Match Report

Sep 202020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey drew 0-0 for the second League One fixture in succession, but will be wondering how they left Rochdale with only a point.

The first half was a lifeless affair, but the visitors were on top throughout the second period and had several opportunities to score.

They were unable to take any of them, however, and Matty Done missed a glorious chance to make them pay for that profligacy at the death.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that exited the Carabao Cup at Brighton earlier in the week.

Andy Cannon replaced Ryan Williams, with the midfielder making his first start of the campaign against his former club.

The other switches both came in the full-back roles, as Cam Pring and James Bolton made way for Lee Brown and Callum Johnson.

But summer signing Michael Jacobs had to be content with a place among the substitutes as he waited to make a Blues bow.

It was a fairly uneventful opening 45 minutes in the Greater Manchester sunshine, with neither keeper forced into meaningful action.

Marcus Harness was looking the most dangerous player for the visitors and sent in a number of dangerous crosses that could not be capitalised on.

Ollie Rathbone tried a rocket of a 25-yard shot at the other end that flew not too wide of Craig MacGillivray’s post.

And when Stephen Humphrys did get into a decent position inside the Blues box, he fired wastefully over the bar.

Pompey’s best opportunity came on 27 minutes when Tom Naylor could not spot a free player and instead delivered a rasping strike that Gavin Bazunu had to turn around the post.

A run from Ronan Curtis then led to the ball ricocheting back into the winger’s path, although his eventual drive lacked another power to seriously trouble the keeper.

Humphrys – making his second Dale debut – limped off injured late in the half and his replacement might have made an instant impact.

Matty Done received a square pass from Alex Newby, but could only stab the ball straight at MacGillivray.


Half Time

Rochdale 0

Portsmouth 0


A deep cross from Brown created an opening soon after restart, but Harness’ angled header was claimed by Bazunu.

And they squandered a great chance to open the scoring moments later after the keeper played the ball straight to Harness.

He squared the ball for John Marquis, who slotted the ball wide of the post from inside the Rochdale box.

Pompey had looked a lot more positive since the break and a Curtis cross caused plenty of problems for the Dale defence.

Sean Raggett was then unable to guide Harness’ centre on target, with appeals for a push on the defender waved away by referee Michael Salisbury.

And the visitors went close again on the hour mark, as Harness flung himself at a Cannon pass, but could not quite make contact.

That was the last piece of meaningful action for Cannon, who was replaced by debutant Jacobs on 66 minutes.

Pompey then had the ball in the back of the net when Bazunu claimed Brown’s corner and was sent tumbling into the net, but Salisbury decided the keeper had been fouled.

Good work from Harness soon led to a cross that was partially cleared, with Tom Naylor snatching at his shot and seeing it fly wide.

The chances kept coming and two corners from Curtis saw a Raggett header deflected behind and Harness nod wide.

Ellis Harrison came on for Curtis, as the Blues continued to try to turn their second half dominance into a goal.

It was Marquis who had the next opportunity, though, and could not make a connection when he tried to deftly guide home Brown’s cross.

Bazunu then made two fine saves in quick succession, first keeping out another Marquis header from Johnson’s fine cross, then diving to his right to save from Raggett.

But the Blues were almost caught out by a sucker-punch when Harrison’s intended pass back to MacGillivray was intercepted by Done.

He was left with an empty net to slot into, but sliced his attempt horribly and when a second chance arrived, Jack Whatmough averted the danger.

And Whatmough almost starred at the other end in stoppage-time when he met Brown’s corner and saw his header cleared from the line.

Rochdale (4-3-1-2): Bazunu; McLaughlin, O’Connell (c) (McNulty 80), McShane, Keohane; Lund, Ryan, Morley; Rathbone; Humphrys (Done 38), Newby (Dooley 70)
Booked: McShane
Subs not used: Lynch, Brierley, Tavarez, Baah

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness, Cannon (Jacobs 66), Curtis (Harrison 79); Marquis
Booked: Brown, Naylor
Subs not used: Turnbull, Downing, Pring, Close, Williams

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Portsmouth FC

Sep 172020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey’s Carabao Cup adventure was ended by Premier League side Brighton in a second round contest at the Amex Stadium.

The visitors matched their higher-ranked opponents in the first half and only trailed to Alexis Mac Allister’s header at the break.

It was a different story after it, though, as the Seagulls struck three times in under 20 minutes – through Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Bernardo and Viktor Gyokeres – to ensure comfortable progress.

Sean Raggett almost restored some pride for the Blues late on, but his header was kept out by a stunning Jason Steele save.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Shrewsbury in the league at the weekend.

James Bolton came in for the cup-tied Callum Johnson, with Cam Pring replacing Lee Brown on the opposite flank.

And the final switch saw Ryan Williams handed a wide role in the attacking midfield trio, as Gareth Evans made way.

Brighton had an early chance to break the deadlock, with Craig MacGillivray making a fine save to deny Gyokeres and Bernardo sending the loose ball wildly off target.

But the Blues were not looking over-awed against their top-flight opponents and created several opportunities of their own in the opening 45 minutes.

The first was a low Ronan Curtis free-kick from the left that was turned inches past his own post by Dan Burn.

Marcus Harness then came close to scrambling a John Marquis header over the line, although an offside flag had been raised against the Pompey striker.

Brighton were almost gifted an opener midway through the first half, courtesy of a poor Raggett back-pass.

Pascal Gross tried to take advantage, but MacGillivray took the sting off his shot and Jack Whatmough headed clear from the line.

It was then the turn of skipper Dale Stephens to go close, with his low drive clipping the outside of the post.

The visitors were looking a threat on the counter, though, and Curtis broke quickly up the pitch from a Seagulls corner, only to see his shot blocked.

But it was Brighton who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, as Mac Allister charged in unmarked to firmly head home Jahanbakhsh’s cross.

Pompey were still posing a threat at the other end and thought they should have been awarded a spot-kick just before the break.

A strike from Harness might have deflected onto the arm of a prostrate Joel Veltman, although it was certainly not deliberate from the defender.


Half Time

Brighton & Hove Albion 1

Portsmouth 0


The Blues had a chance to level following the restart, when Curtis was fouled on the left and was not quite able to sneak the resulting free-kick inside Steele’s near post.

But the Premier League side had a cushion moments later following a quick passing move up the pitch.

The ball eventually found Jahanbakhsh on the edge of the box and he hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner.

And the situation soon got even worse for the visitors, as a cross from Gross was deftly glanced home by Bernardo.

It took a heroic piece of defending from Tom Naylor to deny Brighton a fourth goal, with the skipper – making his 100th appearance – somehow stopping the ball crossing the line and ending up in a heap in the net.

Jackett made a double change just past the hour mark, with Curtis and Marquis replaced by Ellis Harrison and Andy Cannon.

But Brighton continued to dominate and put the result beyond doubt on 71 minutes, as Gyokeres twisted one way and the other before sliding the ball past MacGillivray.

Whatmough was immediately removed and on came Paul Downing, perhaps with one eye on Sunday’s league visit to Rochdale.

It was fellow centre-back Raggett who came close to a consolation, though, meeting Pring’s corner and seeing his header brilliantly repelled by Steele.

And the Seagulls had to play out the final few minutes with just 10 men, as Stephens limped off with all three substitutions having already been made.

Brighton (4-2-3-1): Steele; Molumby, Veltman (Sanders 68), Burn, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens (c); Jahanbakhsh (Roberts 68), Gross (Gwargis 77), Mac Allister; Gyokeres
Goals: Mac Allister 38, Jahanbakhsh 54, Bernardo 57, Gyokeres 71
Booked: Gross
Subs not used: Sanchez, Yapi, Dendoncker, Cochrane

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough (Downing 71), Raggett, Pring; Naylor (c), Morris; Williams, Harness, Curtis (Cannon 63); Marquis (Harrison 63)
Booked: Marquis
Subs not used: Turnbull, Brown, Close, Evans

Referee: Matthew Donohue

Portsmouth FC

Sep 122020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey had to settle for a point in their League One opener with Shrewsury at a warm and sunny Fratton Park.

Most of the action took place in the second half, with Jack Whatmough – making his 100th appearance for the club – among those to go close.

And both sides came close to snatching a late winner, as Rekeil Pyke was denied by Craig MacGillivray, while Tom Naylor’s header struck the woodwork.

But the visitors had to play the final few seconds with just 10 men after Aaron Pierre was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Colchester in the EFL Trophy earlier in the week.

That came at left-back, where summer loan signing Cam Pring dropped to the bench to make way for Lee Brown.

It did not take long for Jason Cummings to collect an early booking following a late challenge on Marquis.

And Bryn Morris then came close to haunting his former club with a fierce drive that was parried by Matija Sarkick.

The ball ran loose and John Marquis desperately tried to get there first, but the keeper was able to smother it.

But it was, generally, a laboured start from the hosts and Shrewsbury almost made them pay from a corner on 12 minutes.

The ball was headed against the post by Brad Walker and, with the goal gaping, Ethan Ebanks-Landell then nodded it wide.

There was controversy when Marquis collected a Ronan Curtis pass and was fouled outside the box by Pierre.

The Blues striker felt he was last man and it should have warranted a red card, but referee Charles Breakspear opted to brandish only a yellow.

Several players were hovering over the free-kick and when Brown eventually took it, he curled the ball inches past the post.

There were half-chances at both ends of the pitch, although it had certainly not been the most entertaining period of football.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Shrewsbury Town 0


Marquis came close to breaking the deadlock soon after the restart, trying an inventive lofted effort from the right side of the box that drifted narrowly wide.

And their opponents then went close at the other end, as Brad Walker danced past a number of challenges, only to screw his shot horribly off target.

Jackett made his first change 10 minutes into the second half, with Andy Cannon on to replace Gareth Evans.

Both sides were looking to counter with pace and one such attack led to Marquis having a header deflected over the bar.

Clear-cut chances were still proving to be few and far between, though, and it took an unlikely source to find the next shot on target.

A Curtis free-kick was nodded back into the centre by Sean Raggett and Whatmough’s volley was saved by Sarkic.

Ryan Williams came on for Marcus Harness on 69 minutes, as Jackett decided to freshen up his forward options.

And when the newcomer was hacked down by Josh Vela, Breakspear played the advantage and Pompey broke.

Cannon timed his run to stay onside and collect Curtis’ pass, but could not get the ball on his right foot and the move broke down.

Vela was then shown a booking and so was substitute Marlon Fossey for a foul on Curtis down the left.

Brown was the one to take it and tried to send the ball over Sarkic, with the keeper back-pedalling to just about prevent it finding the net.

Pompey were well on top now and Scott Golbourne was well-placed just in front of the line to block Raggett’s header.

Then, after Ben Close had replaced Morris, the left-back also managed to divert Williams’ goal-bound header to safety.

But it was Shrewsbury who almost grabbed a late winner from a corner, with MacGillivray – who had experienced a quiet afternoon – making a stunning save to deny Pyke.

The ball was still loose and the danger was not over, however, with Whatmough managing to hack from the line.

Pompey then almost secured all three points for themselves, with Naylor meeting another fine Brown free-kick and rattling the crossbar with his header.

Pierre was sent off late in stoppage-time, picking up a second booking for a clear foul on Marquis 20 yards out.

It meant that Brown had the final chance to secure victory, sending his low free-kick through the wall and seeing Sarkic turn it around the post.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris (Close 80); Harness (Williams 69), Evans (Cannon 55), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Harness, Morris
Subs not used: Turnbull, Bolton, Pring, Harrison

Shrewsbury (4-3-3): Sarkic; Williams (Fossey 72), Pierre, Ebanks-Landell (c), Golbourne; Vela (Norburn 78), Walker, High; Cummings (Barnett 84), Pyke, Whalley
Sent off: Pierre (two yellow cards)
Booked: Cummings, Whalley, Vela, Fossey
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Love, Daniels, Udoh

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Portsmouth FC

Sep 082020
 

Match Report

Highlights

EFL Trophy




Marcus Harness bagged a brace as Pompey began their latest EFL Trophy campaign with a comfortable victory over Colchester at an empty Fratton Park.

The competition holders are still waiting to hear the date for their return to Wembley for last season’s final.

But they produced a professional – and largely dominant performance – against their League Two opponents.

Both of the goals arrived in the space of a few first half seconds, with Harness displaying some precise finishing to secure all three group stage points.

Pompey handed debuts to full-back duo Cam Pring and Callum Johnson, who arrived from Bristol City and Accrington respectively over the summer.

They replaced Lee Brown and James Bolton, as Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that won at Stevenage on penalties in the Carabao Cup 10 days earlier.

Craig MacGillivray came in for the injured Alex Bass between the sticks, while Paul Downing made way for Jack Whatmough.

The hosts dominated possession in the opening stages, although chances were hard to come by at both ends of the pitch.

It was the Blues who, unsurprisingly, had the first decent one following a fine bit of trickery down the left from Ronan Curtis.

He sent the ball into the centre and it bounced off both Harness and John Marquis before being grabbed by grateful keeper Shamal George.

It was proving to be a quiet evening for MacGillivray at the other end, although he had to deal with a simple angled effort from Miles Welch-Hayes.

Pompey were looking more likely to break the deadlock, although Gareth Evans could not bring Curtis’ pass under control and the ball flew harmlessly wide.

Referee Craig Hicks then got in Luke Gambin’s way during an attack from the home side and would undoubtedly have been relieved to see the move break down.

Curtis was looking a real threat for the Blues and following one mazy run, his placed shot was saved low down by George.

A goal seemed to be moving closer as the first half progressed and a corner was nodded over by Sean Raggett.

And the deadlock was broken on 37 minutes, with HARNESS collecting a pass from Curtis and firing in a shot that had too much power for George.

HARNESS then scored his second in as many minutes, racing onto a long ball over the top from Whatmough and clinically finding the net.

There was still time for Tom Naylor to go close before the break, with the skipper stealing possession and scuffing his effort just past the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Colchester United 0


Pompey continued to dominate following the restart and an Evans corner caused problems, while Curtis then fizzed a shot narrowly wide.

The latter soon had another opportunity after being fed by Harness and his stabbed attempt was saved by George.

It was pretty much one-way traffic and a teasing delivery from Harness had to be dealt with by Omar Sowunmi before Evans could pounce.

Evans should probably have strengthened the advantage following another fine cross from Pompey’s goal hero, but his header was too deft.

MacGillivray was called into action to deal with Ben Stevenson’s drive on 65 minutes, although it was regulation stuff for the Scottish stopper.

Harness then tried to complete his treble at the other end, but could not make a clean connection with Pring’s cross.

His hat-trick hopes were over soon after, as he was withdrawn with fellow winger Curtis, as Andy Cannon and Ryan Williams came on.

Marquis then had a shot saved by the feet of George before also being replaced, with Ellis Harrison given a cameo.

The game had started to drift by that point, but it burst back into life on 86 minutes following a poor Colchester back-pass.

Harrison could not quite get there in time to tuck away the loose ball and Cannon was also denied before Evans blazed over.

The hosts had already comfortably done enough, though, and saw out the remaining moments to seal the victory.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Pring; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness (Williams 77), Evans, Curtis (Cannon 77); Marquis (Harrison 82)
Goals: Harness 37, 38
Booked: Williams, Pring
Subs not used: Turnbull, Bolton, Brown, Close

Colchester (4-2-3-1): George; Welch-Hayes, Sowunmi, Eastman (c), Scarlett; Stevenson, Chilvers; Poku (Cowan-Hall 66), Gambin (Marshall-Miranda 78), Senior; Brown (Taylor-Crossdale 66)
Booked: Sowunmi
Subs not used: Coulter, Bramall, Smith, Harriott

Referee: Craig Hicks

Portsmouth FC

Sep 012020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey eased to a 4-0 victory over neighbours Gosport in their final friendly before the start of the League One season.

A few hundred fans were allowed in to watch the contest and saw defender Cameron Pring come on to make his debut, just a few hours after arriving on loan from Bristol City.

Ronan Curtis opened the scoring, while Reeco Hackett-Fairchild added a brace and Ryan Williams wrapped things up.

Kenny Jackett decided to name a strong side at Privett Park, with the entire starting 11 involved in the Carabao Cup victory at Stevenage a few days earlier.

There were also returns from injury for attacking duo Ellis Harrison and Hackett-Fairchild, who both featured in the second half.

John Marquis and Marcus Harness had early half-chances before a Curtis header was cleared from the line.

The visitors also had appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Tim Godfray when Marquis went down in the box.

And they broke the deadlock midway through the first half, as Gareth Evans’ cross was flicked on by Bryn Morris for CURTIS to fire home.

Pompey were searching for more goals and Marquis was denied by a block, while Sean Raggett nodded over and Harness saw an effort saved by Pat O’Flaherty.


Half Time

Gosport Borough 0

Portsmouth 1


The entire Blues side was changed at the break, with new arrival Pring among the players entering the fray.

But it was HACKETT-FAIRCHILD who soon doubled the advantage, expertly firing home after being slipped through by Andy Cannon.

And the same played added a third goal on 54 minutes, with HACKETT-FAIRCHILD making space for himself on the edge of the box and crashing the ball into the corner.

There was not too much happening to trouble Duncan Turnbull at the other end, although he did have to turn a Rory Williams free-kick around the post.

That sparked a busy period for the American stopper, though, who brilliantly denied Matt Paterson from point-blank range.

Most of the action was happening at the other end and a Hackett-Fairchild delivery was deflected against the crossbar.

And Australian winger WILLIAMS did add a fourth on 70 minutes after reacting quickest to a loose ball in the Boro box.

It almost got even better for the Blues moments later, but Harrison Brook was unable to find the target.

Hackett-Fairchild then came close to completing a hat-trick late on, only to see his free-kick bend over the bar and another fierce shot saved.

First Half: MacGillivray; Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness, Evans, Curtis; Marquis

Second Half: Turnbull; Mnoga, Whatmough, Rew, Pring; Close, Storey (Brook 68); Williams, Cannon, Hackett-Fairchild; Harrison

Portsmouth FC

Aug 292020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Carabao Cup 1




Craig MacGillivray was the penalty hero for Pompey, as they fought from behind to win at Stevenage and reach the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Elliot List and Charlie Carter took advantage of some extremely sloppy defending to give Stevenage a commanding lead in the opening 10 minutes.

Ronan Curtis reduced the deficit, but again Pompey were their own worst enemy to allow Scott Cuthbert to score.

But Gareth Evans converted from the spot on the stroke of half-time and, in a much-improved display following the interval, John Marquis emphatically levelled.

The tie went to a penalty shoot-out and substitute MacGillivray saved three of the hosts’ four efforts to ensure the Blues progressed.

Kenny Jackett named a strong squad for the opening game of the 2020/21 campaign, with skipper Tom Naylor returning to the side following his play-off absence.

There was room on the bench for a couple of talented youngsters, though, with teenagers Haji Mnoga and Alfie Stanley both included.

The players and coaching staff from both sides – as well as the officials – all took the knee before kick-off in a show of support for the fight against racism.

It did not feel like August at an eerily quiet Broadhall Way, with the rain falling and temperature unseasonably low.

And Pompey were certainly caught cold in the opening stages, with two pieces of dreadful defending gifting their opponents goals.

Sean Raggett was caught out by a Luke Prosser pass on nine minutes, allowing a gleeful List to nip in and slot home.

And it got worse just a few seconds later following a dreadful mix-up between Paul Downing and Alex Bass.

But there were still several chances for the visitors to get the ball clear before it ricocheted into the path of Carter to score.

Pompey almost grabbed an immediate lifeline when Evans delivered a cross from the right, only for Jamie Cumming to make two fine saves in quick succession to deny Marquis and Curtis.

But the deficit was reduced midway through the first half, as Raggett and Lee Brown combined well down the left.

The latter slipped a pass across to CURTIS, who cut onto his right foot and curled a precise shot into the net.

With the ground closed for supporters from both sides, there was still the familiar sound of a cowbell outside the ground.

Even that was failing to lift the Blues, though, who continued to lack much cohesion in their forward play.

And they were still looking nervy at the back, with another defensive error restoring Boro’s two-goal advantage.

Bass punched a corner straight up into the air and an almighty scramble followed before the ball landed for Cuthbert to poke over the line.

Pompey tried to fight back and Raggett was at least showing desire, with a crunching – yet fair – challenge on List.

Evans perhaps showed a bit too much just before the break, though, and his foul on Carter was punished with a yellow card.

But the same player pulled one back for the Blues from the penalty spot right at the end of the first half.

Ben Coker was punished for handling Marquis’ shot in the box following some tricky play from Marcus Harness.

It was the reliable EVANS who was entrusted with converting from 12 yards and he calmly sent Cumming the wrong way.


Half Time

Stevenage 3

Portsmouth 2


There was probably no surprise that Jackett decided to make a change at the back during the break and it was Bass who was withdrawn for MacGillivray.

His first piece of action was to watch on nervously as Carter’s effort was dragged narrowly past the post.

But the Blues were a lot brighter and they found themselves impressively back on level terms on 51 minutes.

Curtis delivered a first-time pass to MARQUIS, who raced onto the ball and hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net.

Pompey looked like a different team, as they started to dictate the tempo of the game and get forward down the left.

And when Harness collected Evans’ pass and lifted a cross into the area, Curtis met the ball with a volley that was well saved by the busy Cumming.

Bryn Morris was unable to test the keeper soon after, blazing high over the bar after an initial Curtis effort was blocked.

Jackett brought on some fresh attacking legs on 76 minutes, with Andy Cannon and Ryan Williams replacing Evans and Harness.

And when Cannon was brought down on the edge of the box, it almost led to the Blues taking the lead for the first time.

Brown played a clever free-kick through to Curtis, whose angled drive was pushed against the post by Cumming.

Penalties were looming, but Danny Newton came close to a stoppage-time winner for the hosts, bursting into the box and forcing MacGillivray into action at the keeper’s near post.

Full Time: Stevenage 3 Pompey 3

Both sides scored their first penalties, with Inih Effiong on target for Stevenage and Marquis quickly levelling.

But then MacGillivray took control and made three fine saves to deny Newton, Elliot Osborne and Coker.

The last of those sealed a 3-1 shoot-out triumph after Curtis and Brown had both converted their spot-kicks in style.

Stevenage (4-3-3): Cumming; James-Wildin, Cuthbert (c), Prosser, Coker; Osborne, Vincelot (Newton 64), Carter; List (Hutton 79), Effiong, Marsh (Akinwande 53)
Goals: List 9, Carter 10, Cuthbert 29
Subs not used: Johnson, Smith, Marshall, Dinanga

Pompey (4-3-3): Bass (MacGillivray 46); Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Evans (Cannon 76), Naylor (c), Morris; Harness (Williams 76), Marquis, Curtis
Goals: Curtis 21, Evans (pen) 45+2, Marquis 51
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Mnoga, Whatmough, Close, Stanley

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Portsmouth FC

Aug 152020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Friendly




Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis scored free-kicks to ensure Pompey got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start by beating Norwich’s under-23 side.

Both goals came in the first half of the contest at a drizzly and humid Five Lakes Resort in Essex, where the Blues have been based for a training camp.

Kenny Jackett named a different side in each 45-minute period, with plenty of youngsters featuring after the break.

But Ben Close (groin), Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (knee) and Ellis Harrison (calf) all missed out with minor injury problems.

It was the ‘hosts’ from the south coast who were first to threaten with a John Marquis shot from the edge of the box that drew a comfortable save.

The game was taking place behind closed doors, but a few residents stopped by on their golf carts to catch some of the action.

They witnessed Bryn Morris fire another effort over the crossbar, while a corner from Marcus Harness was parried to safety by Jon McCracken.

At the other end, when Alex Bass parried a shot, Paul Downing, Brown and James Bolton all had to fling themselves in front of the ball in quick succession.

Marquis was denied an opener by McCracken, who acrobatically tipped over his header from a pin-point Brown delivery.

And it was BROWN who did break the deadlock on 30 minutes, curling a free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner after Curtis had been felled just outside the box.

Another set-piece saw the advantage doubled moments later, with a foul on Marquis leading to CURTIS impressively finding the net.

Norwich almost reduced their deficit in fortunate fashion just before the break, but Bass brilliantly prevented Downing from nodding into his own net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Norwich City U23 0


Eight academy products were among the 11 players introduced after the interval, with Jack Whatmough among them.

Harvey Rew and Eoin Teggart looked particularly threatening going down the left, although chances were proving harder to come by.

Harrison Brook had penalty appeals waved away following a challenge in the box, while Teggart’s low effort was well saved.

The latter then had another effort – this time from an acute angle – kept out after being released by Alfie Stanley.

But Norwich had opportunities of their own and Craig MacGillivray made several fine stops to ensure Pompey’s clean sheet remained intact.

First Half: Bass; Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness, Williams, Curtis; Marquis

Second Half: MacGillivray; Kavanagh, Mnoga, Whatmough, Rew; Storey, Cannon; Brook, Evans, Teggart; Stanley

Portsmouth FC

Jul 062020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey missed out on a place in the League One play-off final after losing to Oxford on penalties at the Kassam Stadium.

Marcus Harness had given the Blues a second leg advantage, only for an unfortunate Ellis Harrison own-goal to level the tie.

Extra-time failed to find a winner and so it headed to a shoot-out, with Cameron McGeehan’s miss proving decisive.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Fratton Park just three days earlier.

Steve Seddon and James Bolton returned to the full-back berths, while Ryan Williams was handed an attacking wide role.

That saw Lee Brown, Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon drop to the bench, with Christian Burgess claiming the captain’s armband.

As in the first leg, there was a minute of applause in recognition of the NHS and other key workers, while players then took the knee to show opposition to racism.

The hosts were first to threaten, but Alex Bass got down to keep out an early effort from Jamie Mackie.

Pompey, meanwhile, looked bright going forward, although their attacks often broke down before former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood could be tested.

There was one perfectly-timed challenge inside the box to stop the energetic Williams collecting a threaded Harness pass.

Williams then swung in a dangerous left-footed cross that Bryn Morris was not quite able to guide on target.

Harrison thought he received a shove in the box from Elliott Moore following the mid-half drinks break.

But referee Darren England did not agree with that assessment, while a follow-up effort from McGeehan was blocked.

The visitors finally forced Eastwood into action on 36 minutes, with a decent stop preventing Harrison converting a low Williams delivery.

Bass denied Marcus Browne at the other end – just seconds before a route-one move saw the Blues break the deadlock.

The keeper’s long punt up the pitch was flicked on by Harrison, with HARNESS collecting the ball, spinning sharply and slotting a shot into the bottom corner.

It looked like Pompey would take that lead into the break, only for some sloppy play to allow Oxford to level right on the stroke of half-time.

James Henry’s corner caused problems in the box and Harrison inadvertently flicked the ball towards his own net.

Sean Raggett tried frantically to hack clear, but after a quick check of his watch, the referee signalled that it had crossed the line.


Half Time

Oxford United 1

Portsmouth 1


The hosts were quicker from the blocks once the action restarted and their opponents had to deal with some tricky balls into the box.

They were unable to make the most of their control of possession, though, with a Henry effort that flew over the bar summing things up.

And frustration boiled over when Sam Long fouled Ronan Curtis, with pushing and showing ensuing and the United defender shown a yellow card.

Curtis soon curled a free-kick off target and Jackett then decided to make a double switch on the hour mark.

It was Harrison and Seddon who made their way from the pitch, with John Marquis and Lee Brown on to replace them.

But Marquis’ first contribution was a foul on Oxford skipper Rob Dickie that saw his name added to England’s book.

The striker came close to restoring the visitors’ advantage following the drinks break, though, when he headed a Curtis cross against the post.

Harness then attempted an ambitious curling effort that did not quite have enough dip to send the ball under the crossbar.

That was his last piece of meaningful involvement in the contest, with Cannon replacing him on 81 minutes.

But it was Oxford substitute Dan Agyei who came close to a late winner, embarking on a persistent run before eventually being forced to fire wide by Brown.

The hosts also threatened from a free-kick and corner in stoppage-time, but 180 minutes of action ended with the sides all square at 2-2 on aggregate.

Full Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

An early extra-time Pompey chance saw Curtis send a free-kick over the bar after Dickie had been shown a yellow card for bringing down Marquis.

There were set-piece opportunities for the visitors, although a couple of Brown deliveries were dealt with.

But there was then a scramble at the opposite end, with Burgess forced to make a key block amidst a sea of bodies.

Pompey’s players were furious when Cannon was the victim of a meaty Alex Gorrin challenge, but England decided it only warranted a booking.

There were more frayed tempers after a brief interval when Matty Taylor was booked for catching McGeehan late.

Marquis then had a chance to put Pompey back into the lead, but could only nod an excellent Brown cross wide at the back post.

Hawkins replaced Williams for the closing stages and when he chased down Eastwood, the keeper’s clearance ricocheted against the substitute and flew wide.

But the sides could still not be separated and that ensured a mammoth play-off tie would be heading for penalties

After Extra Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

There were some impressive penalties from both sides, with Marquis, Gareth Evans – on as a late substitute – and Brown all finding the net.

But Eastwood went the right way to keep out McGeehan’s effort and although Hawkins hit the target, Oxford scored all five of their attempts.

It was Cameron Brannagan who converted the last of them to ensure it would be United who are heading to Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (Evans 120+1), Burgess (c), Raggett, Seddon (Brown 60); Morris, McGeehan; Williams (Hawkins 114), Harness (Cannon 81), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 60)
Goals: Harness 38
Booked: Marquis, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Downing, Naylor

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long (Woodburn 120), Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin (Mousinho 120); Sykes (Hanson 85), Henry (Forde 100), Brannagan, Browne (Agyei 85); Mackie (Taylor 63)
Goals: Harrison 45+3 (og)
Booked: Long, Browne, Dickie, Gorrin, Taylor
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Kelly

Referee: Darren England

Portsmouth FC

Jul 032020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey’s play-off contest with Oxford is finely balanced after the sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Fratton Park.

The hosts made the stronger start and deservedly took the lead through a low finish from Ronan Curtis.

But Marcus Browne grabbed a United leveller just before the interval and neither side were able to find a winner in the second half.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew with Fleetwood all the way back in March.

Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband, with regular skipper Tom Naylor named on an extended nine-man bench.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess, Marcus Harness and a fit-again Bryn Morris, as James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon made way.

A blustery Fratton Park was virtually empty, with the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating games taking place behind closed doors.

But there were still more than 1,000 fans present in the form of cardboard cut-outs, with 2003 promotion hero Svetoslav Todorov, chairman Michael Eisner and the late John Jenkins MBE among them.

Before kick-off, there was a minute of applause to celebrate the NHS and other key workers, while all players then took the knee in a powerful statement against racism.

The hosts controlled possession for much of the first half and Ellis Harrison had an early header blocked from a corner.

And the deadlock was almost broken moments later, courtesy of a drilled Curtis effort that struck the base of the post.

Both sides were clearly up for the challenge, with several meaty challenge flying in and Oxford boss Karl Robinson constantly in the ear of a beleaguered fourth official.

Neither keeper was really being put to the test and a Harness curler was blocked, while it took a diving Josh Ruffels header to deal with one Curtis delivery.

After a brief break for drinks, Cameron Brannagan and Cameron McGeehan were both booked following a spat in the middle of the pitch.

Burgess then thought he should have won a penalty after appearing to be tugged back by Rob Dickie, but appeals were dismissed by referee Gavin Ward.

Pompey’s pressure did pay off on 32 minutes, though, as CURTIS advanced and hit a low shot that crept past former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood and nestled in the net.

That seemed to spark the visitors into life and Browne dragged an effort past the post, although Alex Bass appeared to have it covered.

The Blues could not keep their opponents at bay, though, and Browne did well to burst forward and find the net.

But Pompey did finish the half with a flourish and visiting players had to fling themselves in front of a flurry of shots in quick succession.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Oxford United 1


There was a slow start to the second period in terms of chances, although Harrison felt a challenge on him inside the box warranted a penalty.

Jackett tried to liven up proceedings with a double switch just past the hour mark, as Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon made way for Bolton and Williams.

But it was Oxford who were next to have a shot, albeit a long-range James Henry attempt that Bass held comfortably.

Williams soon showed some neat trickery, although his low cross was cut out before it could reach Harrison in the centre.

The Blues then delivered a couple of fine corners – first from Brown and then Harness – that were just about dealt with.

Jackett made his third change of the evening on 73 minutes and it was a straight substitution up front, as Harrison made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were starting to build some momentum and Brown’s effort was deflected into the side netting, while the skipper then did well to halt Browne’s break at the other end.

And Burgess went close to restoring the lead when he met Brown’s free-kick, only for Eastwood to get down and make the save.

Curtis was furious not to be awarded a late penalty after going down under a challenge from Dan Agyei, but again Ward said no.

Pompey pushed forward in search of a lead to take to the Kassam Stadium on Monday, but had to settle for a draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie (Bolton 62), Burgess, Raggett, Brown (c); McGeehan, Morris; Harness, Cannon (Williams 62), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 73)
Goals: Curtis 32
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Seddon, Naylor, Evans, Hawkins

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long, Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin; Henry, Woodburn (Sykes 55), Brannagan (Forde 81), Browne (Agyei 81); Taylor (Mackie 73)
Goals: Browne 43
Booked: Brannagan, Gorrin
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Mousinho, Kelly, Hanson

Referee: Gavin Ward

Portsmouth FC

Mar 102020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey had to settle for a point at Fratton Park against an in-form Fleetwood side also pushing for a place in the top two.

They conceded a sloppy opener to Barrie McKay, but Sean Raggett nodded the hosts back on level terms before the break.

Harry Souttar then turned the ball into his own net, with the Cod Army defender soon making amends by securing them a point.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten on the road at Peterborough at the weekend.

Ellis Harrison missed that game after becoming a father for the first time, but was back to lead the line.

There were also returns for Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon, as John Marquis dropped to the bench, while Jack Whatmough and the injured Ben Close missed out completely.

Pompey were first to threaten when the ball broke for Ronan Curtis in the box and, from a tight angle, he sent a shot dipping over the crossbar.

But it was relatively slow start to the contest, with a scything Glenn Whelan challenge on Ryan Williams the main point of focus, earning the midfielder a yellow card.

Fleetwood then capitalised on some sloppy play from the hosts to break the deadlock on 19 minutes.

Ched Evans cut the ball back for McKay and his first attempt was saved by Alex Bass, only for the keeper to get into a tangle with Steve Seddon.

It was McKay who was quickest to the loose ball and was able to force it home from a couple of yards out.

The same player then curled a teasing corner into the box and Tom Naylor was forced to head narrowly past his own post.

Fleetwood were looking more likely to add to the scoring and Jack Sowerby’s effort took a deflection, with Bass adjusting well to save.

Pompey finally began to move through the gears, with Harrison forcing Alex Cairns to drop a cross and have to grasp the ball at the second attempt.

And an equaliser did arrive on 36 minutes, when McCrorie’s fine delivery from deep on the right was met by RAGGETT, whose header looped over Cairns and into the net.

Lewis Gibson was booked late in the first half for a terrible dive in the box that, which – for some reason – peeved the Cod Army bench.

They were almost celebrating in stoppage-time, though, as Josh Morris curled a fine free-kick against the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Fleetwood Town 1


The hosts were caught napping immediately following the restart and Morris’ centre was pushed out by Bass, with Cameron McGeehan on hand to clear the danger.

But the Blues took the lead moments later, thanks to a searing burst of pace from Williams down the right.

He surged past Lewis Gibson to get on the end of Cannon’s pass and sent in a low delivery that was thundered into his own net by SOUTTAR.

Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring, although Harrison scuffed wide after being played through by Curtis.

The Cod Army then broke quickly up the pitch and Morris was left with just Bass to beat, with the keeper coming off his line to make a crucial save.

But the visitors were level on 55 minutes, as Souttar atoned for his earlier indiscretion by nodding home when a corner was headed back across goal by Evans.

Jackett made a double switch to try to regain the advantage, as Williams and McGeehan made way for Marcus Harness and Marquis.

The action continued to swing from one end to the next and Curtis could only nod wide at the back post after meeting a fine cross from Harness.

But there was generally a lack of quality from both sides in the final third, with a point enough to move the Blues up two places fourth.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Bolton, Raggett, Seddon; McGeehan (Marquis 65), Naylor (c); Williams (Harness 65), Cannon, Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Raggett 36, Souttar 48 (og)
Booked: Curtis, Harrison
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Brown, Evans, Hawkins

Fleetwood (3-4-3): Cairns; Connolly, Souttar, Gibson; Coyle, Sowerby (Coutts 69), Whelan, Andrew (Burns 54); Morris (Madden 75), Evans (c), McKay
Goals: McKay 19, Souttar 55
Booked: Whelan, Gibson, Connolly, McKay
Subs not used: Crellin, Thorvaldsson, Biggins, Saunders

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 16,775 (64 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 072020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey’s contrasting home and away fortunes continued as they slipped to defeat at promotion rivals Peterborough.

Dan Butler scored against his former club to give the hosts the lead and only some good work from Alex Bass was limiting the damage.

The Blues had more of a go after the break, but Siriki Dembele and Ivan Toney were shining for Posh, with the former’s neat finish ending the resistance.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that eased past Rochdale on home soil in the last League One outing.

The most notable inclusion was Jack Whatmough, who replaced the suspended Christian Burgess at the heart of defence.

It was the 23-year-old academy graduate’s first league appearance since featuring against Doncaster 13 months earlier.

There were also returns for Steve Seddon and Ben Close, as Lee Brown and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench.

Former Blues full-back Nathan Thompson was part of a three-man Posh defence, while Butler played on the left of midfield.

There was no pre-match handshake as a precautionary measure because of concerns over the Coronavirus.

A minute’s applause was held, though, in memory of Peterborough groundsman Will Whitney and scout Stuart Gray, who both passed away recently.

It was Butler who was first to threaten and after his free-kick had thudded against the wall, the follow-up attempt flew narrowly over.

Cameron McGeehan’s shot at the other end was comfortably deal with by Christy Pym, as the game opened in scrappy fashion.

There were plenty of half-chances, but nothing to seriously threaten either keeper in the early stages.

Joe Ward flashed a cross-shot dangerously across the face of goal, while Tom Naylor’s header rolled straight at Pym.

Both sides then went close to breaking the deadlock in the space of a few minutes, with the hosts first up.

Toney sent Sam Szmodics racing through on goal, but Bass got down well to deny the January loan arrival.

John Marquis then used his strength to get past Mark Beevers and hit a fierce angled effort that Pym had to push behind.

It was Pompey’s best period of the first half and McGeehan shot wide, only for Peterborough to then take the lead on 32 minutes.

Dembele managed to get past Whatmough and put the ball into the centre, where there was a scramble before Butler lashed it home.

And it almost got even worse for the visitors, with Bass making a superb save to deny Toney from point-blank range.

Peterborough ended the first half firmly on the front foot and had another opportunity to extend their advantage in stoppage-time.

They broke quickly up the pitch from a Blues free-kick and Bass did just about enough to put off the marauding Dembele.


Half Time

Peterborough United 1

Portsmouth 0


Whatmough had, unsurprisingly, looked a bit rusty before the break and was replaced by Ross McCrorie, with James Bolton moving into the centre.

The hosts made a defensive change of their own, with Thompson withdrawn for Niall Mason, who was soon involved in the action.

Ronan Curtis went down under his challenge and appealed for a penalty, but his cries were ignored by referee Ollie Yates.

Toney was awarded a free-kick for a foul on him by Close, with the striker’s free-kick flying through the wall and having to be beaten away by the impressive Bass.

The keeper then made a more routine stop after Dembele had latched onto a long ball and hit a first-time shot.

Jackett made a second substitution 10 minutes into the second half, as Cannon was brought on for Close.

Pompey soon had a chance to get back on level terms when Seddon’s free-kick was only partially cleared, but Ryan Williams blazed the loose ball over.

They were trying to get at their hosts – despite the constant threat from Toney – but were struggling to find a path through.

Sean Raggett enjoyed a rare foray forward and eventually won a corner that fizzed across goal with nobody able to get a touch.

Jackett then made his last throw of the dice, bringing on an extra striker in Oli Hawkins, with McGeehan leaving the action.

He soon had a chance to bring the Blues level, glancing a header wide after leaping in the area to meet Curtis’ cross.

There were then more nodded efforts from both sides, with Toney sending the ball straight at Bass, while Curtis could only guide Williams’ delivery past the far post.

Peterborough were looking particularly dangerous on the break and a Pompey corner led to their next opening.

But Bass once again came to the rescue, getting down to his right to tip Szmodics’ drilled attempt around the post.

The keeper could not stop Toney from wrapping up Posh’s win on 86 minutes, though, with a neat hooked effort that flew into the net.

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym; Thompson (Mason 46), Beevers (c), Blake-Tracy; Ward, Brown (Knight 74), Taylor, Butler; Szmodics (Boyd 88); Dembele, Toney
Goals: Butler 32, Toney 86
Booked: Brown
Subs not used: Chapman, Bennett, Eisa, Jones

Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bass; Bolton, Whatmough (McCrorie 46), Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c); Williams, McGeehan (Hawkins 69), Close (Cannon 55), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Whatmough, Cannon, Naylor, Raggett, Marquis, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, Harness, Pitman

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 9,414 (2,197 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 022020
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 5




Pompey’s Emirates FA Cup run was finally ended by Premier League giants Arsenal at a packed Fratton Park.

For much of the first half it looked like a shock could possibly be on the cards, with the hosts proving more than a match for their illustrious opponents.

But Sokratis Papastathopoulos fired the Gunners ahead just seconds before the interval to deflate most of those inside the ground.

Eddie Nketiah then added another goal soon after the restart and the Londoners were able to see the contest out with relative ease.

Kenny Jackett made six changes from the side that eased past Rochdale in the league three nights earlier.

Gareth Evans returned to captain the side, while Ellis Harrison was brought in up front and Marcus Harness on the left wing.

Ben Close was recalled to the midfield engine room and there were starts at the back for Steve Seddon and James Bolton, with the latter handed a rare central role.

Andy Cannon, John Marquis, Ronan Curtis, Tom Naylor and Sean Raggett dropped to the bench, with Lee Brown missing out completely.

But Arsenal were not at full strength either and there was little to separate the sides throughout the first half.

Emiliano Martinez flapped at the ball when Seddon’s deep cross was nodded back into the middle by Harrison.

Marcus Harness was also causing problems with his trickery, although was unable to test the Gunners keeper.

The visitors were forced to make an early change when a robust Bolton challenge left Lucas Torreira writhing on the turf.

He eventually had to be stretchered off the pitch, with Dani Ceballos chosen as the man to replace him.

Harness then had an effort deflected past the post by Pablo Mari after twisting and turning on the edge of the box.

A quickly taken free-kick gave the Blues a chance to break the deadlock, but Evans could only nod wide after racing in to meet Seddon’s delivery.

Arsenal soon had an opportunity of their own, with Gabriel Martinelli unable to guide Reiss Nelson’s firmly-hit centre on target.

There was an amusing moment when Matteo Guendouzi was told to move the ball back for a free-kick.

He theatrically placed the ball down on the turf, but referee Mike Dean was not amused and promptly showed the midfielder a yellow card.

Cameron McGeehan soon followed him into the notebook for an agricultural challenge on Joe Willock.

That earlier injury to Torreira – and the lengthy treatment received – meant there were five minutes added on at the end of the first half.

And Arsenal broke the deadlock in the fourth of them, with Sokratis bursting forward to slam home Nelson’s low cross.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Arsenal 1


Pompey were first to threaten when the action restarted, but Ryan Williams was only able to drag a shot narrowly past the post after escaping a challenge in the box.

But their opponents soon doubled their lead, with Nketiah doing well to find the roof of the net after bundling his way through following good work from Nelson down the right.

Arsenal were looking comfortable and content to keep possession in the centre of the park with a series of intricate passes.

It meant that there was a lot less intensity in the contest, with the Blues struggling to regain possession.

Jackett made a double substitution on 67 minutes, as Harrison and Harness made way for Marquis and Curtis.

And the latter was soon in the action, cutting onto his right foot and drilling in a low shot that was gathered by Martinez.

Pompey then made their third and final change of the night, as stand-in skipper Evans made way for Cannon.

Alex Bass had not been given much to do, but he got his fingertips to Bukayo Saka’s drive and tipped the ball over.

There was still plenty of huff and puff on show from the hosts, as they tried to find a route back into the tie.

Cannon did have an opportunity to reduce the deficit when the ball fell to him inside the box, but could not keep his effort down.

And Arsenal saw the closing stages out with relative ease to book their place in the draw for the quarter-finals.

But it failed to dampen the mood inside Fratton Park, with the home faithful singing about their forthcoming trip to Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Bolton, Burgess, Seddon; McGeehan, Close; Williams, Evans (c) (Cannon 74), Harness (Curtis 67); Harrison (Marquis 67)
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Raggett, Naylor

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Sokratis, Luiz (c), Mari, Saka; Guendouzi, Torreira (Ceballos 16); Nelson (Maitland-Niles 90+1), Willock (Xhaka 87), Martinelli; Nketiah
Goals: Sokratis 45+4, Nketiah 51
Booked: Guendouzi
Subs not used: Leno, Holding, Pepe, Lacazette

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 18,839 (2,206 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 282020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey breezed past Rochdale to continue their fine Fratton form and climb up to third in the League One table.

There was little to excite the crowd on a cold, wet and windy evening on the south coast for the first 44 minutes.

But Ryan Williams swept home the opener just before the interval and the Blues were largely dominant in the second half.

Steve Seddon came off the bench to impressively fire home his first goal for the club, while Christian Burgess wrapped things up with a late header.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat MK Dons – also on home soil – earlier in the week.

James Bolton returned at right-back and Cameron McGeehan in midfield, as Ross McCrorie and Ben Close both dropped to the bench.

They were joined there by Ellis Harrison, who had reached full fitness after missing a couple of games with a dead leg.

The majority of the first half was a pretty dull and uneventful affair, with neither keeper being properly forced into action.

Corners from both Ronan Curtis and Lee Brown drifted towards the net – perhaps assisted by the wind – but were dealt with.

Williams then tried a curling effort from long-range that flew not too far off target, although never really concerned Robert Sanchez in the Dale goal.

Skipper Ian Henderson should then have done better at the other end, but after being sent through on goal, could only chip a tame effort straight into the arms of Alex Bass.

Half-chances were the order of the evening and Matty Lund’s attempt flew high into the Fratton End, while Andy Cannon – playing against his former club – also cleared the crossbar.

But the game suddenly sprung into life in the final moments of the first half, starting with Rhys Norrington-Davies being booked for a foul on Williams.

He injured himself in the process and had to be replaced in the Rochdale defence by Jimmy Keohane.

Pompey took the lead before that substitution could take place, however, with Burgess meeting a Curtis cross.

His firm header was scrambled away by Sanchez, but WILLIAMS was on hand to lash the loose ball into the roof of the net.

It looked like the advantage might be doubled in stoppage-time, with a goal-bound Cannon drive being diverted off target by a deflection.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Rochdale 0


Williams might have doubled the advantage shortly after the restart, but was unable to take advantage when Sanchez spilled Curtis’ cross.

And Henderson was then inches away from levelling at the other end, courtesy of a superb strike that cannoned against the corner of post and bar.

There was a blow for the Blues when Burgess went into the book for the 10th time this term, resulting in a two-match league ban.

Jackett decided the time was right for a double change on 54 minutes, as Brown and Cannon were replaced by Seddon and Close.

The hosts were trying to find a second goal and Marquis could not beat Sanchez following some sloppy Rochdale play, while the keeper then claimed McGeehan’s looping header.

And Williams sent a teasing cross into the box from wide on the right that a stretching Curtis could not quite guide on target.

Pompey were looking fairly comfortable, but it took a superb save from Bass to keep them ahead on 75 minutes, with the keeper tipping Matty Lund’s close-range header over the bar.

But they had a cushion a few minutes later and it was a fine strike from SEDDON that saw the advantage doubled.

Bolton’s cross was laid into the path of the on-loan left-back, who hit a superb 20-yard effort that swerved into the bottom corner.

The hard-working Marquis received warm applause from the Fratton faithful when he was replaced by Harrison on 84 minutes

But it was BURGESS who made the points safe just a few seconds later, glancing home a fine right-sided free-kick from Seddon.

There was almost another goal soon after, but Sanchez was off his line to save after Curtis had slipped a cute pass through to McGeehan.

Pompey were looking threatening with every attack, but Rochdale saw out the closing stages to limit the damage.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Brown (Seddon 54); Naylor (c), McGeehan; Williams, Cannon (Close 54), Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 84)
Goals: Williams 45, Seddon 78, Burgess 84
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Harness, Pitman

Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Matheson, McShane, McNulty, Norrington-Davies (Keohane 45+1); Williams (Andrew 77), Morley (Done 65); Lund, Camps, Wilbraham; Henderson (c)
Booked: Norrington-Davies, Morley, Camps
Subs not used: Lynch, Dunne, Ryan, Dooley

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance: 17,600 (141 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 252020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey moved back into the League One play-off places with a hard-fought victory over MK Dons at Fratton Park.

It looked like a comfortable evening might be on the cards when Andy Cannon opened his account for the club early on.

But Alex Gilbey reacted quickly to level after Alex Bass had kept out his penalty just moments before the interval.

Both sides had chances to win the contest and John Marquis restored the Blues’ lead early in the second half, while Carlton Morris was then sent off for the visitors.

Marcus Harness then came off the bench to add a third goal at the death and breathe new life into the promotion charge.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Fleetwood at the weekend.

Cannon had recovered from a glute problem, while Lee Brown was handed a first start since early December.

There were also returns for Ross McCrorie, Ryan Williams and Ben Close as the team was freshened up during a hectic schedule.

Oli Hawkins, Steve Seddon, Marcus Harness and Cameron McGeehan all dropped to the bench, with James Bolton missing from the squad.

Pompey made a flying start and took the lead on four minutes, thanks in part to some sloppy play from their opponents.

Jordan Houghton tried to pass out of his own box, but Williams intercepted the ball and squared for CANNON to slot home.

MK Dons almost hit back with an immediate equaliser, only for Bass to come to the rescue with a save from Gilbey.

The action fell pretty flat after that and there were not too many more clear-cut opportunities at either end of the pitch before the break.

Marquis and Close both had efforts blocked in quick succession, while Houghton’s long-range effort for the visitors flew straight at Bass.

The Dons were passing the ball around nicely, but lacking a clinical edge, with the hosts looking more likely to add to the scoring.

Lee Nicholls raced from his line to stop Marquis converting Cannon’s threaded pass, then kept out an angled Brown strike.

And the keeper was called into action again to tip over Close’s drilled attempt following some good work from McCrorie and Marquis.

But MK Dons were given an excellent chance to level in stoppage-time, when McCrorie rashly bundled over Rhys Healey in the box.

Bass guessed the right way to keep out Gilbey’s penalty, but the midfielder was quickest to the rebound and scored at the second attempt.

He did not exactly endear himself to the home support by celebrating right in front of the Fratton End.

And there were more boos – this time aimed at referee Kevin Johnson – when Pompey were not awarded a spot-kick of their own for George Williams’ challenge on Marquis.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

MK Dons 1


The Blues might have fallen behind once the action restarted, with Christian Burgess making a fine sliding challenge after Gilbey had been sent through on goal.

But instead they retook the lead, with MARQUIS getting on the scoresheet to become the club’s leading marksman in his own right.

It was not the most elegant of finishes from McCrorie’s cut-back, with the ball striking a defender and the inside of the post before crossing the line.

They tried to increase their advantage and Close’s chipped cross was headed towards the net by Sean Raggett, but Nicholls made the save.

And the visitors then broke quickly up the pitch, with Burgess taking one for the team by fouling Gilbey and earning a yellow card.

They were still looking dangerous and a Dean Lewington free-kick was glanced narrowly past the post by Jordan Moore-Taylor.

Pompey were beginning to lose patience with Johnson, who failed to book players for a shove on Cannon and late challenge on Marquis.

Lewington finally had his name taken for his reaction to a foul on Williams, just seconds after Healey’s volley was well saved by Bass.

Both sides were looking capable of adding more goals to the contest, with Gladwin and Healey having opportunities for the visitors.

A couple of Ronan Curtis corners then caused problems at the other end, but were eventually scrambled clear.

Jackett had made a double change moments earlier, with Cannon and Williams replaced by McGeehan and Harness.

MK Dons’ hopes of a comeback were made tougher when they were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages.

Pompey had broken quickly from a corner and Curtis fed Marquis, who was brought down by Morris as he raced through on goal, with the forward shown a red card.

And they wrapped up the points just before the end, with HARNESS holding off a defender to collect Raggett’s header and neatly slotting home.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Burgess, Raggett, Brown; Close, Naylor (c); Williams (Harness 77), Cannon (McGeehan 77), Curtis (Seddon 90+3); Marquis
Goals: Cannon 4, Marquis 59, Harness 90+1
Booked: Burgess, Cannon
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Pitman, Hawkins

MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): Nicholls; Poole, Williams, Moore-Taylor, Lewington (c); Houghton (Reeves 73); Thompson (Nombe 77), McGrandles (Gladwin 62); Gilbey; Morris, Healey
Goals: Gilbey 45+2 (pen)
Sent off: Morris
Booked: Lewington, Poole
Subs not used: Fisher, Walsh, Brittain, Kasumu

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 16,577 (170 away fans)

Portsmouth FC