipped out to West Ham eight months later.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “I’m delighted to bring Stephen in. His experience will be vital in a young squad, as we enter the crucial final third of the season and push for the top six.”

Henderson started his career at Aston Villa and then played for Bristol City prior to his first stint at Fratton Park.

The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international left the Hammers to join Charlton in 2014, moving to Forest two years later.

Portsmouth FC

Jan 312018

Kyle Bennett

Mutual Consent

Portsmouth Football Club can announce that Kyle Bennett has left the club by mutual consent

The 27-year-old winger netted 13 goals in 117 appearances after signing from Doncaster in the summer of 2015.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “We have a number of wide players available in our squad and Kyle wasn’t getting the game-time that he wanted.

“But we wish him all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for everything that he’s done for Portsmouth Football Club.”

Bennett scored six times last season as Pompey secured the League Two title, finding the target in the 6-1 rout of Cheltenham on the final day.

Portsmouth FC

Jan 312018

Milan Lalkovic

Mutual Consent

Portsmouth Football Club can announce that Milan Lalkovic has left the club by mutual consent.

The 25-year-old Slovakian winger netted one goal in 18 appearances after joining Pompey from Walsall in the summer of 2016.

He featured in a 1-1 draw with his former club at the start of the current campaign, but has recently been sidelined with an Achilles problem.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “Milan has been unfortunate with injuries this season, but has been nothing but professional since I’ve been working with him.

“We have a number of options in that area of the pitch, so we felt it best for both parties if he moved on.

“But we thank Milan for all his efforts and wish him well in the next stage of his football career.”

Lalkovic began his career with Chelsea and spent the second half of last season on loan at Scottish side Ross County.

Portsmouth FC

Jan 292018

Anton Walkes

Loan : Tottenham Hotspur – Portsmouth

Anton Walkes is looking to continue his football education on the south coast.

The 20-year old loan capture from Tottenham – who will wear the number two shirt – has joined Pompey for the remainder of the season.

He spent most of last year Stateside with the Georgia-based Atlanta United, netting twice in 23 appearances.

Now a player who is comfortable in midfield or at the back wants to assist the Blues in climbing the League One table.

Walkes said: “I’m going to enjoy my time here and am looking forward to being involved and helping the team.

“This is a great club with a lot of history and it’s giving me a chance to improve as a young man.

“First team football is so important in the early stages of your career, so hopefully I can get plenty of minutes and impose myself here.

“My favourite position has been in the middle of the park, but I’ve learnt a lot on the defensive side and really just enjoy being out on the pitch.”

Walkes helped the newly-formed Atlanta reach the MLS play-offs last season and enjoyed the experience.

He said: “They are an expansion team, so needed numbers. It turned out to be outstanding for me and I want to show what I’ve learnt.

“You’re miles from home and out of your comfort zone, so hopefully that’s helped me to mature.

“It’s an unbelievable standard out there, with top quality players, coaches and facilities. You can’t fault it.”

Portsmouth FC