Match Report

Apr 202021
 


A League 1
Swindon Town 3
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)45 %

LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST

Pompey stumbled again in their hunt for a play-off spot, losing to bottom side Swindon at the County Ground.

Brett Pitman came back to haunt his former club with a goal in each half, the second coming from the penalty spot.

Ronan Curtis reduced the deficit and the Blues pressed for a leveller, only for Tyer Smith to wrap things up for the struggling Robins at the death.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at MK Dons at the weekend.

Ben Close recovered from a groin problem to replace Harvey White in the centre of midfield, while Rasmus Nicolaisen came in for Jack Whatmough – who begins a four-match ban – at the back.

It was a nervy start from the visitors, who looked nervy at the back and sloppy in possession during the opening stages.

But they had the first decent chance of the contest on 13 minutes, as Marcus Harness met Callum Johnson’s corner with a fine header that was turned over by Lee Camp.

Craig MacGillivray was soon called into action at the other end, getting down to his right to push clear a Scott Twine free-kick.

He could do nothing to prevent Swindon from breaking the deadlock moments later, though, after the Blues had lost possession.

Their opponents took advantage in clinical fashion, as Jack Payne laid the ball off for Pitman to lash into the net.

Pompey began to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, without really threatening to equalise.

One fine Johnson pass over the top played Marquis through and although the striker made a nice first touch, his second saw the ball run wastefully out of play.

A low Harness ball towards the striker at the back post was cut out by Anthony Grant, as the visitors finished the half on top.

But the Robins dealt with a couple of Charlie Daniels corners to ensure they would go in ahead at the interval.


Half Time

Swindon Town 1

Portsmouth 0


Pompey showed plenty of attacking intent once the action restarted, but were continuing to struggle in the final third.

Curtis – who was the most dangerous player going forward – flashed a shot wide, while another Daniels corner came to nothing.

They almost levelled on 55 minutes after Tom Naylor sent a perfectly timed lofted pass over the Robins back-line.

Marquis collected it well, but his shot was blocked by Dominic Thompson and Camp saved the follow-up from Harness.

Swindon went straight up the other end and came close to doubling their advantage, with MacGillivray coming to the rescue after Smith had squared the ball to Pitman.

And the home side did go further ahead just past the hour mark, with Daniels conceding a penalty for the second time in as many games.

He was booked for bundling over Smith, who had taken a heavy touch following fine work from Pitman.

Referee Ben Toner pointed to the spot and Pitman made no mistake, slamming the ball right into the bottom corner.

Pompey were trying to fight back and a fizzing strike from Curtis had to be palmed behind by Camp after Ben Close had laid the ball into his path.

George Byers then came on for Daniels, with skipper Naylor dropping into a three-man defensive line, while Sean Raggett soon made way for James Bolton.

Andy Cannon also replaced Ben Close for the closing stages, as the visitors continued to control possession.

And they had a lifeline on 82 minutes, as CURTIS controlled a threaded Marquis pass and bundled the ball home.

They came close to a leveller seconds later, with Byers playing a neat one-two with Curtis and drawing a smart stop from Camp.

Cannon was next to go close, with a low drive that crept inches past the post, as the Blues increased the pressure.

But Swindon wrapped things up in stoppage-time, as Smith stole possession, advanced forwards and neatly found the bottom corner.

Swindon (4-4-2): Camp; Garrick, A.Grant, Grounds, Thompson; Payne, Palmer, Missilou (Hope 79), Twine; Pitman (c) (Broadbent 90), Smith
Goals: Pitman 17, 61 (pen), Smith 90+1
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Matthews, Baudry, Curran, Omotoye, J.Grant

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Raggett (Bolton 74), Nicolaisen, Daniels (Byers 70); Naylor (c), Close (Cannon 81); Harness, Williams, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 82
Booked: Daniels, Nicolaisen, Cannon
Subs not used: Ward, Downing, White, Stanley

Referee: Ben Toner

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Apr 172021
 


A League 1
MK Dons 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)45 %

LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST

Pompey’s play-off hopes received a setback as they were narrowly beaten in an entertaining contest at MK Dons.

Both sides created plenty of chances and struck the woodwork, but a Scott Fraser penalty late in the first half proved to be the only goal.

And there was further bad news for the Blues, with Jack Whatmough set for a lengthy suspension after being sent off for a late lunge.

Danny Cowley made one enforced change from the side that played out a goalless draw at Crewe earlier in the week.

Ben Close missed out with a groin injury, so Tottenham loanee Harvey White came in for his first start in just over a month.

Andy Cannon – struggling with a back problem – was only fit enough for a place on the bench, where he was joined by former Dons defender Paul Downing.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the day of his funeral.

The game began at a fair old pace and never really relented, with both sides looking to get forward whenever possible.

It was the hosts who dominated possession in the first half, although Pompey looked particularly dangerous in the break.

Ronan Curtis was first to threaten with a shot from the edge of the box that flew straight into the arms of Andrew Fisher.

Their opponents went closer soon after, as a Matt O’Riley curler rattled the woodwork and Andrew Surman’s follow-up narrowly cleared the crossbar.

O’Riley then should have done better, glancing a close-range header wide after being picked out in the box by Fraser.

The action continued to switch from one end to the other and an acrobatic over-head kick from John Marquis was brilliantly kept out by Fisher.

And when the keeper was spotted off his line, Marquis attempted an audacious strike from the halfway line that flew not too far off target.

It seemed to be a question of when, rather than if, a goal would be scored and Ethan Laird flashed a dangerous low delivery across the Blues box that none of his team-mates could get on the end of.

Curtis then had a couple of attempts in quick succession, firing one just past the post and seeing a second gathered at the second attempt by Fisher.

But it was the home side who finally broke the deadlock on 41 minutes after Charlie Daniels was punished for a trip on Laird.

Replays showed the challenge took place just inside the box and Fraser sent Craig MacGillivray the wrong way from the spot.

That was not the end of the first half action, though, with both sides unfortunate not to score in stoppage-time.

Will Grigg’s effort was brilliantly blocked on the line by Sean Raggett, while Daniels was the man stationed there to keep out his follow-up.

Pompey immediately made their way up the other end and Curtis cut the ball back for Marquis, whose attempt was deflected over.


Half Time

MK Dons 1

Portsmouth 0


The action did not let up following the interval and when Grigg laid off O’Riley’s cross, Fraser’s shot rattled the crossbar.

Tom Naylor then sent a dangerous low cross to the back post, but Curtis could not quite arrive in time to poke it home.

And the resulting corner from Daniels was met by Naylor, whose header hit the bar, bounced down onto the line and was cleared.

Cowley made a double switch just before the hour mark, as Ryan Williams and White made way for Rasmus Nicolaisen and George Byers.

It saw a switch to playing three at the back, as the Blues looked to find a different route past their opponents.

The chances had started to dry up, with MK Dons seeming more than happy to protect their narrow lead.

A Daniels free-kick was nodded back by Whatmough on 70 minutes and Fisher failed to keep hold of the ball, although fortunately for the keeper it landed at the feet of one of his team-mates.

Raggett was replaced by Andy Cannon for the closing stages, as the Blues kept plugging away in search of a leveller.

But their hopes were dealt a blow when Whatmough was shown a straight red card – his second of the season.

The defender took a heavy touch and dived in two-footed on Charlie Brown to try to win the ball back.

There was not too much connection made with the Dons substitute, but referee Martin Coy deemed it dangerous enough to send the centre-back off.

And although there was still plenty of endeavour being shown by Pompey, their opponents saw the game out to claim the points.

MK Dons (3-5-1-1): Fisher; Lewington (c), Darling, Jules; Laird, O’Riley, Surman (Houghton 84), Kasumu (Brown 66), Sorinola; Fraser (McEachran 66); Grigg
Goals: Fraser 41 (pen)
Booked: Lewington, Jules
Subs not used: Nicholls, Sørensen, Bird, Mason

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett (Cannon 76), Daniels; Naylor (c), White (Byers 58); Harness, Williams (Nicolaisen 58), Curtis; Marquis
Sent off: Whatmough
Booked: Daniels, Byers
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Downing, Stanley

Referee: Martin Coy

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Apr 132021
 


A League 1
Crewe Alexandra 0
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)45 %

DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST

John Marquis had a second half penalty saved as Pompey were unable to make their dominance count at Crewe.

The visitors looked in control for much of the Gresty Road contest, but could not find that all-important goal.

Will Jaaskelainen was the Railwaymen hero, keeping out Marquis’ spot-kick, as well as efforts from Jack Whatmough and Ronan Curtis.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were beaten by Burton on home soil at the weekend.

Marquis returned from a three-match ban to lead the line, with Andy Cannon dropping to the bench and Curtis moving back to his more familiar position out wide.

The other switch was enforced, with Lee Brown replaced at left-back by Charlie Daniels after injuring his hamstring.

As part of the period of national mourning, a minute’s silence was held ahead of kick-off in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Both sides then took a knee to once again show that there is no room for racism – or any kind of discrimination – in sport.

It has become a familiar sight for the Blues to dominate possession under Cowley’s charge and that continued against Crewe.

But for all their pretty passing play, there was not much to trouble Jaaskelainen until just before the interval.

Luke Offord did have to make a telling interception to prevent Ryan Williams getting on the end of a teasing Marcus Harness delivery.

Craig MacGillivray was also a virtual spectator, although Tom Lowery glanced a header wide from an Antony Evans cross.

There were six minutes tagged on to the end of the first half due to two injuries for the hosts, one of which led to Rio Adebisi being replaced.

And it was in that additional time that the Blues finally made a serious threat to break the deadlock, finishing with a real flourish.

A Daniels corner was nodded on by Sean Raggett and Whatmough’s shot was well saved by Jaaskeleainen.

The ball ran loose, though, and there was an almighty spell of pinball before the Railwaymen were able to hack clear.

Williams then slipped a neat pass through to Marquis, whose angled drive was kept out by Jaaskelainen low to the keeper’s right.


Half Time

Crewe Alexandra 0

Portsmouth 0


The action slowed down again following the restart, with Pompey unable to build on their patient play once they entered the final third.

And there was a nervy moment at the other end when Tom Naylor lost possession inside his own area.

The Blues skipper would have breathed a sigh of relief when the ball was fed to Owen Dale, who promptly fired straight at MacGillivray.

Pompey were then guilty of their own piece of profligacy as Williams lifted the ball into the centre and Marquis rose to head into Jaaskelainen’s arms.

The striker was soon given another chance to score, as Luke Offord failed to deal with Daniels’ long ball and Curtis was brought down by the keeper.

Referee Darren Drysdale took a few seconds before pointing to the spot, but Marquis’ penalty lacked power and was comfortably saved by Jaaskelainen.

The Crewe stopper received more praise a few moments later, instinctively sticking out a hand to keep out a deflected Curtis attempt.

Loan duo Harvey White and George Byers came on for Ben Close and Williams, with Cowley looking to inspire a breakthrough.

But the Blues were left frustrated in their search for a winner, as the Alex held on to ensure the spoils were shared.

Crewe (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Adebisi (Daniels 32), Wood, Offord, Pickering (c); Evans, Murphy, Wood, Kirk (Mandron 61); Dale, Porter
Booked: Lowery, Offord
Subs not used: Richards, Lancashire, Beckles, Ainley, Walker

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels; Naylor (c), Close (White 72); Harness, Williams (Byers 74), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Raggett, Williams, Johnson
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Cannon, Stanley

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Apr 102021
 


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Burton Albion 2


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)40 %

LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST

Pompey’s winning run finally came to an end, as goals either side of half-time condemned them to defeat against Burton at Fratton Park.

Mike Fondop scrambled home the opener just before the break, while the second half was only a few seconds old when Joe Powell’s fine strike doubled the visitors’ lead.

The Blues were dominant in possession throughout, but were unable to turn that into many meaningful opportunities.

Substitute Charlie Daniels did head a late goal for the hosts, although it proved no more than a consolation.

Danny Cowley made one enforced change from the side that won on the road at Wigan on Easter Monday.

Andy Cannon – who came off the bench to grab the only goal of that game – replaced the injured Michael Jacobs.

Tom Naylor and Marcus Harness both started against their former club, with the latter hitting a hat-trick at the Pirelli Stadium earlier in the season.

Before kick-off there was a two-minute silence in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away the previous day at the age of 99.

An early effort from Harness was deflected into the side netting, but despite dominating possession, the hosts were unable to create many decent openings before the break.

Likewise, there was not much happening at the other end, although Craig MacGillivray made a regulation stop to deny Fondop.

Andy Cannon did send an excellent cross towards the back post, although both Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis were unable to make a connection.

And the Blues were dealt a blow midway through the half, when Brown limped off injured to be replaced by Daniels.

A Harness delivery was nodded back by Curtis as Pompey tried to force a breakthrough, but Naylor could not guide his shot on target.

Instead it was the Brewers who broke the deadlock against the run of play right on the stroke of half-time.

They needed three attempts to force the ball home, though, after a long throw caused havoc in the box.

The first effort from Hayden Carter was brilliantly saved by MacGillivray, while John Brayford’s follow-up header was hacked from the line by Callum Johnson.

But the ball fell for Fondop and, despite tumbling to the turf, the striker managed to hook it into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Burton Albion 1


There were not even two minutes on the clock when the visitors doubled their advantage in impressive style.

Fondop was fouled 30 yards out and the free-kick was laid off for Powell to smash home an unstoppable shot.

Pompey soon made a double switch, as Sean Raggett and Cannon made way for Rasmus Nicolaisen and George Byers.

They continued to dominate possession and spend plenty of time in the opposition half, but struggled to find a path through the defence to test Ben Garratt.

One patient passing move almost yielded a reward, but after spinning inside the area, a deflected Curtis effort looped into the keeper’s arms.

A last throw of the dice from Cowley saw Harvey White and James Bolton replace Naylor and Johnson.

And Bolton showed great desire to nod the ball down for Curtis inside the box, but the forward could not keep his shot down.

Pompey kept probing, but came close to conceding again late on, with MacGillivray doing well to keep out Lucas Akins’ attempt.

But there was hope for the hosts when Close’s deflected pass, looped up for DANIELS to nod home his first goal for the club.

They continued to apply pressure throughout five minutes of added time, but could not find an equaliser.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson (Bolton 73), Whatmough, Raggett (Nicolaisen 53), Brown (Daniels 26); Naylor (c) (White 73), Close; Harness, Cannon (Byers 53), Williams; Curtis
Goals: Daniels 88
Subs not used: Ward, Stanley

Burton (4-2-3-1): Garratt; Brayford (c), Carter, Bostwick, Hamer; Mancienne, Clare (Taylor 83); Powell (Rowe 67), Edwards, Akins; Fondop (Hemmings 67)
Goals: Fondop 45, Powell 47
Booked: Clare
Subs not used: O’Hara, Earl, Broom, O’Toole

Referee: John Busby

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Apr 052021
 


A League 1
Wigan Athletic 0
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)45 %

WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN

Andy Cannon came off the bench to fire home the winner, as Pompey recorded a fourth successive league win for the first time this season.

The midfielder had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he lashed home a fine shot at the start of the second half.

And although their struggling opponents applied plenty of pressure, they were never able to really test Craig MacGillivray in their search for an equaliser.

Danny Cowley unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Rochdale on home soil a few days earlier.

It meant that – with leading marksman John Marquis suspended, and Ellis Harrison and Jordy Hiwula both injured – Ronan Curtis continued to lead the line.

Former Pompey assistant manager Leam Richardson – now in charge of Wigan – named ex-Fratton loanee Viv Solomon-Otabor in his line-up.

The visitors were first to threaten following a quick break up the pitch, but a dangerous Ryan Williams delivery across the face of goal was agonisingly out of reach for Curtis.

Then it was former Latics winger Michael Jacobs’ turn to not quite be able to get on the end of a cross, this time from Callum Johnson.

Both sides were lacking any real attacking fluency, though, in a first half that largely failed to burst into life.

Wigan came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when a Lee Evans free-kick landed kindly at the feet of Curtis Tilt.

The centre-back instinctively prodded the ball towards goal, but it ricocheted off Jack Whatmough and flew narrowly past the post.

Pompey were being pushed back by their relegation-threatened hosts, but there was nothing to trouble MacGillivray between the sticks.

And the Blues almost snatched a goal before the break following good work from Marcus Harness down the right.

He cut the ball back for Williams inside the area and the Australian’s drilled shot was well saved by Jamie Jones down to the keeper’s left.


Half Time

Wigan Athletic 0

Portsmouth 0


Jacobs did not emerge for the start of the second half, with Cannon taking his place and adopting a central role, as Williams moved out to the left.

And the change paid instant dividends, as the newcomer opened the scoring just 36 seconds after the restart.

There did not seem much on when CANNON collected the ball, but he was was given plenty of time to move inside and rifle home an unstoppable 25-yard shot.

Luke Robinson caused problems at the other end, nipping between Tom Naylor and MacGillivray to squeeze the ball into the mixer and forcing Lee Brown to hack clear.

Callum Lang then went down under pressure from Sean Raggett, but referee Tom Nield immediately waved away penalty appeals from the home side.

Wigan were beginning to threaten more and a second change followed for Pompey just past the hour mark, as Ben Close made way for Harvey White.

And Williams almost doubled the visitors’ lead soon after, with Jones making a fine save to prevent Williams from squeezing home a Harness cross from an acute angle.

There was still a distinct lack of quality on display, however, as the action became a particularly scrappy affair.

A nasty clash of heads between Sean Raggett and Lang forced both players off the pitch for the closing stages, with Rasmus Nicolaisen on for Pompey.

Another penalty appeal from the hosts was turned down on 85 minutes, with Nield not impressed by Jamie Proctor’s claims following a Johnson challenge.

There were seven additional minutes for the Latics to try to force a leveller, but Pompey held on to move up to fourth in the standings.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Jones (c); Darikwa, Tilt, Johnston, Robinson; Evans, Aasgaard (Keane 68); Lang (Dodoo 83), Ojo, Solomon-Otabor (Gardner 79); Proctor
Booked: Ojo, Robinson, Tilt
Subs not used: Evans, Long, Whelan, Clough

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett (Nicolaisen 81), Brown; Naylor (c), Close (White 62); Harness (Bolton 88), Williams, Jacobs (Cannon 46); Curtis
Goals: Cannon 46
Booked: Brown
Subs not used: Ward, Daniels, Byers

Referee: Tom Nield

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Apr 022021
 


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Rochdale 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)45 %

WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON

Pompey continued their winning start under Danny Cowley by beating League One’s bottom side Rochdale at Fratton Park.

The damage was done before the break, with Ronan Curtis’ neat finish adding to an early Ryan Williams opener.

Some neat possession play ensured that the visitors were unable to really get into the game and although they had a few moments late on, Craig MacGillivray was rarely troubled.

Jake Beesley did score for Dale deep into stoppage-time, but it proved to be no more than a consolation.

Cowley made one enforced change from the side that had won at Shrewsbury the previous week.

With John Marquis starting a three-match ban, Curtis – back from international duty – took his place up front.

It meant that former Rochdale midfielder Andy Cannon had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

The sun was shining on the south coast and the hosts were basking underneath the blue skies as they took an early lead.

Marcus Harness got into the area and sent a low ball towards the far post, where WILLIAMS was waiting to bundle over the line.

Pompey were passing the ball patiently around the pitch and looking to find another goal, with Harness causing problems with his jinking runs.

It was Michael Jacobs who should have doubled the advantage on 19 minutes, however, scuffing his shot narrowly past the post after being played through by Curtis.

He tried again with an acrobatic effort from a Callum Johnson cross, but was unable to guide the ball on target.

Pompey did have a cushion towards the end of the half, though, as their dominance in possession paid off.

CURTIS collected a pass from Jacobs and advanced into the box before angling a precise low strike right into the bottom corner.

Gavin Bazunu was then alert to gather the ball after Harness had been found by Williams and tried to pick out Curtis.

Rochdale had barely threatened, but a long kick from their keeper sent Beesley through on goal in stoppage-time.

MacGillivray was off his line to deny the forward, however, and Sean Raggett hooked clear the loose ball.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rochdale 0


Pompey did not abandon their passing principles once the action restarted and a nice move down the right provided another opening.

Harness swapped passes with Johnson and found Curtis, whose ball into the middle could not quite be flicked home by Williams.

Lee Brown then picked up possession and his cross-shot was gathered by Bazunu, as Rochdale held on.

The Blues were still controlling both possession and territory, with their opponents causing very few problems.

Bazunu was not having much to deal with at the other end, but the hosts’ healthy lead meant that was not causing much concern.

Cowley freshened things up on 65 minutes, with Tottenham loanee Harvey White coming on for Jacobs.

Rochdale did begin to look a bit more threatening as the contest neared its conclusion and Johnson did well to stop Kwadwo Baah getting a shot away.

The lively Harness made way for Cannon for the closing stages, with Pompey shoring up their midfield.

Charlie Daniels also came on for the tidy Ben Close, as the Blues seemed to be comfortably seeing out the final few moments.

But there were a few nerves when Beesley turned home Alex Newby’s low cross in stoppage-time before the final whistle blew and Pompey could celebrate a third straight win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Daniels 87); Harness (Cannon 82), Williams, Jacobs (White 65); Curtis
Goals: Williams 5, Curtis 37
Booked: Williams
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Byers

Rochdale (3-5-2): Bazunu; O’Connell (c), McShane (Roberts 53), Osho; Keohane (Newby 82), Shaughnessy (Dooley 68), Rathbone, Grant (Morley 53), Done; Beesley, Baah
Goals: Beesley 90+3
Booked: Keohane
Subs not used: Lynch, McNulty, Hopper

Referee: Lee Swabey

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 272021
 


A League 1
Shrewsbury Town 1
Portsmouth 2


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)35 %

WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST

Pompey climbed back into the play-off places after securing a deserved League One victory at Shrewsbury – despite playing a quarter of the contest with just 10 men.

They controlled possession, with goals from Marcus Harness and John Marqus securing a commanding lead at the break.

But Nathanael Ogbeta reduced the hosts’ deficit early in the second half and the Shrews were then given an extra boost.

Marquis was shown a controversial red card for a challenge on Harry Chapman, but the Blues saw the game out with relative ease to ensure the points would be heading back to the south coast.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that beat Ipswich on home soil in his first game in charge the previous week.

There were returns from injury for Marquis and Callum Johnson, while Michael Jacobs and Ben Close also started.

James Bolton and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench, with the injured Jordy Hiwula missing out completely and Ronan Curtis away on international duty.

Former Pompey striker Curtis Main was in the hosts’ line-up, although manager Steve Cotterill was still missing from the dug-out, as he continues his recovery from a Covid-enforced stay in hospital.

In a slow opening to proceedings it was the Shrews who were first to threaten, with Dan Udoh spinning on the edge of the box and firing in a low show that was saved by Craig MacGillivray.

But the Blues soon settled and began to dominate possession, while asking questions of their opponents’ back three.

Close lifted a pass into the mixer, where Ryan Williams rose to deftly flick the ball inches past the post.

Tom Naylor then tried to glance home a corner from Jacobs, but could not get enough on his header to guide it on target.

And the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes after Johnson had played a neat one-two with Williams down the right.

He then laid the ball off for HARNESS, who neatly bent the ball into the side of the net to make the pressure count.

They almost had a second when the ball pinged dangerously around the Shrewsbury box, but Harry Burgoyne denied Williams from point-blank range.

The Blues were on top, though, and unsurprisingly doubled their advantage on 36 minutes, with the impressive Close involved.

He lifted a pass towards Lee Brown at the far post and the left-back sent the ball across the face of goal, with MARQUIS on hand to find the net from a yard out.

Even when the hosts were able to get into Pompey’s area in stoppage-time, Naylor was back to dispossess Ogbeta.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 2


The visitors appeared to be cruising, but conceded a soft goal soon after the restart to allow their opponents back into the contest.

Ogbeta collected the ball on the left and was given far too much space to race towards the edge of the box and stroke a shot into the bottom corner.

Pompey tried to hit back and a dangerous Harness delivery was turned behind, while Marquis was tackled before he could get a strike away.

Harness then cut the ball back from the right and there was another spot of pinball before the hosts was able to clear.

Shrewsbury then threatened at the other end, although Main flicked a Chapman cross straight into MacGillivray’s arms.

But Pompey were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, with Marquis the man to be sent off.

He slid in on Chapman and appeared to win the ball, but also caught the Shrews substitute and referee Benjamin Speedie deemed it dangerous enough to issue a red card.

Cowley made a change shortly afterwards, with Jacobs making way for Cannon to shore up the midfield.

And the lively Close was then replaced by former Shrews defender Charlie Daniels for the closing stages.

Pompey were not being put under too much pressure from their hosts as they attempted to see the contest out.

A display of seven additional minutes might have caused nerves to rise among the visiting ranks, but they held on to celebrate another vital victory.

Shrewsbury (3-4-1-2): Burgoyne; Pennington (Pyke 82), Ebanks-Landell (c), Williams; Sears (Chapman 46), Davis, Vela, Ogbeta; Goss (Whalley 69); Udoh (Edwards 69), Main
Goals: Ogbeta 52
Subs not used: Bevan, Bloxham, Caton

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Daniels 84); Harness, Williams (Nicolaisen 90+5), Jacobs (Cannon 75); Marquis
Goals: Harness 25, Marquis 36
Sent off: Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Byers, White

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 202021
 


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Ipswich Town 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)25 %

WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST

The Danny Cowley era got off to a perfect start, as Pompey battled back to beat Ipswich at Fratton Park.

It looked like more of the same for the Blues, who fell behind to James Norwood’s emphatic first half striker.

But Tom Naylor nodded the hosts back on level terms before the break and Marcus Harness slotted home the winner after it.

Cowley’s first starting line-up saw two changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Peterborough earlier in the week.

Jordy Hiwula and Marcus Harness both returned, with Ben Close and Rasmus Nicolaisen dropping to the bench.

After playing with three at the back against Posh, there was also a switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, with Ryan Williams tucked in behind Hiwula.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition technical area, with Paul Cook and Gary Roberts leading the Tractor Boys.

Ronan Curtis had an early attempt, courtesy of a 35-yard free-kick that was bent over the wall, but comfortably into the arms of Tomas Holy.

There was plenty of noise being generated by both managers, as well as the injured John Marquis up in the South Stand.

It was not a particularly rip-roaring contest on the pitch, though, with both sides showing plenty of energy, but failing to turn that into clear-cut chances.

Ipswich’s first opportunity also came from a free-kick, with Jack Whatmough booked for his challenge on Keanan Bennetts.

Andy Cannon adopted the now popular ‘draught excluder’ technique by laying down flat behind the wall.

Alan Judge bent his strike over it, however, and Craig MacGillivray flung himself to the left to push the ball clear.

But the visitors did break the deadlock soon after, as Norwood raced onto Gwion Edwards’ threaded pass and rifled home.

Pompey quickly fought back, though, and levelled by scoring their first goal in 358 minutes of football.

Curtis whipped a fine corner into the box and NAYLOR rose highest to send a header against the inside of the post and into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Ipswich Town 1


An early long-range attempt from Edwards straight after the restart was easily dealt with by MacGillivray.

The Blues then came close to taking the lead for the first time in what would have been a similar goal to their first.

Naylor again met a corner from Curtis, but this time Holy was able to push the ball away – then stop Sean Raggett from converting the rebound.

Cowley made his first switch just before the hour mark, with Andy Cannon – who had just been booked – making way for Close.

Williams then had a chance after being picked out by Harness following a quick break, but could not keep his angled strike on target.

A second switch followed on 72 minutes, with Michael Jacobs on for Hiwula and Curtis moving up front.

And it was the Republic of Ireland international who provided the pass for Pompey’s second goal a few seconds later.

He sent a low pass across the area and HARNESS’ first shot was blocked by Judge, but the ball landed back at his feet to slam past a helpless Holy.

Pompey looked to keep possession as much as possible in the closing stages, but had two late chances to increase their lead.

Toto Nsiala almost sliced a Harness cross into his own net and then, from the resulting corner, Holy kept out James Bolton’s header from point-blank range.

But the Blues saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to collect a precious three points and ensure the Cowley brothers began their reign with a win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 58); Harness, Williams, Curtis; Hiwula (Jacobs 72)
Goals: Naylor 41, Harness 72
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Cannon, Jacobs
Subs not used: Ward, Mnoga, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Byers

Ipswich (4-2-3-1): Holy; Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson (Vincent-Young 79), Ward; Bishop (Parrott 89), Dozzell; Edwards, Judge (Jackson 79), Bennetts (Dobra 59); Norwood
Goals: Norwood 32
Booked: Edwards, Chambers, Bishop
Subs not used: Cornell, McGuinness, Skuse

Referee: Alan Young

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 162021
 


A League 1
Peterborough United 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)25 %

LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON

Pompey produced a performance full of heart, desire and effort in their League One contest at high-flying Peterborough.

But – in the first game since Kenny Jackett’s departure – it ultimately proved not enough to put a halt to their run of losing form.

An unfortunate Rasmus Nicolaisen own-goal in the first half was enough to secure all three points for Posh.

And although the Blues caused plenty of problems after the break, they were not quite able to force an equaliser.

Caretaker boss Joe Gallen made five changes from the side that were beaten on penalties by Salford in Saturday’s Papa John’s Trophy final.

Andy Cannon returned following a hamstring problem, while Ben Close was handed a first league start in exactly four months.

Nicolaisen, Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis also came into the line-up, as the visitors switched to a 3-1-4-2 system.

Jordy Hiwula, Harvey White, George Byers and Charlie Daniels all dropped to the bench, but an ankle injury forced John Marquis to miss out completely.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the Peterborough team, with former Fratton full-backs Nathan Thompson and Dan Butler both named in their defence.

Pompey looked organised and kept their discipline right from the off, preventing the hosts from being able to test Craig MacGillivray.

Passing football was proving difficult for both sides on a poor pitch that immediately began to cut up even more.

Ryan Williams was looking the most dangerous player for the visitors and had a couple of dangerous runs that ultimately came to nothing.

The Australian forward then sent a dangerous delivery into the box that Curtis could not quite bring under control.

And Thompson then made a key challenge to stop Williams getting a shot away after a long Jack Whatmough throw had been flicked on.

But Posh took the lead in fortunate fashion on 32 minutes, when Harrison Burrows swung in a dangerous corner.

MacGillivray tried to palm the ball away to stop it crossing the line, only for it to hit team-mate Nicolaisen and ricochet into the net.

Pompey’s best chance of the half soon followed, as a fiercely-struck Curtis free-kick was well held by Christy Pym.

There were a couple more half-chances for the visitors as they finished the half with a flourish, but they could not find a leveller.


Half Time

Peterborough United 1

Portsmouth 0


The Blues caused some problems when the action restarted and a deep Brown free-kick had to be nodded behind.

Curtis sent the resulting corner in the box, but James Bolton was unable to keep his header down at the back stick.

And a second set-piece soon followed from the Republic of Ireland international, with Posh failing to clear and Nicolaisen seeing his eventual effort deflected wide.

Whatmough then had a decent chance to level when he rose highest to meet Brown’s free-kick, only to divert the ball well wide.

Gallen made his first switch just past the hour mark, with Marcus Harness providing a fresh attacking option in place of Cannon.

Pompey were looking the more threatening side, but MacGillivray was still called into action keep out an attempt from substitute Mo Eisa.

And the keeper then had to dive to his right to push away an instinctive long-range strike from Louis Reed.

A double switch followed for the visitors, with Sean Raggett and Williams making way for White and Hiwula.

Set-pieces were looking the Blues’ most likely source of an equaliser and another Brown free-kick caused a few problems before Bolton nodded over.

And Tom Naylor did the same when Curtis sent one in from the other side after Mark Beevers had been booked for fouling Harness.

Hiwula then hit a really crisp shot from open play, but the ball flew straight at a grateful Pym, who comfortably held.

And White was the next player who could not keep his header down, this time when Harness swung in a fine cross.

It had been a performance full of endeavour from the Blues, but their opponents did just enough to hold on for victory.

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym; Kent, Thompson, Beevers (c); Ward, Brown, Reed (Mason 83), Butler; Burrows (Blake-Tracy 89); Clarke-Harris, Dembele (Eisa 63)
Goals: Nicolaisen 32 (og)
Booked: Beevers
Subs not used: Gyollai, Barker, Kanu, Jones

Pompey (3-1-4-2): MacGillivray; Whatmough, Raggett (White 73), Nicolaisen; Naylor; Bolton, Close, Cannon (Harness 61), Brown; Curtis, Williams (Hiwula 73)
Booked: Whatmough, White
Subs not used: Ward, Mnoga, Daniels, Byers

Referee: James Oldham

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 132021
 


N EFL Trophy Final
Portsmouth 0
Salford City 0 P


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)30 %

LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN

Pompey failed to become the first side to successfully defend the Papa John’s Trophy after losing on penalties to Salford in the Wembley final.

Ryan Williams and Ronan Curtis both missed from the spot and their League Two opponents made no mistake.

The contest had finished goalless after 120 minutes, with the Ammies controlling the first half, only for the Blues to hit back after the break.

But neither side could find a breakthrough – despite plenty of chances – and Salford kept their nerve in the shoot-out.

Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side beaten by Sunderland in the league earlier in the week.

Andy Cannon and Ellis Harrison missed out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, so in came George Byers and Jordy Hiwula.

The sides emerged to the usual pyrotechnics associated with a cup final, while the national anthem was still belted out.

But Wembley felt even more cavernous without the raucous atmosphere that usually accompanies such an occasion – albeit one that had been postponed a year due to a global pandemic.

It was Salford who settled quicker and the fourth tier side were probably left wondering how they failed to take a lead into the interval.

An early – and fierce – long-range strike from James Wilson had to be beaten away by a diving Craig MacGillivray.

Williams then did enough to put off Ibou Touray, as the wing-back looked to attack Richie Towell’s fine delivery.

And when Brandon Thomas-Asante escaped down the right, he sent in a low angled drive that was brilliantly tipped to safety by MacGillivray.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although the lively Williams looked dangerous when he got on the ball.

Pompey did start to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, but Vaclav Hladky was not being troubled between the Salford sticks.

MacGillivray, meanwhile, was called into action again on 26 minutes after Wilson had turned Touray’s centre towards the target.

And the keeper made an even better stop after Jordan Turnbull had spun sharply and sent in a thunderous strike.

Hladky was finally called into action moments later, although Williams’ deflected attempt seemed like it would have flashed past the post.

The Ammies were still looking more likely to break the deadlock, however, and a sliding Ash Hunter was inches away from connecting when Wilson stole possession and sent the ball across the face of goal.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Salford City 0


Jackett, unsurprisingly, decided to make changes at the break and took advantage of the extra substitutions now available by making a triple switch.

Hiwula, Harvey White and Charlie Daniels all made way, as Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Lee Brown were brought on, with a shift to a 4-2-3-1 system.

And Curtis made an instant impact, racing onto a long Jack Whatmough pass and forcing a stop from Hladky just seconds after the restart.

Pompey were certainly playing with a lot more confidence, although John Marquis dragged his shot past the post.

Salford were still providing threats of their own, however, with Wilson causing some problems in the Blues back-line.

But there was certainly pressure being applied by the men from Hampshire and it was just that crucial final ball that was lacking.

They went so close to falling behind on 67 minutes, though, with MacGillivray coming to the rescue once again.

He somehow denied Ash Eastham from point-blank range after the Salford skipper had met Touray’s free-kick.

MacGillivray then kept out a 20-yard attempt from Wilson and leapt on the loose ball before Thomas-Asante could capitalise.

Another substitution followed from Jackett on 73 minutes, with Ben Close given a chance to impress in place of Byers.

And his cross soon found Curtis in acres of space inside the area, only for the forward to get his acrobatic scissor kick wrong and watch the ball fly wide.

Pompey were searching for a late winner and when James Bolton’s scuffed effort was partially cleared, Harness sent the ball back into the box.

It found Brown in space and he tried to place a shot into the bottom corner, but the ball rolled narrowly past the post.

Both sides came close to finding a goal before the final whistle, with MacGillivray keeping out Bruno Andrade’s far-post header.

The Blues went straight up the other end and a stretching Marquis was not able to connect with Curtis’ cross.

But neither side could make that breakthrough inside 90 minutes and so the tie went into extra-time.

After 90 Minutes: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey had a chance soon after the restart when Close cut the ball back for Curtis, but his shot was blocked before it could reach the target.

And they had a better chance just before the interval when Curtis lifted a pass into the area and Salford failed to get it clear.

It fell for Williams and his fierce strike was parried by Hladky, with an almighty scramble following before the keeper finally dived on the loose ball.

Marquis was then found in the area by Curtis, but Tom Clarke did enough to force the striker to fire wide.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Jackett made a fifth change during the brief extra-time interval, with Michael Jacobs on for Marquis and Curtis moving up front.

Salford were next to threaten and when their opponents could only partially clear, Jason Lowe dragged a shot wide.

Tom Naylor had a chance at the other end, but he could not force the ball through a sea of bodies after Jacobs’ corner had been nodded back by Whatmough.

Pompey were doing their best to avoid a shoot-out, but both Curtis and Close could not get shots through the defence to test Hladky.

And when Williams sent a low delivery across the face of goal, none of his team-mates could get that vital touch.

After Extra Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey got off to a terrible start in the shoot-out, with Williams sending his effort over the bar and Curtis being denied by Hladky.

And although Brown and Sean Raggett both emphatically found the target, it ultimately counted for nothing.

Salford scored all four of their penalties – taken by Luke Burgess, Mani Dieseruvwe, Thomas-Asante and Lowe – to ensure they would lift the Papa John’s Trophy for the first time.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels (Brown 46); Williams, Naylor (c), Byers (Close 73), White (Curtis 46); Marquis (Jacobs 106), Hiwula (Harness 46)
Booked: Bolton, Naylor, Brown
Subs not used: Ward, Nicolaisen

Salford (3-4-3): Hladky; Clarke (Loughlan 115), Eastham (c), Turnbull; Lowe, Towell (Dieseruvwe 99), Threlkeld, Touray; Thomas-Asante, Wilson (Burgess 87), Hunter (Andrade 74)
Booked: Towell, Lowe, Touray
Subs not used: Evans, Fielding, Hawkins

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 092021
 


H League 1
Portsmouth 0
Sunderland 2


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)40 %

LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON

Pompey’s run of poor results continued as they were beaten by in-form Sunderland in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Fratton Park.

And the hosts were once again in a generous mood at the back, leaving Charlie Wyke free to head an early opener and then gifting Jordan Jones another goal after the break.

There was certainly plenty of endeavour on display from the Blues, but they were unable to test Black Cats keeper Lee Burge.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that were comprehensively beaten at Northampton at the weekend.

Ellis Harrison came in to partner John Marquis up front, while there were also returns for James Bolton, Charlie Daniels, Harvey White and Ryan Williams.

Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness, Lee Brown and Rasmus Nicolaisen all dropped to the bench, with George Byers missing out completely.

Both sides took a while to get a feel of each other in the opening stages, although Williams sent in some dangerous early deliveries.

But it was the visitors who were the first to properly threaten and Craig MacGillivray flew to his left to keep out Aiden McGeady’s swerving long-range strike.

And Sunderland took the lead from the resulting corner, as Wyke broke away from his marker to head home Jones’ corner.

Harrison was unable to keep his header down after meeting a flag-kick from White a few minutes later.

And Williams thought he should have won a penalty after going down in the box, only for referee David Rock to award the decision against him.

The Australian winger then showed some neat footwork, cutting in from the right and playing a cute pass through to Marquis, who shot wide.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut opportunities at either end of the pitch, despite both teams showing plenty of endeavour.

Pompey might have levelled in stoppage-time, but Marquis could not quite make a connection after Tom Naylor had played a one-two with Williams and delivered a cross.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 1


It was a fairly circumspect start to proceedings following the restart, with the game still lacking a real spark.

There was certainly nothing to suggest that either side could add to the scoring, which obviously suited the visitors more than the Blues.

But a goal did arrive just before the hour mark and it was an absolute gift that allowed the Black Cats to double their lead.

It came from a Pompey throw, with Andy Cannon trying to play a cross-field pass for Sean Raggett, only for Jones to nip in and steal the ball before neatly lifting it home.

Jackett had been preparing a double change beforehand, with Harrison and White withdrawn for Curtis and a fit-again Michael Jacobs.

Raggett soon met a Daniels corner with a flick that was blocked, as the hosts tried to find a route back into the contest.

But Sunderland came close to a third goal on 76 minutes, with Wyke poised to poke in a loose ball from a yard out, only for MacGillivray to snatch it from him.

There was further bad news for the Blues soon after, as Cannon went down injured and limped from the field to be replaced by Harness.

And despite producing plenty of effort, the hosts never really looked like finding the goal that would spark hope of a comeback, although results elsewhere ensured they at least remained in the top six.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels; Williams, Naylor (c), Cannon (Harness 78), White (Jacobs 59); Marquis, Harrison (Curtis 59)
Subs not used: Ward, Nicolaisen, Brown, Hiwula

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Burge; Power (c), Sanderson, O’Nien, McFadzean; Winchester, Scowen; Jones (Maguire 80), O’Brien (Flanagan 60), McGeady (Gooch 86); Wyke
Goals: Wyke 13, Jones 58
Booked: Sanderson
Subs not used: Matthews, Vokins, Neil, Diamond

Referee: David Rock

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 062021
 


A League 1
Northampton Town 4
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)40 %

LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON LOST

Pompey’s run of poor form continued as they were comprehensively beaten by relegation-threatened Northampton at Sixfields Stadium.

All of the home side’s goals arrived in the first half and showcased a mixture of neat finishing and sloppy defending.

Ryan Watson bagged a brace in quick succession, with Fraser Horsfall and Sam Hoskins adding to the Blues’ misery.

They did at least improve after the interval and substitute Ellis Harrison grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that were beaten at fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster earlier in the week.

George Byers was handed his second start for the club, with John Marquis, Andy Cannon and Lee Brown all returning.

Harvey White, Harrison and Charlie Daniels joined a fit-again James Bolton on the bench, while Haji Mnoga missing out completely with a groin injury.

It meant a switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, with Byers in the ‘number 10’ role behind Marquis and Jack Whatmough deputising at right-back.

Northampton were forced to rest midfielder Bryn Morris, who was unable to feature against his parent club.

Pompey started quite brightly and Jonathan Mitchell had to prevent Peter Kioso from heading a Byers delivery into his own net.

And the on-loan Swansea player then sent in another cross that was met by Marquis, only for Horsfall to make a block.

But the Blues soon capitulated in horrendous fashion, conceding four goals in the space of under 25 minutes.

The first was, in fairness, an impressive finish from Watson, who curled home a fine free-kick from 25 yards after Cannon had fouled Mickel Miller.

And the second arrived just a few moments later, as a corner from Miller was nodded home by Watson at the far post.

Marquis soon raced through and found the net at the other end, but the flag had already been raised for offside.

It was the hosts looking more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Craig MacGillivray beat away a fierce Hoskins strike at his near post.

But he was unable to collect the resulting corner from Miller, allowing Horsfall to bundle the ball over the line from close range.

MacGillivray was certainly being kept busy and did well to tip an acrobatic effort from Ryan Edmondson over the crossbar.

But when he then charged out of his area to head clear, the ball landed straight at the feet of Hoskins.

He lifted it over the back-pedalling keeper and into the net, although Edmondson charged in to make sure it was definitely over the line.

Pompey had a chance to reduce their deficit just before the break, but Sean Raggett could not quite find the target after Cannon’s scuffed effort had fallen for him inside the box.


Half Time

Northampton Town 4

Portsmouth 0


The visitors had controlled possession before the break and that continued once the action restarted.

But for all their domination of the ball, there was little happening for the Blues in the final third of the pitch.

And Jackett responded by doing something never before seen in a competitive Pompey match – a quadruple substitution.

Marquis, Byers, Ronan Curtis and Rasmus Nicolaisen were the players to make way, as Harrison, Jordy Hiwula, White and Bolton came on.

Hiwula soon had an opportunity to pull a goal back for the visitors, flashing an angled shot narrowly wide.

The changes certainly livened the Blues up, although they were still unable to properly test Mitchell between the sticks.

But they were given a chance to get on the scoresheet when some neat footwork by White drew a clumsy challenge by Horsfall inside the area.

HARRISON stepped up to take the spot-kick and his shot was powerful enough to find the net, despite Mitchell getting a hand on the ball.

And although Pompey spent the remainder of the contest camped out in the opposition half, they were unable to find another goal.

Northampton (4-2-3-1): Mitchell; Kioso, Horsfall, Jones, Mills (c) (Harriman 68); Sowerby, McWilliams (Rose 75); Hoskins, Watson, Miller; Edmondson
Goals: Watson 20, 23, Horsfall 32, Hoskins 43
Booked: Miller, Mitchell
Subs not used: Arnold, Marshall, Korboa, Chukwuemeka, Jones

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Whatmough, Raggett, Nicolaisen (Bolton 59), Brown; Naylor (c), Cannon; Harness, Byers (White 59), Curtis (Hiwula 59); Marquis (Harrison 59)
Goals: Harrison 73 (pen)
Booked: Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Daniels, Williams

Referee: Andy Haines

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 022021
 


A League 1
Doncaster Rovers 2
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)40 %

LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON LOST LOST

Pompey dropped a place to fifth in the League One standings after losing to fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster, despite a late rally at the Keepmoat Stadium.

An early goal from Reece James was all that separated the sides at the break and the Blues looked much more of a threat in the second half.

But they were unable to take their chances and a finish from Rovers substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie seemingly ended their hopes.

John Marquis reduced the deficit deep into stoppage-time, however, and the visitors almost managed to force home an equaliser with the last kick of the ball.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Gillingham on home soil at the weekend.

Jack Whatmough and Charlie Daniels both returned to the starting line-up, as Andy Cannon and Lee Brown dropped to the bench.

It led to a switch to a 3-4-1-2 system, with Marcus Harness floating just behind the front two of Ellis Harrison and Ronan Curtis.

There was a familiar face in the opposition team, with former Pompey loanee Omar Bogle leading the attack.

It was almost a dream start for the visitors, who came close to taking the lead with just 15 seconds on the clock.

They stole possession from the kick-off and a cross from Harrison was brought down by Curtis, who turned in the box and fired a shot inches past the post.

Doncaster hit back almost immediately and Brad Halliday angled the ball narrowly wide following good work from the evergreen James Coppinger.

And the hosts did forge ahead on 12 minutes, when Haji Mnoga was unable to cut out John Bostock’s pass and James raced through to score.

It was certainly a lively opening – a bit too much for referee Ross Joyce, who showed yellow cards to Jon Taylor and Harness for late challenges.

Jack Whatmough had an opportunity to level when Daniels’ deep free-kick was nodded down, but could not keep his effort down.

Pompey thought they should have won a penalty midway through the first half after Mnoga received the ball back from Harness and went down in the box under Tom Anderson’s challenge.

The Rovers skipper certainly looked relieved when Joyce shook his head to dismiss the teenager’s appeals.

They were forced to make a change soon after, with Taylor getting injured by a crunching – yet fair – challenge from Sean Raggett.

Bostock tried to double the home team’s advantage with an ambitious strike from 35 yards that was well held by Craig MacGillivray.

But the Blues finished the half with a flourish, with an attempt from Harness deflected wide before a Harrison header was claimed by keeper Louis Jones.

And Harrison was inches away from connecting with a fine Curtis delivery in stoppage-time, only for an apparent flick by Anderson to deny him.


Half Time

Doncaster Rovers 1

Portsmouth 0


Jackett made a double switch at the interval, with Mnoga and Curtis taken off and replaced by Cannon and Marquis.

It meant a more traditional 4-4-2 formation for the Blues, albeit with Whatmough filling in at right-back.

The latter soon received a fine return pass from Harvey White, but his low ball into the centre was intercepted and cleared by Bostock.

White was looking much more assured and a stinging drive from the edge of the area just cleared the angle of post and bar.

Marquis then thought he got a push as he tried to reach a teasing low Whatmough cross, but Joyce disagreed.

And the striker soon bundled ball and keeper into the net after Rasmus Nicolaisen had nodded Daniels’ free-kick towards the target, with a foul awarded against the striker.

Pompey continued to knock at the door and the hosts were relieved to see the ball land safe when Joe Wright and Jones made a mess of dealing with White’s cross.

Instead it was the visitors who scored against the run of play on 70 minutes, courtesy of a fine finish from Okenabirhie, who somehow forced a shot home from the tightest of angles.

Brown immediately replaced Daniels, but it was a cross from Harness that was agonisingly out of reach for Marquis just moments later.

Jordy Hiwula was the latest player introduced, coming on for Harrison to offer some fresh legs to the attacking line.

It was clearly not Pompey’s night, however, and the was best summed up in the closing stages when an on target Cannon strike was deflected wide by team-mate White.

But they did have something to show for their efforts in the fourth minute of added time, as MARQUIS met Harness’ cross, spun sharply and neatly found the net.

And they almost grabbed an unlikely leveller with the last kick off the ball, but White could not quite force the ball home in a packed box.

Doncaster (4-2-3-1): Jones; Halliday, Wright, Anderson (c), James; Bostock (Robertson 64), Smith; Taylor (Okenabirhie 28), Coppinger (Richards 76), Sims (Lokilo 64); Bogle
Goals: James 12, Okenabirhie 70
Booked: Taylor, Smith
Subs not used: Balcombe, John, Greaves

Pompey (3-4-1-2): MacGillivray; Whatmough, Raggett, Nicolaisen; Mnoga (Marquis 46), Naylor (c), White, Daniels (Brown 70); Harness; Curtis (Cannon 46), Harrison (Hiwula 76)
Goals: Marquis 90+4
Booked: Harness, Nicolaisen, Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Byers, Williams

Referee: Ross Joyce

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Feb 272021
 


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Gillingham 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)50 %

DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON

Pompey dropped more League One points at Fratton Park after being held to a draw by mid-table Gillingham.

They forged ahead through Sean Raggett’s header, only for some sloppy defending to gift Vadaine Oliver a leveller before the interval.

Both sides had chances to secure victory, but failure to take them was – taking into account the sides’ respective positions in the table – more costly for the hosts.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that won at in-form Oxford earlier in the week.

Callum Johnson missed out with a calf injury, so Haji Mnoga came in for just his second league start for the club.

It meant that Ronan Curtis continued to be used as a striker, partnering Ellis Harrison in a 4-4-2 system.

There was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, with former Fratton loanee Stuart O’Keefe starting for the Gills, while John Akinde was named among the substitutes.

It did not take long for the game to explode into life, with the hosts going close to breaking the deadlock after breaking quickly up the pitch from a corner.

Andy Cannon and Harvey White combined to find Curtis and he slipped a pass across to Marcus Harness, whose effort came back off the post.

Harness then tried to convert a dangerous Curtis delivery from wide on the left, but could only hook the ball over.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Craig MacGillivray did well to adjust his body and save when Connor Ogilvie’s header deflected off Curtis.

There were appeals for a penalty at the other end after Raggett and Rasmus Nicolaisen both tried to attack a corner.

Neither could make a clean connection, though, with the ball bouncing up and striking the arm of Tom O’Connor, but referee Tim Robinson decided any contact was accidental.

Pompey were looking the more likely side to open the scoring and Jack Bonham got down to save after Harrison met White’s cross.

The duo reversed roles a few minutes later and this time a well-struck effort from White was again kept out by the Gills keeper.

And the Blues did finally make the breakthrough on 32 minutes, as Harness skinned Ogilvie and sent the ball into the box.

RAGGETT timed his run to perfection, racing into the centre to stoop and send a header past the helpless Bonham.

But Gillingham hit back to draw level before the break – and it was a poor goal for the hosts to concede.

Lee Brown tried to chest the ball back to MacGillivray, but his touch was not strong enough, allowing Oliver to nip in and score.

There was still time for both sides to carve open another great opportunity before the whistle below.

Curtis showed a neat touch to bring the ball down inside the box and drill in a low shot that was again kept out by the impressive Bonham.

And MacGillivray then kept out a thunderous Olly Lee effort moments later, with Raggett on hand to do the mopping up.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Gillingham 1


Pompey came tearing out of the blocks and Jack Tucker made a key interception when Harrison tried to play a cute pass through to Curtis.

Head physio Bobby Bacic was then kept busy, having to enter the pitch to treat Harrison and Nicolaisen in quick succession following collisions.

Pompey had the ball in the back of the net just before the hour mark, when Brown beat Jordan Graham and squared for Harrison to slot home.

But the hosts were furious that Robinson decided the left-back had fouled his man and awarded a free-kick.

That was the last touch of the ball for Harrison, with Jackett deciding to replace him up front with John Marquis.

The Blues were trying to force their way through and an effort from White was pushed behind by Bonham.

Then, from the resulting corner, the keeper beat away Tom Naylor’s angled header, with the loose ball not landing for Raggett at the back stick.

But the hosts had fallen a bit flat as the action progressed and were looking for an attacking spark to get them back on track.

Instead it was their opponents who might have scored on 78 minutes, with Oliver unable to keep his header down from a Graham cross.

A second switch soon followed for Pompey, with Ryan Williams adding some fresh legs in place of Curtis.

And after Mnoga was booked for a clumsy challenge on Ogilvie, Jackett also decided to swap the teenager for Jack Whatmough.

There were half-chances for Tom O’Connor and Kyle Dempsey, as Gillingham tried to snatch a late winner.

The best fell to Akinde deep into stoppage-time, with the striker racing through as Pompey committed men forward, only for MacGillivray to come off his line and make a key save.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Mnoga (Whatmough 85), Raggett, Nicolaisen, Brown; Harness, Naylor (c), Cannon, White; Curtis (Williams 79), Harrison (Marquis 59)
Goals: Raggett 32
Booked: Mnoga
Subs not used: Ward, Daniels, Byers, Hiwula

Gillingham (4-4-2): Bonham; Jackson, Cundy, Tucker, Ogilvie; Graham, Dempsey (c), O’Keefe, O’Connor; Lee (Akinde 73), Oliver
Goals: Oliver 40
Booked: O’Keefe
Subs not used: Bastien, McKenzie, Morton, Johnson, Woods, Willock

Referee: Tim Robinson

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21