2018/2019

May 162019
 

Match Report

League One Play-Offs

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 0 0 Sunderland

Pompey’s promotion hopes are over after they suffered a narrow aggregate defeat to Sunderland in the play-offs.

Trailing by a single goal from the first game in the north-east, the Blues fought hard to try to level the tie.

They certainly created the best chances, with Jon McLaughlin making some key saves and Matt Clarke hitting the woodwork.

But they failed to find the breakthrough in what was an often ugly encounter, with the Black Cats holding on to book their spot at Wembley.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten in the first leg at the weekend

Lee Brown and Brett Pitman were injured for that Wearside clash, but were fit enough for a return to the starting line-up.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was also given a chance to impress, as Anton Walkes, Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench.

There was a minute of applause before kick-off, as those inside the ground paid tribute to former Pompey defender Jon Gittens, who sadly passed away at the age of just 55.

It was a feisty contest right from the off and Gareth Evans was soon shown a yellow card for a challenge on Lee Cattermole.

Tom Naylor soon followed him into the referee’s notebook, with the midfielder throwing the ball at Chris Maguire after the pair had clashed in the corner.

The Sunderland midfielder was also guilty of some poor challenges, however, with official Peter Bankes finally losing patience and taking his name.

But despite a frantic showing from both sides, clear-cut chances were proving to be at a premium in the opening stages.

Neither keeper was not given too much to do, besides a few regulation stops, with a final ball or moment of quality lacking.

Maguire was certainly enjoying his role as pantomime villain, earning cries of derision from the Fratton faithful following weak appeals for a penalty.

The hosts grew stronger as the first half progressed, with Ben Close exchanging passes with Pitman, whose cross was just out of reach for Oli Hawkins.

Sunderland then had a decent chance at the other end after Maguire beat Craig MacGillivray to a ball over the top, only to slip and allow Christian Burgess to clear the danger.

Pompey had two great opportunities to level the tie just before the break, with McLaughlin doing well to keep out Gareth Evans’ diving header from point-blank range.

And they then went close from the resulting corner, as Clarke’s nodded the ball down into the turf and up against the crossbar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 0


There was another coming together following the restart, this time involving Charlie Wyke and Nathan Thompson, but the referee managed to calm things down.

Jackett then made his first change on 52 minutes, as leading marksman Lowe came on for Solomon-Otabor.

They almost scored moments later, with Hawkins meeting Lee Brown’s fine cross and seeing his header tipped over by McLaughlin.

It was still proving to be niggly affair and there was more consternation when Luke O’Nien tumbled into the North Lower.

James Vaughan replaced Hawkins on 68 minutes, as Jackett looked to add some fresh attacking impetus into his side.

And the newcomer almost grabbed an immediate goal, only to be denied by another fine McLaughlin save after Pitman had hooked the ball towards the back post.

Clarke then wanted a penalty after tangling with Alim Ozturk as he tried to reach Evans’ free-kick, but Bankes was uninterested.

Pompey kept fighting and tried their best to put the Black Cats under pressure, with their visitors fighting hard to keep them at bay.

The display of six minutes of added time gave the Fratton faithful renewed hope, but Sunderland held on to reach the final.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans, Pitman (c), Solomon-Otabor (Lowe 52); Hawkins (Vaughan 68)
Booked: Evans, Naylor, Pitman, Vaughan
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Morris, Curtis, Dennis

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Ozturk, Flanagan, Oviedo; Cattermole, Leadbitter; Honeyman (c), Power (Morgan 80), Maguire (Gooch 69); Wyke (Grigg 83)
Booked: Maguire, O’Nien
Subs not used: Ruiter, Matthews, Dunne, Watmore

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 18,077 (1,397 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

May 112019
 

Match Report

League One Play-Offs

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sunderland 1 0 Portsmouth

Pompey will have to overcome a first leg deficit if they are to beat Sunderland and reach the League One play-off final.

Former Fratton loanee Chris Maguire came off the bench to net an impressive winner in a match that was otherwise short of a spark.

The Black Cats played the final quarter of the contest with just 10 men after Alim Ozturk was shown a straight red card.

Gareth Evans struck the woodwork from the resulting free-kick, but the Blues were unable to find an equaliser.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Accrington on the final day of the regular campaign.

Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis were rested for that Fratton fixture, but returned to replace Viv Solomon-Otabor and Bryn Morris.

Lee Brown failed a fitness test on an Achilles injury, with Nathan Thompson coming back into the starting line-up as expected and Anton Walkes moving across to the left.

Skipper Brett Pitman was on the bench against Stanley, but missed out with a hamstring problem, so Evans retained the armband.

Pompey were not the only side to be suffering, however, and after picking up an injury in the warm-up, Aiden McGeady was swapped with Lynden Gooch.

There was not an abundance of quality on display once the action got underway, with both teams perhaps shackled by what was at stake.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of early possession, although Jon McLaughlin comfortably dealt with a couple of crosses into his box.

Evans did cut the ball back into the danger zone, where first Lowe and then Ben Close saw efforts blocked.

There was also an opening when Curtis advanced towards goal, although his strike from outside of the box was scuffed wide of the post.

Sunderland were also struggling to find their feet at the other end and a delivery from Gooch was nodded over by Charlie Wyke.

Wyke looked the most likely player to break the deadlock, with Walkes doing well to stop him from meeting Lewis Morgan’s centre.

Max Power soon sent the ball back into the area for the striker and this time he fired over the crossbar.

The Black Cats had one more opening before the break and Gooch finally had an attempt on target, although it was no bother for MacGillivray.


Half Time

Sunderland 0

Portsmouth 0


The entertainment value did not immediately increase once the action restarted, with niggly fouls at both ends interrupting the flow.

Evans did try to thread a precise pass through to the onrushing Lowe, but Tom Flanagan was able to cut the ball out.

And Flanagan was then involved at the other end of the pitch after collecting the ball from a corner, with Naylor flinging himself in the path of the shot.

A clear-cut opportunity was finally created just before the hour mark – and it was the Black Cats who came close to scoring.

Gooch whipped the ball into the box from wide on the left and George Honeyman’s header was brilliantly tipped over by MacGillivray.

And Sunderland were ahead just moments later and it came from a man who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes.

Bryan Oviedo swung in a teasing cross that Matt Clarke headed clear, but the ball fell for Maguire to fire home a fine volley from the edge of the box.

But the hosts were soon reduced to 10 men after Clarke released Evans, who was brought down just outside the area by Ozturk.

Referee Andy Woolmer reached into his pocked and pulled out a red card, leaving the defender to trudge from the pitch.

Jackett immediately made a double substitution, with Oli Hawkins and Curtis making way for Solomon-Otabor and Omar Bogle.

Evans then stepped up to take the free-kick and curled a brilliant effort against the bar, with the ball bouncing clear.

Another opportunity soon came from a corner, as Bogle’s close-range shot was diverted behind by a well-placed Luke O’Nien.

But the Blues were almost undone at the other end after losing possession, with Maguire’s low drive clipping the outside of the post.

Pompey were trying their best to find a leveller and after bundling his way into a shooting position, Bogle could not quite lift the ball over McLaughlin.

There was plenty of endeavour at both ends of the pitch as the seconds ticked down, but it is Sunderland who will head back to the south coast with a narrow advantage.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Ozturk, Flanagan, Oviedo; Cattermole, Power; Gooch (Dunne 70), Honeyman (c), Morgan (Maguire 58); Wyke
Goals: Maguire 62
Sent off: Ozturk
Booked: Honeyman
Subs not used: Ruiter, Matthews, Hume, Leadbitter, Grigg

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Walkes; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis (Bogle 69); Hawkins (Solomon-Otabor 69)
Subs not used: Bass, May, Cannon, Morris, Dennis

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 26,610 (1,288 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

May 042019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1 1 Accrington Stanley

Pompey will be facing Sunderland in the play-offs following a 1-1 draw with Accrington at Fratton Park.

They fell behind to Sean McConville’s strike just after the break, but Ben Close’s ninth goal of the season drew them level.

Close also hit the woodwork as the Blues chased a winner, with the dropped points allowing Charlton to climb above them into third spot.

Kenny Jackett made five changes to the side that were narrowly beaten by Peterborough earlier in the week.

Gareth Evans returned to skipper the team, while there were also starts for Oli Hawkins, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Bryn Morris and Anton Walkes.

Brett Pitman, James Vaughan, Ronan Curtis and Nathan Thompson all dropped to the bench, with Jamal Lowe missing out completely.

With it being the final game of the regular campaign, there were plenty of awards given out prior to kick-off.

They all went to Matt Clarke, who collected the main The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season prize, as well as trophies from 12 supporter groups.

The fans then fell silent as the names of all those fans – and former players – who have passed away over the course of the campaign were read out.

When the action got underway, there was a rather pedestrian pace to proceedings and a flat atmosphere to accompany it.

Accrington almost livened things up with an early goal, as McConville met Janoi Donacien’s cross with a header that bounced back off the bar.

Solomon-Otabor had an effort blocked at the other end, with a long-range Close strike comfortably dealt with by Dimitar Evtimov between the Stanley sticks.

Pompey really should have been awarded a penalty on 18 minutes, with Donacien clearly tugging at Hawkins’ shirt, but referee Scott Duncan appeared not to notice.

It certainly did not feel like the end of the campaign, with an unseasonable chill in the air causing coats to be put back on.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut opportunities on the pitch, although an angled drive from Paul Smyth was saved by Craig MacGillivray.

Pompey then had a great chance when Evans’ free-kick found Christian Burgess in the box, but the defender did not get enough on his header and the ball flew past the post.

Hawkins and Morris also sent efforts over the crossbar just before the break, as the hosts tried to find a breakthrough.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Accrington Stanley 0


Morris did not emerge following the interval, with Curtis brought on and Evans moving to a more central role.

There were just 44 seconds on the clock when Accrington opened the scoring, courtesy of McConville’s fine low strike from the edge of the box.

Pompey looked to hit back immediately and Curtis’ teasing delivery took a slight deflection to prevent Hawkins from tapping in from close range.

There was another opportunity for Burgess, with the defender heading wide after rising to meet a cross from Evans.

But it was CLOSE who levelled just before the hour mark, swapping passes with Hawkins and surging forward before beating Evtimov with a low finish at the keeper’s near post.

Hawkins was immediately brought off, with a fit-again Omar Bogle coming on to lead the Blues’ forward line.

Pompey were trying to find a winner and an acrobatic Bogle effort went past the post, while a clearance hit Pitman and flew off target just moments after the skipper had replaced Evans.

It was certainly a busy introduction for the striker, who scuffed wide after Bogle’s pass had gone just behind him.

But it was Close who almost gave the hosts the lead with a superb shot from outside the box that thundered against the angle of bar and post.

Pompey were pouring forward in search of a winner, while Accrington looked to exploit that on the break.

But despite a frantic conclusion to the action, neither keeper was really tested as the teams had to settle for a point each.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (c) (Pitman 74), Morris (Curtis 46), Solomon-Otabor; Hawkins (Bogle 60)
Goals: Close 59
Subs not used: Bass, Thompson, Haunstrup, Vaughan

Accrington (4-4-2): Evtimov; Donacien, Sykes, Hughes, Richards-Everton; Clark (Sousa 66), Barlaser, Conneely (c), McConville; Armstrong, Smyth
Goals: McConville 46
Subs not used: Warner, Rodgers, Ogle, Brown, Simmons, Zanzala

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 18,439 (241 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 302019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 3 Peterborough United

Pompey’s automatic promotion hopes are over after they suffered defeat to Peterborough in an eventful contest at Fratton Park.

They dominated for much of the evening, but Lee Tomlin and Ivan Toney both struck to give the visitors a commanding lead.

Ben Close pulled one back before the break and a grandstand finish looked on the cards when Christian Burgess levelled.

Substitute Viv Solomon-Otabor then had a goal disallowed and Posh took advantage, with Toney netting again to condemn the Blues to the play-offs.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that drew at Sunderland on Saturday, with James Vaughan continuing to lead the line.

Pompey came roaring out of the blocks and set about attacking a Peterborough side who got plenty of players behind the ball.

Brett Pitman diverted a Lee Brown delivery wide in the opening stages, while an effort from Ronan Curtis was blocked by Toney.

A quick break then saw another Brown cross nodded down by Vaughan, but Curtis’ shot struck team-mate Jamal Lowe.

It was pretty much one-way traffic and the hosts were only missing that clinical edge, with Nathan Thompson’s drive lacking enough power to trouble Aaron Chapman.

But the Fratton faithful were left stunned when Peterborough went ahead on 13 minutes, as Marcus Maddison cut the ball back for Tomlin to rifle home.

It looked as though Vaughan would level after more good work down the right from Lowe, only for a brilliant sliding challenge by Ben White to deny the striker his first goal for the club.

Instead it was Posh who were next to score when Maddison whipped a corner into the box and Toney was left in space to nod into the net.

Tomlin was not endearing himself to the home supporters and got away with kicking the ball away from a Blues free-kick.

But referee Dean Whitestone’s patience finally run out following another bout of time-wasting from the forward and brandished a yellow card.

Naylor fired over after Pitman brought down Matt Clarke’s cross, as Pompey tried to get back into the contest.

And they had a lifeline on 38 minutes, although it took an extremely scrappy goal to reduce the deficit.

Pitman swiped at a delivery from Curtis and completely mis-kicked the ball, but it landed for CLOSE to drive into the net via a deflection off White.

A quick break then almost provided a leveller in stoppage-time and after Lowe released Curtis, his low drive was saved by the foot of Chapman.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Peterborough United 2


There was a change at the break, with Vaughan failing to return and Oli Hawkins taking his place up front.

Curtis was first to try his luck with a free-kick from 30 yards that struck the wall and was deflected behind.

That was the last bit of action for the Irish winger, however, who was immediately replaced by Solomon-Otabor.

It was a similar to the first half, with Pompey looking to get at their opponents whenever possible and Hawkins nodded over from a corner.

Pitman then cut the ball back into the centre, where first Close and then Lowe saw efforts blocked in quick succession.

There was a spot of handbags following the award of a Blues free-kick, with both Maddison and Brown seeing yellow.

But the equaliser arrived seconds later, as Brown whipped the set-piece right into the mixer for Hawkins.

The tall striker was unable to get a shot away, but instead laid the ball off for BURGESS to drive into the net.

And there was almost another goal for the hosts soon after, with a dipping half-volley from Close narrowly clearing the crossbar.

Peterborough also needed to win, however, and when Craig MacGillivray could not hold Maddison’s drilled free-kick, Clarke had to hack clear.

But it was Pompey providing more of a threat, as the lively Solomon-Otabor cut in from the left and drilled narrowly past the post.

They almost came undone when nobody picked up Ryan Tafazolli from a Maddison free-kick and his thumping header bounced back off the bar.

What followed was an incredible couple of minutes that saw the hosts have a goal disallowed before falling behind again.

Pitman raced onto a Thompson pass and was sent through on goal, but rather than shoot he elected to slide the ball across to Solomon-Otabor.

The loanee had the simple task of sliding into an empty net, although he was in an offside position and the flag was raised.

As Fratton Park recovered from that blow, worse was to come, with Toney wriggling into space at the other end to fire Posh back in front.

Pompey tried their best to recover, but Peterborough saw out the closing stages and the hosts now have to prepare for the lottery of the play-offs.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Solomon-Otabor 54); Vaughan (Hawkins 46)
Goals: Close 38, Burgess 59
Booked: Brown, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Morris, Evans, Bogle

Peterborough (4-4-2): Chapman; Naismith, White, Tafazolli, Lafferty; Maddison, Woodyard (c), Knight, Ward (Dembele 65); Tomlin, Toney
Goals: Tomlin 13, Toney 27, 75
Booked: Tomlin, Ward, Maddison, Woodyard
Subs not used: O’Malley, Bennett, Denton, Burrows, Cooke, Stevens

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 18,396 (235 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 272019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Sunderland 1 1 Portsmouth

Jamal Lowe was on target as Pompey battled from behind to secure a hard-fought behind at promotion rivals Sunderland.

But the result means that their fate is now out of their own hands, as second-placed Barnsley beat Blackpool.

Tom Flanagan had headed the hosts into an early lead in front of more than 41,000 spectators at the Stadium of Light.

Lowe was on hand to level midway through the first half, however, and Craig MacGillivray made several fine saves to keep the Black Cats at bay.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat Coventry on home soil on Easter Monday.

Former Sunderland striker James Vaughan was handed his first start, while Ronan Curtis also returned, as Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans dropped to the bench.

It was the hosts who made the brighter start and an acrobatic effort from Lewis Morgan had to be turned on to the post by MacGillivray.

But the keeper could do nothing to prevent the Black Cats from breaking the deadlock on nine minutes.

Max Power sent a free-kick into the box from wide on the right and Flanagan rose highest to head it home.

There were plenty of meaty challenges flying in during a competitive encounter, with Aiden McGeady and George Honeyman booked for the visitors.

Nathan Thompson and Ben Close were also shown yellow cards during the first half, as neither side held back.

Pompey grew into the contest as time passed, although a cross from Curtis was comfortably claimed by Jon McLaughlin.

And an equaliser came on 24 minutes, as Brett Pitman’s delivery was nodded against the bar by Lee Brown and the ball landed for LOWE to slot home.

Tempers then boiled over once more, leading to some pushing and shoving, but referee Craig Pawson soon calmed things down.

The visitors had the ball in the net again when Curtis looked to capitalise on a corner not being properly dealt with, but it was disallowed for a shove on McLaughlin.

Thompson then came to the rescue, quickly coming across to divert the ball behind after it had fallen kindly for McGeady.

And both sides had chances to take the lead during five minutes of stoppage-time, as the first half ended with a flourish.

First, Charlie Wyke met a cross from Luke O’Nien at the back post, only for MacGillivray to make a fine save from point-blank range.

A Curtis free-kick then led to a spot of pinball in the Black Cats box, but the hosts were eventually able to clear.


Half Time

Sunderland 1

Portsmouth 1


It was Sunderland that had the first opportunity following the restart, although MacGillivray dealt with Morgan’s effort.

But it had turned into quite a cagey contest, with neither side looking as threatening as they had before the break.

Jackett made his first switch just before the hour mark, as Vaughan – to a chorus of boos from the home fans – was replaced by Hawkins.

There were still not an abundance of clear-cut openings, but Thompson made a fine challenge to dispossess Wyke inside the box.

A second substitution then followed for the visitors, with Evans taking Curtis’ position wide on the left.

Sunderland, meanwhile, brought on former Fratton loanee Chris Maguire and his shot was deflected into MacGillivray’s arms.

Pompey were not having too much luck at the other end, with Christian Burgess unable to make a clean connection with Evans’ corner.

Power went close for the hosts on 79 minutes, however, only to see his fierce attempt kept out by another fine MacGillivray stop.

The Black Cats were starting to ramp up the pressure and Burgess made two key blocks in quick succession, before MacGillivray denied Will Grigg.

But the Blues saw out the closing stages to secure a point that could yet prove crucial in the race for promotion.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien (Matthews 90), Ozturk, Flanagan, Oviedo; Cattermole, Power; Morgan (Grigg 69), Honeyman (c) (Maguire 60), McGeady; Wyke
Goals: Flanagan 9
Booked: McGeady, Honeyman
Subs not used: Ruiter, Leadbitter, Dunne, Gooch

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Evans 66); Vaughan (Hawkins 57)
Goals: Lowe 24
Booked: Thompson, Close, Pitman
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Morris, Solomon-Otabor

Referee: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 41,129 (3,222 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 222019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 1 Coventry City

Pompey scored a late winner for the second time over the Easter weekend to beat Coventry and maintain their automatic promotion hopes.

They were poor in an open first half at Fratton Park and Jordy Hiwula’s goal meant that the visitors went in ahead at the break.

It was a much improved display following the restart, however, and Tom Naylor headed the Blues back on level terms.

They did not quite leave it until stoppage-time on this occasion, but time was still running out when Brett Pitman fired home the winner.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that secured a dramatic triumph at Burton on Good Friday.

Former Pompey defenders Tom Davies and Dominic Hyam started for the visitors, although Conor Chaplin had to be content with a place on the bench.

The sun was shining and the atmosphere was rocking as the sides emerged from the tunnel ahead of kick-off.

An early sliding challenge from Pitman to dispossess Bright Enobakhare showed that the skipper meant business.

And the hosts almost broke the deadlock on seven minutes when Lee Burge made a hash of dealing with Lee Brown’s corner.

The keeper almost managed to punch the ball into his own net, only for a well-placed Davies to clear from the line.

Instead it was Coventry who broke the deadlock moments later, as Enobakhare found space to charge through the centre.

He played the ball through to Hiwula in the box, with the winger spinning and finding the net with a neat finish.

It was proving to be a fairly open contest, with both sides looking shaky in defence and capable of adding to the scoring.

Burge failed to deal with another corner and when Matt Clarke hooked it back into the mixer, Jamal Lowe’s fierce effort was blocked.

Coventry then broke straight up the other end of the pitch and looked like they would double their lead.

Craig MacGillivray came out of his area and was beaten to the ball by Luke Thomas, but Nathan Thompson got back on the line to make a vital block.

Davies then proved a hindrance to his former club once again, making a key challenge to deny Lowe when Pitman flicked on a long MacGillivray pass.

A couple of Jordan Shipley corners caused problems for the Blues, while Naylor headed a decent chance over after Pitman’s effort had been deflected behind.

Enobakhare then ran along the byline and tried to cut the ball back, but Christian Burgess was able to clear it behind.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Coventry City 1


Jackett made a double switch at the break, with Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans making way for James Vaughan and Ronan Curtis.

The latter immediately won a corner that he took himself, but a dangerous delivery was headed clear.

He then took a free-kick after Lowe had been brought down by Dujon Sterling, with Burge doing well to punch the ball to safety.

There was a break in play following a clash of heads between Vaughan and Liam Kelly, although both were fine to continue.

And Pompey came close to levelling when the action restarted, as Brown collected Lowe’s cross and drilled a shot narrowly wide.

Burge took an over the resulting goal-kick, with referee Darren Drysdale eventually losing patience and brandishing a yellow card.

The hosts were controlling the play, but finding the Coventry defence in stubborn mood as they looked to protect their lead.

One patient attacking move ended with a cross from Lowe that was just too high for a stretching Vaughan.

But the Blues were level on 66 minutes, as Brown whipped in a corner from the right that was converted by NAYLOR’s bullet header.

Pompey looked to increase the pressure and Vaughan stole possession, only to see his pass for Pitman intercepted.

Curtis then sent a ball into the mixer that somehow managed to evade everyone on its path out of play.

But the visitors soon had a chance to score on the break, with Enobakhare slipping a pass through to the onrushing Thomas, who could only send his shot into the side netting.

And there was soon the unnerving sight of seeing Chaplin enter the pitch in opposition colours, as the former Fratton favourite was brought on.

It was Pompey who were next to go close, however, as Lowe collected a pass from Naylor and curled the ball narrowly past the post.

Shipley then lined up a dangerous looking free-kick at the other end, although Hyam could only head straight into MacGillivray’s arms.

But it was the Blues who forged on 83 minutes – and Fratton Park erupted as the ball hit the back of the net.

A corner from Brown was sent back into the danger zone by Curtis and when it landed for PITMAN, the skipper lashed home a fierce finish.

Coventry won a corner that was nervously scrambled clear and the display of six additional minutes caused the tension to grow.

But the hosts saw out the closing stages with relative ease to stretch their winning run in the league to seven matches.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 90+2), Evans (Curtis 46); Hawkins (Vaughan 46)
Goals: Naylor 66, Pitman 83
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Solomon-Otabor

Coventry (4-2-3-1): Burge; Sterling, Davies (Willis 74), Hyam, Mason; Kelly (c), Shipley (Wakefield 85); Thomas (Chaplin 74), Enobakhare, Hiwula; Bakayoko
Goals: Hiwula 9
Booked: Burge
Subs not used: Addai, McCallum, Westbrooke, Ponticelli

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 18,884 (1,267 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 192019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Burton Albion 1 2 Portsmouth

Matt Clarke struck right at the death as Pompey beat Burton to keep their automatic promotion quest on track.

A fine strike from Ben Close – just days after the midfielder had penned a new contract – gave them an interval lead.

But the Brewers hit back through Liam Boyce early in the second half and it looked like a stalemate was on the cards.

There was time for a late dose of drama, however, as Clarke fired home following a stoppage-time bundle to seal victory.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that eased past Rochdale on home soil the previous week.

Gareth Evans came on to score at Fratton Park and was rewarded with a starting berth, as Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench.

He was joined by a fit-again Viv Solomon-Otabor following the winger’s return to action for the reserves on Tuesday.

There was also a switch of system for the Blues, who began in a 4-3-3 formation, with Jamal Lowe and skipper Brett Pitman flanking Oli Hawkins.

The travelling fans were in fine voice as they enjoyed the Burton sunshine, with plenty packed into the terrace behind the goal and seated on one side.

Their team made a bright start and won a couple of early corners, the first of which was taken by Lee Brown and glanced wide by Clarke at the near post.

Evans then sent one in from the other end, but it was just too high for Tom Naylor – appearing against his former club – at the back post.

It was certainly not one-way traffic, though, and the Brewers caused plenty of problems before the break, without really testing Craig MacGillivray.

Jamie Allen went closest to opening the scoring and drilled a fierce low effort inches wide on 16 minutes.

Stephen Bywater had to come quickly off his line at the other end and just about beat Evans to Close’s delivery.

And it was the latter who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes, playing a key role in the build-up before finishing the move in style.

The midfielder’s initial cross was headed clear, but Nathan Thompson picked the ball back up and laid it off for CLOSE to bend home from the edge of the box.

The visitors charged forward again moments later and Bywater did just enough to stop Lowe slipping a pass across to Hawkins.

Burton looked dangerous themselves, though, and caused an almighty scramble in the Blues box before the ball was eventually hacked to safety.

And there was a repeat just before the break, with Clarke and Evans forced to make blocks inside the area.

There was still time for Pompey to have another chance, however, and Pitman bent a shot narrowly over after being teed-up by Hawkins.


Half Time

Burton Albion 0

Portsmouth 1


The second half was not even two minutes old when the hosts found themselves level, as Boyce converted Colin Daniel’s fine cross with a firm header from close range.

Lucas Akins soon had another chance for the Brewers, although his effort forced a regulation save from MacGillivray.

Pompey tried to hit back and when Christian Burgess met a free-kick from Evans, his header had to be tipped over by Bywater.

And MacGillivray then did well at the other end, getting down low to his left to push behind a low drive from Stephen Quinn.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Hawkins and Pitman making way for Omar Bogle and Bryn Morris.

But Burton were still causing problems as the second half progressed and forcing their opponents into some sloppy play.

There was some fine bits of individual defending from the Blues, though, including a headed clearance from Burgess and a fine tackle on Scott Fraser by Thompson.

Bogle did have an opportunity for the Blues when he found space to advance down the left, but a weak effort was easily dealt with by Bywater.

And a better opening was wasted moments later, as Morris skied the ball over after Brown had laid it off for him.

Jackett made a final throw of the dice on 77 minutes, with Curtis replacing Evans to inject some attacking impetus.

The newcomer soon did well to beat his man and get into the box, but Lowe was unable to get a shot away.

Both sides were trying their best to grab a late leveller as time ticked away, although it looked like heading for a draw.

Then, deep into stoppage-time, Curtis’ cross caused a melee in the Burton box and Thompson somehow managed to keep the play alive.

The ball fell for CLARKE, who slotted it into the net to spark scenes of delirium among the travelling support.

Burton desperately appealed for both offside and a handball, but their cries fell on deaf ears and referee Craig Hicks blew the final whistle soon after.

Burton (4-3-3): Bywater; Brayford (c), McFadzean, Wallace, Daniel; Allen, Quinn (Fox 81), Fraser (Hutchinson 85); Akins, Boyce, Harness (Miller 85)
Goals: Boyce 47
Booked: McFadzean
Subs not used: Hawkins, McCrory, Bradley, Clarke

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Close, Naylor, Evans (Curtis 77); Lowe, Hawkins (Bogle 61), Pitman (c) (Morris 61)
Goals: Close 31, Clarke 90+2
Booked: Close, Bogle
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 4,034 (1,290 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 132019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 4 1 Rochdale

Pompey breathed new life into the League One promotion race with a convincing 4-1 victory over struggling Rochdale.

And with rivals Sunderland losing to Coventry in a nine-goal thriller, it means the sides – along with Barnsley – bunched even tighter in the table.

Oli Hawkins headed the opener at a packed Fratton Park, with Brett Pitman adding a penalty just before the break.

Aaron Wilbraham raised hopes of a Dale comeback early in the second half, but Evans came off the bench to calm fears before Jamal Lowe wrapped up a sixth successive win.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Wycombe seven days earlier.

A fully-fit Ronan Curtis replaced Evans wide on the left, while Louis Dennis’ goal for the reserves earlier in the week saw him named among the substitutes.

The hosts started brightly in the spring sunshine and looked to get at their opponents right from the off.

Lowe was unable to force the ball home from a tight angle, while a cross from Curtis was just too high for Hawkins.

But as the sun went behind the clouds, Pompey also faded slightly and when Craig MacGillivray failed to hold a Callum Camps corner, Tom Naylor was forced to hack clear.

Matt Done then sent a dangerous delivery into the mixer, although a well-placed Ian Henderson headed it wide.

The Blues soon picked things up, however, and Hawkins should have done better than divert Lee Brown’s free-kick into the arms of a grateful Josh Lillis.

But HAWKINS did find the target midway through the first half, arriving at the near post to firmly head home Lowe’s cross.

Lowe might have doubled the advantage moments later, only for Lillis to come racing from his line to make the save.

Rochdale then had an opportunity of his own, when Wilbraham beat MacGillivray to a Christian Burgess pass, but could not beat the keeper.

It was the Blues looking the more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Hawkins nodded narrowly over after meeting Brown’s delivery.

He then saw another header saved by Lillis, while Ben Close had an attempt blocked as the hosts continued to apply pressure.

And it paid off just before the break when Nathan Thompson collected Lowe’s threaded pass and was crudely brought down in the box by Ethan Ebanks-Landell.

Referee Lee Swabey had no choice but to point to the spot and PITMAN calmly sent Lillis the wrong way to give Pompey a commanding interval lead.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rochdale 0


The visitors looked brighter immediately following the restart, although Jim McNulty’s header was never going to prove much of a test for MacGillivray.

But Pompey were still looking dangerous going forward themselves and were causing plenty of problems for Dale to deal with.

One attack actually led to a goal for the opposition, however, with a quick break up the pitch ending with Done squaring for Wilbraham to slot into the net.

Pompey immediately looked to hit back and a long-range curling effort from Pitman was pushed behind by Lilllis.

The resulting corner almost provided a goal, with Burgess nodding it into the mixer and – in a sea of bodies – the ball eventually being hacked clear.

Jackett soon made a substitution, with Curtis – who had been quiet on the left – making way for Evans.

And it was EVANS who restored the two-goal lead just past the hour mark, nodding home from a few yards out after Lowe had lifted the ball into the centre.

Pompey were searching for a more convincing scoreline and a Brown cross was just out of reach for Lowe, while a rushed Hawkins effort was comfortable for Lillis.

They were starting to sit a bit too deep in the closing stages, though, and Jackett tried to add fresh impetus by replacing Hawkins with Omar Bogle.

But it was a Rochdale sub who had a chance to score moments later, although Bradden Inman slipped as he got his shot away and MacGillivray saved low to his left.

And Pompey immediately wrapped things up at the other end, as LOWE collected Matt Clarke’s long pass, held off one challenge and got past Lillis before firing the ball into the net.

Jackett’s final change saw Bryn Morris come on for Pitman, although it was fellow substitute Bogle whose effort had to be clawed away by Lillis.

Brown should have given the scoreline an added gloss late on, but glanced Lowe’s delivery wide with the goal gaping.

It mattered not, however, as Pompey had comfortably done enough to extend their winning run and move to within two points of second place.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Morris 82), Curtis (Evans 57); Hawkins (Bogle 76)
Goals: Hawkins 21, Pitman 45+1 (pen), Evans 62, Lowe 79
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Dennis

Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Lillis; McLaughlin, Ebanks-Landell, McNulty, Bunney (MJ Williams 67); Camps, Hamilton; Done (Inman 75), Henderson (c), Rathbone (Clough 80); Wilbraham
Goals: Wilbraham 54
Booked: Wilbraham, Ebanks-Landell, Bunney
Subs not used: Wade, Keohane, Dooley, Andrew

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,197 (188 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 062019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Wycombe Wanderers 2 3 Portsmouth

There was no Wembley hangover for Pompey, as they kept themselves in the automatic promotion hunt with victory at Wycombe.

They dominated most of the contest, with Jamal Lowe’s early finish added to by a Brett Pitman goal just after the interval.

Marcus Bean controversially reduced the deficit for the Chairboys, only for a fine free-kick from Pitman to restore the Blues’ commanding advantage.

A super strike from Scott Kashket ensured a nervy end to proceedings, but the visitors held on to secure the points.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat Sunderland to lift the Checkatrade Trophy the previous week.

Oli Hawkins – who had struck the winning penalty in the shoot-out – was rewarded with a start, with Gareth Evans also returning, as Omar Bogle and Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench.

There were plenty of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Blues academy graduate Paris Cowan-Hall joining former Fratton loanees Ryan Allsop and Bean in the Wanderers team.

Pompey came racing out of the traps and won a series of early corners that kept the home defence on their toes.

The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession and territorial advantage, without being able to test Allsop between the sticks.

Pitman did well to race past Dominic Gape down the right and square for Lowe, who spun sharply and curled a shot over.

Another neat move saw Hawkins find Lowe with a cross-field pass and the winger laid the ball off for Pitman to fire just off target.

Allsop was then called into action for the first time, although was not overly troubled by a drilled effort from Lee Brown.

He could do nothing to stop Pompey from taking the lead on 18 minutes, however, as they finally made their pressure count.

A free-kick from Evans was not properly dealt with and when Matt Clarke lifted the ball back into the box, LOWE was there to drill it through a sea of bodies and into the net.

They did not sit back on their lead, though, and a shot from Ben Close was blocked after Tom Naylor had stolen possession.

Wycombe had offered little at the other end of the pitch, but had two great chances to level before the break.

The first opportunity came from a 25-yard free-kick after Alex Samuel had been fouled by Christian Burgess and Craig MacGillivray flung himself to the left to push behind Jason McCarthy’s attempt.

And the keeper made another fine save moments later, this time to keep out a fierce strike from Cowan-Hall.

But Pompey might have extended their advantage in stoppage-time, as Clarke teed-up Lowe for a curling shot that was well saved by Allsop.


Half Time

Wycombe Wanderers 0

Portsmouth 1


A second goal did arrive just 27 seconds after the restart, however, as Evans played a dangerous ball down the middle.

Anthony Stewart looked like he would deal with it, but PITMAN nipped in to steal the ball and confidently slot it home.

Rather then dent Wycombe’s confidence, though, it seemed to spark them into life and the hosts suddenly enjoyed a spell of pressure.

And they made the most of it by reducing the deficit through Bean’s close-range finish, although referee John Busby had a lengthy discussion with his assistant before allowing the goal to stand.

The Blues were adamant that the midfielder had been in an offside position, although the official seemed to think the ball had come off a white-shirted player.

It had been a frantic start to the second period and Pompey had a chance to restore their two-goal advantage when Evans was brought down by Stewart just outside the box.

PITMAN stepped up to take the free-kick and curled a fine effort past Allsop’s desperate grasp to spark more scenes of joy in the packed away end.

Both teams were looking capable of adding to the scoring as the action continued to switch from one end to the other.

Pitman’s pass was cleared before it could reach Clarke at the near post, while substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa headed over.

But it took another fine save from MacGillivray to deny the Chairboys on 72 minutes, with the keeper getting down to push clear Samuel’s shot.

Pitman received a standing ovation as he made way off the pitch, with Anton Walkes coming on for the closing stages.

It was the hosts cheering soon after, though, as Kashket reduced their deficit with a screaming shot from just inside that area that flew into the top corner.

Curtis then replaced Evans, as Jackett looked for his side to get back on track, although the Chairboys came close to a leveller when Samuel’s header flashed past the post.

Wycombe were given renewed hope when the fourth official displayed six minutes of time to be added on.

The hosts continued to try to pump the ball into the Blues box, but the visitors held firm to close the gap on second-placed Barnsley.

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, El-Abd (c), Stewart, Harriman; Gape; Cowan-Hall (Kashket 74), Bean (Akinfenwa 61), Bloomfield (Thompson 43), Freeman; Samuel
Goals: Bean 54, Kashket 82
Subs not used: Ma-Kalambay, Jombati, Jacobson, Owens

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 81), Evans (Curtis 84); Hawkins
Goals: Lowe 18, Pitman 46, 60
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Vaughan, Bogle

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 6,978 (1,810 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 312019
 

Match Report

Highlights

Checkatrade Trophy – Final


Portsmouth 2
(5)
2
(4)
Sunderland

Pompey won the Checkatrade Trophy on penalties following a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at a packed Wembley Stadium.

They were poor in the first half and an Aiden McGeady free-kick meant the Black Cats deservedly led at the interval.

But the Blues were rejuvenated following the restart and Nathan Thompson levelled to ensure an additional 30 minutes.

Jamal Lowe then struck to seemingly secure the win, only for McGeady to scramble the ball home at the death.

That meant a dreaded shoot-out, but Pompey scored all of their spot-kicks, meaning that Craig MacGillivray’s save from Lee Cattermole allowed Oli Hawkins to fire home the winner.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Shrewsbury in the league the previous week.

Ronan Curtis was fit enough to start after recovering from severing his finger, meaning that Gareth Evans dropped to the bench.

The teams emerged to a vociferous atmosphere created by a packed crowd at the national stadium.

Pompey’s contingent were whipped up by rousing pre-match speeches from former Fratton heroes David Norris and Hermann Hreidarsson.

But it was the Black Cats who made the brighter start, with Thompson forced to clear George Honeyman’s teasing cross behind.

Lee Brown then made a great challenge right in the corner to stop Lewis Morgan’s charge, as the side from the north-east looked threatening.

Lowe tried his best to cause problems at the other end, although a ball into the box flew straight into Jon McLaughlin’s grasp.

Sunderland were looking more likely to open the scoring and Matt Clarke threw himself in the path of McGeady’s strike.

Pompey’s best opportunity came when Omar Bogle was felled on the right and Brown swung the ball into the mixer.

Christian Burgess rose at the back post, but could not get enough power on his header to trouble McLaughlin.

An effort from Morgan was deflected behind by Brown, while a key Clarke challenge halted Will Grigg’s charge.

There was a rare shot for Pompey on 22 minutes, although Curtis’ effort was always swerving wide of the post.

Then, after Tom Naylor had conceded a free-kick, the midfielder had to nod behind Grant Leadbitter’s delivery.

Sunderland came close to breaking the deadlock soon after when the ball was only cleared as far as Morgan outside the box.

The winger hit a fierce volley that flew through a sea of bodies, but MacGillivray got down well to push the ball clear.

It was only a brief respite for the Blues, however, and they were undone after Thompson had conceded a foul.

McGeady was brought down and picked himself up to curl the ball home, albeit with the help of a deflection off Clarke’s shoulder.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 1


Pompey tried to hit back after the break and when Bogle met a corner from Brown, his header was cleared from the line.

It would not have counted, though, as referee Dean Whitestone had spotted a foul on Luke O’Nien in the build-up.

The Blues were looking a lot brighter and trying to use Lowe as an outlet, but were still lacking a final ball.

Jackett tried to shake things up on 56 minutes, with Curtis being brought off and replaced by Evans on the left.

And it was a long pass from the newcomer that almost provided an equaliser just past the hour mark.

The ball was nodded down by Lowe and Pitman took one touch before hitting a neat half-volley that struck the base of the post.

Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and when Sunderland failed to deal with another Evans delivery, Thompson was unable to find the target at the back post.

Lowe then had a great opportunity following good work from Pitman, but rolled his shot wastefully past the post.

Jackett made his second switch to the forward line on 69 minutes, as Bogle made way for Hawkins.

The striker was soon having his shirt tugged inside the area, although Whitestone did not think it was enough to warrant a penalty.

Evans then did well to hold off a challenge and burst forward, firing in a long-range strike that flashed past the post.

But Pompey did find themselves level on 82 minute – and the goal came from a very unlikely source.

THOMPSON had yet to score in 69 appearances, but certainly picked the right location to open his account, nodding home after Evans had collected the ball from Clarke and sent it into the box.

The Blues contingent of an EFL Trophy record crowd of 85,021 erupted as the players ran towards them in celebration.

It had been a dominant second half display, but Sunderland might have secured victory in stoppage-time when Denver Hume skipped through and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Full Time: Pompey 1 Sunderland 1

There were, unsurprisingly, a few tired legs on display at Wembley as the extra period of 30 minutes got started.

Pompey were still looking to get forward and Evans was tackled inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Brown.

Lowe then screwed a shot wide after Hawkins had laid the ball off, while an angled effort from Brown was comfortable for McLaughlin.

Following a brief break after the first set of 15 minutes, the Blues got straight back on the attack and Evans had a shot blocked after cutting in from the left.

Jackett was forced to make a change when Ben Close limped off and his replacement almost scored within seconds of coming on.

Anton Walkes received the ball on the edge of the box and his effort had to be clawed behind by McLaughlin.

But Pompey did go ahead on 114 minutes and it was a brilliant finish from LOWE, who collected a long Clarke pass and sent a glorious lob over McLaughlin and into the net.

The winger was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration, but it looked like being the decisive goal.

Sunderland had other ideas, however, and in the dying seconds McGeady scrambled home an equaliser, despite the best efforts of Clarke to clear from the line.

After Extra Time: Pompey 2 Sunderland 2

A penalty shoot-out is always a nervy occasion, but the Blues kept their nerve throughout, scoring all five of their spot-kicks.

Evans, Pitman, Brown and Lowe all tucked away their efforts, while Sunderland’s second from Cattermole was saved by MacGillivray.

It meant that Hawkins had the chance to win it for the Blues and he made no mistake, slotting the ball home to send the large travelling contingent home in joyous mood.

Pitman then led his side up the Wembley steps to collect the Checkatrade Trophy and send those fans wild with delight.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close (Walkes 113); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Evans 56); Bogle (Hawkins 69)
Goals: Thompson 82, Lowe 114
Booked: Curtis, Evans, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Vaughan

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, James (Hume 88); Leadbitter (Wyke 95), Cattermole; Morgan (Gooch 73), Honeyman (c), McGeady; Grigg (Power 77)
Goals: McGeady 38, 119
Booked: Baldwin, McGeady
Subs not used: Ruiter, Dunne, McGeouch

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 85,021

Portsmouth FC

Mar 232019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Shrewsbury Town 0 2 Portsmouth

Pompey’s run of good form continued as they won 2-0 at Shrewsbury to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.

The visitors improved following a slow start and took the lead through Ben Close just before the break.

There were chances to add to the scoring at both ends of the pitch in the second half, but a defensive mix-up allowed Brett Pitman to seal the points for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that beat Scunthorpe on home soil the previous week.

Viv Solomon-Otabor’s calf injury meant that Gareth Evans returned to the starting line-up, with Jamal Lowe switching to the left.

It was the struggling hosts that made the brighter start and a low delivery from Fejiri Okenabirhie was just of reach for a stretching Shaun Whalley.

Steve Arnold had to tear from his line at the other end to stop Lowe racing onto a superb diagonal pass from Tom Naylor.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency, however, and a weak effort from Okenabirhie was comfortably dealt with by former Shrews stopper Craig MacGillivray.

The keeper had to do even better on 16 minutes, though, getting down quickly to push Whalley’s effort to safety.

Shrewsbury’s forward then had an effort that was heading for the net until Nathan Thompson’s deflection diverted the ball wide.

And it took a fine last-gasp challenge by Lee Brown inside the box to prevent Ollie Norburn getting a shot away.

Scott Golbourne’s free-kick was then flicked on for James Bolton, who sent a header looping onto the roof of the net.

But the Blues picked up as the half progressed and Arnold did well to deny Evans after the ball had been squared to him by Close.

It was Close who then sent a shot wide after playing a one-two with Omar Bogle, while Matt Clarke could not divert Brown’s corner on target at the near post.

Pompey did make their pressure count before the break, as Brown’s angled effort was parried away by Arnold and CLOSE drilled the ball home through a sea of bodies.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 1


The hosts tried to hit back following the restart and Christian Burgess dived in to divert Greg Docherty’s effort behind.

There were a few sighs of relief when the same player then went down inside the box following a challenge by Thompson.

Referee Ollie Yates blew his whistle, but the challenge had taken place just outside the area and Okenabirhie’s free-kick was dealt with.

Jackett made a switch on 55 minutes, with Bogle – who had angered the home faithful with a challenge on Golbourne that earned him a booking – replaced by Oli Hawkins.

And the newcomer almost doubled the visitors’ lead after meeting Brown’s low delivery, only for the ball to hit Omar Beckles and loop against the crossbar.

Hawkins had another great opportunity on 71 minutes when he connected with a cross from Brown, but Arnold made a great save down to his left to deny the striker.

Shrewsbury soon had a chance of their own after Whalley’s mazy run had been crudely brought to a halt by Burgess on the edge of the box.

Norburn cleverly kept his effort low and sent it through the wall, but an unsighted MacGillivray was able to fumble the ball away.

And Pompey soon went up the other end to give themselves a cushion – although the Shrews gave them a helping hand.

Arnold’s clearance cannoned against team-mate Beckles and Hawkins picked up the loose ball, squaring it for PITMAN to slot home.

Shrewsbury were soon dealt a further blow when Arnold was forced to limp off, with Jonathan Mitchell replacing him between the sticks.

Six minutes of stoppage-time meant that the hosts’ hopes of an unlikely comeback were raised, but Pompey comfortably saw out the closing stages to move up to third spot in the League One table.

Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Arnold (Mitchell 84); Williams, Waterfall, Beckles; Bolton (Campbell 72), Norburn (c), Grant (Laurent 77), Docherty, Golbourne; Whalley, Okenabirhie
Booked: Grant
Subs not used: Sadler, Edwards, Holloway, Payne

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (Walkes 89), Pitman (c), Lowe; Bogle (Hawkins 55)
Goals: Close 40, Pitman 79
Booked: Bogle, Naylor, Close, Burgess, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Isgrove, Vaughan

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 8,028 (1,172 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 162019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 0 Scunthorpe United

Pompey closed the gap on the automatic promotion places with a deserved 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe at a windy Fratton Park.

It was a dominant display from the Blues and there was a palpable sense of relief around the ground when Omar Bogle finally scored in the second half to make their dominance count.

Scunthorpe never looked like finding the net at the other end and the hosts made sure of the points thanks to a fine finish from Jamal Lowe late on.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that won at Walsall earlier in the week, with skipper Brett Pitman playing just behind Bogle.

But with James Vaughan having not recovered from a back injury, Lloyd Isgrove took his place on the bench.

It was a blustery afternoon on the south coast, with the conditions clearly making life difficult for both sides.

So it was perhaps understandable that the passing on show was wayward at best in the opening exchanges.

Lowe and Viv Solomon-Otabor were looking lively on the wings, however, and the former had an effort that sailed narrowly over.

It was pretty quiet at the other end of the pitch, although a tame effort from Tony McMahon flew comfortably into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

Bogle had a couple of shots blocked, but the first decent opening did not arrive until 26 minutes had been played.

Solomon-Otabor threaded a fine pass through to Lowe, who took the ball around Iron keeper Jak Alnwick, but – from a tight angle – could not force it past defender Harrison McGahey.

Pompey were enjoying plenty of possession and applying pressure on the visitors’ defence as the first half progressed.

And they almost broke the deadlock just before the interval after Solomon-Otabor’s delivery was only cleared as far as Bogle.

He managed to dig out a shot that Alnwick did well to save and when Pitman put the ball back into the centre, a stretching Lowe could not make a clean connection with the goal gaping.

Solomon-Otabor then slipped off the ball and required treatment on the pitch, but was okay to continue.

It was only a brief return to action for the loanee, though, who soon had to make way for Gareth Evans.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Scunthorpe united 0


The substitute had the first chance of the second half with a drilled effort from the edge of the box that was deflected past the post.

He then hit another 20-yard effort narrowly wide after the ball had been worked to him from a throw.

Clear-cut openings were proving to be at a premium, although Alnwick leapt out a bending Lee Brown attempt on the hour mark.

A longer-range strike from Tom Naylor then fizzed past the post, as the hosts continued to dominate without really going close to scoring.

Pompey were trying their best to raise the tempo – with the wind still swirling around the ground – and Brown was denied what would have been a soft penalty for an apparent push.

Alnwick did well to stop his side falling behind on 68 minutes, tearing off his line to bravely prevent Lowe from converting Evans’ ball into the box.

But the Blues finally made their pressure count moments later following a foul on Lowe by Rory McArdle.

Evans’ free-kick was flicked on for Close, but BOGLE took the ball and spun sharply before leaving Alnwick flat-footed with his finish.

The hosts tried to put the result beyond doubt and Brown’s cross was just too high for Pitman, while the left-back then saw a shot deflected behind.

Bogle received a warm reception as he made his way off the pitch to be replaced by Oli Hawkins for the final few minutes.

And the win was wrapped up on 87 minutes when LOWE collected the ball from the right, used his touch to make space and then lashed home a fine finish.

It meant that the Fratton faithful could relax for the closing stages, as Pompey comfortably saw the game out.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Donohue 89), Solomon-Otabor (Evans 45+2); Bogle (Hawkins 85)
Goals: Bogle 71, Lowe 87
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Isgrove

Scunthorpe (3-4-1-2): Alnwick; McGahey, McArdle (c), Burgess; McMahon (Hammill 74), Perch, Ojo, Pearce; Thomas (Lewis 78); Wootton (Olomola 76), Novak
Booked: Perch
Subs not used: Flatt, Butroid, Webster, Hallam

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 17,308 (198 away fans)

Portsmouth FC