Match Report

Feb 092019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Plymouth Argyle 1    1 Portsmouth

A first league goal of the season for Ben Close was not enough to secure a return to winning ways, as Pompey drew 1-1 with Plymouth.

The first half at Home Park was a turgid non-event, but the game really exploded into life after the break.

Close’s effort was reward for the fine support from the travelling Blue Army, but Graham Carey’s impressive free-kick ensured the spoils would be shared.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that exited the FA Cup at QPR earlier in the week.

Omar Bogle returned to lead the line, while there were also recalls for Nathan Thompson, Bryn Morris, Ronan Curtis and skipper Gareth Evans.

Oli Hawkins, Anton Walkes and Adam May all dropped to the bench, Louis Dennis missed out completely and Tom Naylor started a two-match ban for collecting 10 yellow cards.

The sold-out away contingent made plenty of noise in the build-up to kick-off and that did not change once the action started.

But they did not have much to get excited about in an opening 45 minutes that was full of endeavour, if short on quality in the final third.

A corner from Evans led to Bogle having a couple of shots blocked in quick succession, although referee Ben Toner spotted an infringement and blew for a foul.

The swirling wind would have been causing problems, especially with Home Park currently boasting only three sides.

And that was perhaps a reason why the contest failed to spark into life, although deliveries into the box from Evans and Close both had to be dealt with.

Both goalkeepers might as well have stayed in the dressing room, as their gloves remained unsoiled as the interval approached.

Half-chances were about as good as it got, with Curtis scuffing a shot wide after Thompson’s effort had been deflected into his path.

Not much was happening at the other end, with Ruben Lameiras’ dangerous low delivery turned behind, while Freddie Ladapo hit a long-range effort high over the bar.

Argyle keeper Kyle Letheren was finally called into action just before the break, but was not overly troubled by Matt Clarke’s tame header.


Half Time

Plymouth Argyle 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey were first to threaten following the restart when Bogle rose at the far post to meet Lee Brown’s cross with a firm header that was gathered by Letheren.

But the hosts then had a decent opening of their own, as Antoni Sarcevic dug the ball out for Ladapo, whose effort was deflected narrowly over the bar.

It was certainly proving to be a more action-packed contest and when Curtis picked the ball up on the left, he drove inside and hit a fierce drive that Letheren did well to tip over.

And the Blues were ahead from the resulting corner, with Evans’ delivery only cleared as far as CLOSE, who drilled the ball home from the edge of the box.

The midfielder then sent a fine pass over the top for Bogle to race on to, with Ryan Edwards doing well to prevent the striker getting a shot away.

That was Bogle’s last contribution to the game, as Jackett replaced him with Oli Hawkins on 67 minutes.

Argyle boss Derek Adams then began ranting on the touchline when he felt Evans’ free-kick should have warranted a second yellow card, instead earning a booking for himself.

But his mood changed when Thompson was adjusged to have fouled Yann Songo’o 25 yards from goal and Carey stepped up to curl home a fine free-kick.

They might have had another after Morris failed to clear, but Lameiras’ curler was deflected past the post.

Pompey were being pegged back, but had a chance to capitalise when Evans kept the ball in play on the right.

His fine deep pass found Hawkins, who nodded the ball down to Curtis, but the Republic of Ireland international fired high over the bar.

A curler from Evans was plucked from the air by Letheren, while Argyle also applied late pressure before the referee’s whistle brought a competitive clash to a close.

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): Letheren; Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer (c); Songo’o, Fox; Lameiras, Sarevic, Carey; Ladapo (Taylor 80)
Goals: Carey 70
Subs not used: Macey, Riley, Jones, Wootton, Threlkeld, Jephcott

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Morris, Close; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis; Bogle (Hawkins 67)
Goals: Close 56
Booked: Evans, Thompson, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, May, Solomon-Otabor, Vaughan

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 12,052 (1,180 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 052019
 

Match Report

FA Cup 4th Round Replay

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Queens Park Rangers 0    2 Portsmouth

Pompey were beaten 2-0 by QPR in a fourth round replay to end their FA Cup adventure at Loftus Road.

There were just short of 3,000 fans who made the trip to the capital and they saw their side look solid for most of the contest, without creating many opportunities.

Craig MacGillivray also had little to do, although Darnell Furlong did strike the woodwork for the hosts before the break.

But the Championship hosts made sure of a home clash Watford in the next stage, as Nahki Wells and Matt Smith struck in quick succession during the second half.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that drew with Doncaster in the league at the weekend.

A fit-again Oli Hawkins made his first start since New Year’s Day, with Louis Dennis, Adam May, Anton Walkes and Christian Burgess also returning.

Jack Whatmough and Dion Donohue made way because of injury, Ronan Curtis was suspended and Omar Bogle ineligible, while Nathan Thompson dropped to the bench.

The hosts had an early chance to break the deadlock, but Smith could not divert Furlong’s cross on target with a powerful header.

Rangers were enjoying plenty of pressure, although there were not many clear-cut openings at either end of the pitch.

A corner led to a scramble in the box and when the ball eventually fell for Massimo Luongo, he blazed over.

The visitors grew in confidence as the first half progressed, but continuously saw attacking moves break down in the final third.

Perhaps their best opening came when May’s corner was not properly dealt with, although the ball would not fall for a black-shirted player.

It was the Championship side who had the best chance of the half when Furlong glanced Freeman’s delivery against the crossbar.

May tried to send Walkes away with a fine pass from deep just before the break, only for Jake Bidwell to spot the danger and make a vital interception.


Half Time

Queens Park Rangers 0

Portsmouth 0


Chances continued to be at a premium once the action restarted, with Luongo clearing the crossbar again before Matt Clarke headed clear a dangerous Freeman delivery.

Josh Scowen then became the first player to be punished by referee David Coote, earning a yellow card for a late challenge on Ben Close.

It was still Rangers looking more of a threat, although Luongo could not divert his header on target after finding space to meet Freeman’s free-kick.

Wells looked like he might break the deadlock after surging into the box, only for Clarke to arrive with a perfectly-timed challenge before he could get a shot away.

Jackett made a couple of changes soon after, with May and Dennis making way for Bryn Morris and Gareth Evans.

It was the latter who had a rare shot for the visitors, but could not divert Lee Brown’s low cross on target.

But QPR forged ahead on 70 minutes when a corner from Freeman was nodded down by Smith for Joel Lynch.

His shot was heading for the target, but might have been stopped by MacGillivray before Wells stuck out a boot to flick the ball into the net.

Jackett immediately made an attacking substitution, throwing on another striker in Brett Pitman to replace Close.

But Rangers soon strengthened their advantage, as Smith converted a Freeman free-kick with a bullet header.

They might have had another moments later, with MacGillivray tearing from his line to deny Bidwell.

Pompey kept battling away in the closing stages, but QPR saw out the final few minutes to book their place in the fifth round for the first time since 1997.

QPR (4-4-2): Lumley; Furlong, Hall, Lynch, Bidwell; Freeman (c), Scowen, Luongo, Osayi-Samuel (Eze 71); Smith (Hemed 90), Wells (Manning 82)
Goals: Wells 70, Smith 77
Booked: Scowen
Subs not used: Ingram, Leistner, Kakay, Wszolek

Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor (c); Lowe, May (Morris 59), Close (Pitman 74), Dennis (Evans 60); Hawkins
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Thompson, Haunstrup

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 13,115 (2,941 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 022019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1    1 Doncaster Rovers

Omar Bogle scored on his Fratton debut as Pompey fought from behind to draw 1-1 with Doncaster on a chilly afternoon on the south coast.

They trailed at the break to Mallik Wilks’ finish, despite controlling the opening stages and recovered from a sloppy period to get a foothold back in the contest.

Bogle struck in the second half to return the Blues to level terms, but the hosts were unable to find the target again.

It ended a three-match losing run in League One, but saw Pompey drop out of the automatic promotion places.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that were narrowly beaten by Luton earlier in the week.

Omar Bogle was promoted to the starting 11, having impressed after coming off the bench at Kenilworth Road.

There were also starts for Ben Close, Dion Donohue and a fit-again Nathan Thompson, with Bryn Morris suffering from an ankle injury.

Anton Walkes and Brett Pitman dropped out of the matchday squad, with Gareth Evans on the bench, meaning Tom Naylor took the captain’s armband.

The hosts started brightly and controlled possession in the opening stages, without managing to test Rovers keeper Marko Marosi.

Thompson was understandably a bit rusty after a spell on the sidelines, however, and was booked for an early foul on Wilks.

Ronan Curtis was sending some dangerous balls into the box from wide on the left, but Doncaster were holding firm.

It looked like Bogle might break the deadlock when Donohue swung a corner towards the far post, but the striker failed to make a clean connection from just a few yards out.

He managed a more powerful header from a Naylor delivery moments later, only for Marosi to cling on to the ball.

The hosts were then dealt a blow on 28 minutes when they were forced to make their first substitution.

Whatmough appeared to hurt his knee and after a brief period of treatment, was replaced by Christian Burgess, although managed to walk off the pitch unaided.

And Doncaster immediately made the most of any uncertainty that change had to the Blues back-line.

Wilks raced on to a long pass from Ben Whiteman, getting past Burgess and slotting a neat finish past Craig MacGillivray.

That left Pompey reeling and they were sloppy for the next 10 minutes, with the visitors looking to take advantage.

But Jackett’s side slowly started to find their footing again and began to look more dangerous as the interval approached.

Donohue whipped a superb corner into a packed box in stoppage-time and Marosi did well to flap the ball away.

A free-kick from Curtis was then not properly dealt with and a long-range attempt from Donohue was not too far off target.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Doncaster Rovers 1


Donohue appeared to be limping as he came off for break and the midfielder did not emerge for the second half, with James Vaughan coming on for his debut.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten following the restart, though, with Danny Andrew flashing an angled drive narrowly wide.

Pompey were seeing plenty of the ball as they searched for a leveller, but struggling to breach an organised Rovers defence.

But there was a mix-up between Marosi and centre-back Paul Downing that allowed the hosts to level on 54 minutes.

They got in each other’s way when trying to deal with Curtis’ ball in from the left and Vaughan’s pass was deflected into the path of BOGLE, who fired home from close range.

Vaughan then tried his luck with an acrobatic overhead effort from Lee Brown’s cross, although the ball sailed over the bar.

It had been a quiet afternoon for Jamal Lowe, but he saw a shot deflected past the post after showing neat footwork to break into the box.

Doncaster were not merely content with a point, however, and a shot from Alfie May sailed over, while Thompson made a superb recovery challenge to deny Matty Blair.

Former Fratton loanee John Marquis then hit skidding low shot from outside the box that MacGillivray got his fingertips to.

But the Blues immediately had a chance at the other end when Lowe’s fine long pass set Curtis clear, only for Marosi to just about get there first.

And Close then hit a fierce first-time shot from the edge of the area that the Rovers keeper did well to tip over the bar.

Jackett made his final substitution on 77 minutes, as Evans came on for Bogle to add some fresh legs to the forward line.

Headers from Burgess and Curtis could not beat Marosi as the Blues tried their best to find another goal.

And Doncaster almost snatched a winner in stoppage-time when Matt Clarke gave away possession, but MacGillivray came to the rescue by saving May’s curling strike.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Whatmough (Burgess 28), Clarke, Brown; Naylor (c), Donohue (Vaughan 46); Lowe, Close, Curtis; Bogle (Evans 77)
Goals: Bogle 54
Booked: Thompson, Lowe, Burgess, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, May, Isgrove, Hawkins

Doncaster (4-1-4-1): Marosi; Lewis, Downing, Anderson, Andrew; Whiteman (Crawford 61); Smith (May 61), Blair (Rowe 83), Kane, Wilks; Marquis (c)
Goals: Wilks 30
Booked: Lewis
Subs not used: Jones, Butler, Sadlier, Coppinger

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 17,800 (480 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 292019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Luton Town 3    2 Portsmouth

Pompey twice fought from behind, but a late goal saw them leave League One leaders Luton empty-handed.

They were comfortably second best before the break and James Collins ensured the hosts went in ahead at the interval.

It was a different story in the second half, however, and the Blues dominated for long periods, with Ronan Curtis levelling.

Collins netted from the penalty spot to restore the Hatters’ lead, only for substitute Omar Bogle to equalise on his debut.

Both sides looked capable of grabbing a late winner, but it was George Moncur who struck in the closing stages to strengthen Luton’s advantage at the summit.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Bryn Morris was handed a debut in the centre of midfield, while Jamal Lowe made an instant return after completing a one-match ban.

Dion Donohue and Louis Dennis dropped to the bench, where they were joined by recent loan signing Bogle.

There was also a change of formation, with Anton Walkes moving into the centre of a three-man defence, as Lee Brown and Jamal Lowe were used as wing-backs.

The snow fell persistently throughout the contest, although it was not heavy enough to leave more than a dusting on the surface.

It was the hosts who started on the front foot and it continued that way for most of the opening 45 minutes.

There were plenty of dangerous balls delivered into the Pompey box, although the majority were dealt with.

One cross from Kazenga LuaLua – younger brother of former Fratton favourite Lomana – caused difficulties, but Andrew Shinnie’s shot was blocked by Jack Whatmough.

Craig MacGillivray kept out a long-range effort from James Justin, who had earlier seen his corner headed away by Brett Pitman.

Luke Berry then sent a dangerous low ball across the face of goal, but a sliding Collins could not shake off Matt Clarke to convert.

Luton were well on top of and after a spell of intense pressure, LuaLua’s angled drive was kept out by MacGillivray.

Berry was next to try his luck, with a shot from outside the box that fizzed narrowly past the post midway through the half.

The hosts went close again on 29 minutes, as Jack Stacey swung in a dangerous cross that Berry glanced just wide.

Pompey were not creating much at the other end, although a flick from Pitman found Curtis, who was crowded out before he could get a shot away.

The action was soon back down the other end of the pitch, however, and Alan McCormack’s attempt was just off target, while a heavy touch from LuaLua allowed MacGillivray to save.

But Luton finally made their pressure count on 39 minutes, as Collins collected LuaLua’s pass and neatly slotted home.

Pompey’s first shot came just before the break, although Gareth Evans slipped as he connected with the ball, which sailed over the bar.


Half Time

Luton Town 1

Portsmouth 0


Jackett made a double change at the start of the second half, with Bogle and Donohue replacing Pitman and Evans.

And the latter made an immediate impression with the visitors’ first shot on target, although James Shea was not overly troubled.

Bogle was also proving to be a real handful, using his strength to steal possession on a couple of occasions.

Pompey looked a different team than the one that had struggled to keep hold of the ball before the break.

And they found themselves back on level terms on 52 minutes, with Clarke getting into the box and Lowe teeing-up CURTIS to drill into the net.

They might have had another moments later when Lowe found Morris, whose fierce effort was tipped over by Shea.

The Blues were applying plenty of pressure and the ball had to be hacked clear when Shea parried clear an angled drive from Curtis.

Luton had a chance to retake the lead on 71 minutes, however, as a cleanly-struck effort from Justin was pushed over by MacGillivray.

But they were back ahead soon after, when referee Simon Hooper decided that Whatmough had brought down LuaLua in the box.

He pointed straight to the spot and Collins sent up to confidently fire the ball right into the bottom corner.

That only served to reinvigorate the visitors, though, and they were deservedly level when Lowe slipped a pass across for BOGLE to bundle home.

He came close to adding another soon after, but Shea managed to get down to his left to push the ball behind.

But there was late heartache as the game swung back in Luton’s favour following a disputed foul on Moncur by Walkes just outside the box.

It was Moncur who took the free-kick and he expertly bent a shot around the wall and into the net to seal victory for the hosts.

Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Shea; Stacey, Pearson, Bradley (c), Justin; McCormack; Mpanzu, Shinnie (Sheehan 88); Berry (Potts 73); Collins, LuaLua (Moncur 80)
Goals: Collins 39, 77 (pen), Moncur 86
Subs not used: Isted, Jones, Read, Tomlinson

Pompey (3-5-2): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke; Lowe, Evans (Donohue 46), Naylor, Morris, Brown; Pitman (c) (Bogle 46), Curtis
Goals: Curtis 52, Bogle 79
Booked: Donohue, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, May, Dennis

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 10,078 (1,033 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 262019
 

Match Report

FA Cup 4th Round

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1    1 Queens Park Rangers

Pompey will head to Loftus Road for an Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay following a 1-1 draw with QPR.

A full-blooded encounter was short on chances before the break, but exploded into life in the second half.

The hosts took the lead when Lee Brown’s cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Joel Lynch.

But Nahki Wells levelled for the Championship side, ensuring both teams would be in Monday evening’s draw for the fifth round.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten at Oxford in the last league outing.

Brett Pitman returned to skipper the team, while Louis Dennis and Dion Donohue were also handed starts.

Jamal Lowe missed out through suspension and Andy Cannon was cup-tied, with David Wheeler having been recalled from his loan spell by the visitors.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off to show support for missing Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

The first half was played at a frenetic pace, with plenty of hustle and bustle, but few clear-cut openings at either end.

A long-range effort from Luke Freeman flew comfortably wide, while Craig MacGillivray comfortably claimed when a cross was flicked on by Darnell Furlong.

Ronan Curtis did well to win a corner at the other end, with the ball ricocheting off Jack Whatmough and flying past the post.

The centre-back was more fortunate with a deflection on 27 minutes, as Furlong’s delivery hit him and landed safely in MacGillivray’s arms.

QPR should have done better moments later when Lynch was left in space to meet Freeman’s free-kick, but could only divert the ball straight at the Blues keeper.

It was Pompey who finished the half on the attack, however, and Pitman did find the back of the net, only for the officials to spot an infringement.

Dennis then went close just before the break with a half-volley from the edge of the area that Joe Lumley did well to tip over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Queens Park Rangers 0


Pompey came flying out of the traps after the interval, although Curtis could not keep his shot down after a slip presented him with a chance.

Dennis then played a delightful pass over the Rangers defence for Pitman, whose first time effort just cleared the bar.

And when Gareth Evans whipped a cross in from the right, Pitman was not quite able to divert a glancing header on target.

Dennis had been relatively subdued before the break, but was proving a real threat after it and has low centre had to be turned behind by Toni Leistner.

Pompey were on top and they finally made the pressure count by taking the lead just past the hour mark.

Brown sent a teasing ball into the box from wide on the left and LYNCH could only slice the ball into his own net.

QPR looked to hit back and it took a vital headed clearance from Whatmough to ensure the Blues remained in the lead.

But the visitors were level on 74 minutes when a corner pinged around the box and Wells stabbed it into the roof of the net from close range.

A challenge from Curtis on Josh Scowen then led to a huge melee in the centre of the pitch and when peace was eventually restored the winger was booked, along with Brown and Lynch.

Rangers came close to turning the contest on its head soon after, but Freeman fired wide when he should at least have tested MacGillivray.

That proved to be the last decent opening for either side, meaning another game will be fitted into Pompey’s busy schedule.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Donohue (Close 80); Evans, Dennis, Curtis; Pitman (c)
Goals: Lynch 63 (og)
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Morris, May, Maloney

QPR (4-2-3-1): Lumley; Furlong, Leistner (c), Lynch, Bidwell; Scowen, Manning; Wszolek (Smith 71), Oteh (Osayi-Samuel 64), Freeman; Wells (Chair 90+1)
Goals: Wells 74
Booked: Manning, Lynch
Subs not used: Ingram, Kakay, Hall, Cousins

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 19,378 (2,881 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 222019
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1    0 Peterborough
United

A late strike from David Wheeler saw Pompey see off Peterborough to reach the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy.

The visitors were finishing the tie on the ascendency, with Christian Burgess and the crossbar coming to the Blues’ rescue.

But a penalty shoot-out looked likely until Wheeler scored with five minutes remaining to bring Wembley a step closer.

Kenny Jackett made seven changes from the side that were beaten at Oxford in the league on Saturday.

Skipper Gareth Evans kept his place in the starting line-up, as did Craig MacGillivray, Jamal Lowe and Wheeler.

There was plenty of youth on display, with academy full-back Haji Mnoga joined by third year scholars Matt Casey and Dan Smith.

Burgess, Brandon Haunstrup, Ben Close and Adam May added a bit more experience to a youthful side.

It was Pompey who looked the bigger threat for much of the first half and a low Haunstrup cross was turned narrowly past his own post by Rhys Bennett.

Evans then curled a free-kick just past the upright, while a scuffed May effort hit Smith’s heel and rebounded clear.

Their first clear-cut opportunity arrived on 22 minutes when Burgess lofted a fine pass over the Posh defence to find Wheeler.

The winger brought the ball down neatly, but Conor O’Malley was quickly off his line to block the shot.

Lowe then cut inside from the left and hit a fierce effort that was diverted over the bar by Ryan Tafazolli.

And Haunstrup found space to surge forward on 34 minutes, then flashed a low shot just past the post.

But Peterborough started to look dangerous as the interval approached and Joe Ward’s cross almost caught out MacGillivray.

The ball drifted towards goal, forcing the keeper to push it against the bar, with Wheeler clearing behind before Daniel Lafferty could pounce.

Lee Tomlin then found George Cooper with an incisive pass, but the midfielder’s first touch was heavy and the opportunity disappeared.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Peterborough United 0


It was the Blues who were first to have a chance after the interval, although Wheeler could not keep his shot down after Haunstrup’s pass had been fed into his path by Smith.

Burgess was enjoying a chance to impress and showed some silky footwork to twice leave Tomlin floundering.

The Posh winger was not amused, however, and kicked out at his opponent, with referee Andy Woolmer surprisingly deciding that a talking was all that was required.

And the official also kept his cards in his pocket moments later when Ivan Toney clattered into Burgess.

Jackett made a double substitution just before the hour mark, with Smith and Mnoga making way for Louis Dennis and Anton Walkes.

Toney had a couple of attempts for the visitors, scuffing one comfortably wide before a curling a second narrowly over.

Genuine chances were proving to be at a premium, though, and Evans sent a shot off target, while Close had an effort blocked.

Cooper wasted a good chance for the visitors by blazing wide after being teed-up by Siriki Dembele and tried to claim a corner to spare his blushes.

But the hosts somehow avoided falling behind during an incredible passage of play on 81 minutes.

MacGillivray did well to deny Cooper and Toney in quick succession, before Jason Naismith’s effort was cleared from the line by Burgess.

But the ball fell back to the Posh right-back and his header hit the bar, with Burgess again on hand to hack clear.

It was Pompey who broke the deadlock on 85 minutes, however, as Evans’ corner from the left was emphatically converted by WHEELER’s first-time finish.

The lead might have been doubled, but Dennis sent a shot just over the bar, while O’Malley denied Wheeler again.

One goal was enough, though, as the Blues comfortably saw out the final moments to reach the last four.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Mnoga (Walkes 58), Casey, Burgess, Haunstrup; May, Close (Clarke 87); Wheeler, Evans (c), Lowe; Smith (Dennis 58)
Goals: Wheeler 85
Booked: Close
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, Read, Lethbridge

Peterborough (4-2-3-1): O’Malley; Naismith, Bennett, Tafazolli, Lafferty; Woodyard (c) (Godden 87), Cooke; Ward, Cooper, Tomlin (Dembele 69); Toney
Subs not used: Chapman, Lyon, Denton, Maddison, Stevens

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 3,313 (121 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 192019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Oxford United 2    1 Portsmouth

Pompey lost 2-1 at Oxford to ensure they suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

Goals from Cameron Brannagan and James Henry meant the hosts enjoyed a comfortable lead at the interval.

The Blues were well below par, but Brett Pitman came on to spark hopes of a comeback with a fine finish.

Those 1,803 travelling fans were not given a result their backing deserved, however, as United held on for the points.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten by Blackpool on home soil the previous week.

One was enforced, with Andre Green being recalled from his loan spell by Aston Villa, while Dion Donohue and Pitman dropped to the bench.

A fit-again Lee Brown returned at left-back, Andy Cannon was handed his full debut and David Wheeler also got a rare league start.

It meant that Jamal Lowe led the line for Pompey and skipper Gareth Evans moved into a more advanced role.

Matt Clarke’s appearance in the side brought up 150 appearances for the defender, but new signing Bryn Morris had to be content with a spot among the substitutes.

The visitors started brightly and won an early corner that was dealt with, while a similar set-piece at the other end was nodded wide by Rob Dickie.

A deep free-kick from Brown then caused problems in the United defence, who were eventually able to scramble the ball to safety.

There were not an abundance of opportunities, with both sides showcasing attacking intent, but unable to produce any meaningful shots.

A couple of set-pieces were comfortably dealt with by Craig MacGillivray, while Evans’ curler from the edge of the box was not too far off target.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock midway through the first half, although it might have been the Blues celebrating a goal.

Lowe could not quite charge the ball down following a slip from former Fratton keeper Simon Eastwood.

Instead his long clearance eventually made its way to Brannagan, who drilled a fine low shot right into the bottom corner.

Oxford might have doubled their lead soon after, as a corner led to a spot of pinball inside the Pompey box.

The visitors won a couple of their own soon after and Eastwood dropped the second, but grabbed the ball at the second attempt.

It became a niggly affair as the interval approached, but United were able to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Jamie Mackie was unable to get a shot away and instead played the ball across for an unmarked Henry to lash home.


Half Time

Oxford United 0

Portsmouth 0


There were no substitutions for the Blues at the break, although Wheeler and Lowe swapped positions.

And the former had a chance to reduce the deficit moments after the restart, meeting Evans’ free-kick and sending a header just off target.

But it was still Oxford looking more likely to add to the scoring and an effort from Mackie flew narrowly over.

Then, after a Lowe strike had been comfortably dealt with by Eastwood, the hosts had two more chances to put the result beyond doubt.

First, a cross from Jordan Graham was punched away by MacGillivray and Jamie Hanson’s follow-up was deflected off target by Clarke.

Gavin Whyte’s corner was then palmed clear by the Blues stopper and this time Brannagan’s attempt flew into the side netting.

With the visitors struggling to find any kind of fluency, Jackett made a double change just before the hour mark.

Wheeler and Evans were the men to make way, with Pitman and Louis Dennis coming on to replace them.

And it proved to be an inspired decision, as the duo combined to reduce Pompey’s deficit on 64 minutes.

Dennis provided the assist, crossing the ball for PITMAN to convert with an acrobatic overhead effort that left Eastwood helpless.

The Blues were struggling to build on that goal, however, and Cannon made way for Donohue in a final throw of the dice.

One patient move did lead to a chance on 81 minutes, although Lowe could not adjust his body enough to guide Brown’s delivery on target.

And despite producing plenty of effort in the closing stages, Oxford remained firm at the back to secure victory.

Oxford (4-2-3-1): Eastwood; Hanson, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels; Mousinho (c), Brannagan; Whyte (Kashi 86), Henry, Graham (Browne 76); Mackie
Goals: Brannagan 25, Henry 45
Booked: Henry
Subs not used: Stevens, Long, Garbutt, Sykes, Carruthers

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Cannon (Donohue 76), Naylor; Wheeler (Pitman 59), Evans (c) (Dennis 59), Curtis; Lowe
Goals: Pitman 64
Booked: Lowe, Whatmough, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Morris

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 8,202 (1,803 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 122019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 0    1 Blackpool

Pompey suffered their first defeat of 2019 as they lost by a single goal to Blackpool in a largely turgid encounter at Fratton Park.

The action intensified following a soporific opening 45 minutes, but it was the visitors who struck through Chris Long.

And they held on for the closing stages as the Blues threw men forward in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to find a leveller.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that secured a dramatic FA Cup victory against Norwich the previous week.

Andre Green – who came off the bench to net a stoppage-time winner at Carrow Road – was rewarded with a return to the starting line-up.

He replaced Ben Thompson following the midfielder’s recall by Millwall, meaning Gareth Evans dropped further back.

The first half was a drab affair that was greeted with more yawns than cheers from another packed Fratton crowd.

A Jay Spearing free-kick caused a few problems, but when the ball made its way to Callum Guy, he fired well wide.

Ben Heneghan then did well to turn the ball behind and stop Brett Pitman from capitalising on Jack Whatmough’s long pass.

A corner from Evans was nervously punched clear by Christoffer Mafoumbi on 20 minutes, but the Blackpool back-line were able to clear.

It was the visitors who looked more likely to break the deadlock during a bright 10-minute spell towards the end of the half.

Armand Gnaduillet had two chances in quick succession, but swiped at thin air from a Liam Feeney delivery and then headed a cross from Donervon Daniels straight into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

And a second decent ball into the box from Daniels was turned over by Nathan Delfouneso at the near post.

Pompey finally started to threaten just before the break and a fine Pitman cross was just out of reach for Ronan Curtis.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Blackpool 0


Jamal Lowe had a shot deflected behind as the Blues began the second half with a lot more energy and attacking intent.

Blackpool then survived a couple of corners, while Nick Anderton would have been relieved to see Pitman’s cross evade a blue-shirted player after making a mess of his clearance.

There was an injury-enforced substitution on 55 minutes – but it was not any of the players who had to come off.

Referee Kevin Johnson limped forlornly to the sidelines to swap roles with fourth official Graham Kane.

Pompey continued to look more of a threat going forward, but their moves kept breaking down in the final third.

A good example was when Lowe cut the ball back for Green on the edge of the box, only for the loanee to take an air kick.

That proved to be his last contribution of note, with January signing Andy Cannon coming on for his debut on 64 minutes.

And the new arrival was soon involved in a lovely move involving Matt Clarke, Lowe and Curtis, with the latter seeing his effort blocked.

But it was Blackpool who took the lead on 75 minutes when Gnanduillet flicked the ball on for substitute Long to fire home.

Jackett immediately made his second change, with David Wheeler joining the forward line and Evans making way.

The hosts started to apply more pressure and Marc Bola bravely blocked Lowe’s drive, while Clarke’s cut-back somehow evaded his team-mates queuing up in the box.

Anton Walkes then swung in a fine left-footed cross, but Pitman’s glancing header was held by Christoffer Mafoumbi.

And the goalkeeper made a better save on 88 minutes to keep out Clarke’s hooked effort from a Lowe centre.

Pompey continued to throw everything at the Seasiders as the seconds ticked down, but they held on to take the three points back to the north-west.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Evans (Wheeler 75), Naylor; Lowe, Green (Cannon 64), Curtis; Pitman (c)
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, May, Dennis

Blackpool (4-1-4-1): Mafoumbi; Daniels, Heneghan, Anderton, Bola; Spearing (c); Delfouneso (Long 68), Thompson, Guy (Pritchard 82), Feeney (Nottingham 88); Gnanduillet
Goals: Long 75
Subs not used: Boney, Bunney, O’Sullivan, Kirby

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Graham Kane 55)

Attendance: 18,403 (247 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 082019
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Southend United 0    2 Portsmouth

A youthful Pompey side eased past Southend at Roots Hall to reach the last eight of the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time.

They went ahead through Louis Dennis almost immediately from kick-off and never looked like relinquishing that lead.

Gareth Evans then wrapped things up on the stroke of half-time before a turgid second period that did little to excite the small Essex crowd.

Kenny Jackett made 10 changes from the side that secured a dramatic FA Cup victory at Norwich at the weekend.

Evans – who wore the captain’s armband – was the only man to keep his place, although substitute goalscorer Andre Green also featured.

Dan Smith was handed a debut at right-back, with fellow teenagers Matt Casey and Bradley Lethbridge also given an opportunity to impress.

Christian Burgess, Brandon Haunstrup and David Wheeler added first team experience to a young side, with Dennis, Adam May and Alex Bass making up the starting 11.

The hosts – by contrast – were fielding a much more experienced side and yet found themselves behind with just 93 seconds on the clock.

Wheeler played the ball to Smith on the right and his smart delivery into the box was nodded into the net by DENNIS to open his Blues account.

Pompey looked the more dominant outfit throughout the first half and a free-kick from Evans was unconvincingly punched behind by Ted Smith.

May screwed a shot wide of the post after being teed-up by Lethbridge, who then fired a fierce effort narrowly over the bar.

It looked like the lead would be doubled on 28 minutes when Wheeler raced on to Green’s threaded pass, but the winger slotted inches past the post.

Southend had done little to threaten the visitors’ goal, although a short free-kick routine almost saw them level.

The ball was played to former Fratton triallist Theo Robinson and his low delivery somehow evaded both Harry Bunn and Taylor Moore as they slid in at the far post.

Pompey immediately went up the other end to create an opening of their own, as Burgess met an Evans corner and saw his header cleared from the line by a well-placed Robinson.

But they did score again in stoppage-time when Dennis showed neat footwork to tee-up EVANS, who lashed the ball past a helpless Smith.


Half Time

Southend Uited 0

Portsmouth 2


Jackett made a change at the start of the second half, with academy midfielder Freddie Read replacing Green.

And Evans almost got the half off to the perfect start, curling a free-kick past Smith’s grasp and just wide of the upright.

Leon Maloney then became the second Blues player to make his debut, with the youth team forward coming on for Lethbridge.

It was still the visitors looking more likely to add to the scoring and May fired over when Casey sent Evans’ free-kick back into the centre.

The traffic was not totally heading in one direction, however, and Burgess had to block a Stephen McLaughlin shot following a spell of Shrimpers pressure.

But, in truth, neither side was doing much to raise the tempo as the minutes ticked down with very little in the way of noteworthy incidents.

Southend did win a series of corners towards the end of the contest, but it was proving to be a comfortable evening for Bass between sticks

A long-range volley from Read was not too far off target, but Pompey had already done comfortably enough to ensure their name would be in Thursday evening’s quarter-final draw.

Southend (4-2-3-1): Smith; Bwomono, White, Moore (Hutchinson 60), Hendrie; Hyam, Yearwood (c); Kightly (Dieng 46), Cox (McLaughlin 46), Bunn; Robinson
Subs not used: Bishop, Turner, Mantom, Klass

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Smith, Casey, Burgess, Haunstrup; Evans (c), May; Wheeler, Dennis, Green (Read 46); Lethbridge (Maloney 54)
Goals: Dennis 2, Evans 45+1
Subs not used: Durin, Mnoga, Clarke, Hancott, Lowe

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 1,649 (189 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 052019
 

Match Report

FA Cup 3rd Round

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Norwich City 0    1 Portsmouth

Andre Green came off the bench to net a stoppage-time winner as Pompey triumphed at Norwich to reach the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup.

It looked like a replay was on the cards, despite the high-flying Championship hosts playing most of the game with just 10 men.

Captain Grant Hanley received an early red card, although both sides had chances to settle what was an absorbing contest.

But it was the Blues who came out on top, with Green finding the net right at the death to spark scenes of jubilation from the 2,493 travelling fans.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon in the league on New Year’s Day.

Dion Donohue replaced Brandon Haunstrup to make his first appearance since late October, while Oli Hawkins made way for Brett Pitman up front.

It was a more unfamiliar line-up for the hosts, who made eight changes to rest several key men for their quest to reach the Premier League.

The game took a while to get going, although Tom Naylor would have breathed a sigh of relief when Jordan Rhodes fouled Jack Whatmough while trying to race on to an under-hit back-pass.

But the hosts were dealt a massive blow on 15 minutes, when their skipper was dismissed by referee Darren Bond.

Hanley sent Ronan Curtis clattering to the turf and, with no other defender behind him, the official had no choice but to brandish a red card.

And the Blues should have immediately made the most of their numerical advantage, with Pitman heading Jamal Lowe’s cross over from just a few yards out.

Christoph Zimmerman then went close at the other end, hitting a long-range piledriver that bent narrowly past the upright.

A curling free-kick from Ben Marshall was comfortable for Craig MacGillivray, while Whatmough made a key challenge to deny Rhodes.

But the flow of the game was being disrupted by a series of niggly fouls from both teams, while Donohue had to be cleaned up after receiving a nasty cut to the head.

There was not an abundance of clear-cut opportunities, but the Canaries went close from a Kenny McLean free-kick.

The ball ricocheted into the path of Rhodes, with Matt Clarke using his face to block the striker’s shot and Ben Godfrey’s follow-up going straight at MacGillivray.

Pompey soon had a chance at the other end when Donohue’s delivery was laid off by Curtis, but a fierce effort from Gareth Evans was blocked before it could test Michael McGovern.


Half Time

Norwich City 0

Portsmouth 0


It was the visitors who made the brighter start to the second half and they created a number of openings just after the restart.

Naylor’s skidding effort was held by McGovern, while Pitman had a shot on the half-volley that looped over.

Donohue then sent in a dangerous cross from the left and Curtis glanced his header just past the post.

But Norwich fought back into the contest and Todd Cantwell drilled a shot narrowly past the post from 20 yards.

It looked like Dennis Srbeny was then going to slot the hosts into the lead, only for Anton Walkes to make a superb challenge just as he was shaping to shoot.

The match was finely poised, with the Canaries starting to see more of the ball and their opponents posing a threat on the break.

Jackett decided the time was right to make a change on 67 minutes, with Green coming on for Evans.

He made a lively start, although after skipping past one challenge in the Canaries area, could not repeat the trick.

Both sides looked capable of settling the tie and it was Pompey who almost broke the deadlock on 77 minutes.

McGovern failed to hold a drilled effort from Donohue, with Zimmermann just about getting there in front of Pitman to clear the danger.

An attempt from Lowe also had to be clawed behind by the diving keeper, as the Blues started to apply pressure.

MacGillivray then flung himself to the right at the other end, in order to keep out a diving header from Cantwell.

A replay might not have been what either side was looking for, but it looked on the cards until right at the death.

Donohue broke quickly and hit a superb cross-field pass for GREEN, who did not take the best first touch, but recovered well to hit a shot in off the post.

It left the hosts stunned and there was not enough time remaining for them to find an equaliser, with Pompey booking their place in Monday evening’s fourth round draw.

Norwich (4-1-4-1): McGovern; Passlack (Hernandez 85), Zimmermann, Hanley (c), Godfrey; Trybull; Cantwell, Srbeny (Pukki 85), McLean, Marshall (Klose 78); Rhodes
Sent off: Hanley
Subs not used: Krul, Pinto, Aarons, Vrancic

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Naylor, B.Thompson; Lowe, Evans (Green 67), Curtis (Wheeler 90+2); Pitman (c)
Goals: Green 90+4
Booked: Lowe, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, May, Dennis

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 23,201 (2,493 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 012019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2    1 AFC Wimbledon

Pompey began 2019 with victory at Fratton Park, but were made to work hard for the points by a struggling AFC Wimbledon side.

It looked like a comfortable afternoon might be on the cards for the league leaders when Jamal Lowe gave them an early lead.

But the hosts missed some decent chances to extend their lead and a stunning strike from Kwesi Appiah brought the Dons level.

That seemed to spark the Blues back into life, though, and Ronan Curtis soon headed them back in front to secure the win.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that won convincingly at Fleetwood at the weekend.

Oli Hawkins recovered from an ankle problem to replace Brett Pitman up front, while Brandon Haunstrup came in for the injured Lee Brown at left-back.

The other switch saw Ben Close make way for Gareth Evans, who was rested for the final game of 2018 at Highbury.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of former Pompey and Hampshire cricket star Mike Barnard, who sadly passed away before Christmas.

It was a quiet start to the contest, both on and off the pitch – with some New Year revelries perhaps explaining the muted atmosphere in the opening stages.

But the noise levels soon grew, as the hosts took the lead with the first proper chance of the game on eight minutes.

Curtis collected a cross-field pass from Anton Walkes and fired in a low shot that was saved by Tom King.

But the keeper could not keep hold of the ball and LOWE was quick to capitalise, dinking a neat finish into the net.

Pompey were dominating possession, but there was not an abundance on clear-cut opportunities to excite a sell-out crowd.

Ben Thompson wasted a decent opening, swiping at thing air after Walkes’ ball into the box had been laid off by Evans.

A couple of other dangerous moments from the hosts were ended by an offside flag, as the Dons struggled to find a foothold in the game.

Lowe was proving a particular nuisance and after showing some nifty footwork inside the box, saw his low shot saved by King.

His clever chipped pass into the box then had to be nodded away by Terell Thomas before Thompson could capitalise.

The visitors finally threatened just before the break when former Pompey winger Andy Barcham burst clear, but a superb Jack Whatmough challenge inside the box halted his progress.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

AFC Wimbledon 0


It was still a fairly sedate affair once the action restarted and a wayward header from Mitch Pinnock was not going to trouble Craig MacGillivray.

Kwesi Appiah was then perhaps fortunate to avoid a booking following a late challenge on Matt Clarke, with the Blues defender quickly back up on his feet.

But the hosts should have doubled their lead on 54 minutes, as a fine Lowe pass sent Curtis through on goal, only for the Republic of Ireland international to drag his shot wide.

Curtis was soon back to his best, however, stealing possession and cutting the ball back for Evans, whose side-footed effort was kept out by King.

Wimbledon tried to make Pompey pay for those missed chances and suddenly enjoyed a spell of pressure.

But one strike from Anthony Hartigan flew high over the crossbar, while another was straight at MacGillivray.

It was the visitors on top, though, and Jackett made a double change on 69 minutes to try to negate their threat.

Evans and Hawkins were the men to make way, with Close and Pitman adding fresh legs to the midfield and forward line respectively.

But it was Lowe who had a chance to doubled the lead, only to head a Curtis cross wide from just a few yards out.

And the hosts were made to pay for their profligacy when Appiah unleashed a superb long-range strike that left MacGillivray helpless.

Thompson had a shot blocked as Pompey went back on the attack, while an effort from Curtis was comfortably dealt with by King.

But CURTIS did restore their lead moments later, rising above his man in the box to nod home a great cross from Thompson.

The Dons threw men forward in an attempt to equalise for a second time, but Pompey saw out the closing stages to start the year on a high.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Haunstrup; B.Thompson (Burgess 90+4), Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c) (Close 69), Curtis; Hawkins (Pitman 69)
Goals: Lowe 8, Curtis 80
Booked: Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, Wheeler, Green

AFC Wimbledon (4-1-4-1): King; Watson, Kalambayi, Thomas, Purrington (Garratt 83); Nightingale (c); Pinnock, Wordsworth, Hartigan (Egan 73), Barcham (Jervis 87); Appiah
Goals: Appiah 75
Booked: Wordsworth
Subs not used: McDonnell, Sibbick, Trotter, Wood

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 18,732 (634 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 292018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Fleetwood Town 2    5 Portsmouth

Pompey finished 2018 on a high by thrashing Fleetwood 5-2 in a dramatic League One contest at Highbury.

Ben Thompson’s stunning strike gave them the lead, only for Paddy Madden and a Ched Evans penalty to see the hosts ahead at the break.

But Dean Marney’s red card for two bookable offences proved crucial – and the Blues took advantage.

Brett Pitman levelled with another spot-kick and a first goal of the season from Anton Walkes ensured they retook the lead.

It was left to Jamal Lowe to wrap things up with a brace that ensures Pompey will welcome in 2019 at the top of the table.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that suffered a first defeat on the road at Gillingham on Boxing Day.

Two of them were enforced, with Walkes and skipper Pitman replacing Nathan Thompson (hamstring) and Oli Hawkins (ankle) respectively.

The other switch came in the middle of the park, where former Fleetwood star Gareth Evans made way for Ben Close.

That meant a switch to a 4-3-3 system, with Lowe and Ronan Curtis flanking Pitman in the forward line.

The hosts had a great opportunity in the opening stages, but Evans’ header was held low down to his left by Craig MacGillivray.

Pompey soon started to settle and Close was unable to make a clean connection with his shot, allowing Alex Cairns to save.

But the Cod Army keeper made an even better stop soon after, keeping out a volleyed effort from Matt Clarke after the defender’s first attempt had been blocked.

The visitors then received a blow when Lee Brown went down injured and had to come off, with Brandon Haunstrup replacing him at left-back.

There was reason to celebrate for the travelling supporters on 26 minutes, however, as their side took the lead.

It was a fine finish from THOMPSON, whose fierce effort from outside the box struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the line.

Close might have doubled the lead, but could not get enough power on his header from a Lowe cross to trouble Cairns.

Instead it was Fleetwood who were next to score on 39 minutes, when Madden raced in to meet Lewie Coyle’s cut-back and arrow a first time shot right into the bottom corner.

And it soon got even worse for the Blues as Madden fired past the post, but went down after colliding with Clarke and, following a lengthy pause, referee Matt Donohue pointed to the spot.

It was Evans who stepped up to take the penalty, sending MacGillivray the wrong way to turn the contest on its head.

Pompey might have levelled deep into stoppage-time, only for Ross Wallace to clear behind and prevent Lowe from converting Curtis’ delivery at the back post.


Half Time

Fleetwood Town 2

Portsmouth 1


The Blues were quickly out of the traps following the interval, but when a corner was cleared, Haunstrup fired wildly off target.

Hopes were raised soon after, though, when Marney fouled Thompson and – having earlier been booked for a challenge on Curtis – saw red.

A cross from Haunstrup was then hacked to safety, as Walkes raced into the box to try to make contact.

Jackett soon made an attacking switch, with Evans brought on to provide more of a goal threat and Close withdrawn.

But it was two other players who provided the drama that saw the Blues score twice in as many minutes to take the lead.

Donohue pointed to the spot for the second time after Curtis was brought down by Ross Wallace and PITMAN confidently slammed home the spot-kick.

It soon got even better, though, as the Cod Army failed to deal with a Curtis cross and WALKES bent a shot into the top corner with his left foot.

The action did not stop there, however, and MacGillivray kept out Wes Burns’ free-kick, then quickly recovered to keep out James Wallace’s follow-up effort.

There was a period of calm after that, although Pompey were not content to sit back and Curtis continued to torment the home defence.

But they were lucky to still be ahead when, following a Fleetwood corner, both Madden and James Wallace struck the post.

Tom Naylor then hacked the ball clear from the line before Pompey went up the other end to wrap things up.

LOWE collected a pass from Curtis and held off two challenges, turning neatly to sneak a low shot inside the near post.

And it soon got even better for the Blues, as LOWE raced on to Thompson’s fine pass and lashed home their fifth goal of an eventful afternoon.

Andre Green came on for Curtis in the closing stages, but the visitors were unable to grant the wishes of the travelling fans, who chanted ‘we want six’.

Clarke came closest to adding another, but his header was well saved by Cairns. It mattered not, as Pompey had done more than enough to ensure they would end the year at the summit.

Fleetwood (4-4-2): Cairns; Coyle, Morgan (c), Eastham, R.Wallace; Burns (Dempsey 63), Marney, Biggins (Bolger 79), Hunter (J.Wallace 54); Madden, Evans
Goals: Madden 39, Evans 43 (pen)
Sent off: Marney (two yellow cards)
Booked: Madden
Subs not used: Jones, Sheron, Holt, McAleny,

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown (Haunstrup 19); B.Thompson, Naylor, Close (Evans 53); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Green 90)
Goals: Thompson 26, Pitman 57 (pen), Walkes 58, Lowe 81, 84
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Wheeler, Mason

Referee: Matt Donohue

Attendance: 3,494 (853 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC