2019/2020

Jul 062020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey missed out on a place in the League One play-off final after losing to Oxford on penalties at the Kassam Stadium.

Marcus Harness had given the Blues a second leg advantage, only for an unfortunate Ellis Harrison own-goal to level the tie.

Extra-time failed to find a winner and so it headed to a shoot-out, with Cameron McGeehan’s miss proving decisive.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Fratton Park just three days earlier.

Steve Seddon and James Bolton returned to the full-back berths, while Ryan Williams was handed an attacking wide role.

That saw Lee Brown, Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon drop to the bench, with Christian Burgess claiming the captain’s armband.

As in the first leg, there was a minute of applause in recognition of the NHS and other key workers, while players then took the knee to show opposition to racism.

The hosts were first to threaten, but Alex Bass got down to keep out an early effort from Jamie Mackie.

Pompey, meanwhile, looked bright going forward, although their attacks often broke down before former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood could be tested.

There was one perfectly-timed challenge inside the box to stop the energetic Williams collecting a threaded Harness pass.

Williams then swung in a dangerous left-footed cross that Bryn Morris was not quite able to guide on target.

Harrison thought he received a shove in the box from Elliott Moore following the mid-half drinks break.

But referee Darren England did not agree with that assessment, while a follow-up effort from McGeehan was blocked.

The visitors finally forced Eastwood into action on 36 minutes, with a decent stop preventing Harrison converting a low Williams delivery.

Bass denied Marcus Browne at the other end – just seconds before a route-one move saw the Blues break the deadlock.

The keeper’s long punt up the pitch was flicked on by Harrison, with HARNESS collecting the ball, spinning sharply and slotting a shot into the bottom corner.

It looked like Pompey would take that lead into the break, only for some sloppy play to allow Oxford to level right on the stroke of half-time.

James Henry’s corner caused problems in the box and Harrison inadvertently flicked the ball towards his own net.

Sean Raggett tried frantically to hack clear, but after a quick check of his watch, the referee signalled that it had crossed the line.


Half Time

Oxford United 1

Portsmouth 1


The hosts were quicker from the blocks once the action restarted and their opponents had to deal with some tricky balls into the box.

They were unable to make the most of their control of possession, though, with a Henry effort that flew over the bar summing things up.

And frustration boiled over when Sam Long fouled Ronan Curtis, with pushing and showing ensuing and the United defender shown a yellow card.

Curtis soon curled a free-kick off target and Jackett then decided to make a double switch on the hour mark.

It was Harrison and Seddon who made their way from the pitch, with John Marquis and Lee Brown on to replace them.

But Marquis’ first contribution was a foul on Oxford skipper Rob Dickie that saw his name added to England’s book.

The striker came close to restoring the visitors’ advantage following the drinks break, though, when he headed a Curtis cross against the post.

Harness then attempted an ambitious curling effort that did not quite have enough dip to send the ball under the crossbar.

That was his last piece of meaningful involvement in the contest, with Cannon replacing him on 81 minutes.

But it was Oxford substitute Dan Agyei who came close to a late winner, embarking on a persistent run before eventually being forced to fire wide by Brown.

The hosts also threatened from a free-kick and corner in stoppage-time, but 180 minutes of action ended with the sides all square at 2-2 on aggregate.

Full Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

An early extra-time Pompey chance saw Curtis send a free-kick over the bar after Dickie had been shown a yellow card for bringing down Marquis.

There were set-piece opportunities for the visitors, although a couple of Brown deliveries were dealt with.

But there was then a scramble at the opposite end, with Burgess forced to make a key block amidst a sea of bodies.

Pompey’s players were furious when Cannon was the victim of a meaty Alex Gorrin challenge, but England decided it only warranted a booking.

There were more frayed tempers after a brief interval when Matty Taylor was booked for catching McGeehan late.

Marquis then had a chance to put Pompey back into the lead, but could only nod an excellent Brown cross wide at the back post.

Hawkins replaced Williams for the closing stages and when he chased down Eastwood, the keeper’s clearance ricocheted against the substitute and flew wide.

But the sides could still not be separated and that ensured a mammoth play-off tie would be heading for penalties

After Extra Time: Oxford 1 Pompey 1 (2-2)

There were some impressive penalties from both sides, with Marquis, Gareth Evans – on as a late substitute – and Brown all finding the net.

But Eastwood went the right way to keep out McGeehan’s effort and although Hawkins hit the target, Oxford scored all five of their attempts.

It was Cameron Brannagan who converted the last of them to ensure it would be United who are heading to Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (Evans 120+1), Burgess (c), Raggett, Seddon (Brown 60); Morris, McGeehan; Williams (Hawkins 114), Harness (Cannon 81), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 60)
Goals: Harness 38
Booked: Marquis, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Downing, Naylor

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long (Woodburn 120), Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin (Mousinho 120); Sykes (Hanson 85), Henry (Forde 100), Brannagan, Browne (Agyei 85); Mackie (Taylor 63)
Goals: Harrison 45+3 (og)
Booked: Long, Browne, Dickie, Gorrin, Taylor
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Kelly

Referee: Darren England

Portsmouth FC

Jul 032020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey’s play-off contest with Oxford is finely balanced after the sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Fratton Park.

The hosts made the stronger start and deservedly took the lead through a low finish from Ronan Curtis.

But Marcus Browne grabbed a United leveller just before the interval and neither side were able to find a winner in the second half.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew with Fleetwood all the way back in March.

Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband, with regular skipper Tom Naylor named on an extended nine-man bench.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess, Marcus Harness and a fit-again Bryn Morris, as James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon made way.

A blustery Fratton Park was virtually empty, with the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating games taking place behind closed doors.

But there were still more than 1,000 fans present in the form of cardboard cut-outs, with 2003 promotion hero Svetoslav Todorov, chairman Michael Eisner and the late John Jenkins MBE among them.

Before kick-off, there was a minute of applause to celebrate the NHS and other key workers, while all players then took the knee in a powerful statement against racism.

The hosts controlled possession for much of the first half and Ellis Harrison had an early header blocked from a corner.

And the deadlock was almost broken moments later, courtesy of a drilled Curtis effort that struck the base of the post.

Both sides were clearly up for the challenge, with several meaty challenge flying in and Oxford boss Karl Robinson constantly in the ear of a beleaguered fourth official.

Neither keeper was really being put to the test and a Harness curler was blocked, while it took a diving Josh Ruffels header to deal with one Curtis delivery.

After a brief break for drinks, Cameron Brannagan and Cameron McGeehan were both booked following a spat in the middle of the pitch.

Burgess then thought he should have won a penalty after appearing to be tugged back by Rob Dickie, but appeals were dismissed by referee Gavin Ward.

Pompey’s pressure did pay off on 32 minutes, though, as CURTIS advanced and hit a low shot that crept past former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood and nestled in the net.

That seemed to spark the visitors into life and Browne dragged an effort past the post, although Alex Bass appeared to have it covered.

The Blues could not keep their opponents at bay, though, and Browne did well to burst forward and find the net.

But Pompey did finish the half with a flourish and visiting players had to fling themselves in front of a flurry of shots in quick succession.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Oxford United 1


There was a slow start to the second period in terms of chances, although Harrison felt a challenge on him inside the box warranted a penalty.

Jackett tried to liven up proceedings with a double switch just past the hour mark, as Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon made way for Bolton and Williams.

But it was Oxford who were next to have a shot, albeit a long-range James Henry attempt that Bass held comfortably.

Williams soon showed some neat trickery, although his low cross was cut out before it could reach Harrison in the centre.

The Blues then delivered a couple of fine corners – first from Brown and then Harness – that were just about dealt with.

Jackett made his third change of the evening on 73 minutes and it was a straight substitution up front, as Harrison made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were starting to build some momentum and Brown’s effort was deflected into the side netting, while the skipper then did well to halt Browne’s break at the other end.

And Burgess went close to restoring the lead when he met Brown’s free-kick, only for Eastwood to get down and make the save.

Curtis was furious not to be awarded a late penalty after going down under a challenge from Dan Agyei, but again Ward said no.

Pompey pushed forward in search of a lead to take to the Kassam Stadium on Monday, but had to settle for a draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie (Bolton 62), Burgess, Raggett, Brown (c); McGeehan, Morris; Harness, Cannon (Williams 62), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 73)
Goals: Curtis 32
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Seddon, Naylor, Evans, Hawkins

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long, Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin; Henry, Woodburn (Sykes 55), Brannagan (Forde 81), Browne (Agyei 81); Taylor (Mackie 73)
Goals: Browne 43
Booked: Brannagan, Gorrin
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Mousinho, Kelly, Hanson

Referee: Gavin Ward

Portsmouth FC

Mar 102020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey had to settle for a point at Fratton Park against an in-form Fleetwood side also pushing for a place in the top two.

They conceded a sloppy opener to Barrie McKay, but Sean Raggett nodded the hosts back on level terms before the break.

Harry Souttar then turned the ball into his own net, with the Cod Army defender soon making amends by securing them a point.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten on the road at Peterborough at the weekend.

Ellis Harrison missed that game after becoming a father for the first time, but was back to lead the line.

There were also returns for Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon, as John Marquis dropped to the bench, while Jack Whatmough and the injured Ben Close missed out completely.

Pompey were first to threaten when the ball broke for Ronan Curtis in the box and, from a tight angle, he sent a shot dipping over the crossbar.

But it was relatively slow start to the contest, with a scything Glenn Whelan challenge on Ryan Williams the main point of focus, earning the midfielder a yellow card.

Fleetwood then capitalised on some sloppy play from the hosts to break the deadlock on 19 minutes.

Ched Evans cut the ball back for McKay and his first attempt was saved by Alex Bass, only for the keeper to get into a tangle with Steve Seddon.

It was McKay who was quickest to the loose ball and was able to force it home from a couple of yards out.

The same player then curled a teasing corner into the box and Tom Naylor was forced to head narrowly past his own post.

Fleetwood were looking more likely to add to the scoring and Jack Sowerby’s effort took a deflection, with Bass adjusting well to save.

Pompey finally began to move through the gears, with Harrison forcing Alex Cairns to drop a cross and have to grasp the ball at the second attempt.

And an equaliser did arrive on 36 minutes, when McCrorie’s fine delivery from deep on the right was met by RAGGETT, whose header looped over Cairns and into the net.

Lewis Gibson was booked late in the first half for a terrible dive in the box that, which – for some reason – peeved the Cod Army bench.

They were almost celebrating in stoppage-time, though, as Josh Morris curled a fine free-kick against the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Fleetwood Town 1


The hosts were caught napping immediately following the restart and Morris’ centre was pushed out by Bass, with Cameron McGeehan on hand to clear the danger.

But the Blues took the lead moments later, thanks to a searing burst of pace from Williams down the right.

He surged past Lewis Gibson to get on the end of Cannon’s pass and sent in a low delivery that was thundered into his own net by SOUTTAR.

Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring, although Harrison scuffed wide after being played through by Curtis.

The Cod Army then broke quickly up the pitch and Morris was left with just Bass to beat, with the keeper coming off his line to make a crucial save.

But the visitors were level on 55 minutes, as Souttar atoned for his earlier indiscretion by nodding home when a corner was headed back across goal by Evans.

Jackett made a double switch to try to regain the advantage, as Williams and McGeehan made way for Marcus Harness and Marquis.

The action continued to swing from one end to the next and Curtis could only nod wide at the back post after meeting a fine cross from Harness.

But there was generally a lack of quality from both sides in the final third, with a point enough to move the Blues up two places fourth.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Bolton, Raggett, Seddon; McGeehan (Marquis 65), Naylor (c); Williams (Harness 65), Cannon, Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Raggett 36, Souttar 48 (og)
Booked: Curtis, Harrison
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Brown, Evans, Hawkins

Fleetwood (3-4-3): Cairns; Connolly, Souttar, Gibson; Coyle, Sowerby (Coutts 69), Whelan, Andrew (Burns 54); Morris (Madden 75), Evans (c), McKay
Goals: McKay 19, Souttar 55
Booked: Whelan, Gibson, Connolly, McKay
Subs not used: Crellin, Thorvaldsson, Biggins, Saunders

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 16,775 (64 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 072020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey’s contrasting home and away fortunes continued as they slipped to defeat at promotion rivals Peterborough.

Dan Butler scored against his former club to give the hosts the lead and only some good work from Alex Bass was limiting the damage.

The Blues had more of a go after the break, but Siriki Dembele and Ivan Toney were shining for Posh, with the former’s neat finish ending the resistance.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that eased past Rochdale on home soil in the last League One outing.

The most notable inclusion was Jack Whatmough, who replaced the suspended Christian Burgess at the heart of defence.

It was the 23-year-old academy graduate’s first league appearance since featuring against Doncaster 13 months earlier.

There were also returns for Steve Seddon and Ben Close, as Lee Brown and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench.

Former Blues full-back Nathan Thompson was part of a three-man Posh defence, while Butler played on the left of midfield.

There was no pre-match handshake as a precautionary measure because of concerns over the Coronavirus.

A minute’s applause was held, though, in memory of Peterborough groundsman Will Whitney and scout Stuart Gray, who both passed away recently.

It was Butler who was first to threaten and after his free-kick had thudded against the wall, the follow-up attempt flew narrowly over.

Cameron McGeehan’s shot at the other end was comfortably deal with by Christy Pym, as the game opened in scrappy fashion.

There were plenty of half-chances, but nothing to seriously threaten either keeper in the early stages.

Joe Ward flashed a cross-shot dangerously across the face of goal, while Tom Naylor’s header rolled straight at Pym.

Both sides then went close to breaking the deadlock in the space of a few minutes, with the hosts first up.

Toney sent Sam Szmodics racing through on goal, but Bass got down well to deny the January loan arrival.

John Marquis then used his strength to get past Mark Beevers and hit a fierce angled effort that Pym had to push behind.

It was Pompey’s best period of the first half and McGeehan shot wide, only for Peterborough to then take the lead on 32 minutes.

Dembele managed to get past Whatmough and put the ball into the centre, where there was a scramble before Butler lashed it home.

And it almost got even worse for the visitors, with Bass making a superb save to deny Toney from point-blank range.

Peterborough ended the first half firmly on the front foot and had another opportunity to extend their advantage in stoppage-time.

They broke quickly up the pitch from a Blues free-kick and Bass did just about enough to put off the marauding Dembele.


Half Time

Peterborough United 1

Portsmouth 0


Whatmough had, unsurprisingly, looked a bit rusty before the break and was replaced by Ross McCrorie, with James Bolton moving into the centre.

The hosts made a defensive change of their own, with Thompson withdrawn for Niall Mason, who was soon involved in the action.

Ronan Curtis went down under his challenge and appealed for a penalty, but his cries were ignored by referee Ollie Yates.

Toney was awarded a free-kick for a foul on him by Close, with the striker’s free-kick flying through the wall and having to be beaten away by the impressive Bass.

The keeper then made a more routine stop after Dembele had latched onto a long ball and hit a first-time shot.

Jackett made a second substitution 10 minutes into the second half, as Cannon was brought on for Close.

Pompey soon had a chance to get back on level terms when Seddon’s free-kick was only partially cleared, but Ryan Williams blazed the loose ball over.

They were trying to get at their hosts – despite the constant threat from Toney – but were struggling to find a path through.

Sean Raggett enjoyed a rare foray forward and eventually won a corner that fizzed across goal with nobody able to get a touch.

Jackett then made his last throw of the dice, bringing on an extra striker in Oli Hawkins, with McGeehan leaving the action.

He soon had a chance to bring the Blues level, glancing a header wide after leaping in the area to meet Curtis’ cross.

There were then more nodded efforts from both sides, with Toney sending the ball straight at Bass, while Curtis could only guide Williams’ delivery past the far post.

Peterborough were looking particularly dangerous on the break and a Pompey corner led to their next opening.

But Bass once again came to the rescue, getting down to his right to tip Szmodics’ drilled attempt around the post.

The keeper could not stop Toney from wrapping up Posh’s win on 86 minutes, though, with a neat hooked effort that flew into the net.

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym; Thompson (Mason 46), Beevers (c), Blake-Tracy; Ward, Brown (Knight 74), Taylor, Butler; Szmodics (Boyd 88); Dembele, Toney
Goals: Butler 32, Toney 86
Booked: Brown
Subs not used: Chapman, Bennett, Eisa, Jones

Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bass; Bolton, Whatmough (McCrorie 46), Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c); Williams, McGeehan (Hawkins 69), Close (Cannon 55), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Whatmough, Cannon, Naylor, Raggett, Marquis, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, Harness, Pitman

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 9,414 (2,197 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 022020
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 5




Pompey’s Emirates FA Cup run was finally ended by Premier League giants Arsenal at a packed Fratton Park.

For much of the first half it looked like a shock could possibly be on the cards, with the hosts proving more than a match for their illustrious opponents.

But Sokratis Papastathopoulos fired the Gunners ahead just seconds before the interval to deflate most of those inside the ground.

Eddie Nketiah then added another goal soon after the restart and the Londoners were able to see the contest out with relative ease.

Kenny Jackett made six changes from the side that eased past Rochdale in the league three nights earlier.

Gareth Evans returned to captain the side, while Ellis Harrison was brought in up front and Marcus Harness on the left wing.

Ben Close was recalled to the midfield engine room and there were starts at the back for Steve Seddon and James Bolton, with the latter handed a rare central role.

Andy Cannon, John Marquis, Ronan Curtis, Tom Naylor and Sean Raggett dropped to the bench, with Lee Brown missing out completely.

But Arsenal were not at full strength either and there was little to separate the sides throughout the first half.

Emiliano Martinez flapped at the ball when Seddon’s deep cross was nodded back into the middle by Harrison.

Marcus Harness was also causing problems with his trickery, although was unable to test the Gunners keeper.

The visitors were forced to make an early change when a robust Bolton challenge left Lucas Torreira writhing on the turf.

He eventually had to be stretchered off the pitch, with Dani Ceballos chosen as the man to replace him.

Harness then had an effort deflected past the post by Pablo Mari after twisting and turning on the edge of the box.

A quickly taken free-kick gave the Blues a chance to break the deadlock, but Evans could only nod wide after racing in to meet Seddon’s delivery.

Arsenal soon had an opportunity of their own, with Gabriel Martinelli unable to guide Reiss Nelson’s firmly-hit centre on target.

There was an amusing moment when Matteo Guendouzi was told to move the ball back for a free-kick.

He theatrically placed the ball down on the turf, but referee Mike Dean was not amused and promptly showed the midfielder a yellow card.

Cameron McGeehan soon followed him into the notebook for an agricultural challenge on Joe Willock.

That earlier injury to Torreira – and the lengthy treatment received – meant there were five minutes added on at the end of the first half.

And Arsenal broke the deadlock in the fourth of them, with Sokratis bursting forward to slam home Nelson’s low cross.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Arsenal 1


Pompey were first to threaten when the action restarted, but Ryan Williams was only able to drag a shot narrowly past the post after escaping a challenge in the box.

But their opponents soon doubled their lead, with Nketiah doing well to find the roof of the net after bundling his way through following good work from Nelson down the right.

Arsenal were looking comfortable and content to keep possession in the centre of the park with a series of intricate passes.

It meant that there was a lot less intensity in the contest, with the Blues struggling to regain possession.

Jackett made a double substitution on 67 minutes, as Harrison and Harness made way for Marquis and Curtis.

And the latter was soon in the action, cutting onto his right foot and drilling in a low shot that was gathered by Martinez.

Pompey then made their third and final change of the night, as stand-in skipper Evans made way for Cannon.

Alex Bass had not been given much to do, but he got his fingertips to Bukayo Saka’s drive and tipped the ball over.

There was still plenty of huff and puff on show from the hosts, as they tried to find a route back into the tie.

Cannon did have an opportunity to reduce the deficit when the ball fell to him inside the box, but could not keep his effort down.

And Arsenal saw the closing stages out with relative ease to book their place in the draw for the quarter-finals.

But it failed to dampen the mood inside Fratton Park, with the home faithful singing about their forthcoming trip to Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Bolton, Burgess, Seddon; McGeehan, Close; Williams, Evans (c) (Cannon 74), Harness (Curtis 67); Harrison (Marquis 67)
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Raggett, Naylor

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Sokratis, Luiz (c), Mari, Saka; Guendouzi, Torreira (Ceballos 16); Nelson (Maitland-Niles 90+1), Willock (Xhaka 87), Martinelli; Nketiah
Goals: Sokratis 45+4, Nketiah 51
Booked: Guendouzi
Subs not used: Leno, Holding, Pepe, Lacazette

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 18,839 (2,206 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 282020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey breezed past Rochdale to continue their fine Fratton form and climb up to third in the League One table.

There was little to excite the crowd on a cold, wet and windy evening on the south coast for the first 44 minutes.

But Ryan Williams swept home the opener just before the interval and the Blues were largely dominant in the second half.

Steve Seddon came off the bench to impressively fire home his first goal for the club, while Christian Burgess wrapped things up with a late header.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat MK Dons – also on home soil – earlier in the week.

James Bolton returned at right-back and Cameron McGeehan in midfield, as Ross McCrorie and Ben Close both dropped to the bench.

They were joined there by Ellis Harrison, who had reached full fitness after missing a couple of games with a dead leg.

The majority of the first half was a pretty dull and uneventful affair, with neither keeper being properly forced into action.

Corners from both Ronan Curtis and Lee Brown drifted towards the net – perhaps assisted by the wind – but were dealt with.

Williams then tried a curling effort from long-range that flew not too far off target, although never really concerned Robert Sanchez in the Dale goal.

Skipper Ian Henderson should then have done better at the other end, but after being sent through on goal, could only chip a tame effort straight into the arms of Alex Bass.

Half-chances were the order of the evening and Matty Lund’s attempt flew high into the Fratton End, while Andy Cannon – playing against his former club – also cleared the crossbar.

But the game suddenly sprung into life in the final moments of the first half, starting with Rhys Norrington-Davies being booked for a foul on Williams.

He injured himself in the process and had to be replaced in the Rochdale defence by Jimmy Keohane.

Pompey took the lead before that substitution could take place, however, with Burgess meeting a Curtis cross.

His firm header was scrambled away by Sanchez, but WILLIAMS was on hand to lash the loose ball into the roof of the net.

It looked like the advantage might be doubled in stoppage-time, with a goal-bound Cannon drive being diverted off target by a deflection.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Rochdale 0


Williams might have doubled the advantage shortly after the restart, but was unable to take advantage when Sanchez spilled Curtis’ cross.

And Henderson was then inches away from levelling at the other end, courtesy of a superb strike that cannoned against the corner of post and bar.

There was a blow for the Blues when Burgess went into the book for the 10th time this term, resulting in a two-match league ban.

Jackett decided the time was right for a double change on 54 minutes, as Brown and Cannon were replaced by Seddon and Close.

The hosts were trying to find a second goal and Marquis could not beat Sanchez following some sloppy Rochdale play, while the keeper then claimed McGeehan’s looping header.

And Williams sent a teasing cross into the box from wide on the right that a stretching Curtis could not quite guide on target.

Pompey were looking fairly comfortable, but it took a superb save from Bass to keep them ahead on 75 minutes, with the keeper tipping Matty Lund’s close-range header over the bar.

But they had a cushion a few minutes later and it was a fine strike from SEDDON that saw the advantage doubled.

Bolton’s cross was laid into the path of the on-loan left-back, who hit a superb 20-yard effort that swerved into the bottom corner.

The hard-working Marquis received warm applause from the Fratton faithful when he was replaced by Harrison on 84 minutes

But it was BURGESS who made the points safe just a few seconds later, glancing home a fine right-sided free-kick from Seddon.

There was almost another goal soon after, but Sanchez was off his line to save after Curtis had slipped a cute pass through to McGeehan.

Pompey were looking threatening with every attack, but Rochdale saw out the closing stages to limit the damage.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Brown (Seddon 54); Naylor (c), McGeehan; Williams, Cannon (Close 54), Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 84)
Goals: Williams 45, Seddon 78, Burgess 84
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Harness, Pitman

Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Matheson, McShane, McNulty, Norrington-Davies (Keohane 45+1); Williams (Andrew 77), Morley (Done 65); Lund, Camps, Wilbraham; Henderson (c)
Booked: Norrington-Davies, Morley, Camps
Subs not used: Lynch, Dunne, Ryan, Dooley

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance: 17,600 (141 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 252020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey moved back into the League One play-off places with a hard-fought victory over MK Dons at Fratton Park.

It looked like a comfortable evening might be on the cards when Andy Cannon opened his account for the club early on.

But Alex Gilbey reacted quickly to level after Alex Bass had kept out his penalty just moments before the interval.

Both sides had chances to win the contest and John Marquis restored the Blues’ lead early in the second half, while Carlton Morris was then sent off for the visitors.

Marcus Harness then came off the bench to add a third goal at the death and breathe new life into the promotion charge.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Fleetwood at the weekend.

Cannon had recovered from a glute problem, while Lee Brown was handed a first start since early December.

There were also returns for Ross McCrorie, Ryan Williams and Ben Close as the team was freshened up during a hectic schedule.

Oli Hawkins, Steve Seddon, Marcus Harness and Cameron McGeehan all dropped to the bench, with James Bolton missing from the squad.

Pompey made a flying start and took the lead on four minutes, thanks in part to some sloppy play from their opponents.

Jordan Houghton tried to pass out of his own box, but Williams intercepted the ball and squared for CANNON to slot home.

MK Dons almost hit back with an immediate equaliser, only for Bass to come to the rescue with a save from Gilbey.

The action fell pretty flat after that and there were not too many more clear-cut opportunities at either end of the pitch before the break.

Marquis and Close both had efforts blocked in quick succession, while Houghton’s long-range effort for the visitors flew straight at Bass.

The Dons were passing the ball around nicely, but lacking a clinical edge, with the hosts looking more likely to add to the scoring.

Lee Nicholls raced from his line to stop Marquis converting Cannon’s threaded pass, then kept out an angled Brown strike.

And the keeper was called into action again to tip over Close’s drilled attempt following some good work from McCrorie and Marquis.

But MK Dons were given an excellent chance to level in stoppage-time, when McCrorie rashly bundled over Rhys Healey in the box.

Bass guessed the right way to keep out Gilbey’s penalty, but the midfielder was quickest to the rebound and scored at the second attempt.

He did not exactly endear himself to the home support by celebrating right in front of the Fratton End.

And there were more boos – this time aimed at referee Kevin Johnson – when Pompey were not awarded a spot-kick of their own for George Williams’ challenge on Marquis.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

MK Dons 1


The Blues might have fallen behind once the action restarted, with Christian Burgess making a fine sliding challenge after Gilbey had been sent through on goal.

But instead they retook the lead, with MARQUIS getting on the scoresheet to become the club’s leading marksman in his own right.

It was not the most elegant of finishes from McCrorie’s cut-back, with the ball striking a defender and the inside of the post before crossing the line.

They tried to increase their advantage and Close’s chipped cross was headed towards the net by Sean Raggett, but Nicholls made the save.

And the visitors then broke quickly up the pitch, with Burgess taking one for the team by fouling Gilbey and earning a yellow card.

They were still looking dangerous and a Dean Lewington free-kick was glanced narrowly past the post by Jordan Moore-Taylor.

Pompey were beginning to lose patience with Johnson, who failed to book players for a shove on Cannon and late challenge on Marquis.

Lewington finally had his name taken for his reaction to a foul on Williams, just seconds after Healey’s volley was well saved by Bass.

Both sides were looking capable of adding more goals to the contest, with Gladwin and Healey having opportunities for the visitors.

A couple of Ronan Curtis corners then caused problems at the other end, but were eventually scrambled clear.

Jackett had made a double change moments earlier, with Cannon and Williams replaced by McGeehan and Harness.

MK Dons’ hopes of a comeback were made tougher when they were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages.

Pompey had broken quickly from a corner and Curtis fed Marquis, who was brought down by Morris as he raced through on goal, with the forward shown a red card.

And they wrapped up the points just before the end, with HARNESS holding off a defender to collect Raggett’s header and neatly slotting home.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Burgess, Raggett, Brown; Close, Naylor (c); Williams (Harness 77), Cannon (McGeehan 77), Curtis (Seddon 90+3); Marquis
Goals: Cannon 4, Marquis 59, Harness 90+1
Booked: Burgess, Cannon
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Pitman, Hawkins

MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): Nicholls; Poole, Williams, Moore-Taylor, Lewington (c); Houghton (Reeves 73); Thompson (Nombe 77), McGrandles (Gladwin 62); Gilbey; Morris, Healey
Goals: Gilbey 45+2 (pen)
Sent off: Morris
Booked: Lewington, Poole
Subs not used: Fisher, Walsh, Brittain, Kasumu

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 16,577 (170 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 222020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey dropped out of the top six after suffering a narrow defeat to Fleetwood on the windswept Fylde coast.

An early goal from Callum Connolly settled a contest that saw the conditions dictate the level of quality on display.

Ronan Curtis struck the woodwork and Sean Raggett’s header was cleared from the line, but the Blues were unable to find a leveller.

Kenny Jackett had to make a late change to his line-up, with Ellis Harrison originally included in the side.

But he was still feeling his dead leg in the warm-up and was switched for Oli Hawkins, which in turn opened up a place on the bench for Gareth Evans.

There were two other changes from the side that dramatically beat Exeter to reach the Leasing.com Trophy earlier in the week.

John Marquis was rewarded for his last-gasp winner, while James Bolton came in at right-back, as Ben Close and Ross McCrorie dropped to the bench.

There was driving rain and hail before kick-off, although that had thankfully passed by the time the players emerged from the tunnel.

But there was still a strong wind blowing around Highbury and it was clearly making life difficult for both sides.

Pompey were first to threaten and Lewie Coyle slid in to clear before Curtis could meet a low Marquis centre.

It was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, though, with Connolly left in too much space to nod home after Alex Bass had parried away Danny Andrew’s cross.

There was soon some more sloppy play from the Blues to give away possession in the middle of the pitch.

Barrie McKay collected the ball and laid it off for the rampaging Wes Burns, who could only drill past the post.

Pompey then came close to a wind-assisted leveller when Curtis’ wide free-kick drifted towards goal and rattled the crossbar.

A couple of Paul Coutts corners caused problems at the other end, with Christian Burgess nodding the first behind and Bass then punching the second in the air before catching the ball.

The keeper then made sure he got right behind a long-range effort from Paddy Madden to gather cleanly.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut chances, with the conditions certainly having an affect on the quality on show.

But Fleetwood breathed a sigh of relief when Curtis beat Alex Cairns to Steve Seddon’s pass down the line and with the keeper stranded, the ball would not fall kindly for a grey-shirted player.

There was time for a booking for Harry Souttar just before the break, with the defender petulantly throwing the ball away to stop the visitors taking a throw.


Half Time

Fleetwood Town 1

Portsmouth 0


There was no let-up in the wind by the time the action restarted, with Tom Naylor having to gather some paperwork from the visitors’ dug-out that had blown onto the pitch.

It was certainly not helping the game as a spectacle, with any kind of rhythm absent from both teams’ play.

There was a shot from outside the box by Marquis on 55 minutes, although he could only scuff it wide.

Jackett soon made a double switch to try to improve Pompey’s fortunes, as McCrorie and Ryan Williams replaced James Bolton and Hawkins.

And when McCrorie played a deep pass into the box, the ball was volleyed narrowly past the post by the lively Curtis.

That came just a few seconds after Bass had got down to his right to make a regulation stop from Paddy Madden’s drive.

He had to make a smarter stop to deny Burns, diving the opposite way to parry clear a shot that swerved in the wind.

Pompey were being frustrated by their well-drilled opponents, although a leveller almost arrived on 73 minutes.

Curtis was the provider of a dangerous corner that was met by Raggett’s firm header, which was cleared from the line by Coyle.

Seddon then had an attempt from inside the box blocked, as Fleetwood continued to stand firm at the back.

There might have been a goal at the other end when Curtis’ cross-field pass was intercepted, but Josh Morris drilled wide after racing clear.

Raggett was deployed as an emergency striker in an attempt to find an equaliser, but tempers were getting frayed and the referee had to deal with some pushing and shoving.

When that finally calmed down, the Cod Army held on through five minutes of stoppage-time to claim all three points.

Fleetwood (4-2-3-1): Cairns; Coyle, Souttar, Gibson, Andrew; Coutts (c), Connolly (Sowerby 81); Burns, Whelan, McKay (Morris 76); Madden (Saunders 90+4)
Goals: Connolly 12
Booked: Souttar, Burns, Coutts
Subs not used: Crellin, Holgate, Thorvaldsson, Biggins

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (McCrorie 56), Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; McGeehan, Naylor (c); Harness, Marquis, Curtis; Hawkins (Williams 56)
Booked: Seddon, Naylor
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Close, Evans

Referee: Matt Donohue

Attendance: 3,370 (747 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 182020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Leasing.com Trophy




Pompey are heading back to Wembley in the Leasing.com Trophy final following an incredible comeback against Exeter.

A largely insipid encounter came to life in the closing stages, as the Blues struck twice in stoppage-time to spark scenes of joy inside Fratton Park.

The Grecians took the lead through skipper Jake Taylor, only for Marcus Harness to equalise with four minutes remaining.

There was still plenty more action to come, though, and it was the League Two visitors who seemingly grabbed a winner through an unfortunate Christian Burgess own-goal.

But a lovely strike from Cameron McGeehan brought Pompey level once more and, with a penalty shoot-out looming, John Marquis nodded the winner.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat Shrewsbury in the league a few days earlier.

Ross McCrorie was handed a first start of the calendar year, with Ben Close also returning, as James Bolton and Gareth Evans made way.

In scenes reminiscent of Storm Dennis at the weekend, the ground was lashed by wind and rain ahead of kick-off.

But that had passed by the time the action started and the hosts made a bright start, looking to attack their opponents from the off.

Ronan Curtis sent in a low centre that was just out of reach for Ellis Harrison and Joel Randall did well to react before McGeehan could pounce.

Harrison – surrounded by two players – then did brilliantly to bring down a long pass and feed Curtis, who could not keep his angled strike down.

But the Blues striker was forced off midway through the first half, having already received treatment on the pitch.

He valiantly tried to carry on playing, but eventually hobbled off and was replaced up front by Marquis.

The action soon died down and there was not much to excite a healthy crowd at either end of the pitch.

Exeter’s best opportunity came when Jayden Richardson collected a lofted pass and twisted his way into a shooting position, but Close came to the rescue with a key challenge.

The Blues picked up as the interval approached and Curtis nipped in to steal possession, but could not quite cut the ball back for the waiting Marquis.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Exeter City 0


The hosts were slow to get going once the action restarted, with the Grecians appearing to settle quicker.

But they did not have much to show for their endeavour, apart from a booking for Alex Fisher following a lunge at Burgess.

And Pompey then started to move through the gears, with a couple of Steve Seddon corners not fully dealt with.

The left-back then sent in a fine cross from the left that Marquis thought he had forced just over the line, although the officials disagreed.

McGeehan soon saw a downwards header only partially cleared and skipper Tom Naylor fired the loose ball wide.

Jackett made his second change of the night soon after, with Close withdrawn and replaced by Oli Hawkins.

Exeter were relying on nefarious methods to keep their opponents at bay and Gary Warren was shown a yellow card for cynically preventing Marquis from breaking clear.

But the visitors might have broken the deadlock on 63 minutes, only for Naylor to throw himself in the path of Lee Martin’s shot.

Tom Parkes then wasted a decent opportunity from the resulting corner by hooking the ball high over the bar.

Pompey were pushing forward in search of an opener, with Hawkins looking a particular threat, but were just lacking that final bit of quality in the final third.

The breakthrough almost came on 71 minutes, only for Lewis Ward to make a sensational stop to stop Hawkins from converting Harness’ low centre.

A goal appeared to be getting closer and Harness then fired inches wide after being teed-up by McGeehan.

But it was Exeter who went ahead with 11 minutes remaining after Sean Raggett had diverted a shot narrowly past his own post.

Alex Bass was unable to get to the resulting corner and the ball fell for Taylor to lash into the net from 12 yards.

The stunned Blues tried to hit back and Curtis immediately dragged a shot off target from the edge of the area.

And they did have a leveller moments later, after Marquis had initially appeared to see a pass go beyond him.

But the striker got hold of it and squared for Curtis, with his shot cleared from the line by Parkes and HARNESS following up to slam home the rebound.

It seemed like the hosts were the more likely side to score again and avoid a penalty shoot-out, but there was still time for plenty more twists.

Exeter thought they had a winner when Randall’s low delivery was inadvertently sliced into his own net by Burgess.

But the Blues kept fighting as the contest entered stoppage-time and McGEEHAN lifted a fine shot over Ward and into the net.

And with five additional minutes already up, Naylor found acres of space to surge forward and pick out Curtis.

The winger expertly brought the ball down and sent in a superb cross from the left that was nodded in by MARQUIS.

There was not time for any more drama and the whistle soon blew, leaving fans to start singing about Wembley.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), Close (Hawkins 54); Harness, McGeehan, Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 24)
Goals: Harness 86, McGeehan 90+2, Marquis 90+6
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Bolton, Whatmough, Brown, Williams

Exeter (3-4-1-2): Ward; Dyer, Warren, Parkes; Richardson, Taylor (c), Kite, Randall; Martin (Williams 72); Law (Collins 80), Fisher (Seymour 68)
Goals: Taylor 79, Burgess 89 (og)
Booked: Fisher, Warren
Subs not used: Thompson, Moxey, Holmes, Jay

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 14,735 (366 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 152020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey made an immediate return to winning ways after seeing off struggling Shrewsbury in terrible conditions at Fratton Park.

There were not an abundance of chances in the first half, but the Blues got the job done after the break.

Ellis Harrison headed them into the lead and John Marquis came off the bench to wrap up all three points.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Coventry earlier in the week.

Gareth Evans came in for his first league appearance since New Year’s Day, while there were also starts for Marcus Harness and Harrison.

Ben Close, Ryan Williams and Marquis were the men to make way, with the trio all named among the substitutes.

Storm Dennis ensured the ground was being battered by strong winds and heavy rain, making conditions tough for both sides.

But Pompey made the brighter start and sent plenty of early deliveries into the box for the Shrews to deal with.

Harness then dug out a low shot that Max O’Leary in the Milton End goal had to get down to keep out.

The keeper also beat away a fierce effort from Steve Seddon after the ball landed for the left-back inside the box.

There was not much happening at the other end, although Christian Burgess and Tom Naylor bravely threw themselves in front of shots.

The visitors then saw two of their three-man back-line booked in quick succession, with Ro-Shaun Williams and Ethan Ebanks-Landell punished for fouls on Ronan Curtis and Harrison respectively.

It went a bit quiet as the half progressed, although there was a good chance for the hosts on 30 minutes.

Curtis’ pass released Harness down the right and his low delivery was turned over by a stretching Harrison.

Shrewsbury’s only decent opportunity followed soon after, with Bass equal to a curling Conor McAleny effort.

It was the Blues who were on top as the interval approached, although Evans will want to forget an ambitious bicycle kick that saw him miss the ball completely.

Seddon provided more of a threat after being given space to advance in stoppage-time, before hitting a rocket that dipped narrowly over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Shrewsbury Town 0


Pompey looked a bit rusty immediately after the restart and Burgess was booked for a foul on Daniel Udoh.

Sean Goss stepped up to take the free-kick and curled the ball into the side netting from 20 yards out.

And the visitors then had a couple of decent chances inside a minute, with Bass getting his fingertips to a cross-cum-shot from substitute Kayne Ramsay.

When the ball broke for Conor McAleny moments later, his fierce effort flew through a sea of bodies and was beaten to safety by Bass.

Jackett made a double switch soon after, with Evans and James Bolton withdrawn for Marquis and Ross McCrorie.

The former soon had an effort that took a deflection and the ball would not quite bounce kindly for Harrison.

But the latter then provided the assist, as the hosts were finally able to break the deadlock on 64 minutes.

It was a superb cross from McCrorie, who took a touch before sending the ball into the box for HARRISON to nod home from close range.

They soon had a chance to double the lead when Cameron McGeehan was brought down just outside the box.

But after Seddon dummied it, Curtis sent the free-kick thudding in the wall and skipper Naylor fired the loose ball wide.

Pompey were trying to add to their lead and O’Leary was quickly off his line to deny Marquis after Curtis had slipped a neat pass through to the striker.

Sean Raggett was then unable to beat the keeper from a Curtis free-kick, as the hosts continued to push.

Harness was next to go close when McCrorie cut the ball back for him, but again O’Leary came to Town’s rescue.

But the points were finally secured on 82 minutes, as MARQUIS collected a pass from Harness and coolly slotted the ball into the net.

Williams replaced Curtis for the closing stages, as Pompey saw the contest out with relative ease to ensure they remained in the top six.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton (McCrorie 58), Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; McGeehan, Naylor (c); Harness, Evans (Marquis 58), Curtis (Williams 89); Harrison
Goals: Harrison 64, Marquis 82
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, Close

Shrewsbury (3-5-1-1): O’Leary; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Beckles, Edwards (c), Goss, Laurent, Hart (Ramsay 46); McAleny (Cummings 67); Udoh (Lang 67)
Booked: Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Lang, Goss
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Love, Sears, Golbourne

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,214 (319 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 112020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey were undone by a late goal, as their fine run of form was finally brought to an end by Coventry.

The contest at a bitterly cold St Andrew’s rarely moved above second gear, although both sides had periods of dominance.

But the Blues were left rueing a rare defensive lapse when substitute Matty Godden nipped in to score the winner for the hosts.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Tranmere to set a new club record at the weekend.

John Marquis returned to lead the four-man forward line in place of Ellis Harrison, who dropped to the bench.

It was the hosts who shaded a poor opening 45 minutes of football, without ever really looking like breaking the deadlock.

Their best opportunity came after just six minutes, with Alex Bass getting down to deal with Liam Walsh’s low drive from the edge of the box.

Ryan Williams had a couple of half-chances at the other end, but saw both of his efforts blocked in quick succession.

Callum O’Hare – sporting a bandage after receiving a nasty gash to the head at the weekend – had a shot deflected wide for Coventry.

And the hosts enjoyed a spell of possession where they forced the Blues back deep inside their own half.

But nothing really came of it and Bass was being well protected by a disciplined display from the back four.

Walsh screwed one shot wastefully wide, while a long-range attempt from O’Hare stung the palms of Bass.

Marko Marosi was not being tested in the Coventry goal, although would have been relieved to see the ball ricochet clear after Ronan Curtis charged down his clearance.

And it was the hosts who had the final effort before the break, as Jamie Allen’s shot looped over Bass, but fortunately for Pompey, also over the bar.


Half Time

Coventry City 0

Portsmouth 0


Williams tried to flick a pass through to Marquis once the action restarted, although Marosi was able to gather.

But the keeper was – despite the lack of chances – looking unsteady between the sticks and recovered after taking a poor touch from a back-pass by former Fratton loanee Dom Hyam.

Allen then whipped a teasing cross into the box at the other end, although a stretching Amadou Bakayoko could only divert the ball wide.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Marquis and Williams withdrawn for Harrison and Marcus Harness.

And with his very first touch, Harrison met James Bolton’s low delivery with a near-post shot that was saved by Marosi.

Harness then had a chance on 74 minutes after his attempted pass had been blocked, with the winger curling the ball over the bar.

Pompey were enjoying much more possession, but were lacking a clinical touch in the final third of the pitch.

And when Marosi unconvincingly pushed out Harrison’s low pass across the box, Steve Seddon blazed the loose ball high over the bar.

The hosts brought on Godden in an attempt to find a winner and the substitute immediately responded.

O’Hare’s lofted pass caught the Blues defence cold, with Godden spinning sharply and neatly finishing.

But the visitors almost found an immediate leveller when Tom Naylor sent the ball into the box and Cameron McGeehan’s shot was well saved by Marosi.

And Coventry survived one last scare deep into stoppage-time, as a stretching Harrison could only turn the ball over the bar from a few yards out.

Coventry (3-4-2-1): Marosi; Rose, McFadzean, Hyam; Dabo, Kelly (c), Walsh, McCallum; Allen (Biamou 71), O’Hare; Bakayoko (Godden 82)
Goals: Godden 84
Subs not used: Wilson, Pask, Westbrooke, Shipley, Giles

Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c); Williams (Harness 63), McGeehan, Close, Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 63)
Booked: McGeehan, Close
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, McCrorie, Evans

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 6,983 (1,526 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 082020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Sean Raggett and Ryan Williams were on target as Pompey won at Tranmere to set a new club record.

It is the first time they have won nine successive games in all competitions since entering the Football League in 1920.

Raggett opened his Blues account with an early close-range header and Williams made sure of the points with a low strike after the break.

The relegation-threatened Rovers kept battling away, but were all too often let down by their play in the final third.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat Sunderland on home soil the previous week.

One was enforced, with Andy Cannon’s glute injury seeing Ben Close recalled to midfield and Cameron McGeehan pushed further forward.

Ellis Harrison also returned to lead the line and John Marquis dropped to the bench, where he was joined by Gareth Evans.

The hosts had received plenty of negative publicity for their pitch, which was lacking much grass and included big patches of sand in the wide areas.

Both sides found the conditions – not helped by the windy weather – difficult to deal with and there were plenty of misjudged passes.

But a lovely touch from Ronan Curtis provided an early opening and when his shot was beaten away by Scott Davies, the loose ball was cleared by Calum Woods before Williams could capitalise.

The deadlock was broken on 13 minutes, however, with Curtis providing the assist after he had been fouled by Kane Wilson.

A free-kick was swung into the box by the winger and although Christian Burgess could not make a connection, RAGGETT was in position to head home his opening Blues goal from a few yards out.

Tranmere fought back and almost gained an immediate leveller after Burgess had made a key block to deny former Fratton loanee James Vaughan.

The ball was sent straight back into the area and Andy Cook’s neat back-heel was well saved by Alex Bass from point-blank range.

Still the danger was not over, though, and Close had to go sliding in to prevent Kieron Morris having a free shot on goal.

Harrison had an attempt at the other end midway through the first half, but angled the ball wide after being teed-up by Curtis.

George Ray then did well to get ahead of Burgess at the far post and prevent the defender meeting Steve Seddon’s free-kick.

But it was Tranmere who finished the opening period on top and Bass got down well to stop Cook from nodding home Wilson’s cross.

A delivery from Corey Blackett-Taylor then appeared to present Cook with a free header, only for the striker to somehow miss the ball completely.

Another attempt from the same player soon crept pass the post after Woods had this time provided the cross.

And Burgess came to the rescue in stoppage-time to block Cook’s centre after Bass had come charging from his box and misjudged the bounce of the ball.


Half Time

Tranmere Rovers 1

Portsmouth 0


A couple of Seddon free-kicks caused the hosts problems once the action restarted, while Curtis scuffed a chance off target.

But the lead was doubled on 51 minutes after McGeehan slipped a neat pass through to Curtis, who had stayed onside.

The Republic of Ireland international’s cut-back went behind WILLIAMS, who recovered well to drill a low shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box.

Pompey kept looking for more goals, though, and a firm header from Harrison was sent straight into Davies’ arms.

Their opponents started to look more of a threat as the half progressed, although were constantly being let down by a poor final ball.

A corner – which Bass was booked for holding up – then led to an almighty scramble and Morris eventually prodded wastefully wide.

Rovers were seeing a lot of the ball, without doing much with it, while the visitors were trying to break quickly.

One delivery from Seddon was neatly flicked on by Harrison, but Davies was able to scramble behind before Close could pounce.

And Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to continue their charge up the League One table.

Tranmere (4-4-2): Davies (c); Wilson (Ridehalgh 46), Ray, Monthe, Woods (Danns 59); Morris, Woodyard, McCullough, Blackett-Taylor; Vaughan (Ferrier 59), Cook
Booked: Vaughan
Subs not used: Pilling, Perkins, Gilmour, Jennings

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), Close; Williams, McGeehan, Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Raggett 13, Williams 51
Booked: Bass, Williams
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Whatmough, Brown, Evans, Harness, Marquis

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 6,985 (1,379 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 012020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Christian Burgess marked his 200th appearance with a goal, as Pompey won the battle of two in-form teams at Fratton Park.

It was Ronan Curtis who assisted his first half header, before then teeing-up James Bolton to secure all three points the break.

From the moment they took the lead, it was a dominant display from the Blues against their promotion rivals.

The Black Cats received a further blow late on when, having made the maximum number of substitutions, Joel Lynch was stretchered off the pitch.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Lincoln earlier in the week to complete an unbeaten January.

On-loan Barnsley midfielder Cameron McGeehan returned to the starting line-up, with Ben Close dropping to the bench.

The visitors made the faster start to the contest and Charlie Wyke did well to get a shot away after latching onto a ball down the left.

But Bass was able to keep out his effort and the keeper then leapt on the loose ball to deny a follow-up opportunity.

Pompey soon had a chance of their own at the other end, with Ryan Williams glancing a fine Curtis free-kick agonisingly past the post.

Again the action switched in what was proving to be an engrossing half of football and Hume cut the ball back for an unmarked Chris Maguire.

It looked as though the former Fratton loanee would score against his former club, only to screw his shot horribly, allowing Burgess to head clear.

The visitors were again left wondering how they had not taken the lead when Luke O’Nien’s fine effort hit the post and then ricocheted off the back of Bass before bouncing narrowly wide.

Instead it was Pompey who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes after Curtis had been fouled wide on the left.

He sent a superb delivery into the box and BURGESS was there to nod home and score for a third successive Saturday.

The lead was almost doubled a few minutes later when the ball bounced into John Marquis’ path and he hit a fierce effort just off target.

Steve Seddon’s set-piece was then headed back by Sean Raggett in a crowded box, but it was a Sunderland boot who got there first.

The Blues had been totally on top since taking the lead and they had two more great chances to score again in quick succession before the break.

First, Jon McLaughlin made a superb save when Curtis’ delivery took a wicked deflection off Bailey Wright and headed towards the net.

Andy Cannon then cut the ball back for Bolton, who miscued his close-range shot and saw the ball fly wide.

Tempers threatened to boil over in the final seconds of the first half after Bass beat Wyke to the ball and the striker tumbled over him.

The Black Cats wanted a penalty and referee Christopher Sarginson rightly waved away their appeals.

It led to an argument near the touchline and, when things settled down, both Lynden Gooch and Seddon were booked.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Sunderland 0


Jackett made a change at the start of the second half, with Ellis Harrison taking over from Marquis up front.

But it was Williams who soon had a chance to score a second for the Blues, meeting Bolton’s cross with a header that flew narrowly wide.

Instead it was another member of the back four who gave the hosts a welcome cushion on 52 minutes.

Curtis was the provider once more, whipping in a fine corner that BOLTON bundled home from a few yards out.

Pompey were threatening to run riot and when Curtis’ cross was nodded back by Williams, a Harrison header was kept out by McLaughlin from point-blank range.

Cannon’s follow-up attempt was blocked and the midfielder then teed-up Raggett, who fired wastefully past the post.

The Fratton faithful were enjoying themselves and jeered George Dobson when the midfielder swiped at thin air and conceded a throw.

It was pretty much one-way traffic, as the Blues continued to play with a real swagger, while their opponents offered little going forward.

And whenever the hosts did lose the ball, they were quickly gifted possession straight back again by the below-par Black Cats.

McLaughlin had to come out of his box to stop Harrison reaching Bolton’s clearance on 81 minutes and recovered to stop Williams following up.

He unfortunately collided with Lynch in the process, though, and the defender received lengthy treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off.

All four sides of Fratton Park rose to applaud the stricken player, but Sunderland had already made all three changes and had to finish the game with 10 men.

It meant there were nine minutes of injury-time for Pompey to negotiate, but they looked more likely to add to the scoring.

McLaughlin made another fine save to keep out Harrison’s swerving shot, as the Blues comfortably saw the contest out.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), McGeehan; Williams, Cannon (Close 90+5), Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 46)
Goals: Burgess 25, Bolton 52
Booked: Seddon, Raggett
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, McCrorie, Harness

Sunderland (3-4-3): J.McLaughlin; Willis, Wright, Lynch; O’Nien, Dobson, Power (c), Hume (Semenyo 69); Maguire (Watmore 69), Wyke (Lafferty 46), Gooch
Booked: Gooch, Dobson, Semenyo
Subs not used: Burge, C.McLaughlin, Flanagan, Scowen

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 18,531 (1,819 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 282020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey continued their run of fine form with a 2-0 victory at a Lincoln side who had been in imperious home form.

Ronan Curtis curled home a free-kick in the last piece of action of an otherwise lacklustre opening half.

And the Imps never really did enough to threaten that lead, with John Marquis wrapping things up from the spot after Neal Eardley had fouled Steve Seddon.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that knocked Barnsley out of the FA Cup on home soil at the weekend.

Cameron McGeehan was ineligible for that game, but returned on the bench and was joined by the fit-again duo of Lee Brown and Ross McCrorie.

The hosts had an early opportunity when Jorge Grant’s cross drifted towards goal and landed on the roof of the net.

But the opening 45 minutes was a largely soporific affair, with neither side able to find any kind of fluidity and possession constantly changing hands.

A quick Lincoln break might have caused a few flutters in the away end of the ground, but Tyreece John-Jules settled any nerves by blazing high over the crossbar.

Pompey had periods of possession, although were lacking penetration in the final third as the contest continued to drift along.

There was pained expressions among every man in the crowd on 30 minutes after Andy Cannon’s shot hit a defender and ricocheted back into his nether regions.

The midfielder was then involved in a neat bit of build-up play involving Ryan Williams and Ben Close, with the latter’s ball glanced wide by Marquis, who had also strayed offside.

It appeared as though the interval would arrive without any meaningful incident, but the Blues suddenly picked up in stoppage-time.

Curtis fired one effort over, while Cian Bolger did well to stop James Bolton’s low delivery reaching Marquis in the box.

A fierce volley from Cannon was then blocked before, with time almost up, Seddon was bundled over just outside the box.

Close stood over the ball and Seddon feigned to take it, seemingly confusing Imps keeper Josh Vickers as CURTIS curled past his desperate grasp.


Half Time

Lincoln City 0

Portsmouth 1


A long-range attempt from Cannon flew not too far over the bar once the action resumed, as the Blues tried to find a cushion.

But the hosts should have been level soon after, as Tom Hopper beat former Imps defender Sean Raggett and cut back for an unmarked John-Jules to fire wastefully over.

There was still a lack of quality on show, but there was certainly more action than had been on offer prior to the break.

Curtis fizzed a low free-kick into the box and the ball bounced dangerously around before being cleared behind.

The Imps then embarked on a patient passing move up the pitch that ended with Raggett making a crunching – but fair – challenge on Tyler Walker inside the box.

A Grant free-kick was soon partially headed clear, although Conor Coventry’s follow-up was again off target.

Pompey broke quickly to carve out an opportunity of their own on 73 minutes, with Seddon having of acres of space to run into before seeing his low drive beaten away by Vickers.

Jackett made his first substitution moments later, with Cannon making way for McGeehan in the centre.

Raggett then appeared to hurt himself after sticking a foot in to block Walker’s shot, but the centre-back was able to continue after some treatment on the pitch.

Pompey were trying to wrap the match up and when a Curtis corner was only partially cleared, McGeehan curled the loose ball over.

And they had the opportunity to do just that when Seddon’s charge into the box was clumsily halted by Eardley.

Referee Ben Toner had a simple decision to make and immediately pointed to the spot, although spared the Imps defender a second booking.

MARQUIS stepped up to take the penalty and precisely squeezed the ball just inside the post to double the lead in front of the large – and noisy – travelling army.

Curtis might have added some icing to the cake late on, but Vickers made a smart stop to limit the damage for Lincoln.

Lincoln (4-4-2): Vickers; Eardley, Bolger, Shackell (c), Melbourne; Anderson (Walker 60), Morrell, Coventry (Hesketh 74), Grant; Hopper, John-Jules
Booked: Eardley, Grant, Morrell
Subs not used: Smith, Lewis, Edun, Chapman, Elbouzedi

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), Close; Williams, Cannon (McGeehan 76), Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 45+5, Marquis 87 (pen)
Booked: Close, Marquis, Naylor, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Whatmough, Brown, Harness, Harrison

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 8,983 (1,154 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC