2017/2018

Feb 132018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Blackburn Rovers 2


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON DRAWN LOST LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Blackburn Rovers 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 18,152 (884 away fans)

Feb 102018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
MK Dons 1
Portsmouth 2


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN LOST LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON LOST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

MK Dons 1

Portsmouth 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: John Brooks

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

Feb 032018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Doncaster Rovers 2


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN LOST LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON LOST WON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Doncaster Rovers 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 17,364 (366 away fans)

Jan 272018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
Portsmouth 0
Shrewsbury Town 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON LOST WON WON

Pompey’s barren start to 2018 continued as they suffered a narrow defeat to high-flying Shrewsbury at a damp Fratton Park.

James Bolton was left in space to score the only goal of the game midway through a first half that failed to sparkle.

But there was plenty of controversy before the break, with two decent shouts for a penalty turned down.

The Blues looked more inventive following the interval, but keeper Craig MacGillivray and the woodwork came to the Shrews’ rescue.

Adam May’s late dismissal for a second bookable offence only served to compound the hosts’ misery.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that suffered a dramatic defeat at Rotherham the previous week.

Gareth Evans returned from injury to skipper the side, while there were also recalls for May and Oli Hawkins.

Regular captain Brett Pitman dropped to the bench, along with Sylvain Deslandes and Matty Kennedy.

Pompey were guilty of some sloppy play before the break, although the wet conditions were undoubtedly making life tough for both sides.

But they dominated possession throughout the first half and Hawkins could not quite connect with Evans’ cross after leaping in the box.

May then received the game’s first booking for a late challenge on Shaun Whalley as the contest continued to meander.

And the goal that gave Shrewsbury the lead was indicative of what had come before, as the Blues failed to deal with a corner and Bolton took advantage at the far post.

There might have been a second when Luke McGee lost out in a race for the ball with Abu Ogogo, but Ben Close was on hand to clear the danger.

But the hosts were soon back on the attack and when Close’s free-kick was only partially cleared, Donohue’s follow-up volley was deflected wide.

Pompey were even closer to a leveller on 31 minutes, as Hawkins met Evans’ delivery, only for MacGillivray to make a superb save.

There was controversy either side of that, however, as the hosts were controversially denied a penalty on two occasions.

Referee David Coote had a clear view of Christian Burgess’ shirt being tugged as he tried to attack a corner, but opted to do nothing.

The official then failed to spot Whalley’s handball in the box, much to the fury of the home side, who rushed to complain, earning Evans a booking.

The Blues had to put that to the back of their minds and Hawkins almost capitalised when the Shrews defence failed to deal with May’s pass.

Evans also had a shot blocked by Omar Beckles and another effort that went over, as the hosts went in behind at the break.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Shrewsbury Town 1


Former Fratton favourite Ricardo Rocha – who made almost 100 appearances for the club – was introduced to the crowd during the interval.

That provided a lift, but the supporters were soon up in arms again when Coote missed another handball, although at least this one was not in the box.

Pompey were still struggling to find any fluidity and Jackett soon made a switch, replacing Jamal Lowe with Pitman.

That certainly provided the required spark, as the hosts soon began to take control and had a series of chances to draw level.

Toto Nsiala was well-placed in the box to keep out Evans’ shot and when the skipper delivered the ball back into the box, Pitman’s guided header was saved by MacGillivray.

Matt Clarke then saw an opening from the resulting corner, but could not force the ball through a sea of orange shirts.

And MacGillivray came to Shrewsbury’s rescue once again when he dived to his right to expertly keep out Kal Naismith’s 30-yard drive.

But the chances began to dry up again and so Naismith was withdrawn on 70 minutes for the fresh legs of Connor Ronan.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and McGee managed to claw away Carlton Morris’ header at point-blank range.

Whalley then arrowed an angled drive narrowly past the post after Shrewsbury had countered quickly.

Time was rapidly running out for the hosts, but they almost found an equaliser on 84 minutes.

Ronan’s looping header was volleyed towards goal by Pitman and a deflection took the ball onto the crossbar.

And there was more controversy late on when the ball bounced up and hit the arm of Beckles, only for Coote to remain unmoved.

But there was still time for the afternoon to get even worse for the hosts, as May’s foul on Stefan Payne saw him receive a second yellow card and subsequent red.

Pitman almost rescued an unlikely point deep into stoppage-time, however, with an angled shot rolling agonisingly past the post.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; May, Close; Evans (c), Naismith (Ronan 70), Lowe (Pitman 55); Hawkins
Sent off: May (two yellow cards)
Booked: Evans, Donohue
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Bennett, Kennedy, Chaplin

Shrewsbury (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; Godfrey; Whalley (John-Lewis 90+2), Nolan, Ogogo (c), Rodman; C.Morris (Payne 83)
Goals: Bolton 21
Booked: C.Morris, Rodman, Payne
Subs not used: Rowley, Hendrie, Lowe, B.Morris, Gnahoua

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,779 (498 away fans)

Jan 202018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
Rotherham United 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON LOST WON WON WON

Pompey were cruelly denied a point at Rotherham after conceding a goal in stoppage-time.

It looked like they had done enough to secure a draw after surviving plenty of second half pressure.

But two of their former players combined for the Millers’ late winner, with Michael Smith teeing-up Joe Mattock for a headed finish.

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

Sylvain Deslandes was handed a debut at left-back, while Matty Kennedy also returned, as Oli Hawkins and Connor Ronan dropped to the bench.

Jackett was facing the club where he had a short spell as manager last term, while former Blues boss Richie Barker was in the opposition dug-out.

The ball was a regular visitor to both ends of the pitch in the early stages, although a lack of quality in the final third meant a goal did not appear likely.

Dion Donohue – in a natural midfield role – made a block to deny Will Vaulks, while Kal Naismith sent a volley wildly over the bar after meeting Kennedy’s cross.

A fierce effort from Jamal Lowe was on target, although it was straight at Marek Rodak and the Millers keeper made a comfortable save.

Pompey did look bright following a quick break up the pitch on 13 minutes, as Deslandes collected the ball from Ben Close on the overlap, only for his cross to be just too high for Naismith.

And a Donohue free-kick that was flighted into the box somehow evaded both Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke as the defensive duo dashed in at the far post.

Both sides then had decent chances to break the deadlock in the space of a few minutes – with the Blues first to threaten.

Lowe chipped a pass up to Brett Pitman and the skipper tried to deftly flick the ball home, but he did not get enough on his header and it flew safely into Rodak’s arms.

David Ball soon had a dig for Rotherham at the other end, with his curling effort taking a slight deflection and sailing narrowly over the bar.

There were certainly not too many clear-cut attempts, though, with the home fans growing frustrated by some wasteful finishing.

Donohue had one last effort before the break and although his drive took a deflection off Vaulks, it was not enough to deceive Rodak.


Half Time

Rotherham United 0

Portsmouth 0


The first half had drifted towards a conclusion, but Rotherham came charging from the blocks at the start of the second.

First, Luke McGee had to leap on the ball when Ryan Williams’ delivery was turned back into the centre by Richie Towell.

A series of corners then caused chaos in the Blues box, with the Millers going closest to scoring from the first of them.

Richard Wood’s header was blocked in a crowded box and Nathan Thompson then charged down Vaulks’ follow-up effort.

Another flag-kick was soon sent back into the danger zone, though, and this time an unmarked Wood skewed wide.

But Pompey then had an opportunity of their own, with a commanding Rodak punch preventing Naismith from converting Lowe’s cross.

Jackett made a double switch on 66 minutes, with Pitman and Deslandes withdrawn for Hawkins and Ronan.

Smith soon worked his way into the Blues box, but Burgess was there to make a block and deny his former team-mate.

Corners were certainly proving a problem for Pompey and when one was met by Smith, the ball pinged around the area before eventually being hacked to safety.

Another soon followed and it was Thompson to the rescue once more, with the defender throwing himself in front of Semi Ajayi’s effort.

Rotherham applied more pressure as the seconds ticked down, but the visitors were holding firm at the back.

They might have even snatched victory late on when the ball fell to Lowe on the edge of the box, but his effort flew over.

Instead it was the Millers celebrating a late goal, as Smith crossed from the right and Mattock rose to head home at the far post.

Rotherham (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood (c), Mattock; Forde (Taylor 83), Vaulks; Towell, Yates (Smith 65), Williams (Newell 65); Ball
Goals: Mattock 90+1
Booked: Emmanuel
Subs not used: Price, Ihiekwe, Cummings, Clarke-Harris

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Deslandes (Ronan 66); Close, Donohue; Lowe, Naismith, Kennedy; Pitman (c) (Hawkins 66)
Subs not used: Bass, Widdrington, May, Bennett, Chaplin

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 9,129 (1,471 Pompey fans)

Jan 132018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Scunthorpe United 1


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN LOST LOST WON WON LOST WON WON WON WON

Jamal Lowe celebrated his new contract with a goal, but Pompey had to settle for a 1-1 draw with play-off rivals Scunthorpe at Fratton Park.

Both sides looked bright before the break, although it was the hosts who led thanks to some inventive play from Lowe.

The Iron were more dominant in the second half, however, and Kevin van Veen grabbed a deserved leveller.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that exited the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.

Top scorer Brett Pitman returned to lead the line, partnered by a fit-again Kal Naismith, who was making his first start for seven weeks.

There was also a system switch, with Oli Hawkins joining Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess in a three-man back-line.

That meant Nathan Thompson advanced into the centre of midfield, where he was joined by Ben Close and recent loan signing Connor Ronan.

Pompey took time to get used to the change in formation and looked a bit shaky at the back in the early stages.

Their opponents almost took advantage, with Luke McGee doing well to deny Tom Hopper and Lowe taking care of the loose ball.

But the hosts were lively at the other end and Ronan was especially bright as he attempted to thread passes through to the front two.

It was LOWE who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, though, stealing the ball off the foot of Josh Morris and finding the net from a tight angle with a shot that went in off the post.

The Iron were now shaky at the back and it took some desperate blocks to deny both Pitman and Naismith.

And the lead was almost doubled following a fine passing move involving more than half the side, with Pitman drilling a low effort narrowly past the post.

Scunthorpe were providing an attacking threat of their own, although McGee watched Funso Ojo’s attempt sail safely wide.

Their best opportunity to level came when Murray Wallace let fly from outside the box, but McGee was equal to the shot and punched the ball over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Scunthorpe United 0


And the Iron also had a great chance just after the restart when Hopper cut the ball back for van Veen in the box.

The striker found himself in far too much space, only for Clarke to make a great recovery challenge to deny the visitors.

But there was nothing that Pompey could do to prevent Scunthorpe from drawing level on 53 minutes.

Hopper got free down the left and picked out van Veen in the box, with the Dutchman swivelling and firing home an unstoppable shot.

And it almost got even worse for the Blues, with McGee having to make a fine reaction save from point-blank range to deny Morris.

Pompey tried to make an impression at the other end and Charlie Goode’s slip let in Naismith, only for the defender to recover and make a key block.

Jackett made a double change to try to steady the ship, with Ronan and Dion Donohue making way for Matty Kennedy and Adam May.

That resulted in a change of system to 4-1-4-1, with Naismith and Kennedy out wide and Pitman playing as a lone striker.

And Naismith had a chance to score when Scunthorpe failed to deal with a corner, but saw his angled drive gathered by Rory Watson at the second attempt.

That proved to be the end of the chances, as the final few moments passed by with little goalmouth incident to provide any late drama.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): McGee; Hawkins, Burgess, Clarke; Lowe, Close, Thompson, Donohue (May 71); Ronan (Kennedy 71); Pitman (c), Naismith
Goals: Lowe 15
Booked: Clarke, Hawkins
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Deslandes, Bennett, Chaplin

Scunthorpe (3-4-1-2): Watson; Goode, Burgess, Wallace (c); Holmes, Bishop, Ojo, Morris; Adelakun; van Veen, Hopper (Novak 84)
Goals: van Veen 53
Booked: Bishop, Adelakun
Subs not used: Kelsey, McArdle, Townsend, Sutton, McGeehan, Toney

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 17,741 (386 away fans)

Jan 092018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 1
Chelsea U21 2


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST WON WON LOST WON WON WON WON LOST

A dominant Pompey were knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy following a dramatic conclusion at Fratton Park.

They created a host of excellent chances in the first half and it was somewhat of a surprise that the sides went in level at the break.

But Belgian starlet Charly Musonda netted following a counter-attack for the Londoners and that looked to be it.

Substitute Brett Pitman levelled in stoppage-time, however, and the third round tie looked to be heading for penalties.

But there were still time for Musonda to curl home a fine free-kick and ensure it was the visitors who progressed to the quarter-finals.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Bristol Rovers on New Year’s Day.

Connor Ronan was handed a debut in place of Pitman, while fellow Wolves loanee Sylvain Deslandes was named among the substitutes.

Pompey were on top throughout the first half and the only negative from a confident performance was that they failed to break the deadlock.

An early effort from Ben Close set the tone for what was to come, with the ball hitting Trevoh Chalobah and ricocheting wide.

The hosts were passing the ball around nicely and one move ended with a snap-shot from the lively Ronan, forcing Marcin Bulka to get down to his right and make the save.

Chelsea’s only threat arrived following a quick break on 17 minutes, but Callum Hudson-Odoi could not beat Luke McGee at the keeper’s near post.

A series of corners led to problems at the other end, with decent deliveries from Matty Kennedy and Dion Donohue causing some nervy moments in the Londoners’ defence.

The fans in the North Stand Lower were being entertained and the Blues had three excellent opportunities to forge ahead in the space of a few seconds.

Bulka twice came to Chelsea’s rescue by keeping out a header and shot from Oliver Hawkins with smart saves.

Sandwiched between them was a sharp volley from Jamal Lowe that had to be cleared from the line by a well-placed Kyle Scott.

Still the chances kept coming and when Close tapped a free-kick to Ronan, the diminutive midfielder fired narrowly over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Chelsea U21 0


Pompey picked up where they left off after the interval and another opportunity was carved open by one of Matt Clarke’s trademark surging runs.

He sprinted more than half of the length of the pitch and played a neat one-two with Kennedy before laying the ball off to Ronan, who saw his effort blocked.

Jackett made a double switch on 53 minutes, with Hawkins and a limping Nathan Thompson making way for Kal Naismith and Pitman.

The Blues had been pretty dominant as the game approached the hour mark, only to then find themselves trailing.

Chelsea broke quickly down the left and Scott cut the ball back for Musonda to calmly steer past McGee and into the net.

It was still the hosts looking the more confident side, but they were not creating as many clear openings as in the first half.

A Ronan free-kick almost proved fruitful, however, with Pitman’s back-flick blocked and the same fate then befell his ambitious over-head effort.

The danger was not over, though, and when the ball bounced up and hit Ethan Ampadu on the arm, referee Gavin Ward ignored cries for a penalty.

But it took a superb save from McGee to stop Chelsea doubling their lead on 73 minutes, with the keeper flinging out an arm to somehow deny Scott from point-blank range.

Conor Chaplin came on for Ronan, as Jackett tried to inject some extra attacking impetus into his line-up.

And the striker thought he should have won a spot-kick when he went down under Ampadu’s challenge, only for Ward to again remain unmoved.

Pompey did level in added time, though, when PITMAN collected Kennedy’s cross and turned sharply before firing home.

It looked like penalties were on the cards, but when Christian Burgess crudely halted Hudson-Odoi’s surge, Musonda stepped up to curl in an impressive winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson (c) (Pitman 53), Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, May; Lowe, Ronan (Chaplin 76), Kennedy; Hawkins (Naismith 53)
Goals: Pitman 90+2
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Widdrington, Bennett

Chelsea U21 (4-3-3): Bulka; Sterling, Chalobah, Ampadu, Grant (Colley 83); Maddox (Redan 28), Sammut (c), Scott (McCormick 87); Musonda, St Clair, Hudson-Odoi
Goals: Musonda 58, 90+5
Subs not used: Cumming, Dasilva, Christie-Davies, Hazard

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 3,116 (113 away fans)

Jan 012018
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
Bristol Rovers 2
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON WON LOST WON WON WON WON LOST WON

Pompey suffered a cruel opening to 2018 after Bristol Rovers struck two late goals to secure all three points at the Memorial Stadium.

The visitors took the lead in an often scrappy contest when Oliver Hawkins headed home in the second half.

And there were opportunities to extend the advantage before Stuart Sinclair struck following a period of Pirates pressure.

It looked like the spoils were to be shared, only for Liam Sercombe to drill a winner in the dying moments.

Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side that saw off Northampton on home soil at the weekend.

Danny Rose and Gareth Evans both limped off against the Cobblers, so in came Adam May and Jamal Lowe.

Pompey’s injury problems were clear from a look at the bench, with Theo Widdrington recalled from a loan spell with the Hawks and joining academy prospects Matt Casey and Dan Smith.

It was the hosts who looked brighter in the opening stages and Luke McGee got down well to deal with a long-range attempt from Billy Bodin.

But the Blues soon grew into the game and were enjoying plenty of possession, without being able to test Adam Smith between the sticks.

A couple of balls into the box had to be hacked to safety, while Lowe’s effort was deflected narrowly wide.

There was danger at the other end when Lee Brown sent a dangerous delivery into the mixer, only for Bodin to collide with Sinclair as they both tried to meet it.

It was certainly the hosts looking more fluent as the half progressed and May charged down Rory Gaffney’s strike, before Tom Broadbent’s surging run was halted by Christian Burgess.

Pompey were still trying to create chances of their own, however, and Smith had to keep out Brett Pitman’s drive at his near post following good work down the right from Nathan Thompson.

Matt Clarke then looked like he was about to convert Dion Donohue’s free-kick, only for the keeper to come off his line and punch clear.

It was a decent spell from Pompey and Joe Partington had to divert the ball behind when Pitman – given plenty of stick for his Bristol City connections – stretched to reach Thompson’s cross.

The action then swung back in Rovers’ favour, although pressing from the Blues back-line was leaving the home crowd frustrated.


Half Time

Bristol Rovers 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey won an early corner once play restarted and Burgess sent a header looping narrowly over from Donohue’s delivery.

But it was Rovers who came close to breaking the deadlock on 51 minutes, as the ball pinged around the Blues box.

Bodin’s effort was kept out by the feet of McGee and when it was sent back into the area, Tom Nichols diverted it narrowly off target.

There was a melee in the opposite area on the hour mark, but when Pitman centred the ball, Chris Lines was well-placed to hack it clear.

And the visitors did forge ahead on 64 minutes, as a HAWKINS rose to meet May’s fine cross and guide a precision header past the desperate dive of Smith.

They came close to doubling their advantage, only for a Ben Close thunderbolt to be blocked by a Rovers shirt in a packed box.

And Matty Kennedy then did well to trick his way into space and flash a low shot narrowly past the post.

But Bodin came close to a leveller at the other end on 77 minutes, with a rising effort that McGee had to palm over the crossbar.

Rovers were piling on plenty of pressure in the closing stages and it finally paid off with a late leveller.

Bodin’s strike was saved by McGee, but he could not keep hold of the ball and Sinclair followed up to find the net.

And the Blues were left heartbroken when, in the 90th minute, a free-kick was played to Sercombe, who drilled a shot into the bottom corner.

Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Smith; Partington, Lockyer (c), Broadbent (Sweeney 59), Brown; Sinclair, Clarke (Sercombe 74), Lines; Bodin, Nichols, Gaffney (Harrison 74)
Goals: Sinclair 84, Sercombe 90
Booked: Partington
Subs not used: Slocombe, Bola, Moore, Telford

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, May; Lowe (Bennett 90+2), Pitman (c) (Main 81), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 64
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Widdrington, Smith, Chaplin

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 10,014 (1,165 Pompey fans)

Dec 302017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Northampton Town 1


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST WON WON WON WON LOST WON WON

Pompey finished 2017 on a high as they battled from behind to beat Northampton and climb into the play-off places.

They started poorly, but moved through the gears after Chris Long had put the struggling visitors ahead.

Matty Kennedy and Oliver Hawkins both struck in the space of a few minutes just before the interval.

Hawkins added a second following the restart and it might have been a greater margin of victory without an impressive display from Matt Ingram between the sticks.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day.

One of them was enforced, with Brandon Haunstrup suffering from a knock and being replaced at left-back by Dion Donohue.

Meanwhile, Jamal Lowe and Conor Chaplin both dropped to the bench to make way for Kennedy and Hawkins.

Pompey had a great chance to open the scoring early on when Brett Pitman slipped a pass through to Hawkins, but Ingram stuck out a foot to make the save.

But the hosts looked well below par for most of the first half, perhaps fatigued by the hectic festive schedule.

Northampton tried to make them pay and Luke McGee was forced to back-pedal when Sam Hoskins tried to lob him.

The keeper then got down quickly to his right to make the save when Matt Grimes had a snap-shot from 35 yards.

And a teasing Brendan Moloney delivery flew past both Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess, although Long was unable to make a connection at the far post.

Pompey were forced to make a substitution on 25 minutes when Danny Rose collected a bizarre injury.

A drop ball was called for after Nathan Thompson received treatment on the pitch and John-Joe O’Toole accidentally kicked the midfielder in the leg in the battle for possession.

He was switched for Adam May, leaving the hosts with an extremely youthful central midfield pairing.

The Cobblers then broke the deadlock when Close lost possession and O’Toole sent a through ball to Long, who coolly slotted the ball past McGee.

But that seemed to spark Pompey into life and they managed to score twice in four minutes to turn the match on its head.

It was a lovely finish from KENNEDY to level, with the winger cutting on to his right foot and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.

And it was an even better effort from HAWKINS to give the Blues the lead, as the striker rose on the edge of the box to expertly steer a deep Burgess pass over Ingram and into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Northampton Town 1


Gareth Evans had limped off injured just before the break and he was replaced by Lowe before the game restarted.

The hosts were not content with a narrow lead, though, and Kennedy curled a shot narrowly over at the start of the second half.

And Pompey did find themselves further ahead on 48 minutes, as Donohue sent a perfect cross to the far post, where HAWKINS showed plenty of desire to rise above the defence and head home.

It almost got even better after Pitman’s back-heel was blocked, but Close’s follow-up rattled the crossbar.

The Blues were rampant by this point and it was only a string of saves from the overworked Ingram that was limiting the damage.

He did well to keep out an angled Pitman drive before also getting down to save another Hawkins header.

The keeper was also at his best deny Kennedy, while Lowe should at least have found the target after being sent racing through on goal.

There was, unsurprisingly, a bit of a lull following such a frantic opening to the half, although it was still the hosts looking more likely to add to the scoring.

Burgess went close after racing into the box to meet Kennedy’s free-kick and head narrowly wide of the post.

There were to be no more goals, although Pompey had already done enough to secure the points and their place in the top six.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clark, Donohue; Close, Rose (May 29); Evans (Lowe 46), Pitman (c) (Chaplin 89), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Kennedy 41, Hawkins 45, 48
Booked: Pitman, Kennedy
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Bennett, Main

Northampton (4-1-2-1-2): Ingram; Moloney, Poole, Taylor, Buchanan (c); Grimes; Crooks, McGugan; O’Toole (Foley 59); Hoskins (Powell 64), Long (Richards 72)
Goals: Long 36
Booked: McGugan
Subs not used: Cornell, Smith, McWilliams, Waters

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,539 (538 away fans)

Dec 262017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
AFC Wimbledon 1


FORM GUIDE

WON LOST WON WON WON WON LOST WON WON WON

The big day might have passed, but there was still plenty of Christmas cheer on show as Pompey beat AFC Wimbledon.

Ben Close livened up a dull first half with a fine strike on a wet and windy Boxing Day afternoon on the south coast.

Lyle Taylor hit back with a penalty just after the break, only for Brett Pitman to net a spot-kick of his own to secure the points for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Shrewsbury before Christmas.

It came in attack, where Matty Kennedy dropped to the bench to make way for Conor Chaplin just behind lone striker Pitman.

Both sides had perhaps indulged themselves a tad too much the previous day, with the first half limping along.

Pompey enjoyed the majority of possession and territory, but George Long was largely untroubled in the Dons goal.

It was actually the visitors who were first to threaten, with Cody McDonald – perhaps put off by Luke McGee’s presence – poking the ball wide of the post.

Close sent a couple of dangerous deliveries into the box, only for the Londoners’ back-line to deal with them both.

A snap-shot from the returning Chaplin was well-struck on 19 minutes, but the ball flew straight at Long.

The lively Gareth Evans also had an effort that flew narrowly wide, as the contest struggled to move out of second gear.

Pompey fans were finally given reason to sit up and take notice when Chaplin’s shot took a deflection and hit Jamal Lowe.

He was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough, however, with the ball ricocheting off the winger and being saved by Long.

A couple of Wimbledon corners caused hearts to flutter at the other end, but it was the hosts who finally forged ahead just before the break.

Lowe slide in to win back possession and feed CLOSE, whose 25-yard effort skimmed off the wet surface and into the bottom corner.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

AFC Wimbledon 0


The mood was buoyant inside Fratton Park at the break, but it soon soured when the visitors levelled just after the restart.

There was plenty of controversy about the goal, however, with AFC Wimbledon awarded a penalty after the ball bounced up and struck Christian Burgess on the arm.

Referee Craig Hicks decided it was deliberate and Taylor smashed the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

There was growing frustration from fans and players alike, as a few more decisions started to go against them.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark to try to inject some fresh impetus into his side.

Chaplin and Lowe were the men to make way, with Oliver Hawkins and Kennedy coming on to replace them.

Hicks looked to have ensured he was off next season’s Christmas card list for anyone living in Portsmouth, but the official was soon back in the home side’s good books.

He spotted Barry Fuller’s shove on Pitman inside the box and, much to the delight of the Fratton faithful, pointed to the spot.

It was PITMAN who stepped up to take the penalty and confidently sent Long the wrong way with a thunderous finish.

Wimbledon almost hit back, as an angled drive from former Blues winger Andy Barcham flashed across the face of goal.

But Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure a return to winning ways in League One.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Evans, Chaplin (Hawkins 64), Lowe (Kennedy 64); Pitman (c)
Goals: Close 45, Pitman 72 (pen)
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, May, Bennett, Main

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Long; Fuller (c), Oshilaja, Charles, Meades; Trotter, Soares (Kaja 78), Abdou, Barcham; Taylor, McDonald
Goals: Taylor 50 (pen)
Booked: Soares, Barcham, Fuller, Trotter
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Kennedy, Hartigan, Egan, Francomb

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 18,644 (728 away fans)

Dec 232017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
Shrewsbury Town 2
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON WON WON WON LOST WON WON WON LOST

It was not exactly the Nightmare before Christmas.

But Pompey were certainly lacking festive cheer after individual errors saw their fine run of form brought to an end at high-flying Shrewsbury.

Things appeared to be going the visitors’ way when Luke McGee saved Shaun Whalley’s penalty following a lifeless first half.

But Whalley and substitute Stefan Payne both capitalised on sloppy defending to maintain the Shrews’ magnificent home record.

The game began in cautious fashion and neither side really looked like scoring in a scrappy opening 45 minutes.

Pompey’s three bookings were arguably the most noteworthy incidents, although the Blues could perhaps feel aggrieved to see Matt Clarke, Jamal Lowe and Brandon Haunstrup’s names all taken.

There were a few balls pumped into Shrewsbury’s box, but nothing to trouble Dean Henderson between the sticks.

More concerning was a long-range attempt by Kennedy on 19 minutes, with the keeper managing to push the ball clear after it bounced awkwardly in front of him.

Not too much was happening at the other end of the pitch, although Clarke had to head away Alex Rodman’s curling effort.

And Christian Burgess then made a well-timed challenge inside the box to halt Carlton Morris’ path to goal.

But, with the game drifting towards the interval, neither stopper had realistically looked like conceding.

That almost changed in stoppage-time, though, as McGee showed good reactions after Whalley’s cross was diverted towards the net by an inadvertent Haunstrup deflection.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The first half had been forgettable – and Blues fans will be keen for the second period to also escape their memories.

Shrewsbury were given an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock soon after the restart when Christian Burgess lost the ball to Whalley.

He burst into the box and when McGee came charging from his line to deal with the danger, referee Darren Handley decided he took the man and not the ball.

It was Whalley who stepped up to take the spot-kick, only for his tame effort to be saved by the diving Blues keeper.

Pompey almost made him pay for his profligacy when Brett Pitman won a free-kick, but Henderson was equal to the skipper’s effort.

And it was the hosts who took the lead just before the hour mark when McGee tried to stop a deflected Jon Nolan effort from going out for a corner.

The keeper could not keep hold of the ball, however, and Whalley capitalised by sliding it into the net.

Jackett immediately made a double substitution, with Lowe and Kennedy making way for Oliver Hawkins and Kyle Bennett.

But the Blues were looking ragged after falling behind and McGee did well to beat Whalley to Carlton Morris’ threaded pass.

Conor Chaplin replaced Pitman in one last effort by Pompey to try to find a spark of magic and grab an equaliser.

Instead, Shrewsbury grabbed a late second goal, as Payne stole the ball from Clarke and found the target, despite McGee’s best efforts to keep it out.

Pompey kept plugging away – no doubt inspired by a noisy travelling army – but there was to be no Christmas miracle.

Shrewsbury (4-1-4-1): Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; B.Morris; Whalley, Nolan, Ogogo (c), Rodman (Godfrey 87); C.Morris (Payne 75)
Goals: Whalley 59, Payne 81
Booked: C.Morris, Nolan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Riley, Gnahoua, Dodds, John-Lewis

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Lowe (Hawkins 60), Evans, Kennedy (Bennett 60); Pitman (c) (Chaplin 77)
Booked: Clarke, Lowe, Haunstrup
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, May, Main

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 7,429 (1,094 Pompey fans)

Dec 162017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Bury 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON WON LOST WON WON WON LOST LOST

Matt Clarke found the target as Pompey continued their impressive run by seeing off Bury at Fratton Park.

They were on top for most of the contest, but were just lacking a clinical touch in front of goal against League One’s bottom club.

Their persistence was rewarded in the second half, however, when Clarke converted a Gareth Evans corner to seal the victory.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Charlton the previous week.

Conor Chaplin dropped to the bench, with Kyle Bennett taking his place in a central attacking role against his former club.

There had perhaps been too much festive overindulgence on Friday evening, with the atmosphere feeling flatter than usual.

Not that there was too much to inspire them on the pitch in a first half that the hosts controlled, without looking overly threatening.

A tame Brett Pitman effort was comfortably dealt with, while the crossing of Evans was providing some problems for Bury.

Danny Rose had the first of three decent opportunities for the Blues, unleashing a thunderous 30-yard drive that Leo Fasan did well to tip over on 15 minutes.

Bennett and Clarke both had half-chances, as Pompey continued to probe away without getting any reward.

But those other two notable openings came on 34 minutes and there was a touch of fortune about both of them.

First up was a jinking run into the box by Jamal Lowe, with the ball ricocheting kindly into Evans’ path.

He was left with just the keeper to beat, but Fasan did well to spread himself as big as possible and make the save.

Then, just seconds later, an attempt from Lowe took a massive deflection, sending the ball fizzing inches past the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Bury 0


There was a change just after the restart for the second week in a row, with Stuart O’Keefe withdrawn for Ben Close in the engine room.

But it was Bury who initially started stronger and a free-kick from Jay O’Shea had to be punched clear by Luke McGee.

O’Shea was also involved moments later, whipping in a corner from the right that skipper Nathan Cameron headed narrowly over.

Jackett made a second switch on the hour mark as Pompey continued their hunt for a goal, with Chaplin replacing Bennett.

And they did forge ahead moments later when Evans whipped in an excellent corner and CLARKE came charging in at the far post to emphatically head home.

Bury then replaced one former Blues striker with another to try to force an equaliser, with Michael Smith given a warm reception as he made way for Chris Maguire.

The new man immediately had an opportunity to level when he was brought down by Lowe, only to send his free-kick straight into McGee’s arms.

Pompey were still looking to get forward themselves, though, and a left-footed attempt from Evans dipped narrowly over.

The Shakers got more men forward as the seconds ticked down, but a lack of firepower meant they never really looked like getting anything from the game.

And it might have been a heavier defeat for the visitors, with Fasan getting down well to palm clear a snap-shot from Close late on.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; O’Keefe (Close 46), Rose; Evans, Bennett (Chaplin 60), Lowe; Pitman (c)
Goals: Clarke 62
Booked: Bennett, Evans
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Donohue, Kennedy, Main

Bury (4-1-2-1-2): Fasan; Edwards, Cameron (c), O’Connell, Leigh; Ince; Tutte (Mayor 65), Reilly; O’Shea; Smith (Maguire 69), Ajose
Booked: O’Connell
Subs not used: Maloney, Aldred, Williams, Dawson, Laurent

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 17,549 (176 away fans)

Dec 092017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


A League 1
Charlton Athletic 0
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON LOST WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST

Stuart O’Keefe was credited with the goal, although it looked like Josh Magennis had actually sent the ball into his own net.

It might have been a more comfortable victory, but Brett Pitman saw his penalty superbly saved by Ben Amos.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Northampton in the Checkatrade Trophy the previous week.

Fit-again skipper Pitman returned to lead the line following a hamstring problem, as Curtis Main dropped to the bench.

There were two former Pompey ‘Player of the Season’ winners in the Charlton squad, with Ricky Holmes starting and Jason Pearce named among the substitutes.

The hosts were celebrating the 25th anniversary of their return to The Valley – which, coincidentally, was for a match against the Blues in December 1992.

They won 1-0 on that day and a similar outcome looked on the cards as Jackett’s side struggled to make an impression in the early stages.

For all of the Addicks’ domination of possession, however, they were not doing much to test Luke McGee.

The keeper had to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses into the box, but was otherwise well protected by his defence.

And, as the first half progressed, it was the visitors who started to look the more dangerous outfit going forward.

They almost broke the deadlock on 29 minutes when Pitman laid the ball off for Gareth Evans, whose fierce effort was tipped over the bar by Amos.

The resulting corner was only cleared as far as O’Keefe outside the box and his effort looped onto the roof of the net.

A couple of half-chances followed for Pitman and Evans, with the Blues sensing they could make the most of some nervous defending.

But they were almost hit on the break when Jay Dasilva fed Holmes, whose shot was tipped over by McGee.

The action soon switched back down to the other end and it took a vital Chris Solly block to stop Conor Chaplin from sliding Pompey into the lead.

O’Keefe picked up the loose ball and his long-range shot took a deflection to divert it wide of the post.

But it was Charlton who had the final say before the break and McGee was called into action to deal with Dasilva’s curling effort.


Half Time

Charlton Athletic 0

Portsmouth 0


Chaplin did not emerge for the start of the second half, with Kyle Bennett taking his spot just behind Pitman.

And the Blues broke the deadlock within a couple of minutes of the restart – although there was some debate about who should take the credit for the goal.

It was O’Keefe who was announced as the man to have converted Evans’ fine free-kick into the box, although some argued it was Charlton’s Magennis who got the final touch.

Holmes soon had a chance at the other end, but his final delivery was somewhere in between a cross and a shot, with the ball flying out for a goal-kick.

Pompey were still looking to get forward themselves, however, and Pitman was not far off target with one effort, while Bennett then forced Amos into action.

They had an excellent opportunity to double their advantage on 65 minutes when referee Andrew Madley spotted a tug on Pitman by Solly in the area.

It was Pitman who unsurprisingly stepped up to take the spot-kick, only for Amos to dive to his left to make a superb save.

That gave the home side – and their supporters – a boost, but the hosts were still proving difficult to breach.

A bit of needle started to creep into the game, with Evans shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Holmes, who then joined him in the book by fouling McGee.

Nathan Thompson soon became the third player cautioned, although he did appear to win the ball from Holmes cleanly.

There was plenty of action unfolding at both ends and when one promising Blues move broke down, their opponents broke quickly, only for Mark Marshall to shoot straight at McGee.

Pompey’s keeper made a better save late on, though, getting quickly down to his right to keep out Leon Best’s firm header.

And, despite late appeals by the home crowd for a penalty, that ensured the Blues made the trip home with all three points.

Charlton (4-2-3-1): Amos; Solly (c), Konsa, Sarr, Dasilva; Forster-Caskey, Aribo (Reeves 87); Marshall (Best 82), Clarke (Ahearne-Grant 75), Holmes; Magennis
Booked: Holmes
Subs not used: Phillips, Lennon, Pearce, Jackson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; O’Keefe, Rose; Evans, Chaplin (Bennett 46), Lowe; Pitman (c)
Goals: Magennis 47 (og)
Booked: Evans, Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Casey, May, Kennedy, Main

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 16,361 (3,870 Pompey fans)

Dec 022017
 

Portsmouth FC 2017/2018


H EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 2
Northampton Town 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST

Gareth Evans and Stuart O’Keefe were on target as Pompey cruised into the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy.

A small crowd were not treated to a chance-laden encounter against Northampton, but it was always the hosts who looked more likely to progress.

Evans completed an attractive passing counter-attack to open the scoring a few minutes before the interval.

O’Keefe doubled their lead in the second half and only some impressive saves from David Cornell prevented the margin of victory being even greater.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that beat Plymouth in the league the previous week.

Christian Burgess returned from suspension to replace the injured Oliver Hawkins in defence, while the sidelined Kal Naismith made way for Curtis Main up front.

The other switch saw loanee O’Keefe recalled in the centre of the pitch, with Ben Close, who was nursing a knock, missing out.

A sparse attendance ensured there was an eerie atmosphere inside Fratton Park when the game got underway.

And the action on the pitch did little to warm the spirits of those fans who decided to spurn Christmas shopping to watch the contest.

There were a couple of half chances for the hosts, with O’Keefe’s volleyed effort flying over, while an audacious long-range free-kick from Christian Burgess landed on the roof of the net.

Neither side looked particularly threatening in the opening stages, however, as the game drifted along.

Main headed a difficult chance wide after rising above two defenders to meet Nathan Thompson’s cross.

Evans then drilled a low shot narrowly past the post, while Cornell – who previously had a loan spell at Fratton Park – just about beat Conor Chaplin to a loose ball.

The tie finally got going on 35 minutes, when Danny Rose slipped a fine pass through to Evans, who was denied by Cornell’s save.

Northampton had offered little at the other end, although Burgess made a timely challenge to dispossess Chris Long in the box.

And it was the Blues who broke the deadlock just before the break, courtesy of a fine passing move up the pitch.

Brandon Haunstrup released Evans, who in turn found Chaplin before bursting into the box to receive the ball back.

Chaplin dinked a cross into the centre, and EVANS was there to head home his first goal of the season.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Northampton Town 0


The advantage was almost doubled early in the second half, as Haunstrup delivered a dangerous low cross that Ash Taylor had to turn over his own crossbar.

But it then took a superb save from Luke McGee to stop the Cobblers from levelling, with the keeper diving to his right to stop Taylor from converting Lewis McGugan’s corner.

Cornell made his own decent stop when Main inventively flicked Rose’s centre towards the net, although the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

The lead did increase just before the hour mark, however, as Thompson cut the ball back for O’KEEFE to neatly steer into the bottom corner.

A third might have followed when Thompson stole back possession, but Evans’ effort from out wide flashed past the post.

Jackett made his first switch on 69 minutes, with Drew Talbot given a chance to impress in place of Haunstrup at left-back.

Evans and Chaplin were off target with shots, as the Blues tried to wrap the tie up with plenty of time to spare.

Main then saw an attempt roll agonisingly wide following good work from Rose and Chaplin to tee him up.

And Cornell made a string of fine saves to limit the damage late on, denying Main, Evans and Chaplin in quick succession.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup (Talbot 69); O’Keefe, Rose; Evans (c), Chaplin, Lowe (Kennedy 88); Main
Goals: Evans 41, O’Keefe 58
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, May, Bennett, Lethbridge

Northampton (4-4-2): Cornell; Moloney, Barnett, Taylor, Buchanan; Hoskins (Bowditch 63), Poole (Waters 78), McGugan, Crooks; Richards (c), Long (Foley 46)
Subs not used: Coddington, Smith, McGivern, Kasim

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 1,780 (128 away fans)