2020/2021

May 092021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


H League 1
Portsmouth 0
Accrington Stanley 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON DRAWN WON LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON

Pompey missed out on a play-off place after suffering a narrow home defeat to Accrington on the final day of the season.

A fine goal from Adam Phillips proved the difference, with wins for Oxford and Charlton ensuring the Blues finished in eighth position.

They improved following a poor opening 45 minutes, but Stanley held on to end the promotion dreams of the Fratton faithful.

Danny Cowley made a single change from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane the previous week.

Jack Whatmough returned from a four-match ban to replace Sean Raggett at the heart of defence, with Paul Downing keeping his spot in the side.

A fit-again Jordy Hiwula – who had been out for more than a month with an ankle problem – was named among the substitutes.

There was a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of club legend Alan McLoughlin, who sadly passed away earlier in the week at the age of just 54.

It was Pompey who threatened first, but Toby Savin denied John Marquis when the striker collected Ronan Curtis’ threaded pass.

But Accrington were playing with a freedom that their position in the middle of the League One table afforded.

They began to take control of the contest and stopped their opponents finding any kind of rhythm going forward.

And Stanley deservedly broke the deadlock midway through the first half, with Colby Bishop and Harvey Rodgers working the ball across to Phillips, who lashed a shot into the roof of the net.

The same player almost doubled their lead soon after, but Craig MacGillivray got down to his right to push behind a low 35-yard free-kick.

Set-pieces were causing plenty of problems in the Blues back-line, with a succession of corners sent into the mixer.

Pompey might have levelled in stoppage-time, only for a teasing Curtis delivery to somehow evade everyone as it flashed just past the post.

There was still time for Accrington to find the net again, when Bishop nodded home a Sean McConville free-kick, but the striker had his celebrations cut shot by an offside flag.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Accrington Stanley 1


The hosts came out with plenty of energy following the interval and suddenly space opened up for Curtis.

He advanced almost half the length of the pitch before hitting a long-range effort that Savin managed to turn behind.

The same player was then unable to keep a shot down after the ball had run into his path when Marcus Harness’ attempt was blocked.

And more good work from Curtis fashioned another opening, with the winger cutting in from the left and finding Marquis, but Savin was quickly off his line to make the save.

Cowley made a triple substitution just before the hour mark, with Hiwula, George Byers and Harvey White on for Downing, Ben Close and former Stanley full-back Callum Johnson.

Skipper Tom Naylor dropped into a back three with Whatmough and Lee Brown, as Pompey went on the attack.

And Byers soon showed some nifty footwork to make himself some space to shoot, but Savin was equal to the effort.

The Blues were playing with plenty of urgency, although their visitors were defending resolutely to keep them at bay.

Charlie Daniels was thrown on for Ryan Williams for the closing stages and a low centre was cleared after he collected the ball from Curtis on the overlap.

And the defender was then played through on goal by Harness, only for Savin to tear from his line and make a fine save.

It looked like Daniels was fouled by Ben Barclay as he tried to get his shot away, but referee Sam Purkiss waved aside the appeals.

Curtis looked like he would get a late leveller when he sent a free-kick through the wall, only for Savin to again come to the visitors’ rescue.

And time ultimately ran out on Pompey, who will now prepare for a fifth successive season in League One.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson (White 59), Downing (Hiwula 59), Whatmough, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Byers 59); Harness, Williams (Daniels 79), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Harness, Downing, Byers, White
Subs not used: Ward, Raggett, Cannon

Accrington (3-4-1-2): Savin; Barclay, Nottingham, Burgess; Rodgers, Phillips, Morgan, McConville (c); Russell (Scully 65); Bishop, Charles
Goals: Phillips 23
Booked: Rodgers
Subs not used: Buckley, Perritt, Sama, Martin, Mansell, Smyth

Referee: Sam Purkiss

May 012021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
AFC Wimbledon 1
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN WON LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON

Lee Brown was the unlikely goalscoring hero, as Pompey won at AFC Wimbledon to ensure that securing a play-off place is in their hands.

The defender – making his first appearance for three weeks after recovering from a hamstring problem – struck twice at the end of the first half.

He had only previously netted just once for the Blues, but his second goal in particular was a thing of beauty that would have been treasured by the most prolific of strikers.

The visitors had earlier fallen behind to Joe Pigott’s questionable goal, only for Ronan Curtis to immediately level.

And the Plough Lane result, coupled with Charlton dropping points at Accrington, means that Pompey head into their final fixture knowing that a win would be enough to extend their season.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that dramatically drew at Accrington earlier in the week.

Paul Downing was handed a first league start in more than 19 months, while there were also returns for Ryan Williams and a fit-again Brown.

Rasmus Nicolaisen, James Bolton and George Byers were the players to make way, with the trio all named among the substitutes.

Pompey almost took the lead in the opening minute following a neat move that was started by Curtis.

He found Tom Naylor, who in turn spread the ball out for Marcus Harness, but his delivery was a bit too powerful for Curtis and he fired over.

It was the home side who then started to look dangerous and Jack Rudoni scuffed wastefully wide after Sean Raggett could only clear a cross into his path.

The same player then drilled in a low shot and Craig MacGillivray got down well to his right to palm the ball behind.

But it was a moment of controversy that saw the Dons break the deadlock midway through the first half.

Pigott raced onto a powerful header forward from Ben Heneghan, but was in an offside position and the assistant raised his flag.

Referee Charles Breakspear decided the ball had flicked off Ben Close, however, and allowed the goal to stand, much to the visitors’ fury.

But they did not let their heads drop and levelled straight from the restart, with the in-form CURTIS on target.

Harness cut inside from the right and tried to find John Marquis in the centre, only for the ball to run across for the Republic of Ireland international to lash home.

AFC Wimbledon tried to restore their advantage and MacGillivray managed to divert Pigott’s angled effort behind.

It was Pompey who finished the half on top, though, and there were half-chances for Naylor and Marquis.

But it was an unlikely figure that scored twice right at the end of the first half to give them a commanding lead.

BROWN had only one Blues goal to his name, but collected the ball from Curtis on the overlap and fired into the bottom corner.

And it was an even more majestic finish from the left-back to give them a two-goal advantage at the interval.

BROWN stole possession from Ryan Longman on the left, collected the ball back from Curtis and hit a fine shot with the outside of his foot that crashed against the underside of the bar and into the net.


Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 1

Portsmouth 3


Pigott had a chance to reduce his team’s deficit following the restart, but nodded Cheye Alexnader’s cross wide at the back post.

Pompey were still passing the ball around nicely, though, as they continued to search for a route through the opposition defence.

And a great piece of perseverance created an opening for Harness on 57 minutes, with the winger flashing a shot inches past the post.

The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession in the Dons half and only a timely block denied Brown an unlikely treble.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and MacGillivray got down to his left when Pigott curled a free-kick towards the target.

The Blues were next to threaten, but Williams scuffed his attempt wide following great work from Harness on the right.

Both sides were guilty of some wasteful finishing, with Pigott and Alexander failing to get enough power on their efforts to trouble MacGillivray.

But the Dons were dealt a blow when Heneghan went down injured on 76 minutes and was unable to continue.

They had already used all three of their substitution slots and so had to play out the closing stages with just 10 men.

Harvey White came on for Curtis for the closing stages and soon had a chance to wrap up the three points.

Marquis raced clear on goal, but Nik Tzanev stuck out a hand to deny him and the striker instead picked out White, whose shot was deflected just wide.

But Pompey saw out the closing stages to claim a valuable win and results elsewhere ensured that Wimbledon could celebrate survival.

AFC Wimbledon (4-2-2-2): Tzanev; Alexander, Heneghan, Nightingale, Guinness-Walker; Woodyard (c), Dobson (Oksanen 62); Longman, Rudoni (McLoughlin 71); Pigott, Palmer (Assal 57)
Goals: Pigott 23
Booked: Pigott, Dobson, Alexander
Subs not used: Cox, O’Neill, Kalambayi, Harrison

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Cannon 90+2); Harness (Byers 88), Curtis (White 84), Williams; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 24, Brown 45, 45+4
Booked: Curtis
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Daniels

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Apr 272021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Accrington Stanley 3
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN WON LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON

John Marquis thought he had scored a stoppage-time winner at Accrington, only to then find his own net at the death.

It was a fittingly dramatic end to a crazy Crown Ground contest that at least saw Pompey climb back into the play-off places.

The home side had roared into a commanding interval lead following efforts from Colby Bishop and Cameron Burgess.

But the Blues hit back after the break and Marquis reduced their deficit before substitute Ryan Williams drew them level.

Plenty of chances followed at both ends of the pitch before a fine Marquis finish looked to have completed a remarkable turnaround.

But the striker was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the ball flew off him and into the net in the final few seconds.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that saw off Bristol Rovers on home soil at the weekend.

Williams dropped to the bench to make way for James Bolton, which saw former Accrington player Callum Johnson move to the right wing-back role.

The rain was falling heavily when the team arrived at the ground and only got heavier once the game began.

There might have been fears of an abandoned contest – particularly as the last time referee Robert Madley was assigned a Pompey game was at Charlton, which he postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

It was a high energy opening to the contest, with the action quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the next.

Bolton had to clear when Craig MacGillivray got a palm to Harvey Rodgers’ teasing delivery, while Ronan Curtis then sent a dipping volley past the post.

Johnson came close to breaking the deadlock on 10 minutes away and was inches away from making a connection with a low Marcus Harness centre.

But instead it was the hosts who broke the deadlock soon after, with Bishop meeting a fine Sean McConville cross and heading into the top corner.

It seemed like the Blues would level when Stanley twice failed to clear their lines and Johnson sent the ball towards Marquis in the box.

The striker looked as though he would be left with a simple finish, only for Ben Barclay to slide in and send the ball against the post.

Neither side was letting up as the rain continued to fall, with both trying to take advantage of the conditions by intercepting some wayward passes.

But it was Accrington who finished the half with a flourish and a Dion Charles effort was deflected wide before a fierce McConville strike cannoned off the underside of the bar.

And they did double their lead just before the break after McConville had lifted a free-kick into the mixer.

Bishop turned it towards the goal and the ball might have been crossing the line before Burgess slid in to make sure.


Half Time

Accrington Stanley 2

Portsmouth 0


Cowley made a double change at the break, with Bolton and Ben Close making way for Williams and Andy Cannon.

And Pompey got a lifeline within five minutes of the second half after some sloppy play gifted them possession.

Curtis played a neat pass across to MARQUIS and although his shot was saved by Toby Savin, the ball ran loose for him to lift home a neat finish.

An incredible passage of play then saw Accrington almost restore their two-goal lead before the Blues equalised in controversial fashion.

McConville played a free-kick to Adam Phillips on the edge of the box and his effort was diverted onto the post by MacGillivray.

The keeper then appeared to tip the follow-up header from Rodgers over the bar, only for a goal-kick to be awarded.

And the Blues went straight up the other end to score again, with Curtis and Marquis helping the ball on for WILLIAMS.

The substitute did well to take the ball past Savin and then neatly slotted it into the net to bring the scores level.

Cowley made a third switch just after the hour mark, with Paul Downing making his first league appearance of the season in place of Johnson.

And the fourth quickly followed, as Charlie Daniels was the latest player to enter the fray, with George Byers withdrawn.

Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring, with Joe Pritchard firing a good chance over the bar after a McConville free-kick had caused problems.

Pompey then raced up the other end and Williams felt he was fouled in the box by Burgess, but Madley waved play on.

The lively Pritchard soon pulled the ball back for Charles in the box and he sliced another excellent chance wide.

With both sides chasing a winner, the action was becoming stretched and there were plenty of opportunities to launch quick counter-attacks.

Harvey White came on for Harness on 84 minutes, as Cowley made use of his full complement of substitutes.

It was Accrington who almost snatched another goal soon after, though, with MacGillivray fumbling Paul Smyth’s effort and Burgess somehow turning the loose ball against the crossbar.

The keeper was then not able to cling on when McConville squeezed a shot towards the near post, but recovered quickly to keep out the next attempt from Bishop.

But it was the Blues who were celebrating in stoppage-time when White lifted a deep free-kick into the mixer.

Burgess rose to try to head clear, but only succeeded in finding an unmarked MARQUIS, whose acrobatic effort flew into the net.

It looked like that would be enough to seal the points, but McConville then sent a free-kick into the box and when MacGillivray parried away Burgess’ attempt, the ball ricocheted off the unfortunate Marquis and flew into the net.

Accrington (4-1-2-1-2): Savin; Rodgers (Smyth 76), Barclay, Nottingham, Burgess; Conneely (c); Phillips, McConville; Russell (Pritchard 68); Bishop, Charles
Goals: Bishop 15, Burgess 43, Marquis 90+5 (og)
Booked: McConville, Conneely, Barclay
Subs not used: Buckley, Perritt, Uwakwe, Morgan, Mansell

Pompey (3-4-1-2): MacGillivray; Bolton (Williams 46), Raggett, Nicolaisen; Johnson (Downing 61), Close (Cannon 46), Naylor (c), Harness (White 84); Byers (Daniels 68); Marquis, Curtis
Goals: Marquis 49, 90+1, Williams 54
Booked: Curtis, Cannon
Subs not used: Ward, Stanley

Referee: Robert Madley

Apr 242021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Bristol Rovers 0


FORM GUIDE

WON LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST

Ronan Curtis scored the only goal of the game as Pompey beat Bristol Rovers to revive their play-off hopes.

The result at a sunny Fratton Park also ended the visitors’ slim hopes of avoiding relegation to League Two.

It was midway through the first half when the key moment arrived, as Curtis completed a fine move with a neat finish.

Danny Cowley made a single change from the side that were beaten on the road at Swindon earlier in the week.

Charlie Daniels dropped to the bench to make way for George Byers, as Pompey switched to a 3-4-3 system.

Callum Johnson joined Sean Raggett and Rasmus Nicolaisen in the back-line, with Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness out wide.

Byers and Curtis were positioned either side of leading marksman John Marquis, who was making his 100th appearance for the club.

The game began at a frenetic pace, with both sides flying into challenges and looking to get forward when possible.

But there were few clear-cut chances to speak of and it took a while for the hosts to gain control of proceedings.

They soon began passing the ball around neatly on a carpet of a pitch, with Byers and Ben Close looking particularly pleasing in possession.

It was the visitors who were first to properly threaten, though, as Alex Rodman got past Nicolaisen and tried an angled shot that Craig MacGillivray got his fingertips to.

But Pompey broke the deadlock moments later, with a nice move that started with the keeper rolling the ball out to Close.

He then found CURTIS, who received a delightful return pass from Byers before expertly bending a shot into the bottom corner.

Nicolaisen came close to doubling the lead, rising highest to meet a Close free-kick and sending a header narrowly past the post.

Pompey were looking pretty much in control, but Rovers had a chance to level just before the interval.

A free-kick was not properly dealt and Rodman nodded the ball towards the line, with Raggett able to scramble it clear.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Bristol Rovers 0


The visitors looked to attack right from kick-off and a fierce long-range strike from Luke McCormick was gathered at the second attempt by MacGillivray.

A nice pass from Tom Naylor then found Williams on the left and Anssi Jaakkola did well to claim the Australian’s cross, with Marquis ready to pounce.

Rovers – who had nothing really to lose – were certainly posing more of a threat as the second half progressed.

But the back three were holding their own and denying the opposition forward line a clear sight of MacGillivray’s goal.

Cowley made a change just past the hour mark, with Andy Cannon – who has been nursing a back problem – replacing Close.

Pompey began to take control again, with Byers, Harness and Marquis all seeing efforts blocked in quick succession.

Another change saw the impressive Byers make way for Harvey White, with Cowley looking for some fresh energy.

Daniels and James Bolton then came on for Williams and Harness to shore up the wing-back positions.

A superb long pass from White picked out Curtis in space on 80 minutes, but the Republic of Ireland international could not find the target with a curling shot.

And Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to claim the three points that boosts their hopes of a top six finish.

Pompey (3-4-3): MacGillivray; Johnson, Raggett, Nicolaisen; Harness (Bolton 77), Close (Cannon 63), Naylor (c), Williams (Daniels 77); Byers (White 70), Marquis, Curtis
Goals: Curtis 27
Subs not used: Ward, Downing, Stanley

Bristol Rovers (4-4-2): Jaakkola; Williams, Kilgour (Hare 84), Baldwin, Leahy (c); Rodman (Hargreaves 75), Martinez (Little 84), McCormick, Westbrooke (Oztumer 59); Hanlan, Daly (Walker 75)
Subs not used: Day, Tutonda

Referee: Thomas Bramall

Apr 202021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Swindon Town 3
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST

Pompey stumbled again in their hunt for a play-off spot, losing to bottom side Swindon at the County Ground.

Brett Pitman came back to haunt his former club with a goal in each half, the second coming from the penalty spot.

Ronan Curtis reduced the deficit and the Blues pressed for a leveller, only for Tyer Smith to wrap things up for the struggling Robins at the death.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at MK Dons at the weekend.

Ben Close recovered from a groin problem to replace Harvey White in the centre of midfield, while Rasmus Nicolaisen came in for Jack Whatmough – who begins a four-match ban – at the back.

It was a nervy start from the visitors, who looked nervy at the back and sloppy in possession during the opening stages.

But they had the first decent chance of the contest on 13 minutes, as Marcus Harness met Callum Johnson’s corner with a fine header that was turned over by Lee Camp.

Craig MacGillivray was soon called into action at the other end, getting down to his right to push clear a Scott Twine free-kick.

He could do nothing to prevent Swindon from breaking the deadlock moments later, though, after the Blues had lost possession.

Their opponents took advantage in clinical fashion, as Jack Payne laid the ball off for Pitman to lash into the net.

Pompey began to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, without really threatening to equalise.

One fine Johnson pass over the top played Marquis through and although the striker made a nice first touch, his second saw the ball run wastefully out of play.

A low Harness ball towards the striker at the back post was cut out by Anthony Grant, as the visitors finished the half on top.

But the Robins dealt with a couple of Charlie Daniels corners to ensure they would go in ahead at the interval.


Half Time

Swindon Town 1

Portsmouth 0


Pompey showed plenty of attacking intent once the action restarted, but were continuing to struggle in the final third.

Curtis – who was the most dangerous player going forward – flashed a shot wide, while another Daniels corner came to nothing.

They almost levelled on 55 minutes after Tom Naylor sent a perfectly timed lofted pass over the Robins back-line.

Marquis collected it well, but his shot was blocked by Dominic Thompson and Camp saved the follow-up from Harness.

Swindon went straight up the other end and came close to doubling their advantage, with MacGillivray coming to the rescue after Smith had squared the ball to Pitman.

And the home side did go further ahead just past the hour mark, with Daniels conceding a penalty for the second time in as many games.

He was booked for bundling over Smith, who had taken a heavy touch following fine work from Pitman.

Referee Ben Toner pointed to the spot and Pitman made no mistake, slamming the ball right into the bottom corner.

Pompey were trying to fight back and a fizzing strike from Curtis had to be palmed behind by Camp after Ben Close had laid the ball into his path.

George Byers then came on for Daniels, with skipper Naylor dropping into a three-man defensive line, while Sean Raggett soon made way for James Bolton.

Andy Cannon also replaced Ben Close for the closing stages, as the visitors continued to control possession.

And they had a lifeline on 82 minutes, as CURTIS controlled a threaded Marquis pass and bundled the ball home.

They came close to a leveller seconds later, with Byers playing a neat one-two with Curtis and drawing a smart stop from Camp.

Cannon was next to go close, with a low drive that crept inches past the post, as the Blues increased the pressure.

But Swindon wrapped things up in stoppage-time, as Smith stole possession, advanced forwards and neatly found the bottom corner.

Swindon (4-4-2): Camp; Garrick, A.Grant, Grounds, Thompson; Payne, Palmer, Missilou (Hope 79), Twine; Pitman (c) (Broadbent 90), Smith
Goals: Pitman 17, 61 (pen), Smith 90+1
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Matthews, Baudry, Curran, Omotoye, J.Grant

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Raggett (Bolton 74), Nicolaisen, Daniels (Byers 70); Naylor (c), Close (Cannon 81); Harness, Williams, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 82
Booked: Daniels, Nicolaisen, Cannon
Subs not used: Ward, Downing, White, Stanley

Referee: Ben Toner

Apr 172021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
MK Dons 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST

Pompey’s play-off hopes received a setback as they were narrowly beaten in an entertaining contest at MK Dons.

Both sides created plenty of chances and struck the woodwork, but a Scott Fraser penalty late in the first half proved to be the only goal.

And there was further bad news for the Blues, with Jack Whatmough set for a lengthy suspension after being sent off for a late lunge.

Danny Cowley made one enforced change from the side that played out a goalless draw at Crewe earlier in the week.

Ben Close missed out with a groin injury, so Tottenham loanee Harvey White came in for his first start in just over a month.

Andy Cannon – struggling with a back problem – was only fit enough for a place on the bench, where he was joined by former Dons defender Paul Downing.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the day of his funeral.

The game began at a fair old pace and never really relented, with both sides looking to get forward whenever possible.

It was the hosts who dominated possession in the first half, although Pompey looked particularly dangerous in the break.

Ronan Curtis was first to threaten with a shot from the edge of the box that flew straight into the arms of Andrew Fisher.

Their opponents went closer soon after, as a Matt O’Riley curler rattled the woodwork and Andrew Surman’s follow-up narrowly cleared the crossbar.

O’Riley then should have done better, glancing a close-range header wide after being picked out in the box by Fraser.

The action continued to switch from one end to the other and an acrobatic over-head kick from John Marquis was brilliantly kept out by Fisher.

And when the keeper was spotted off his line, Marquis attempted an audacious strike from the halfway line that flew not too far off target.

It seemed to be a question of when, rather than if, a goal would be scored and Ethan Laird flashed a dangerous low delivery across the Blues box that none of his team-mates could get on the end of.

Curtis then had a couple of attempts in quick succession, firing one just past the post and seeing a second gathered at the second attempt by Fisher.

But it was the home side who finally broke the deadlock on 41 minutes after Charlie Daniels was punished for a trip on Laird.

Replays showed the challenge took place just inside the box and Fraser sent Craig MacGillivray the wrong way from the spot.

That was not the end of the first half action, though, with both sides unfortunate not to score in stoppage-time.

Will Grigg’s effort was brilliantly blocked on the line by Sean Raggett, while Daniels was the man stationed there to keep out his follow-up.

Pompey immediately made their way up the other end and Curtis cut the ball back for Marquis, whose attempt was deflected over.


Half Time

MK Dons 1

Portsmouth 0


The action did not let up following the interval and when Grigg laid off O’Riley’s cross, Fraser’s shot rattled the crossbar.

Tom Naylor then sent a dangerous low cross to the back post, but Curtis could not quite arrive in time to poke it home.

And the resulting corner from Daniels was met by Naylor, whose header hit the bar, bounced down onto the line and was cleared.

Cowley made a double switch just before the hour mark, as Ryan Williams and White made way for Rasmus Nicolaisen and George Byers.

It saw a switch to playing three at the back, as the Blues looked to find a different route past their opponents.

The chances had started to dry up, with MK Dons seeming more than happy to protect their narrow lead.

A Daniels free-kick was nodded back by Whatmough on 70 minutes and Fisher failed to keep hold of the ball, although fortunately for the keeper it landed at the feet of one of his team-mates.

Raggett was replaced by Andy Cannon for the closing stages, as the Blues kept plugging away in search of a leveller.

But their hopes were dealt a blow when Whatmough was shown a straight red card – his second of the season.

The defender took a heavy touch and dived in two-footed on Charlie Brown to try to win the ball back.

There was not too much connection made with the Dons substitute, but referee Martin Coy deemed it dangerous enough to send the centre-back off.

And although there was still plenty of endeavour being shown by Pompey, their opponents saw the game out to claim the points.

MK Dons (3-5-1-1): Fisher; Lewington (c), Darling, Jules; Laird, O’Riley, Surman (Houghton 84), Kasumu (Brown 66), Sorinola; Fraser (McEachran 66); Grigg
Goals: Fraser 41 (pen)
Booked: Lewington, Jules
Subs not used: Nicholls, Sørensen, Bird, Mason

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett (Cannon 76), Daniels; Naylor (c), White (Byers 58); Harness, Williams (Nicolaisen 58), Curtis; Marquis
Sent off: Whatmough
Booked: Daniels, Byers
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Downing, Stanley

Referee: Martin Coy

Apr 132021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Crewe Alexandra 0
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST

John Marquis had a second half penalty saved as Pompey were unable to make their dominance count at Crewe.

The visitors looked in control for much of the Gresty Road contest, but could not find that all-important goal.

Will Jaaskelainen was the Railwaymen hero, keeping out Marquis’ spot-kick, as well as efforts from Jack Whatmough and Ronan Curtis.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were beaten by Burton on home soil at the weekend.

Marquis returned from a three-match ban to lead the line, with Andy Cannon dropping to the bench and Curtis moving back to his more familiar position out wide.

The other switch was enforced, with Lee Brown replaced at left-back by Charlie Daniels after injuring his hamstring.

As part of the period of national mourning, a minute’s silence was held ahead of kick-off in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Both sides then took a knee to once again show that there is no room for racism – or any kind of discrimination – in sport.

It has become a familiar sight for the Blues to dominate possession under Cowley’s charge and that continued against Crewe.

But for all their pretty passing play, there was not much to trouble Jaaskelainen until just before the interval.

Luke Offord did have to make a telling interception to prevent Ryan Williams getting on the end of a teasing Marcus Harness delivery.

Craig MacGillivray was also a virtual spectator, although Tom Lowery glanced a header wide from an Antony Evans cross.

There were six minutes tagged on to the end of the first half due to two injuries for the hosts, one of which led to Rio Adebisi being replaced.

And it was in that additional time that the Blues finally made a serious threat to break the deadlock, finishing with a real flourish.

A Daniels corner was nodded on by Sean Raggett and Whatmough’s shot was well saved by Jaaskeleainen.

The ball ran loose, though, and there was an almighty spell of pinball before the Railwaymen were able to hack clear.

Williams then slipped a neat pass through to Marquis, whose angled drive was kept out by Jaaskelainen low to the keeper’s right.


Half Time

Crewe Alexandra 0

Portsmouth 0


The action slowed down again following the restart, with Pompey unable to build on their patient play once they entered the final third.

And there was a nervy moment at the other end when Tom Naylor lost possession inside his own area.

The Blues skipper would have breathed a sigh of relief when the ball was fed to Owen Dale, who promptly fired straight at MacGillivray.

Pompey were then guilty of their own piece of profligacy as Williams lifted the ball into the centre and Marquis rose to head into Jaaskelainen’s arms.

The striker was soon given another chance to score, as Luke Offord failed to deal with Daniels’ long ball and Curtis was brought down by the keeper.

Referee Darren Drysdale took a few seconds before pointing to the spot, but Marquis’ penalty lacked power and was comfortably saved by Jaaskelainen.

The Crewe stopper received more praise a few moments later, instinctively sticking out a hand to keep out a deflected Curtis attempt.

Loan duo Harvey White and George Byers came on for Ben Close and Williams, with Cowley looking to inspire a breakthrough.

But the Blues were left frustrated in their search for a winner, as the Alex held on to ensure the spoils were shared.

Crewe (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Adebisi (Daniels 32), Wood, Offord, Pickering (c); Evans, Murphy, Wood, Kirk (Mandron 61); Dale, Porter
Booked: Lowery, Offord
Subs not used: Richards, Lancashire, Beckles, Ainley, Walker

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels; Naylor (c), Close (White 72); Harness, Williams (Byers 74), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Raggett, Williams, Johnson
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Cannon, Stanley

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Apr 102021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Burton Albion 2


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST

Pompey’s winning run finally came to an end, as goals either side of half-time condemned them to defeat against Burton at Fratton Park.

Mike Fondop scrambled home the opener just before the break, while the second half was only a few seconds old when Joe Powell’s fine strike doubled the visitors’ lead.

The Blues were dominant in possession throughout, but were unable to turn that into many meaningful opportunities.

Substitute Charlie Daniels did head a late goal for the hosts, although it proved no more than a consolation.

Danny Cowley made one enforced change from the side that won on the road at Wigan on Easter Monday.

Andy Cannon – who came off the bench to grab the only goal of that game – replaced the injured Michael Jacobs.

Tom Naylor and Marcus Harness both started against their former club, with the latter hitting a hat-trick at the Pirelli Stadium earlier in the season.

Before kick-off there was a two-minute silence in memory of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away the previous day at the age of 99.

An early effort from Harness was deflected into the side netting, but despite dominating possession, the hosts were unable to create many decent openings before the break.

Likewise, there was not much happening at the other end, although Craig MacGillivray made a regulation stop to deny Fondop.

Andy Cannon did send an excellent cross towards the back post, although both Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis were unable to make a connection.

And the Blues were dealt a blow midway through the half, when Brown limped off injured to be replaced by Daniels.

A Harness delivery was nodded back by Curtis as Pompey tried to force a breakthrough, but Naylor could not guide his shot on target.

Instead it was the Brewers who broke the deadlock against the run of play right on the stroke of half-time.

They needed three attempts to force the ball home, though, after a long throw caused havoc in the box.

The first effort from Hayden Carter was brilliantly saved by MacGillivray, while John Brayford’s follow-up header was hacked from the line by Callum Johnson.

But the ball fell for Fondop and, despite tumbling to the turf, the striker managed to hook it into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Burton Albion 1


There were not even two minutes on the clock when the visitors doubled their advantage in impressive style.

Fondop was fouled 30 yards out and the free-kick was laid off for Powell to smash home an unstoppable shot.

Pompey soon made a double switch, as Sean Raggett and Cannon made way for Rasmus Nicolaisen and George Byers.

They continued to dominate possession and spend plenty of time in the opposition half, but struggled to find a path through the defence to test Ben Garratt.

One patient passing move almost yielded a reward, but after spinning inside the area, a deflected Curtis effort looped into the keeper’s arms.

A last throw of the dice from Cowley saw Harvey White and James Bolton replace Naylor and Johnson.

And Bolton showed great desire to nod the ball down for Curtis inside the box, but the forward could not keep his shot down.

Pompey kept probing, but came close to conceding again late on, with MacGillivray doing well to keep out Lucas Akins’ attempt.

But there was hope for the hosts when Close’s deflected pass, looped up for DANIELS to nod home his first goal for the club.

They continued to apply pressure throughout five minutes of added time, but could not find an equaliser.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson (Bolton 73), Whatmough, Raggett (Nicolaisen 53), Brown (Daniels 26); Naylor (c) (White 73), Close; Harness, Cannon (Byers 53), Williams; Curtis
Goals: Daniels 88
Subs not used: Ward, Stanley

Burton (4-2-3-1): Garratt; Brayford (c), Carter, Bostwick, Hamer; Mancienne, Clare (Taylor 83); Powell (Rowe 67), Edwards, Akins; Fondop (Hemmings 67)
Goals: Fondop 45, Powell 47
Booked: Clare
Subs not used: O’Hara, Earl, Broom, O’Toole

Referee: John Busby

Apr 052021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Wigan Athletic 0
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN

Andy Cannon came off the bench to fire home the winner, as Pompey recorded a fourth successive league win for the first time this season.

The midfielder had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he lashed home a fine shot at the start of the second half.

And although their struggling opponents applied plenty of pressure, they were never able to really test Craig MacGillivray in their search for an equaliser.

Danny Cowley unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Rochdale on home soil a few days earlier.

It meant that – with leading marksman John Marquis suspended, and Ellis Harrison and Jordy Hiwula both injured – Ronan Curtis continued to lead the line.

Former Pompey assistant manager Leam Richardson – now in charge of Wigan – named ex-Fratton loanee Viv Solomon-Otabor in his line-up.

The visitors were first to threaten following a quick break up the pitch, but a dangerous Ryan Williams delivery across the face of goal was agonisingly out of reach for Curtis.

Then it was former Latics winger Michael Jacobs’ turn to not quite be able to get on the end of a cross, this time from Callum Johnson.

Both sides were lacking any real attacking fluency, though, in a first half that largely failed to burst into life.

Wigan came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when a Lee Evans free-kick landed kindly at the feet of Curtis Tilt.

The centre-back instinctively prodded the ball towards goal, but it ricocheted off Jack Whatmough and flew narrowly past the post.

Pompey were being pushed back by their relegation-threatened hosts, but there was nothing to trouble MacGillivray between the sticks.

And the Blues almost snatched a goal before the break following good work from Marcus Harness down the right.

He cut the ball back for Williams inside the area and the Australian’s drilled shot was well saved by Jamie Jones down to the keeper’s left.


Half Time

Wigan Athletic 0

Portsmouth 0


Jacobs did not emerge for the start of the second half, with Cannon taking his place and adopting a central role, as Williams moved out to the left.

And the change paid instant dividends, as the newcomer opened the scoring just 36 seconds after the restart.

There did not seem much on when CANNON collected the ball, but he was was given plenty of time to move inside and rifle home an unstoppable 25-yard shot.

Luke Robinson caused problems at the other end, nipping between Tom Naylor and MacGillivray to squeeze the ball into the mixer and forcing Lee Brown to hack clear.

Callum Lang then went down under pressure from Sean Raggett, but referee Tom Nield immediately waved away penalty appeals from the home side.

Wigan were beginning to threaten more and a second change followed for Pompey just past the hour mark, as Ben Close made way for Harvey White.

And Williams almost doubled the visitors’ lead soon after, with Jones making a fine save to prevent Williams from squeezing home a Harness cross from an acute angle.

There was still a distinct lack of quality on display, however, as the action became a particularly scrappy affair.

A nasty clash of heads between Sean Raggett and Lang forced both players off the pitch for the closing stages, with Rasmus Nicolaisen on for Pompey.

Another penalty appeal from the hosts was turned down on 85 minutes, with Nield not impressed by Jamie Proctor’s claims following a Johnson challenge.

There were seven additional minutes for the Latics to try to force a leveller, but Pompey held on to move up to fourth in the standings.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Jones (c); Darikwa, Tilt, Johnston, Robinson; Evans, Aasgaard (Keane 68); Lang (Dodoo 83), Ojo, Solomon-Otabor (Gardner 79); Proctor
Booked: Ojo, Robinson, Tilt
Subs not used: Evans, Long, Whelan, Clough

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett (Nicolaisen 81), Brown; Naylor (c), Close (White 62); Harness (Bolton 88), Williams, Jacobs (Cannon 46); Curtis
Goals: Cannon 46
Booked: Brown
Subs not used: Ward, Daniels, Byers

Referee: Tom Nield

Apr 022021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Rochdale 1


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON

Pompey continued their winning start under Danny Cowley by beating League One’s bottom side Rochdale at Fratton Park.

The damage was done before the break, with Ronan Curtis’ neat finish adding to an early Ryan Williams opener.

Some neat possession play ensured that the visitors were unable to really get into the game and although they had a few moments late on, Craig MacGillivray was rarely troubled.

Jake Beesley did score for Dale deep into stoppage-time, but it proved to be no more than a consolation.

Cowley made one enforced change from the side that had won at Shrewsbury the previous week.

With John Marquis starting a three-match ban, Curtis – back from international duty – took his place up front.

It meant that former Rochdale midfielder Andy Cannon had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

The sun was shining on the south coast and the hosts were basking underneath the blue skies as they took an early lead.

Marcus Harness got into the area and sent a low ball towards the far post, where WILLIAMS was waiting to bundle over the line.

Pompey were passing the ball patiently around the pitch and looking to find another goal, with Harness causing problems with his jinking runs.

It was Michael Jacobs who should have doubled the advantage on 19 minutes, however, scuffing his shot narrowly past the post after being played through by Curtis.

He tried again with an acrobatic effort from a Callum Johnson cross, but was unable to guide the ball on target.

Pompey did have a cushion towards the end of the half, though, as their dominance in possession paid off.

CURTIS collected a pass from Jacobs and advanced into the box before angling a precise low strike right into the bottom corner.

Gavin Bazunu was then alert to gather the ball after Harness had been found by Williams and tried to pick out Curtis.

Rochdale had barely threatened, but a long kick from their keeper sent Beesley through on goal in stoppage-time.

MacGillivray was off his line to deny the forward, however, and Sean Raggett hooked clear the loose ball.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rochdale 0


Pompey did not abandon their passing principles once the action restarted and a nice move down the right provided another opening.

Harness swapped passes with Johnson and found Curtis, whose ball into the middle could not quite be flicked home by Williams.

Lee Brown then picked up possession and his cross-shot was gathered by Bazunu, as Rochdale held on.

The Blues were still controlling both possession and territory, with their opponents causing very few problems.

Bazunu was not having much to deal with at the other end, but the hosts’ healthy lead meant that was not causing much concern.

Cowley freshened things up on 65 minutes, with Tottenham loanee Harvey White coming on for Jacobs.

Rochdale did begin to look a bit more threatening as the contest neared its conclusion and Johnson did well to stop Kwadwo Baah getting a shot away.

The lively Harness made way for Cannon for the closing stages, with Pompey shoring up their midfield.

Charlie Daniels also came on for the tidy Ben Close, as the Blues seemed to be comfortably seeing out the final few moments.

But there were a few nerves when Beesley turned home Alex Newby’s low cross in stoppage-time before the final whistle blew and Pompey could celebrate a third straight win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Daniels 87); Harness (Cannon 82), Williams, Jacobs (White 65); Curtis
Goals: Williams 5, Curtis 37
Booked: Williams
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Byers

Rochdale (3-5-2): Bazunu; O’Connell (c), McShane (Roberts 53), Osho; Keohane (Newby 82), Shaughnessy (Dooley 68), Rathbone, Grant (Morley 53), Done; Beesley, Baah
Goals: Beesley 90+3
Booked: Keohane
Subs not used: Lynch, McNulty, Hopper

Referee: Lee Swabey

Mar 272021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Shrewsbury Town 1
Portsmouth 2


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST

Pompey climbed back into the play-off places after securing a deserved League One victory at Shrewsbury – despite playing a quarter of the contest with just 10 men.

They controlled possession, with goals from Marcus Harness and John Marqus securing a commanding lead at the break.

But Nathanael Ogbeta reduced the hosts’ deficit early in the second half and the Shrews were then given an extra boost.

Marquis was shown a controversial red card for a challenge on Harry Chapman, but the Blues saw the game out with relative ease to ensure the points would be heading back to the south coast.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that beat Ipswich on home soil in his first game in charge the previous week.

There were returns from injury for Marquis and Callum Johnson, while Michael Jacobs and Ben Close also started.

James Bolton and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench, with the injured Jordy Hiwula missing out completely and Ronan Curtis away on international duty.

Former Pompey striker Curtis Main was in the hosts’ line-up, although manager Steve Cotterill was still missing from the dug-out, as he continues his recovery from a Covid-enforced stay in hospital.

In a slow opening to proceedings it was the Shrews who were first to threaten, with Dan Udoh spinning on the edge of the box and firing in a low show that was saved by Craig MacGillivray.

But the Blues soon settled and began to dominate possession, while asking questions of their opponents’ back three.

Close lifted a pass into the mixer, where Ryan Williams rose to deftly flick the ball inches past the post.

Tom Naylor then tried to glance home a corner from Jacobs, but could not get enough on his header to guide it on target.

And the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes after Johnson had played a neat one-two with Williams down the right.

He then laid the ball off for HARNESS, who neatly bent the ball into the side of the net to make the pressure count.

They almost had a second when the ball pinged dangerously around the Shrewsbury box, but Harry Burgoyne denied Williams from point-blank range.

The Blues were on top, though, and unsurprisingly doubled their advantage on 36 minutes, with the impressive Close involved.

He lifted a pass towards Lee Brown at the far post and the left-back sent the ball across the face of goal, with MARQUIS on hand to find the net from a yard out.

Even when the hosts were able to get into Pompey’s area in stoppage-time, Naylor was back to dispossess Ogbeta.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 2


The visitors appeared to be cruising, but conceded a soft goal soon after the restart to allow their opponents back into the contest.

Ogbeta collected the ball on the left and was given far too much space to race towards the edge of the box and stroke a shot into the bottom corner.

Pompey tried to hit back and a dangerous Harness delivery was turned behind, while Marquis was tackled before he could get a strike away.

Harness then cut the ball back from the right and there was another spot of pinball before the hosts was able to clear.

Shrewsbury then threatened at the other end, although Main flicked a Chapman cross straight into MacGillivray’s arms.

But Pompey were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, with Marquis the man to be sent off.

He slid in on Chapman and appeared to win the ball, but also caught the Shrews substitute and referee Benjamin Speedie deemed it dangerous enough to issue a red card.

Cowley made a change shortly afterwards, with Jacobs making way for Cannon to shore up the midfield.

And the lively Close was then replaced by former Shrews defender Charlie Daniels for the closing stages.

Pompey were not being put under too much pressure from their hosts as they attempted to see the contest out.

A display of seven additional minutes might have caused nerves to rise among the visiting ranks, but they held on to celebrate another vital victory.

Shrewsbury (3-4-1-2): Burgoyne; Pennington (Pyke 82), Ebanks-Landell (c), Williams; Sears (Chapman 46), Davis, Vela, Ogbeta; Goss (Whalley 69); Udoh (Edwards 69), Main
Goals: Ogbeta 52
Subs not used: Bevan, Bloxham, Caton

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Daniels 84); Harness, Williams (Nicolaisen 90+5), Jacobs (Cannon 75); Marquis
Goals: Harness 25, Marquis 36
Sent off: Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Byers, White

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Mar 202021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Ipswich Town 1


FORM GUIDE

WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST

The Danny Cowley era got off to a perfect start, as Pompey battled back to beat Ipswich at Fratton Park.

It looked like more of the same for the Blues, who fell behind to James Norwood’s emphatic first half striker.

But Tom Naylor nodded the hosts back on level terms before the break and Marcus Harness slotted home the winner after it.

Cowley’s first starting line-up saw two changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Peterborough earlier in the week.

Jordy Hiwula and Marcus Harness both returned, with Ben Close and Rasmus Nicolaisen dropping to the bench.

After playing with three at the back against Posh, there was also a switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, with Ryan Williams tucked in behind Hiwula.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition technical area, with Paul Cook and Gary Roberts leading the Tractor Boys.

Ronan Curtis had an early attempt, courtesy of a 35-yard free-kick that was bent over the wall, but comfortably into the arms of Tomas Holy.

There was plenty of noise being generated by both managers, as well as the injured John Marquis up in the South Stand.

It was not a particularly rip-roaring contest on the pitch, though, with both sides showing plenty of energy, but failing to turn that into clear-cut chances.

Ipswich’s first opportunity also came from a free-kick, with Jack Whatmough booked for his challenge on Keanan Bennetts.

Andy Cannon adopted the now popular ‘draught excluder’ technique by laying down flat behind the wall.

Alan Judge bent his strike over it, however, and Craig MacGillivray flung himself to the left to push the ball clear.

But the visitors did break the deadlock soon after, as Norwood raced onto Gwion Edwards’ threaded pass and rifled home.

Pompey quickly fought back, though, and levelled by scoring their first goal in 358 minutes of football.

Curtis whipped a fine corner into the box and NAYLOR rose highest to send a header against the inside of the post and into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Ipswich Town 1


An early long-range attempt from Edwards straight after the restart was easily dealt with by MacGillivray.

The Blues then came close to taking the lead for the first time in what would have been a similar goal to their first.

Naylor again met a corner from Curtis, but this time Holy was able to push the ball away – then stop Sean Raggett from converting the rebound.

Cowley made his first switch just before the hour mark, with Andy Cannon – who had just been booked – making way for Close.

Williams then had a chance after being picked out by Harness following a quick break, but could not keep his angled strike on target.

A second switch followed on 72 minutes, with Michael Jacobs on for Hiwula and Curtis moving up front.

And it was the Republic of Ireland international who provided the pass for Pompey’s second goal a few seconds later.

He sent a low pass across the area and HARNESS’ first shot was blocked by Judge, but the ball landed back at his feet to slam past a helpless Holy.

Pompey looked to keep possession as much as possible in the closing stages, but had two late chances to increase their lead.

Toto Nsiala almost sliced a Harness cross into his own net and then, from the resulting corner, Holy kept out James Bolton’s header from point-blank range.

But the Blues saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to collect a precious three points and ensure the Cowley brothers began their reign with a win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 58); Harness, Williams, Curtis; Hiwula (Jacobs 72)
Goals: Naylor 41, Harness 72
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Cannon, Jacobs
Subs not used: Ward, Mnoga, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Byers

Ipswich (4-2-3-1): Holy; Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson (Vincent-Young 79), Ward; Bishop (Parrott 89), Dozzell; Edwards, Judge (Jackson 79), Bennetts (Dobra 59); Norwood
Goals: Norwood 32
Booked: Edwards, Chambers, Bishop
Subs not used: Cornell, McGuinness, Skuse

Referee: Alan Young

Mar 162021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


A League 1
Peterborough United 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON

Pompey produced a performance full of heart, desire and effort in their League One contest at high-flying Peterborough.

But – in the first game since Kenny Jackett’s departure – it ultimately proved not enough to put a halt to their run of losing form.

An unfortunate Rasmus Nicolaisen own-goal in the first half was enough to secure all three points for Posh.

And although the Blues caused plenty of problems after the break, they were not quite able to force an equaliser.

Caretaker boss Joe Gallen made five changes from the side that were beaten on penalties by Salford in Saturday’s Papa John’s Trophy final.

Andy Cannon returned following a hamstring problem, while Ben Close was handed a first league start in exactly four months.

Nicolaisen, Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis also came into the line-up, as the visitors switched to a 3-1-4-2 system.

Jordy Hiwula, Harvey White, George Byers and Charlie Daniels all dropped to the bench, but an ankle injury forced John Marquis to miss out completely.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the Peterborough team, with former Fratton full-backs Nathan Thompson and Dan Butler both named in their defence.

Pompey looked organised and kept their discipline right from the off, preventing the hosts from being able to test Craig MacGillivray.

Passing football was proving difficult for both sides on a poor pitch that immediately began to cut up even more.

Ryan Williams was looking the most dangerous player for the visitors and had a couple of dangerous runs that ultimately came to nothing.

The Australian forward then sent a dangerous delivery into the box that Curtis could not quite bring under control.

And Thompson then made a key challenge to stop Williams getting a shot away after a long Jack Whatmough throw had been flicked on.

But Posh took the lead in fortunate fashion on 32 minutes, when Harrison Burrows swung in a dangerous corner.

MacGillivray tried to palm the ball away to stop it crossing the line, only for it to hit team-mate Nicolaisen and ricochet into the net.

Pompey’s best chance of the half soon followed, as a fiercely-struck Curtis free-kick was well held by Christy Pym.

There were a couple more half-chances for the visitors as they finished the half with a flourish, but they could not find a leveller.


Half Time

Peterborough United 1

Portsmouth 0


The Blues caused some problems when the action restarted and a deep Brown free-kick had to be nodded behind.

Curtis sent the resulting corner in the box, but James Bolton was unable to keep his header down at the back stick.

And a second set-piece soon followed from the Republic of Ireland international, with Posh failing to clear and Nicolaisen seeing his eventual effort deflected wide.

Whatmough then had a decent chance to level when he rose highest to meet Brown’s free-kick, only to divert the ball well wide.

Gallen made his first switch just past the hour mark, with Marcus Harness providing a fresh attacking option in place of Cannon.

Pompey were looking the more threatening side, but MacGillivray was still called into action keep out an attempt from substitute Mo Eisa.

And the keeper then had to dive to his right to push away an instinctive long-range strike from Louis Reed.

A double switch followed for the visitors, with Sean Raggett and Williams making way for White and Hiwula.

Set-pieces were looking the Blues’ most likely source of an equaliser and another Brown free-kick caused a few problems before Bolton nodded over.

And Tom Naylor did the same when Curtis sent one in from the other side after Mark Beevers had been booked for fouling Harness.

Hiwula then hit a really crisp shot from open play, but the ball flew straight at a grateful Pym, who comfortably held.

And White was the next player who could not keep his header down, this time when Harness swung in a fine cross.

It had been a performance full of endeavour from the Blues, but their opponents did just enough to hold on for victory.

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Pym; Kent, Thompson, Beevers (c); Ward, Brown, Reed (Mason 83), Butler; Burrows (Blake-Tracy 89); Clarke-Harris, Dembele (Eisa 63)
Goals: Nicolaisen 32 (og)
Booked: Beevers
Subs not used: Gyollai, Barker, Kanu, Jones

Pompey (3-1-4-2): MacGillivray; Whatmough, Raggett (White 73), Nicolaisen; Naylor; Bolton, Close, Cannon (Harness 61), Brown; Curtis, Williams (Hiwula 73)
Booked: Whatmough, White
Subs not used: Ward, Mnoga, Daniels, Byers

Referee: James Oldham

Mar 132021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


N EFL Trophy Final
Portsmouth 0
Salford City 0 P


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN

Pompey failed to become the first side to successfully defend the Papa John’s Trophy after losing on penalties to Salford in the Wembley final.

Ryan Williams and Ronan Curtis both missed from the spot and their League Two opponents made no mistake.

The contest had finished goalless after 120 minutes, with the Ammies controlling the first half, only for the Blues to hit back after the break.

But neither side could find a breakthrough – despite plenty of chances – and Salford kept their nerve in the shoot-out.

Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side beaten by Sunderland in the league earlier in the week.

Andy Cannon and Ellis Harrison missed out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, so in came George Byers and Jordy Hiwula.

The sides emerged to the usual pyrotechnics associated with a cup final, while the national anthem was still belted out.

But Wembley felt even more cavernous without the raucous atmosphere that usually accompanies such an occasion – albeit one that had been postponed a year due to a global pandemic.

It was Salford who settled quicker and the fourth tier side were probably left wondering how they failed to take a lead into the interval.

An early – and fierce – long-range strike from James Wilson had to be beaten away by a diving Craig MacGillivray.

Williams then did enough to put off Ibou Touray, as the wing-back looked to attack Richie Towell’s fine delivery.

And when Brandon Thomas-Asante escaped down the right, he sent in a low angled drive that was brilliantly tipped to safety by MacGillivray.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although the lively Williams looked dangerous when he got on the ball.

Pompey did start to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, but Vaclav Hladky was not being troubled between the Salford sticks.

MacGillivray, meanwhile, was called into action again on 26 minutes after Wilson had turned Touray’s centre towards the target.

And the keeper made an even better stop after Jordan Turnbull had spun sharply and sent in a thunderous strike.

Hladky was finally called into action moments later, although Williams’ deflected attempt seemed like it would have flashed past the post.

The Ammies were still looking more likely to break the deadlock, however, and a sliding Ash Hunter was inches away from connecting when Wilson stole possession and sent the ball across the face of goal.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Salford City 0


Jackett, unsurprisingly, decided to make changes at the break and took advantage of the extra substitutions now available by making a triple switch.

Hiwula, Harvey White and Charlie Daniels all made way, as Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Lee Brown were brought on, with a shift to a 4-2-3-1 system.

And Curtis made an instant impact, racing onto a long Jack Whatmough pass and forcing a stop from Hladky just seconds after the restart.

Pompey were certainly playing with a lot more confidence, although John Marquis dragged his shot past the post.

Salford were still providing threats of their own, however, with Wilson causing some problems in the Blues back-line.

But there was certainly pressure being applied by the men from Hampshire and it was just that crucial final ball that was lacking.

They went so close to falling behind on 67 minutes, though, with MacGillivray coming to the rescue once again.

He somehow denied Ash Eastham from point-blank range after the Salford skipper had met Touray’s free-kick.

MacGillivray then kept out a 20-yard attempt from Wilson and leapt on the loose ball before Thomas-Asante could capitalise.

Another substitution followed from Jackett on 73 minutes, with Ben Close given a chance to impress in place of Byers.

And his cross soon found Curtis in acres of space inside the area, only for the forward to get his acrobatic scissor kick wrong and watch the ball fly wide.

Pompey were searching for a late winner and when James Bolton’s scuffed effort was partially cleared, Harness sent the ball back into the box.

It found Brown in space and he tried to place a shot into the bottom corner, but the ball rolled narrowly past the post.

Both sides came close to finding a goal before the final whistle, with MacGillivray keeping out Bruno Andrade’s far-post header.

The Blues went straight up the other end and a stretching Marquis was not able to connect with Curtis’ cross.

But neither side could make that breakthrough inside 90 minutes and so the tie went into extra-time.

After 90 Minutes: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey had a chance soon after the restart when Close cut the ball back for Curtis, but his shot was blocked before it could reach the target.

And they had a better chance just before the interval when Curtis lifted a pass into the area and Salford failed to get it clear.

It fell for Williams and his fierce strike was parried by Hladky, with an almighty scramble following before the keeper finally dived on the loose ball.

Marquis was then found in the area by Curtis, but Tom Clarke did enough to force the striker to fire wide.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Jackett made a fifth change during the brief extra-time interval, with Michael Jacobs on for Marquis and Curtis moving up front.

Salford were next to threaten and when their opponents could only partially clear, Jason Lowe dragged a shot wide.

Tom Naylor had a chance at the other end, but he could not force the ball through a sea of bodies after Jacobs’ corner had been nodded back by Whatmough.

Pompey were doing their best to avoid a shoot-out, but both Curtis and Close could not get shots through the defence to test Hladky.

And when Williams sent a low delivery across the face of goal, none of his team-mates could get that vital touch.

After Extra Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey got off to a terrible start in the shoot-out, with Williams sending his effort over the bar and Curtis being denied by Hladky.

And although Brown and Sean Raggett both emphatically found the target, it ultimately counted for nothing.

Salford scored all four of their penalties – taken by Luke Burgess, Mani Dieseruvwe, Thomas-Asante and Lowe – to ensure they would lift the Papa John’s Trophy for the first time.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels (Brown 46); Williams, Naylor (c), Byers (Close 73), White (Curtis 46); Marquis (Jacobs 106), Hiwula (Harness 46)
Booked: Bolton, Naylor, Brown
Subs not used: Ward, Nicolaisen

Salford (3-4-3): Hladky; Clarke (Loughlan 115), Eastham (c), Turnbull; Lowe, Towell (Dieseruvwe 99), Threlkeld, Touray; Thomas-Asante, Wilson (Burgess 87), Hunter (Andrade 74)
Booked: Towell, Lowe, Touray
Subs not used: Evans, Fielding, Hawkins

Referee: Carl Boyeson