Match Report

Jan 112020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey beat AFC Wimbledon to ensure the first Fratton fixture of the new decade was one to celebrate.

They dominated for much of the contest and Marcus Harness’ fine finish ensured the Blues deservedly led at the break.

Joe Pigott levelled in the second half, but John Marquis came off the bench to put the hosts back into the lead.

And the Dons had to see out the closing stages with just 10 men after substitute Scott Wagstaff was dismissed for two bookable offences in quick succession.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Gillingham in the last League One outing.

Cameron McGeehan came straight into the starting line-up after completing his loan switch from Barnsley earlier in the week.

Fellow January arrival Steve Seddon also made his Fratton bow, while Andy Cannon was the other player to return.

Ben Close and Gareth Evans both dropped to the bench, with Anton Walkes having departed for America.

There was also a welcome return to the bench for Jack Whatmough after almost a year out with a knee injury.

The first half was a pretty one-sided affair – in favour of the hosts – although it did take a bit of time to get going.

And it was actually the Dons who were first to threaten when a corner found its way through to Rod McDonald, with the defender turning sharply and firing just past the post.

Pompey soon began to hit their stride, however, and debutant McGeehan drilled a low-range effort narrowly wide.

There was concern among the Fratton faithful when Harness went down with a knock and had to receive treatment on the pitch.

But the winger was soon back up on his feet and, just a few moments later, gave the Blues a deserved lead.

It was a quick move through the middle that began with Sean Raggett stepping up confidently to win the ball.

He slipped a neat pass through to Cannon, who burst forward and laid the ball off for HARNESS to lash into the net.

Pompey continued to dominate possession and enjoy territorial advantage as the action progressed, although more clear-cut chances were eluding them.

Harness was looking the most dangerous attacking player and dragged one effort wide, then hit a dipping long-range shot over the bar.

AFC Wimbledon, meanwhile, lost one of their key men, as striker Marcus Forss pulled up while chasing the ball and limped down the tunnel.

It was the hosts still looking more likely to add to the scoring and Terell Thomas bravely blocked strikes from McGeehan and Harness in quick succession.

A Ronan Curtis corner was then weakly punched by Nathan Trott and there was panic in the Dons defence before the ball was finally cleared.

The Republic of Ireland international also delivered a free-kick from the left that was headed back across goal by Raggett, with a stretching Harness not quite able to make a firm connection.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

AFC Wimbledon 0


It was the Blues who had the first opening once the action restarted, as Harrison fed the ball to Curtis.

He took the ball into space and hit a fierce effort that Trott did well to divert over the bar, with the keeper then getting to Seddon’s corner before Christian Burgess could connect.

There was also a flag-kick for the Dons that a sliding McDonald could only turn into the side netting at the far post.

But it had been a quiet afternoon for Alex Bass between the sticks, so it was somewhat of a surprise when the visitors levelled just past the hour mark.

Pompey were caught out at the back by a quick break and Mitch Pinnock delivered a fine cross for Pigott to convert from close range.

That gave the Londoners a lift and Bass had to claim Pigott’s looping header from Nesta Guinness-Walker’s centre.

Jackett responded with a double switch, as Marquis and a fit-again Brandon Haunstrup replaced Cannon and James Bolton.

And it was the former who restored the home side’s lead on 79 minutes to get Fratton rocking once more.

Harness picked out Curtis with a cross-field pass and the winger’s superb cross was deftly headed home by MARQUIS.

It soon got even worse for the Dons, as Wagstaff – who had only been on the pitch for 13 minutes – fouled Seddon to collect his second booking.

They still tried to apply some late pressure in the search of another equaliser, but Pompey saw out five minutes of stoppage-time.

And they probably should have given the scoreline a gloss, but Marquis could not beat Trott after being sent racing clear.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (Haunstrup 71), Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; McGeehan, Naylor (c); Harness, Cannon (Marquis 71), Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Harness 20, Marquis 79
Booked: Cannon
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Close, Evans, Hawkins

AFC Wimbledon (3-5-2): Trott; O’Neill, Thomas, McDonald; McLoughlin (Wagstaff 71), Hartigan, Sanders, Reilly, Guinness-Walker; Pigott (c), Forss (Pinnock 36)
Goals: Pigott 62
Sent off: Wagstaff (two yellow cards)
Booked: Reilly, O’Neill
Subs not used: McDonnell, Sorensen, Biler, Osew, Wood

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 18,417 (836 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 072020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Leasing.com Trophy




Goals from John Marquis and Ellis Harrison ensured Pompey continued their defence of the Leasing.com Trophy with victory at Walsall in the third round.

Marquis opened the scoring in the first half with a goal that was remarkably similar to the one netted at Fleetwood on Saturday.

Elijah Adebayo should have levelled from the spot just before the interval, but saw his penalty well saved by Craig MacGillivray.

Ellis Harrison came off the bench to give the Blues a late cushion against their League Two opponents.

But the Saddlers were awarded another penalty that was converted by Caolan Lavery to ensure a nervy finale for the competition holders.

Kenny Jackett made seven changes from the side that progressed in the FA Cup with victory at Highbury Stadium.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild came straight into the starting line-up after completing his transfer from Bromley the previous day.

Teenage defender Haji Mnoga made his first appearance of the season, while MacGillivray returned between the sticks.

Gareth Evans was handed the captain’s armband, with Paul Downing, Ben Close and Oli Hawkins also recalled.

The only players to keep their spot from the Highbury success were Christian Burgess – moved to left-back – Sean Raggett, Marcus Harness and Marquis.

It was a slow start to the contest played at a sparsely-populated Bescot Stadium, although there were eventually opportunities at both ends.

Marquis dragged an early effort wide, while counterpart Adebayo saw a header comfortably dealt with by MacGillivray.

The first decent chance fell to the Pompey forward, who swapped passes with Hawkins and saw a low drive kept out by Liam Roberts.

Adebayo was looking particularly dangerous for the hosts, but was unable to convert crosses from Cameron Norman and Cameron Pring

Roberts then denied Marquis again midway through the first half after Hawkins had provided a neat pass.

But the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, which was whipped menacingly into the box by Evans.

Burgess met the ball at the far post and sent it arrowing towards the net, with MARQUIS on hand to slam it over the line from a few yards out.

There was an opportunity for Hawkins to double the lead, although he fired over after Marquis had laid off a fine Evans delivery.

It looked as though Hackett-Fairchild’s debut was going to come to a premature end on 36 minutes when he went down clutching his ankle.

The forward received treatment on the side of the pitch, but was eventually able to rejoin the action – and soon collected the first booking of the evening.

Walsall were handed an excellent chance to get back on level terms in stoppage-time when Raggett challenged Rory Gaffney in the box

Referee Anthony Backhouse had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, although the Blues defender was adamant he had won the ball.

It mattered not, though, as MacGillivray got down low to his left to palm Adebayo’s penalty to safety.

The Saddlers also went close from the resulting corner, which saw James Clarke’s header cleared from the line and Backhouse ignoring handball appeals.


Half Time

Walsall 0

Portsmouth 1


There was not a lot of goalmouth action to excite the crowd once the action restarted, with dangerous forays from both sides breaking down.

Long-range attempts from both Rory Holden and Burgess flew well off target, as the game drifted along.

But Mnoga showed good awareness to nip in and halt one Walsall attack, then embarked on a surging run that drew a foul.

The hosts made a double change on 56 minutes, with former Fratton loanee Lavery one of the men to make an entrance.

He soon tired his luck with an attempt from the edge of the area, only to see the ball bend out of play.

Jackett then made two changes of his own, as Hackett-Fairchild and Mnoga made way for Steve Seddon and Tom Naylor.

Clear-cut chances were still at a premium, although Roberts kept out a neat Hawkins flick from Seddon’s cross.

That was the striker’s last meaningful contribution to the contest, as he was replaced by Harrison for the final 20 minutes.

Some last-gasp defending saw Marquis and Evans denied in quick succession and from the resulting corner, Burgess thudded a header over.

The flag then stayed down when Lavery was sent racing through at the other end, but the striker blazed over the bar.

Pompey were looking the more threatening side as the game neared its conclusion, though, and the win was seemingly wrapped up on 82 minutes.

Seddon delivered a fine cross from the right and fellow substitute HARRISON nodded home to double the advantage.

But Walsall soon had a route back into the tie when Holden went down under Downing’s challenge and Backhouse again pointed to the spot.

This time it was Lavery who stepped up to take the penalty and he sent MacGillivray the wrong way to reduce the home side’s deficit.

That audibly lifted the home supporters, who sensed a comeback was on the cards, but the Blues held on to book their place in Thursday’s quarter-final draw.

Walsall (3-5-2): Roberts; Clarke (c), Scarr (McDonald 56), Jules; Norman, Holden, Perry, Kinsella, Pring; Gaffney (Lavery 56), Adebayo (Willis 73)
Goals: Lavery 86 (pen)
Booked: Perry
Subs not used: Rose, Roberts, Foulkes, Bates

Pompey (4-4-1-1): MacGillivray; Mnoga (Seddon 63), Downing, Raggett, Burgess; Harness, Evans (c), Close, Hackett-Fairchild (Naylor 63); Marquis; Hawkins (Harrison 71)
Goals: Marquis 23, Harrison 82
Booked: Hackett-Fairchild
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Casey, Cannon

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 1,082 (226 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 042020
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 3




Goals from James Bolton and John Marquis ensured Pompey won at Fleetwood to reach the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup for a second successive season.

There was little to separate the League One promotion hopefuls before the break at a chilly Highbury Stadium.

But the visitors were more clinical in a rain-soaked second half and James Bolton arrived at the far post to open his Blues account.

John Marquis added a second in similar fashion soon after and Conor McAleny’s stoppage-time effort proved no more than a consolation.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that collected a point at Gillingham on New Year’s Day.

Loan signing Steve Seddon went straight into the starting line-up following his arrival from Birmingham on Thursday.

There were also returns for both Marquis and Andy Cannon, with Gareth Evans, Ben Close and Ellis Harrison dropping to the bench.

With Seddon slotting in at left-back, the versatile Anton Walkes moved up to join skipper Tom Naylor in the midfield engine room.

The game – as with all third round fixtures – began one minute late to give everyone the chance to think about looking after their mental health.

There was an early chance for the visitors once the action started, with Bolton looping a header narrowly wide following good work down the left by Marcus Harness.

Marquis then cried for a penalty after going down in a challenge for the ball with Ashley Eastham, although referee Marc Edwards ignored his appeals.

It was generally a slow opening to the contest, however, with neither keeper being called into action.

There were fears for Wes Burns when a clearance from Seddon smacked into his head from point-blank range, but the winger was quickly back on his feet.

On a cold evening on the Fylde coast, there were only half-chances to excite the travelling fans, with a fierce volley from Cannon fizzing not too far off target.

But the action intensified as time progressed and a passage of patient passing play from Pompey ended with the lively Harness drawing a save from Alex Cairns.

Paddy Madden’s effort was then comfortably stopped by Alex Bass at the other end, while an attempt from Marquis was blocked by Harry Souttar.

The quick feet of Harness were causing problems for the hosts and after racing across the six-yard box, he could only find the side netting.

Fleetwood were seeing plenty of the ball, but not really testing Bass, although a Josh Morris free-kick was diverted narrowly over his own bar by Marquis.

The visitors won a set-piece themselves before the break and Seddon’s delivery was nodded off target by Sean Raggett.


Half Time

Fleetwood Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The rain was falling when the sides returned after the break, but clear-cut openings continued to be at a premium.

Bass dealt with a dangerous Burns cross, while Christian Burgess’ block denied Cod Army left-back Danny Andrew.

It then took a perfectly-timed challenge in the box from Harry Souttar to stop Cannon from Converting Marquis’ threaded pass.

The contest was lacking quality in the final third, although a delivery from the impressive Harness caused problems as it bounced around the box before being hacked clear.

And another cross – this time from Curtis – led to the Blues finally breaking the deadlock on 66 minutes.

Fleetwood failed to deal with the danger and the ball appeared to get flicked on inside a packed box before BOLTON bundled it over the line from a yard out.

There probably should have been an immediate leveller, but an unmarked Madden scooped high over the bar from Burns’ cut-back.

Pompey quickly made them pay, as Seddon’s corner was headed powerfully back across goal by Burgess and MARQUIS converted at the back post.

The hosts were trying to find a route back into the tie, but some more wasteful finishing from Madden was proving costly.

Seddon was replaced by Close – making his 150th Blues appearance – late on, as Jackett introduced some fresh legs.

Fleetwood were given hope in stoppage-time, as a strike from substitute McAleny took a deflection to beat Bass.

That caused hearts to flutter in the away end of Highbury, but the Blues saw out the closing stages to secure their progress.

Fleetwood (4-4-2): Cairns; Coyle, Eastham (McAleny 83), Souttar, Andrew; Burns, Coutts (c) (Sowerby 72), Dempsey, Morris; Madden (Saunders 81), Evans
Goals: McAleny 90+1
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Gilks, Hill, Biggins, Garner

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon (Close 81); Naylor (c), Walkes; Harness, Cannon, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Bolton 66, Marquis 72
Booked: Raggett, Walkes
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Evans, Hawkins, Pitman, Harrison

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 2,145 (525 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 012020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey were denied a winning start to the new decade after Gillingham grabbed a late equaliser at Priestfield.

Gareth Evans had given the Blues a deserved lead after being restored to the side for the New Year’s Day encounter.

But their hosts improved after the interval and Alex Jakubiak came off the bench to earn them a share of the spoils.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that were beaten at MK Dons in the final fixture of 2019.

Alex Bass was handed a rare start between the sticks, while Evans also returned, as Craig MacGillivray and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench.

In a scrappy opening to the contest, it was the hosts – who had won their past seven Priestfield fixtures – who were first to threaten.

An acrobatic overhead effort from skipper Max Ehmer was bravely blocked by his counterpart Tom Naylor.

Then, after a long throw had found its way across to Oliver Lee in the box – a cleanly-struck effort was well saved by Bass.

But the Blues soon began to look more threatening and, certainly in terms of chances created, dominated the rest of the half.

A free-kick from Evans was nodded straight up in the air by Christian Burgess and unconvincingly punched away by Jack Bonham.

That led to a scramble in the box and when the ball eventually landed for Evans, the keeper made amends with a smart stop.

It was an impressive opening for the recalled Evans, who had another opportunity to break the deadlock on 18 minutes.

He nipped in to get on the end of James Bolton’s low cross following a neat one-two with Marcus Harness, but Ehmer blocked his shot and Barry Fuller hacked the loose ball to safety.

It was Harness who was next to try his luck after an intended pass for Ellis Harrison rebounded back into his path, with Bonham getting down to save the resulting attempt.

Gillingham were doing little to test Bass and Connor Ogilvie nodded Lee’s corner wide at the near post.

But it was Pompey who forged ahead on 36 minutes and it was no surprise that the lively EVANS got the all-important goal.

He raced into the middle of the area to meet a low delivery from Harness and lash the ball into the roof of the net.

The hosts came close to levelling late in the half after former Fratton loanee Stuart O’Keefe charged into the box and hit a fierce strike against the crossbar.

Pompey then had the ball in the net again in stoppage-time, as Bonham and Curtis both rose to meet Naylor’s up and under.

The keeper dropped the ball against his opponent and saw it roll into the net, but referee Alan Young awarded a free-kick against the Irish winger.


Half Time

Gillingham 0

Portsmouth 1


Gillingham looked much brighter once the action restarted and Naylor did well to head Tom O’Connor’s corner to safety.

Barry Fuller then sent a dangerous deep cross into the box and Ehmer’s angled shot was well saved by Bass.

The keeper also kept out Mikael Mandron’s attempt from long-range, although that was a more comfortable stop for the academy graduate.

Pompey looked dangerous on the break, though, and when Bonham flapped at an Anton Walkes cross, Naylor sent the loose ball narrowly past the post.

It was all getting rather frantic, with the action quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.

Brandon Hanlan was allowed to run at the Blues back-line on 67 minutes, although his drilled effort was easily gathered by Bass.

A corner from Evans then gave the visitors a chance to double the lead, with Ellis Harrison’s improvised flick going just wide.

But it took a fine save from Bass to keep them ahead soon after, with the keeper getting his fingertips to Fuller’s vicious curling attempt from outside the box.

And the Gills were level with 10 minutes remaining, as Alfie Jones forced a pass through to Jakubiak, with the substitute slotting past Bass.

Jackett soon made a double switch, with Evans and Harrison replaced by Oli Hawkins and John Marquis.

The display of six additional minutes gave both sets of fans hope that their side could find a last-gasp winner.

But aside from a 25-yard Ben Close effort that flew over the top, neither side came close to scoring again.

Gillingham (4-1-2-1-2): Bonham; Fuller, Ehmer (c), Tucker, Ogilvie; Jones; O’Keefe (Marshall 70), O’Connor; Lee; Mandron (Jakubiak 70), Hanlan
Goals: Jakubiak 80
Booked: O’Keefe
Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Pringle, Charles-Cook, Ndjoli

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Harness, Evans (Hawkins 83), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 83)
Goals: Evans 36
Booked: Evans, Naylor, Raggett
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Mnoga, Downing, Cannon, Pitman

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 5,724 (1,180 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 292019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey finished the calendar year in miserable fashion after conspiring to suffer defeat at struggling MK Dons.

They looked comfortable for most of the contest and created plenty of chances, but a lack of clinical finishing and some sloppy defending meant they went home empty-handed.

Rhys Healey and Conor McGrandles both scored in the latter stages of the first half at Stadium MK, with Alex Gilbey adding a third after the break.

Ronan Curtis continued his fine goalscoring form by finding the net in stoppage-time, but it was just a consolation.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that beat Wycombe on home soil on Boxing Day.

Ryan Williams picked up a groin injury in the early stages of that game and the man who replaced him, Marcus Harness, was handed a start.

That opened up a place on the bench, which was taken by teenage full-back Haji Mnoga, who signed his first professional contract at the start of the week.

Harness played a more advanced role than expected, playing alongside Ellis Harrison in what looked more like a 4-4-2 system.

Pompey took control of the contest right from the start and enjoyed plenty of possession and territorial advantage.

But for all the play they had in and around their opponents’ area, Lee Nicholls looked fairly comfortable between the sticks.

Ben Close and Curtis – the goal heroes against Wycombe – both had shots blocked in the early stages.

The hosts were looking nervy at the back and struggled to deal with some corners from Close, as well as Harness’ trickery.

Anton Walkes also looked a threat going forward down the left and sent a few dangerous deliveries into the box.

Nicholls was called into action on 15 minutes and did well to get behind a fierce long-range drive from the lively Harness.

The keeper conceded a free-kick inside the box after picking up Joe Walsh’s back-pass, but the wall did its job by rushing forward to block Curtis’ effort.

And the Dons then took the lead completely against the run of play, although the Blues were furious that referee Leigh Doughty failed to give a foul against James Bolton in the build-up.

Instead, Jordan Houghton launched the ball forward and Sean Raggett’s header was not hard enough to reach Craig MacGillivray, with Healey nipping in to score.

It got even worst for Pompey before the break, as Tom Naylor tackled Healey on the edge of the box and the ball ran kindly for McGrandles to impressively fire into the top corner.


Half Time

MK Dons 2

Portsmouth 0


Harrison did not emerge following the interval, with John Marquis coming on to replace him up front.

But it was the hosts who were first to threaten, courtesy of a long-range Gilbey attempt that MacGillivray tipped over the bar.

Pompey soon started to take control, though, and once again put plenty of pressure on their opponents.

But the ball just would not seem to fall kindly for them and although unconvincing, the Dons managed to get the ball clear.

And Nicholls was soon called into action to make two key saves in quick succession, first denying Marquis after the striker had been played through by Harness.

The resulting corner was flicked on by Naylor for Curtis at the far post, but the keeper was there to deny the Blues’ top scorer.

MK Dons still threatened at the other end, though, and Raggett had to head Dean Lewington’s free-kick just past his own post.

Then, from the resulting corner, a scramble in the box led to MacGillivray diving on the ball at the feet of Healey.

But Pompey were still pushing forward whenever possible and after some neat build-up play involving Curtis, Close and Harness, the latter’s shot was blocked.

Curtis then went close with a bending strike from outside of the box that Nicholls did brilliantly to turn behind.

Jackett made a double switch on 72 minutes, with Harness and Cannon racing from the pitch to be replaced by Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman.

Marquis was only able to hit a weak shot straight at Nicholls from a low Walkes cross, as time began to run out on the visitors.

A fracas near the touchline led to Walsh and Christian Burgess both being booked – and the Dons scoring a third to wrap the points up.

Pompey were awarded a free-kick, but it came to nothing and the hosts broke quickly up the field, with Gilbey lifting a neat finish over MacGillivray and into the net.

There was at least a reply from CURTIS, who turned home Bolton’s cross from close range right at the death, but there was not enough time for the Blues to launch another attack.

The loss was perhaps an unfair outcome for the visitors, who will hope to improve their away form when they visit Gillingham on New Year’s Day.

MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): Nicholls; Brittain, Williams, Walsh, Lewington (c); Houghton; McGrandles, Kasumu; Gilbey (Reeves 90+1); Healey (Nombe 68), Mason (Agard 77)
Goals: Healey 35, McGrandles 42, Gilbey 84
Booked: McGrandles, Brittain, Kasumu, Walsh
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Cargill, Boateng

Pompey (4-4-1-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Cannon (Pitman 72), Naylor (c), Close, Curtis; Harness (Evans 72); Harrison (Marquis 46)
Goals: Curtis 90+3
Booked: Harness, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Mnoga, Downing, Hawkins

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Attendance: 12,788 (5,083 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 262019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey provided the perfect belated Christmas present with victory over table-topping Wycombe at Fratton Park.

The hosts came alive following an instantly forgettable first half that never really got out of second gear.

Their pressure told when Ben Close fired home and a neat finish from the in-form Ronan Curtis made the points safe.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that impressively beat Ipswich just before Christmas.

Ross McCrorie injured his hamstring midway through that game and was replaced at right-back by James Bolton.

Those expecting a free-flowing contest like the one witnessed against the Tractor Boys a few days earlier were in for a disappointment.

It was an attritional and stop-start contest from the off on a blustery and damp afternoon on the south coast.

The hosts were first to threaten when Andy Cannon stole possession and whipped in a fine cross from the left.

Ellis Harrison – who was being nudged – nodded the ball down for Ryan Williams, who volleyed narrowly past the post.

But that was Williams’ last involvement, with the winger soon going down injured for the second time and having to be replaced by Marcus Harness.

Ben Close then played a short corner to Cannon and received the ball back before bending a powerful effort wide.

Pompey collected a few bookings before the break, with Harrison and Tom Naylor punished for fouls, while Curtis saw yellow for an alleged dive.

Wycombe won a series of corners, although were never really able to threaten Craig MacGillivray’s net.

Anton Walkes, meanwhile, showed some neat footwork on the left and stung the palms of former Fratton loanee Ryan Allsop with a fierce angled drive.

The visitors’ best chance came when a Joe Jacobson’s flag-kick was glanced across goal by Alex Samuel, but there was nobody to get the required touch.

Six minutes of additional time was the result of a bitty opening period and Harrison had an opportunity after being fed by Cannon, only to fire straight at a grateful Allsop.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Wycombe Wanderers 0


Pompey started the second half brightly and won a corner on the right following some neat interplay between Cannon and Harness.

The ball was sent into the mixer by Close, but Bolton could only head it over the bar from just a few yards out.

Close then had a chance of his own after driving along the edge of the box and firing narrowly over the bar.

Bolton was alert at the other end just before the hour mark, just about getting to Samuel’s low centre before Paul Smyth to turn the ball behind.

MacGillivray then got his fingertips to an effort from Samuel and Christian Burgess was well-placed to deal with the loose ball.

But the Blues picked up again on 66 minutes and Allsop made two fine saves in quick succession, first keeping out Curtis’ deflected effort and then Bolton’s follow-up.

It was the briefest of respites for the Chairboys, though, as the deadlock was broken a few seconds later.

Harrison prodded against the post with just the keeper to beat, but CLOSE kept his cool to get into a shooting position and fire home from close range.

Wycombe immediately responded by replacing Rolando Aarons with David Wheeler, who spent the first half of last season on loan at Fratton Park.

And a change for the hosts soon followed, with the hard-working Cannon drawing warm applause as he made way for Gareth Evans.

The Blues immediately doubled their advantage, as Harness sent in a low cross from the right that was converted by a neat CURTIS flick.

Wanderers were forced to open up a bit more and their opponents looked threatening on the counter.

But the visitors almost reduced their deficit from a late free-kick, with skipper Joe Jacobson curling the ball against the outside of the post.

Pompey saw out the closing stages in driving rain, however, to continue their fine run of form and ensure the final Fratton fixture of 2019 ended in a celebratory fashion.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett; Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Williams (Harness 7), Cannon (Evans 72), Curtis (Marquis 90+2); Harrison
Goals: Close 66, Curtis 73
Booked: Harrison, Curtis, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Hawkins, Pitman

Wycombe (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Jombati, Stewart, Samuel, Jacobson (c); Thompson (Pattison 27), Ofoborh; Aarons (Wheeler 67), Samuel, Freeman; Smyth (Kashket 77)
Booked: Stewart, Aarons, Jacobson
Subs not used: Yates, Phillips, Bloomfield, Parker

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 18,419 (749 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 212019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Ronan Curtis ensured there would be plenty of festive Fratton cheer by scoring the only goal of the game against high-flying Ipswich.

The margin of victory might have been narrow, but Pompey were dominant for much of the contest on a sodden south coast.

Will Norris came to the Tractor Boys’ rescue in the first half, although was unable to keep out Curtis’ fierce drive after the break.

And the visitors’ misery was compounded late on, as skipper Luke Chambers was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were comfortably beaten at Accrington the previous week.

Andy Cannon was handed a first league start for three months, while Christian Burgess returned from suspension and there was also a place for Ryan Williams.

That meant John Marquis, James Bolton and Marcus Harness all dropped to the bench, with Ross McCrorie moving to right-back and skipper Tom Naylor switching back to his usual midfield role.

There was a minute of applause before kick-off to celebrate the lives of Ron Saunders, Jim Smith and John Jenkins MBE.

The crowd also sang the name of the D-Day veteran, who sadly passed away earlier in the week at the age of 100.

Pompey dominated the opening 45 minutes and although there were not many clear-cut openings, the best ones fell to the hosts.

Ellis Harrison – playing against his former club – was booked with just 16 seconds on the clock and was then fouled by Toto Nsiala, who collected a yellow card of his own.

In between those transgressions, Williams’ effort took a deflection, forcing a wrong-footed Norris to react brilliantly to claw the ball away.

The keeper was at his best again soon after, this time to deny McCrorie after the ball had fallen kindly for the loanee.

And Curtis then fired a shot over the bar after Ipswich had failed to properly clear a Williams delivery.

There were more bookings as the half continued, with Gwion Edwards and Burgess punished by referee Brett Huxtable.

But Nsiala was lucky to escape being sent off when his challenge on Cannon was not even deemed worthy of a free-kick.

Tractor Boys boss Paul Lambert sensed his defender was walking a tightrope and withdrew him for Alan Judge.

Jackett was then forced to make a change of his own after McCrorie picked up an injury, with Bolton on to replace him.

The rain was falling heavily by this point, making conditions tough for both sides, although it was still the Blues looking more dangerous before the interval.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Ipswich Town 0


Pompey came so close to breaking the deadlock just seconds after the restart when Norris punched clear a Curtis cross intended for the head of Harrison.

The keeper was on the floor, but still managed to keep out Bolton’s effort, while a follow-up header from Williams was cleared from the line by a well-placed Luke Garbutt.

Norris did well again moments later, this time palming away a fine Curtis cross that seemed destined for the head of Harrison at the back stick.

The visitors finally had a shot on target on 49 minutes, not that James Norwood’s attempt from outside the box particularly troubled Craig MacGillivray.

Instead the Blues went up the other end to finally break the deadlock and it was the in-form CURTIS who got the goal.

The Republic of Ireland international collected a pass from Ben Close, cut inside and hit a ferocious effort that Norris could only help into the net.

Ipswich understandably began to play with a bit more urgency after falling behind, but were still doing little to trouble the hosts.

Jackett made his second switch just before the hour mark, with Cannon coming off to be replaced by Gareth Evans.

The Tractor Boys were starting to look threatening and after Alan Judge brought the ball down near the back post, the substitute hit a low shot narrowly past the post.

Pompey sensed that a second goal was needed and after expertly bringing down a long ball, Harrison’s cleanly-struck effort was kept out by Norris.

Evans then nipped in to collect the ball inside the box and evade a challenge, but was forced wide and Norris used his legs to keep out the midfielder’s angled drive.

The resulting corner eventually fell for Close on the edge of the box and he drilled a low shot inches off target.

It was a rocking atmosphere at Fratton Park and the crowd started up a chant of ‘Jim Smith’s Blue and White Army’ in memory of the former Blues boss.

Flynn Downes tried his luck at the other end and Bolton bravely flung himself in the path of the shot to avert the danger.

And Norwood then burst into the box – seemingly using his hand to control the ball – but could only fire into the side netting.

With the rain continuing to hammer down, there were a few players slipping and sliding on the slick surface.

Evans intentionally threw himself forward to try to get on the end of Harrison’s cross on 83 minutes, but could not quite make a connection.

Ipswich were forced to play the final few minutes with 10 men after Chambers fouled Harrison to collect his second booking of the afternoon.

The visitors’ bench were clearly not happy and assistant manager Stuart Taylor was also shown a yellow card.

Ipswich’s discipline had well and truly gone, with Luke Woolfenden and Kayden Jackson also forcing Huxtable to reach into his pocket.

The referee was being kept extremely busy and Pompey coach Jake Wigley was next to receive a booking for kicking the ball away.

Pompey, meanwhile, remained professional on the pitch to see the game out and collect the perfect Christmas present of three points.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; McCrorie (Bolton 42), Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Williams, Cannon (Evans 59), Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 50
Booked: Harrison, Burgess, Williams
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Harness, Marquis, Pitman

Ipswich (3-5-2): Norris; Chambers (c), Nsiala (Judge 38), Woolfenden; Edwards (Jackson 64), Nolan, Skuse (Donacien 60), Downes, Garbutt; Keane, Norwood
Sent off: Chambers (two yellow cards)
Booked: Nsiala, Edwards, Nolan, Woolfenden, Jackson
Subs not used: Holy, Wilson, Huws, Dozzell

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 18,801 (1,994 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 142019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




It was an afternoon to forget for Pompey, who saw their long unbeaten run end with a heavy defeat at Accrington.

When the in-form Ronan Curtis headed them in front towards the end of the first half it seemed as though the Blues would continue their climb up the League One standings.

But Ellis Harrison nodded into his own net just before the break, with a finish that would have been lauded at the other end of the pitch.

And Stanley ran away with it after the break, with Dion Charles giving them the lead – albeit in controversial circumstances – before Colby Bishop added a brace.

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

The entire defence had to change, with Brandon Haunstrup (knee) and Lee Brown (Achilles) both injured, Christian Burgess suspended and Oli Hawkins recently becoming father to a baby boy.

That meant there were recalls for James Bolton and Anton Walkes in the full-back slots and Sean Raggett in the middle, while Tom Naylor also dropped into the back-line.

Ross McCrorie took the skipper’s midfield slot and Ryan Williams dropped to the bench to make way for Marcus Harness on the right.

Pompey started brightly and were camped out in their opponents’ half in the opening stages, but created only one decent opening.

Harrison’s cross from the left was just behind a stretching John Marquis, who could only send the ball over the bar and out of the ground.

Stanley then started to apply more pressure as the first half progressed and Jordan Clark was inches away from making a connection when he slid in at the far post.

Bishop was next to go close flashing a shot narrowly wide after Ben Close had initially made a fine challenge on Sam Finley.

It took a decent tackle from Ross Sykes to deny Marquis at the other end, with the striker almost being sent through by Harrison.

The hosts were still looking more dangerous, though, and when Clark met Seamus Conneely’s cross from deep on the left, Craig MacGillivray was forced to make a fine save to tip the ball over.

Pompey then started to pick up again, although Harrison and Marquis collided with Mark Hughes when all three players tried to get to Harness’ centre first.

Bolton was then unable to get enough on Curtis’ free-kick from the left and Josef Bursik made a simple stop.

But the Blues did go ahead on 35 minutes, as Harness whipped in a dangerous cross from the right and CURTIS stooped to meet it, sending the ball into the net off the inside of the post.

Jerome Opoku came close to hitting an immediate leveller, courtesy of an audacious long-range piledriver that cannoned back off the post.

And Accrington did equalise just before the break – although they received a big helping hand from the visitors.

Conneely sent a corner into the box and Harrison rose to meet it with a firm header that inadvertently sent the ball past MacGillivray and into his own net.


Half Time

Accrington Stanley 1

Portsmouth 1


The hosts had unsuccessfully appealed for two penalties before the break and were at it again when the action restarted.

This time it was Clark who felt he was unfairly upended by Walkes, but referee Martin Coy remained unimpressed.

Pompey then came close to retaking the lead when Harrison turned quickly outside the box and hit a fine strike that a diving Bursik did well to push clear.

Raggett soon did well at the other end to hold off Charles and stop the striker going one-on-one with MacGillivray.

But Charles did give Accrington the lead just past the hour mark, although the hosts were unhappy that the goal was allowed to stand.

Opoku held off Harness with a hand to the face, but it was not spotted by Coy and the left-back was able to square for his team-mate to slot home.

Jackett responded with a double change, as Harness and Marquis made way for Williams and Brett Pitman.

But Stanley almost extended their advantage just seconds later, as Bishop glanced a header against the post, with the loose ball hacked clear.

And Bishop did give them a cushion on 69 minutes, angling the ball into the net after MacGillivray had parried clear Finley’s initial effort.

Things soon got even worse for the visitors, as Bishop raced clear to slot home his second goal of the afternoon.

That came after Coy had played advantage following McCrorie’s challenge on Charles, but the referee went back to book the midfielder.

Accrington continued to look threatening as the minutes ticked down, while a neat Pitman flick was blocked before it could trouble Bursik.

That was as close as Pompey came to reducing their deficit, although the 733 travelling fans continued to cheer right up until the final whistle.

Accrington (4-4-2): Bursik; Johnson, Sykes, Hughes, Opoku; Clark, Finley (Diallo 90), Conneely (c), Pritchard; Bishop (Zanzala 90), Charles
Goals: Harrison 44 (og), Charles 62, Bishop 69, 77
Booked: Finley
Subs not used: Evtimov, Alese, Rodgers, Sherif, Carvalho

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Naylor (c), Raggett, Walkes; McCrorie, Close; Harness (Pitman 65), Marquis (Williams 65), Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 35
Booked: McCrorie
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Casey, Cannon, Evans

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 2,429 (733 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 072019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




A first Pompey goal for Lee Brown was not enough to beat Peterborough and earn a seventh successive victory.

But the Blues were at least able to extend their unbeaten run into double figures, with a 2-2 draw at Fratton Park.

Brown’s free-kick got the hosts level after Ivan Toney had netted an early opener and Ellis Harrison gave them the lead after the restart.

Mo Eisa hit back for free-scoring Posh, however, to ensure the spoils were shared in an absorbing clash.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that narrowly beat Altrincham in the FA Cup the previous week.

Tom Naylor recovered from a hamstring problem to skipper the team, with Ryan Williams also starting, as Anton Walkes and Marcus Harness made way.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with former Fratton full-backs Dan Butler and Nathan Thompson both starting.

It was a laboured start from the hosts at a surprisingly flat Fratton Park, with too many passes going astray.

And – after Alex Woodyard has been booked for fouling Ronan Curtis – Peterborough went ahead through the first decent chance of the contest.

Butler swing in a cross from the left and Oli Hawkins missed his attempted clearance, allowing an unmarked Toney to convert at the far post.

There were soon weak appeals for a penalty at the other end, with Charles Breakspear not convinced that Frankie Kent had fouled Curtis.

Pompey gradually began to grow into the game, although Williams’ deflected drive lacked enough power to test Christy Pym.

An equaliser did finally arrive on 26 minutes, however, with the goal coming from a pretty unlikely source.

Williams was brought down by Louis Reed on the edge of the box and BROWN drilled the free-kick through the wall and past an unsighted Pym.

It ensured the left-back was at last able to celebrate opening his Blues account – on his 68th appearance – racing away before performing a forward roll.

Posh came close to restoring their lead moments later, though, with Kent’s effort kept out by Craig MacGillivray from point-blank range.

It was proving to be an even encounter and Thompson was playing the role of pantomime villain, drawing plenty of boos following a foul on John Marquis.

Pompey were next to go close on 36 minutes when Curtis’ cross was only partially cleared and Pym had to get down to his right to keep out Williams’ effort.

Then, at the other end, Brown did well to put off Thompson, who was only able to prod the ball straight at MacGillivray.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Peterborough United 1


Pompey had an opportunity to take the lead seconds after the restart when Brandon Haunstrup slipped a pass through to Marquis, who scuffed his effort.

Williams then skipped past a challenge on the right and when his cross was not fully headed away, Harrison was unable to bring the ball down to get a shot away.

But HARRISON soon got his name on the scoresheet, collecting a pass from Marquis and firing in an effort that Pym got his hand to, sending the ball trickling slowly over the line.

The visitors tried to hit back and Toney fired one shot over, while another from Thompson was smothered by MacGillivray.

Thompson had perhaps been fortunate not to get booked for a couple of previous indiscretions, but finally saw yellow for illegally halting Harrison’s break.

Peterborough were celebrating a leveller on 72 minutes, however, as Eisa was left in far too much space to convert another Butler delivery.

Jackett responded immediately by making a substitution, with Williams making way for Harness in the forward line.

It was Curtis who soon had a chance to restore Pompey’s lead, though, heading Haunstrup’s corner wide at the far post.

Both sides were looking to get forward in the closing stages in an attempt to turn one point into three.

Haunstrup lifted a neat pass into the box and Harrison did well to evade Thompson’s attentions and get a foot on the ball, only for Pym to make a key block.

The left-footed right-back was forced from the pitch in stoppage-time, though, appearing to injure his foot and having to be replaced by Ross McCrorie.

And neither side were able to find a winner in the extra minutes added on, despite plenty of frenetic play as the seconds ticked down.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup (McCrorie 90+3), Hawkins, Burgess, Brown; Naylor (c), Close; Williams (Harness 73), Marquis, Curtis, Harrison
Goals: Brown 26, Harrison 52
Booked: Burgess, Brown, Harrison
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Walkes, Evans, Pitman

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym; Mason (Tasdemir 62), Beevers (c), Kent; Thompson, Woodyard, Reed, Butler; Kanu; Toney, Eisa (Jones 90)
Goals: Toney 10, Eisa 72
Booked: Woodyard, Eisa, Thompson
Subs not used: Chapman, Cartwright, Bennett, Barker, Burrows

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 17,643 (531 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 032019
 

Match Report

Highlights

Leasing.com Trophy




A much-changed Pompey side battled from behind to beat Northampton and book their place in the third round of the Leasing.com Trophy.

They got off to a poor start and Michael Harriman soon put the League Two side into the lead at a chilly Fratton Park.

But Leon Maloney’s first senior goal levelled the tie before the break and a stunning Marcus Harness strike proved to be the winner.

Kenny Jackett made nine changes from the side that beat Altrincham to progress in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Anton Walkes – who moved to left-back – and Harness were the only players to keep their place in the starting line-up.

Brett Pitman skippered the team up front, with Gareth Evans and Maloney also returning to the forward line.

A fit-again Ross McCrorie featured alongside Andy Cannon in midfield, with James Bolton, Paul Downing and Sean Raggett in defence, and Alex Bass between the sticks.

The hosts looked rusty in the opening stages and Bass was forced to deny Matt Warburton in the opening seconds.

But Northampton did go ahead on 12 minutes, with Harriman left unmarked to convert Joe Martin’s cross from a few yards out.

Pompey did grow into the contest, though, and Evans drew a smart stop from Steve Arnold after collecting Harness’ pass and cutting onto his left foot.

Jordan Turnbull then did well to divert McCrorie’s drive behind following a threatening run from the Scotland under-21 skipper.

And when the same player was brought down on the edge of the box, Harness’ free-kick was just too high for Downing at the back post.

The equaliser did arrive on 39 minutes and it was a moment to remember for MALONEY, who bravely stooped to head home another Harness delivery and open his Pompey account.

A coming together between Martin and Bolton led to pushing and shoving by the South Stand touchline late in the first half.

Referee Will Finnie eventually managed to calm the pair down and showed both players a yellow card.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Northampton Town 1


There was an early chance for the Blues once the action restarted, with Pitman’s header clawed away by Arnold.

Warburton then tried his luck from long-range at the other end, but the ball flew straight into the arms of Bass.

The keeper made a much better save soon after, getting down to keep out Billy Waters’ firm strike after the substitute had been sent through on goal.

Both sides looked capable of taking the lead and Pitman went close with a couple of headers just a minute apart.

He probably should have done better with the first, sending the ball wide from close-range, but the second was a clever effort from further out that looped narrowly over.

Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and it came as no surprise when they went ahead just past the hour mark.

It was a stunning volleyed finish from HARNESS that thundered into the net after an Evans cross was cleared into his path.

Jackett immediately made a double change, with Maloney and McCrorie making way for John Marquis and Brandon Haunstrup.

And the Blues almost increased their advantage moments later, with Arnold getting down to brilliantly save Pitman’s downwards header.

The skipper certainly deserved a goal for his all-round play and soon bent another shot around the post after being teed-up by the influential Harness.

The action started to wind down as the finish line neared, although a lashed effort from Bolton took a deflection and flew just past the post.

Arnold then kept his side in the contest with a superb save to deny Marquis from point-blank range after Haunstrup had slipped the ball across the box.

Injuries and substitutions meant there were six minutes of stoppage-time to negoatiate, but the Blues saw the game out with ease to secure their place in Thursday evening’s third round draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Walkes; Cannon (Close 86), McCrorie (Haunstrup 63); Harness, Evans, Maloney (Marquis 63); Pitman (c)
Goals: Maloney 39, Harness 62
Booked: Bolton
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Burgess, Williams, Harrison

Northampton (3-5-1-1): Arnold; Hall-Johnson, Wharton, Turnbull; Harriman, McWilliams (Waters 51), Watson (c), Pollock, Martin (Williams 68); Warburton; Smith (Harding 68)
Goals: Harriman 12
Booked: Martin, Harriman
Subs not used: Cornell, Hughes, Ballinger, Kaja

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 2,413 (96 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 302019
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 2




Brett Pitman headed home a stoppage-time winner against Altrincham to book Pompey a place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.

It seemed like the sides would be heading to Moss Lane for a replay, as the National League North outfit battled valiantly from behind.

Ben Close’s superb volley had opened the scoring, only for Josh Hancock to grab a late leveller from the spot.

The Blues looked to have been punished for not seeing the game off, but they were rescued by substitute Pitman at the death.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Rotherham in League One earlier in the week.

It came in the attacking wide positions, with Ryan Williams dropping to the bench and Marcus Harness taking his spot on the right.

Pompey started brightly and when Close dug out a fine cross towards the far post, Ronan Curtis was waiting to nod narrowly past the post.

John Marquis then met a Harness delivery and his goal-bound header struck James Jones and was diverted wide, although the officials bizarrely failed to give a corner.

The hosts produced plenty of sloppy moments during the first half, with Altrincham looking dangerous going forward.

They thought a penalty should have been awarded when Jordan Hulme went down under Oli Hawkins’ challenge on 11 minutes.

Referee Tom Nield waved their appeals away and Hawkins felt the striker had gone down too easily, while their opponents were furious at the decision.

Marquis was struggling to get into the game, but sent one great delivery across the face of goal that agonisingly evaded everyone.

Anton Walkes then stepped up to steal possession and find Ellis Harrison, who burst forward and fired against the base of the post.

Curtis was next to try his luck, turning on the edge of the area and dragging a shot narrowly wide.

Some patient passing play then ended with a fierce volley from Brandon Haunstrup that rose over the crossbar.

And when Harrison tried to send Harness clear through on goal, it took a timely challenge from Andy White to deny him.

Both sides then had excellent opportunities to break the deadlock in the closing stages of the first half.

Curtis did brilliantly to win possession after losing the ball, but could not bring it under control and Hulme drilled a shot against the post.

Harrison then met Lee Brown’s delivery at the other end of the pitch, drawing an excellent save from Tony Thompson.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Altrincham 0


Jackett made a double change at the start of the second half, with Curtis and Marquis withdrawn for Williams and Pitman.

But the Blues were still looking well below their best and were relieved to see an unmarked Jake Moult fire wastefully wide.

Craig MacGillivray was then called into action to beat away an angled effort from White, as the Robins looked to punish their higher-ranked hosts.

It was Pompey who finally broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, however, courtesy of another fine strike from CLOSE.

The ball sat up nicely for the midfielder after Harness’ cross had not been properly cleared and he was left alone to hit a crisp volley into the net.

He might had had another moments later, but Thompson kept out his angled drive, only to then collect a back-pass.

That meant the rare sight of a free-kick inside the box, with the wall doing its job to block Pitman’s attempt from Brown’s lay-off.

It was Pompey’s turn to appeal for a penalty when Williams went down under Shaun Densmore’s challenge on 67 minutes, although again it was waved away by Nield.

Williams then launched a quick break up the pitch and slipped a fine pass across for Harness, but Thompson again came to the Robins’ rescue with a fine save from point-blank range.

And when Haunstrup tried to pass the ball into the bottom corner, it was deflected just past the post.

But Altrincham were always in the contest while they only trailed by one and a delivery from the left was deflected onto the roof of the net.

The scores were level on 83 minutes, with Christian Burgess penalised for a clumsy challenge on Hulme inside the box.

This time Nield did point to the spot and although MacGillivray went the right way, Hancock’s penalty was too powerful.

The Blues tried to hit back and Pitman did well to get an acrobatic effort on target, with the ball flying straight at Thompson.

But there was a sense of joy and relief in the final minute of stoppage-time, as Harness’ corner was flicked on by Harrison and PITMAN stooped to head home at the far post.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown (c); Walkes, Close; Harness, Marquis (Pitman 46), Curtis (Williams 46); Harrison
Goals: Close 56, Pitman 90+4
Booked: Harness, Williams
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Raggett, Cannon, Evans

Altrincham (4-2-3-1): Thompson; Densmore, Jones, Hannigan, White; Williams (Mullarkey 84), Moult (c); Peers (Harrop 80), Hancock, Johnston (Hampson 88); Hulme
Goals: Hancock 83 (pen)
Subs not used: Torrance, Richman

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 8,539 (622 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 262019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey finally saw off a stubborn Rotherham side to claim all three points at Fratton Park and register a fourth successive victory.

Ronan Curtis opened the scoring straight from kick-off and after Freddie Ladapo levelled, John Marquis restored their lead.

But Ladapo levelled again after the break – this time from the spot – and it took a neat finish from Ben Close to get the job done.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that won at Rochdale at the weekend, with Lee Brown once again wearing the armband in the absence of regular skipper Tom Naylor.

And the hosts came sprinting from the blocks, taking the lead with just 33 seconds on the clock – with no surprises about the identity of the goalscorer.

The in-form CURTIS continued his scoring spree with a fine shot from outside the box after receiving a cross-field pass from Ryan Williams.

Millers keeper Daniel Iversen then fumbled Brandon Haunstrup’s deep pass into the box and would have been relieved to see the ball land clear.

But Rotherham soon grew into the contest and when Kyle Vassell guided a shot through Oli Hawkins’ legs, Craig MacGillivray had to get down to make the save.

The unsighted keeper could only parry the same player’s free-kick moments later, though, and Ladapo gratefully converted the loose ball to level the scores.

Marquis sent a couple of half-chances off target, but United were looking threatening at the other end and MacGillivray did well to deny Ladapo.

It was soon the Blues’ turn to go on the attack and Close blazed wastefully over after racing into the box to meet Ellis Harrison’s header.

The hosts did restore their advantage moments later, however, as Harrison nodded Brown’s cross towards the far post, where MARQUIS was waiting to slam home.

There was an escape at the other end when the hosts made a mess of dealing with a cross, but Brown, Vassell and Carlton Morris all collided in the box and the ball drifted harmlessly wide.

Pompey then should have extended their lead in stoppage-time, with Curtis picking out Marquis in the box and the summer signing only able to send a tame header straight at Iversen.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rotherham United 1


The hosts did have the ball in the net again just after the restart, but Harrison forced Iversen into the net when the keeper collected Williams’ cross and a foul was awarded.

Both sides then collected yellow cards in quick succession, with substitute Chiedozie Ogebene punished for United and Harrison for the Blues.

Rotherham were seeing plenty of the ball around their opponents’ box, but unable to test MacGillivray.

And a quick Williams counter provided an opening for Pompey just before the hour mark, although Curtis’ eventual delivery was just behind Marquis.

But the Millers were given an excellent opportunity to level when Morris’ trickery inside the box drew a foul from Hawkins.

Referee Antony Coggins pointed straight to the spot and Ladapo confidently sent MacGillivray the wrong way to equalise for a second time.

But Pompey again managed to restore their advantage, this time taking just four minutes to go back ahead.

Rotherham made a hash of dealing with Curtis’ flag-kick and CLOSE chested the ball down on the edge of the box before volleying into the bottom corner.

The visitors were dealt a further blow when Billy Jones went down injured just seconds after they had made their final two changes.

He was forced to limp down the tunnel, leaving United to play out the rest of the contest with 10 men.

Pompey soon made a change of their own, with Williams leaving the field to a standing ovation and replaced by Marcus Harness.

They tried to make the most of their numerical advantage, but Curtis was unable to slip a shot inside Iversen’s near post following good work from Haunstrup.

It was certainly not all one-way traffic, though, and Jamie Lindsay’s effort was deflected narrowly past the post.

Harness then hit a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar, as the Blues looked to wrap things up.

They were unable to score again, but saw out four minutes of stoppage-time to climb up into 10th spot in the League One standings.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown (c); Walkes, Close; Williams (Harness 78), Marquis, Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 1, Marquis 37, Close 66
Booked: Harrison
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Downing, Cannon, Evans, Pitman

Rotherham (4-4-2): Iversen; Olosunde (Ogbene 46), Ihiekwe (c), Robertson, Jones; Morris, Wiles, Barlaser (Lindsay 73), Clarke; Ladapo, Vassell (Crooks 73)
Goals: Ladapo 15, 62 (pen)
Booked: Ogbene, Morris
Subs not used: Price, Thompson, Hastie, Smith

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 16,355 (204 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 232019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Ronan Curtis continued his run of fine form by bagging a brace to help secure all three points for Pompey against Rochdale.

Ryan Williams was also on target at Spotland, as the Blues displayed a clinical edge that has been lacking at times this season.

The hosts saw plenty of the ball, but did not do much to threaten their visitors, while Curtis made the most of dangerous deliveries from John Marquis and Williams either side of the break.

And after chances to wrap the victory up had been spurned, Williams opened his Pompey account to settle any nerves.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that won at Harrogate Town to progress in the FA Cup.

Skipper Tom Naylor and Sean Raggett were injured in that game, with Anton Walkes and a fit-again Oli Hawkins replacing them.

Gareth Evans dropped to the bench to make way for Ellis Harrison, while Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband.

The hosts looked lively and dominated possession in the early stages, with Jimmy Keohane curling a shot past the post.

Matty Done was looking particularly dangerous whenever he burst forward, but Dale were not making the most of his trickery.

And the Blues started to feel their way into the contest, although Brandon Haunstrup will want to forget a free-kick that not only cleared the bar, but flew out of the ground.

Pompey did have the lead on 15 minutes, though, and it was largely thanks to the good work of Marquis.

He collected a pass from Williams and spun beautifully on the ball before cutting it back for CURTIS to fire home.

Some dangerous deliveries from Haunstrup and Williams caused problems, as the visitors tried to build on their advantage.

Rochdale began to take charge of possession once more, although they were not doing much to test Craig MacGillivray.

And the Blues almost snatched a second goal on 37 minutes, with Hawkins’ header from a corner blocked and nobody able to force home the loose ball.

Their opponents had one excellent chance to level before the break, as Rekeil Pyke glanced Keohane’s cross against the post.


Half Time

Rochdale 0

Portsmouth 1


Keohane tried his luck from long-range seconds after the restart, with the ball flying high over the bar.

But the Blues were more clinical when they went up the other end moments later and a low Williams delivery was slammed home by CURTIS.

Jackett wanted his men to build on that, screaming at them from the sidelines to keep pressing and make life uncomfortable for their opponents.

A poor clearance from Dale keeper Robert Sanchez flew straight to Williams just before the hour mark, but it caught the winger by surprise and he was unable to capitalise.

The hosts were still being frustrated and when Callum Camps finally did get a shot on target, MacGillivray flew to his right to make a fine save.

The Scotland international then dusted himself down to commandingly claim the resulting corner, drawing cheers of approval from the noisy travelling army.

Pompey were doing their best to keep hold of the ball and slow the game down, while still looking capable of adding to their lead.

When Harrison was bundled to the turf on the right, Haunstrup’s free-kick was nodded against the bar by Hawkins.

Then, seconds later, Curtis burst forward with lightning pace and slotted the ball across for Williams, but Sanchez was quickly off his line to deny the winger.

Jackett soon made a change, with the hard-working Harrison trudging from the turf and replaced by Brett Pitman.

Rochdale were doing their best to try to reduce the deficit, but the Blues were resolute at the back and a real menace on the break.

And they finally made sure of the points late on, with Pitman unselfishly passing to the unmarked WILLIAMS, who coolly slotted home.

Rochdale (4-1-2-1-2): Sanchez; Matheson, O’Connell, Norrington-Davies, Keohane (Tavares 77); Williams; Done (Bradley 83), Morley (Hopper 87); Camps; Henderson (c), Pyke
Subs not used: Lynch, Dunne, Brierley, Gillam

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown (c); Walkes, Close; Williams, Marquis, Curtis (Harness 90+1); Harrison (Pitman 75)
Goals: Curtis 15, 47, Williams 88
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Downing, Cannon, Evans

Referee: James Adcock

Attendance: 3,789 (993 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 112019
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 1




Pompey finally saw the light at Harrogate Town to book their place in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The tie was delayed for 55 minutes because of a power failure at the non-league side’s Wetherby Road home.

And they shocked their higher-ranked opponents by racing into an early lead, courtesy of Mark Beck’s header.

But Brandon Haunstrup impressive drew the Blues level and Ronan Curtis hit an even better winner before the break.

It was the visitors’ first victory on an artificial pitch and the result secured a home clash with Altrincham in the next stage of the competition.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that comfortably beat Southend in the league six days earlier.

Craig MacGillivray recovered from a thigh problem to replace Alex Bass between the sticks, while the injured Ellis Harrison and Ross McCrorie made way for Haunstrup and Gareth Evans.

The teams finally emerged following two delays – the second, thankfully, a lot briefer than the first – and observed a minute’s silence to mark Armistice Day.

But Pompey might have been wishing that the game had been called off after falling behind with just seven minutes on the clock.

The hosts had already enjoyed a couple of forays forward before taking the lead following a free-kick from deep on the left.

George Smith’s delivery was not dealt with and Jack Muldoon headed the ball across the face of goal for Beck to nod home.

The Blues did look dangerous at the other end, although seemed to struggle with the strong wind and artificial surface.

John Marquis was not quite able to collect Haunstrup’s threaded pass, while Ryan Williams’ cross was cleared before it could reach Evans.

But a leveller did arrive on 17 minutes and it was a fine strike from HAUNSTRUP to open his Pompey account on his 50th appearance for the club.

The left-footed right-back raced in from the flank and collected a pass from Williams before curling a shot past James Belshaw from the edge of the box.

Josh Falkingham tried to hit back immediately, but the Town skipper’s strike hit team-mate Beck on its path to goal.

The 3G surface had been much talked about before the tie and more questions were posed when three players went off injured before the break.

Two of them belonged to the visitors, with skipper Tom Naylor and later Sean Raggett limping from the field and replaced by Anton Walkes and Paul Downing respectively.

There were chances at both ends in between those changes, with Muldoon crashing a shot into the side netting.

A fierce low effort from Ben Close was then smartly saved by Belshaw, who had to get down quickly to beat the ball away.

Harrogate caused problems with a corner on 36 minutes, but MacGillivray – appearing against his former club – was able to punch clear.

And the Blues then took the lead before the break – and it was a goal that was certainly worth waiting for.

Williams laid the ball off for CURTIS, who hit a rocket from 30 yards that dipped beautifully into the net.


Half Time

Harrogate Town 1

Portsmouth 2


Curtis put in a shift at the opposite end of the pitch once the action restarted, getting back into his own box to halt a dangerous Harrogate attack.

Williams came close to scoring his first Pompey goal soon after, with an audacious attempt from wide on the right that Belshaw managed to palm away.

The loose ball eventually fell to Walkes, whose own effort was not quite so impressive, with the ball flying out of the ground.

It was generally a much calmer occasion, however, with little of the frantic action seen before the interval.

But the Blues almost extended their lead just past the hour mark, as Belshaw twice denied Marquis from point-blank range after the striker had been picked out at the back post by Evans.

George Thomson, just moments after coming off the bench, then hit a fierce shot inches past the post for Harrogate.

He subsequently sent a corner into the Blues box, where Beck’s downward header was comfortably held by MacGillivray.

And the same duo combined again from a set-piece soon after, with Beck this time depositing the ball onto the roof of the net.

Lee Brown went close with a cross-shot that could neither find the bottom corner or Williams at the far post.

But Harrogate were still applying plenty of pressure and MacGillivray was called into action to deal with Alex Bradley’s effort.

They saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages, but the Blues were able to see things out to secure progress.

Harrogate Town (4-4-2): Belshaw; Fallowfield, W.Smith, Hall, G.Smith; Kiernan (Bradley 70), Falkingham (c), Burrell (Emmett 32), Diamond (Thomson 63); Muldoon, Beck
Goals: Beck 7
Subs not used: Cracknell, Taylor, Brown, Jones

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Burgess, Raggett (Downing 31), Brown; Naylor (c) (Walkes 24), Close; Williams, Evans, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Haunstrup 17, Curtis 41
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Cannon, Harness, Pitman

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 3,408 (616 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC