Feb 262022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Fleetwood Town 3



Pompey produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance as they fought from three goals down to secure a point against Fleetwood at Fratton Park.

They were punished for a poor first half, with goals from Anthony Pilkington, Harrison Biggins and Paddy Lane giving the visitors a commanding lead.

But Ronan Curtis converted a penalty just before the interval and the Blues looked a different side following a talking to from Danny Cowley.

They peppered the opposition goal with crosses and shots, with Marcus Harness scrambling home before Aiden O’Brien came off the bench to grab a stoppage-time equaliser.

Cowley made four changes from the side that dramatically won on the road at Shrewsbury earlier in the week.

Joe Morrell made an immediate return after completing his three-match ban, while there were also starts for Tyler Walker, Reeco Hackett and Harness.

Louis Thompson, O’Brien, George Hirst and Mahlon Romeo were the men to make way, with the quartet dropping to the bench.

There was also a switch of system, with Hayden Carter moving to a right-back role in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The early signs were positive, with Walker hitting an early shot wide before Curtis’ knock-back flew just behind the striker.

But what followed was a pretty chastening experience for the home faithful, who allowed the visitors to score three times from their four shots on target in the first half.

Former Pompey striker Ellis Harrison provided the first, getting down the right and driving into the box before cutting the ball back for Pilkington to slam home.

A second goal soon followed for the Cod Army, with nobody picking up Biggins to meet Carl Johnston’s pass across the box and fire into the net.

The Blues tried to hit back and Denver Hume drilled a shot wide following a spell of patient passing play.

But the visitors were getting plenty of men behind the ball to protect their lead and it was proving difficult to find a way through.

And instead Pompey went further behind late in the half, as Lane cut inside from the right and hit a left-footed screamer that Gavin Bazunu was unable to keep out.

There was, however, time for a lifeline to arrive just before the break, when Morrell’s pass was handled by Callum Camps.

Referee Alan Young immediately pointed to the spot and CURTIS stepped up to smash the penalty straight down the middle.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Fleetwood Town 3

Curtis was certainly trying to drag Pompey back into the contest and his delivery led to the ball pinging around the Fleetwood box before eventually being cleared behind.

He then did well to get on the end of a deep Morrell pass into the box, with his header landing on the roof of the net.

But the Republic of Ireland international saw penalty appeals turned away when he went down in the box soon after and was instead harshly booked for simulation.

Hackett soon had a great chance to score for the hosts, but got his shot all wrong after being teed-up by Carter.

It looked like a second goal had arrived just before the hour mark, when Curtis sent a superb ball into the area from the left.

But Walker’s header struck Zak Jules on the back and was prevented from crossing the line by Alex Cairns, who then kept out the striker’s follow-up effort.

And the Fratton faithful screamed for a penalty when the ball bounced up and struck Danny Andrew on the arm, but Young deemed it to be accidental.

Walker then thought he had netted his first Pompey goal after turning home a low Curtis cross, only to have his celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

O’Brien was brought on for Hume and went close with his first touch, but Cairns was able to keep out his header from a Ryan Tunnicliffe centre.

Cowley made an attacking switch on 78 minutes, taking off Carter and bringing on an extra striker in Hirst.

And the Blues did have a second goal when Cairns made a mess of dealing with a Curtis corner and the ball struck HARNESS before crossing the line.

There was a worrying moment soon after when Sean Raggett disappeared over the advertising boards and into the area of the North Lower currently being redeveloped.

Thankfully he emerged unhurt, with one wag commenting that the concreate had probably come off worse.

Fleetwood’s constant time wasting throughout the second half meant eight minutes were added on by the officials.

And Hirst almost levelled in the first of them, beating his man inside the box before drilling a low shot inches past the post.

Raggett then spun sharply and hit a shot that was gathered by Cairns, as the visitors continued to hold onto their lead by their fingernails.

But Fratton Park erupted soon after when a Curtis pass was helped on by both Walker and Hirst, and O’BRIEN raced clear before coolly slotting past Cairns.

Pompey sensed they could score again, but there was not quite enough time remaining and the spoils were ultimately shared.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter (Hirst 78), Raggett, Robertson (c), Hume (O’Brien 69); Tunnicliffe, Morrell; Harness, Hackett, Curtis; Walker
Goals: Curtis 45 (pen), Harness 80, O’Brien 90+5
Booked: Curtis
Subs not used: Webber, Ogilvie, Romeo, Thompson, Mingi

Fleetwood (3-5-2): Cairns; Nsiala, Clarke, Jules; Johnston, Camps, Lane (Baggley 90), Biggins, Andrew (c); Pilkington (Butterworth 23), Harrison (Garner 86)
Goals: Pilkington 7, Biggins 15, Lane 41
Booked: Lane, Cairns, Harrison
Subs not used: O’Hara, Morris, Boyle, Hayes

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 15,224 (106 away fans)

Feb 222022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Shrewsbury Town 1
Portsmouth 2



Louis Thompson hit a superb late winner as Pompey fought from behind to secure all three points at 10-man Shrewsbury.

They had to recover from Luke Leahy’s early headed opener, with Aiden O’Brien staying alert to divert home an equaliser.

Josh Vela’s late tackle then saw the hosts reduced to 10 men before the interval, but they seemed to be hanging on for a point.

That was until Thompson proved the unlikely goal hero to warm the hearts of the noisy travelling fans on a bitterly cold night in Shropshire.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that thrashed Doncaster on home soil in the previous outing.

O’Brien was handed a full debut, while Ryan Tunnicliffe made his first start since hurting his hamstring at the end of October.

Denver Hume and Mahlon Romeo returned to the wing-back roles, as Tyler Walker, Reeco Hackett, Marcus Harness and the injured Michael Jacobs made way.

There was a cagey opening in freezing – but thankfully dry – conditions and Sean Raggett nodded an early Ronan Curtis free-kick wide at the back post.

The first big opportunity arrived with 10 minutes on the clock, as the visitors were almost gifted an opener.

Elliott Bennett played a crazy ball across his own box and Curtis nipped in to flash a low shot narrowly past the post.

Shrewsbury hit back, though, and it took a brave headed clearance from Raggett to stop Matthew Pennington’s fierce effort from finding the net.

That was only a brief respite for the Blues, however, as their opponents went ahead from the resulting corner.

Bennett swung the ball into the box from the left and Leahy was left in far too much space to nod the ball home.

Pompey took a while to recover from that setback and the Shrews applied some pressure, without being able to carve out any further clear chances.

And they found themselves level on 29 minutes after Curtis lifted a dangerous pass into the mixer, where Marko Maroši, under pressure from Raggett, could only punch straight to Hume.

He fired in a shot that was flicked towards the net by O’BRIEN, with the ball just about crossing the line, despite the best attempts of Maroši to hook it clear.

Shrewsbury’s mood worsened soon after, as Vela’s reckless challenge on Curtis earned an immediate red card from referee Sebastian Stockbridge.

Pompey tried to make the most of their numerical advantage and threw plenty of players forward in search of the lead.

It almost arrived when George Hirst got on the end of a Curtis cross in stoppage-time, but Maroši made a fine save to deny the striker.

Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 1

Portsmouth 1

Cowley made an attacking switch at the break, with Harness replacing Hayden Carter, as the visitors switched to a back four.

But the Shrews had three corners in quick succession shortly after the restart, with Pompey just about managing to keep them at bay.

At the other end, Romeo swung in a dangerous delivery that was just out of reach for Hirst at the back post.

A cross from Hume was then only partially dealt with and O’Brien’s volleyed effort had to be gathered low down by Maroši.

Pompey’s second change arrived on 65 minutes, as goalscorer O’Brien made way for Walker to add fresh legs to the forward line.

They still had to remain alert at the other end and a fine free-kick from Leahy was glanced narrowly over by Pennington.

It was the Blues quickly back on the attack, though, and Walker’s deft flick from a Tunnicliffe delivery was kept out by Maroši.

Their final throw of the dice saw Hackett replace Romeo wide on the right for the contest’s final 10 minutes.

And he had a hand in the goal that put Pompey ahead, laying the ball off on the edge of the box after not being able to find space to shoot.

The grateful recipient was THOMPSON, who hit a superb strike just underneath the crossbar to open his account for the club.

Shrewsbury picked themselves up and threw everything at the Blues for the final few minutes, but there was to be no late drama.

Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Maroši; Ebanks-Landell (c), Pennington, Flanagan; Bennett (Janneh 87), Vela, Davis (Fornah 22), Leahy, Nurse; Bloxham (Bowman 75), Udoh
Goals: Leahy 14
Sent off: Vela
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Bondswell, Pierre, Daniels

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter (Harness 46), Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo (Hackett 80), Tunnicliffe, Thompson, Hume; Curtis; Hirst, O’Brien (Walker 65)
Goals: O’Brien 29, Thompson 84
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Webber, Ogilvie, Jewitt-White, Mingi

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge

Attendance: 5,862 (724 Pompey fans)

Feb 122022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 4
Doncaster Rovers 0



Pompey produced a ruthless second half display to blow away bottom-of-the-table Doncaster at Fratton Park.

The opening 45 minutes were distinctly forgettable, but it was a completely different story after the interval.

A firm header from Reeco Hackett opened the scoring and the lead was soon doubled by George Hirst.

Aiden O’Brien then came off the bench for his home debut and instantly found the net to leave Rovers deflated.

But there was still time for the superb Sean Raggett to head home deep into stoppage-time to double his tally for the week.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that saw off Burton, also on home soil, earlier in the week.

Marcus Harness returned in an unfamiliar wing-back role on the right, while Hackett occupied the opposite flag.

Skipper Clark Robertson came into the back three, as Connor Ogilvie, Mahlon Romeo and Denver Hume all dropped to the bench.

The contest took a while to liven up and half-chances were the order of the day for much of the first period.

Michael Jacobs was crowded out as he tried to get a shot away, while Josh Martin’s free-kick at the other end somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

The visitors were first to seriously threaten, courtesy of a Reo Griffiths effort that was gathered by Gavin Bazunu at the second attempt.

Louis Thompson then released Harness on the right and his low centre flew agonisngly behind three of his team-mates in the box.

But Rovers almost broke the deadlock on 26 minutes and it took an excellent Raggett clearance to deny them.

Matt Smith combined well with Tommy Rowe to tee-up Joe Dodoo, whose close-range shot was heading for the net until the Pompey defender managed to get it clear.

Jonathan Mitchell then made a couple of regulation saves to deny first Hirst and soon after the in-form Jacobs.

There was a moment of controversy just before the break when Ronan Curtis went down in the box under pressure from a couple of defenders, but referee Tom Reeves ignored his appeals.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Doncaster Rovers 0

Hackett swung in a great delivery shortly after the restart, with Joseph Olowu doing just enough to put off Hirst and stop the striker making a connection.

Raggett was then called upon to make another brave block inside the area, this time from Martin’s shot.

But it was the Blues who finally broke the deadlock on 56 minutes, when Harness swung in an excellent cross from the right.

Hirst was unable to get on the end of it, but HACKETT got above Kyle Knoyle at the back post to find the net with a bullet header.

And things got even better for the hosts just past the hour mark after Ben Jackson nodded the ball straight into the path of HIRST.

The striker superbly brought the ball under control and raced clear before squeezing a shot past Mitchell.

Cowley freshened things up with a substitution soon after, as Tyler Walker made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe.

With the pressure eased, Pompey started to play some neat passing football and a Jacobs curler was held by Mitchell following Tunnicliffe’s exquisite flick.

The hosts were looking to wrap things up and Mitchell just about managed to prevent Harness from finding the net from an acute angle.

January arrival O’Brien was handed a run out for the final 10 minutes, as Jacobs made way to warm applause.

And O’BRIEN marked his Fratton bow by putting the result beyond doubt just a few seconds later, beating Knoyle to bundle Curtis’ low centre over the line.

Cowley’s final switch saw the livewire Thompson make way for Ogilvie, but still the Blues looked to attack.

It took the fingertips to Mitchell to stop them scoring again, as he turned behind a long-range Curtis free-kick.

Doncaster looked like all their energy had been sapped clear and the Blues controlled the closing stages.

And they put the cherry on the cake right at the death, as a fine free-kick into the box by Hackett was firmly nodded home by RAGGETT.

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Harness, Thompson (Ogilvie 83), Jacobs (O’Brien 80), Hackett; Curtis, Harness, Walker (Tunnicliffe 67)
Goals: Hackett 56, Hirst 63, O’Brien 81, Raggett 90+5
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Jewitt-White, Hume

Doncaster (4-1-4-1): Mitchell; Knoyle, Younger, Olowu, Jackson (Agard 70); Gardner; Griffiths, Smith, Rowe (c), Martin (Barlow 78); Dodoo (Odubeko 60)
Subs not used: Jones, Williams, Seaman, Clayton

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 14,767 (295 away fans)

Feb 082022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Burton Albion 1



Pompey finally registered their first League One victory of 2022 by seeing off stubborn Burton at Fratton Park.

It was a deserved outcome, although the hosts probably should have made life easier for themselves following a dominant first half display.

Sean Raggett headed them in front and Michael Jacobs continued his fine individual form by doubling the leas before the break.

But former Fratton loanee Gassan Ahadme reduced Albion’s deficit shortly after the restart, meaning the rest of the contest was nervier than it might have been.

Danny Cowley made two enforced changes from the side that were cruelly beaten at Oxford at the weekend.

Joe Morrell saw his appeal for a harsh sending off dismissed, so began a three-match ban and made way for Tyler Walker.

The other switch was like-for-like, as Mahlon Romeo recovered from an ankle injury to replace Kieron Freeman, who was suffering from concussion.

Pompey came tearing out of the blocks and there were just 35 seconds on the clock when they had a chance to opening scoring.

Hayden Carter got free and found Ronan Curtis, who escaped one challenge before seeing his effort deflected wide.

Jacobs then found space to get forward and hit a low shot that was parried clear by Ben Garratt, with William Kokolo mopping up the loose ball.

The resulting corner was sent into the mixer by Jacobs, but Connor Ogilvie could only get a glancing touch.

There was a drop in pace after that flurry of activity, with the match turning into a slightly cagey affair.

But the Blues started to get back on top and a lovely ball from George Hirst started an attack, but he could only head over when the cross came in from Jacobs.

The pair combined again moments later, swapping passes in the area before the Leicester loanee’s shot was deflected behind.

And it was from the resulting corner that the deadlock was broken, as RAGGETT rose highest to head home Jacobs’ delivery.

It came as no surprise to see that man JACOBS double the lead before the break, catching Joe Powell dithering and nipping in to slot the ball past Garratt.

Burton did have an opportunity to reduce their deficit before the whistle blew, with Gavin Bazunu having to get down to deal with Ciaran Gilligan’s strike.

Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Burton Albion 0

The hosts looked to keep attacking once the action restarted, only for their opponents to find a lifeline.

Mahlon Romeo and Carter got in each other’s way as the ball ran across the box and Terry Taylor’s angled effort was turned home by Gassan.

Powell then tried to sneak a free-kick inside Bazunu’s near post, but was unable to keep his effort down.

Pompey were struggling to replicate the attacking fluency on display at times before the break, although a Jacobs corner caused problems in Brewers box before eventually being hacked clear.

And they came close to restoring their two-goal lead on 67 minutes after Louis Thompson’s persistence had found Jacobs in space.

His low centre was only cleared as far as Curtis, whose shot was turned over the bar by the leg of Garratt.

The keeper then came off his line to deny Walker a first Blues goal after the ball had been flicked on by Hirst.

But Burton had a chance of their own moments later, with Ogilvie having to time his tackle to perfection to dispossess Harry Chapman inside the box.

Cowley then decided to add some fresh legs in the midfield engine room, as Thompson made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe.

And a second substitution followed soon after, with Denver Hume replaced on the left by Reeco Hackett.

There were comical scenes when a decision went against the visitors, leading to their manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink throwing his papers in the air and jumping up in frustration.

He was shown a yellow card for his outburst by referee Craig Hicks, while Clark Robertson came on for Jacobs during the pause in play.

And the Blues then saw out the closing stages with relative ease to climb above their opponents in the League One standings.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Thompson (Tunnicliffe 73), Jacobs (Robertson 85), Hume (Hackett 80); Curtis; Hirst, Walker
Goals: Raggett 33, Jacobs 41
Booked: Raggett, Curtis
Subs not used: Webber, Jewitt-White, Harness, O’Brien

Burton (3-4-3): Garratt; Shaughnessy, Leak, Borthwick-Jackson; Hamer, Mancienne (c) (Saydee 82), Taylor (Chapman 63), Kokolo; Gilligan, Gassan (Moult 86), Powell
Goals: Gassan 50
Booked: Mancienne, Powell, Taylor, Chapman
Subs not used: Kovář, Blake-Tracy, Maddox, Lakin

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 13,407 (96 away fans)

Feb 052022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Oxford United 3
Portsmouth 2



Pompey conceded deep into stoppage-time to cruelly be denied a point at Oxford after having to play most of the game with just 10 men.

Michael Jacobs immediately cancelled out Luke McNally’s early opener, only for Joe Morrell to then be harshly sent off.

But the Blues were on course for an unlikely victory when Ronan Curtis slotted them into the lead after the break.

Cameron Brannagan levelled in the closing stages of normal time, however, before substitute Nathan Holland struck at the death.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that were beaten by Charlton on home soil on Monday night.

Two of them were enforced, with the injured Mahlon Romeo (ankle) and Shaun Williams (back) replaced by Kieron Freeman and Louis Thompson.

Marcus Harness, Tyler Walker and Clark Robertson all dropped to the bench to make way for Jacobs, Curtis and Connor Ogilvie.

Also named among the substitutes were deadline day signing Aiden O’Brien and a fit-again Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Former Blues players Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon both started for the hosts, who also had Simon Eastwood in their matchday squad.

Anybody who got into the ground late would certainly have missed some key incidents, as the opening 16 minutes saw two goals and a red card.

The hosts took an early lead when McNally rose highest in the box to convert a corner from Billy Bodin.

But Pompey quickly hit back, as a long kick from Gavin Bazunu was flicked on by George Hirst and Curtis did well to keep it in play.

His neat back-flick was collected from Freeman, who then squared the ball for JACOBS to slot home from close range.

The celebrations did not last long, however, as the disbelieving visitors were soon reduced to 10 men.

Morrell caught Brannagan and there was no surprise that a free-kick was awarded, but the midfielder was left open-mouthed when referee Samuel Barrott brandished a red card.

United looked to make the most of their numerical advantage and got plenty of men forward to apply pressure.

They came close to restoring their advantage when Brannagan was sent racing through, but Bazunu was off his line quickly to make a key save.

Williams then ballooned a good chance over the bar, while Herbie Kane rolled a shot narrowly wide and saw another attempt held by Bazunu.

But the Blues almost took the lead themselves just before the break after Jacobs had stolen possession.

He rolled the ball across for Hirst, but the striker’s low shot was kept out by the foot of keeper Jack Stevens.

Half Time

Oxford Un ited 1

Portsmouth 1

The second half began more than 20 minutes later than scheduled because of an unspecified ‘incident’.

And when the action did get started, there was a cagey opening – before Pompey helped explode the contest back into life.

Hirst did well to get forward and use his strength brilliantly to hold of a challenge before finding Jacobs.

He then slipped a clever pass through to CURTIS, who was left in space to calmly roll the ball past Stevens and into the net.

Oxford tried to hit back and Bodin’s shot was blocked after both Matty Taylor and Seddon had failed to connect with Williams’ centre.

Bazunu then dived to his left to push behind Brannagan’s angled strike and was able to deal with the resulting corner.

And Pompey were forced to make a change on the hour mark when Freeman took a ball to the face and was replaced by Robertson.

It was the home side that were unsurprisingly seeing more of the ball and a couple of corners caused a few nerves, while Bazunu made a regulation save to deny Mark Sykes.

Cowley then made his second switch on 71 minutes, bringing some fresh legs into the engine room by swapping Thompson with Tunnicliffe.

Bazunu was soon called into action again, getting down to his right to push clear a low Brannagan shot that was creeping towards the bottom corner.

But the Blues’ resistance was finally broken late on, courtesy of a fine 25-yard strike from Brannagan that flew into the net.

O’Brien was then brought on for his debut in place of Hirst and the delay caused by Freeman’s injury, along with various other stoppages, meant 10 minutes were added on.

With the defender’s departure deemed a concussion substitute, Denver Hume made way for Reeco Hackett.

But the Blues were unable to hang on and Holland’s effort from outside the box clipped the inside of the post on its way into the net.

Oxford (3-1-4-2): Stevens; McNally, Moore (c), Brown (Holland 55); Kane; Williams (Winnall 63), Sykes, Brannagan, Seddon (Mousinho 90+8); Bodin (McGuane 87), Taylor
Goals: McNally 6, Brannagan 82, Holland 90+6
Booked: Brannagan, Seddon, Kane, Moore
Subs not used: Eastwood, Forde, Smyth

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Freeman (Robertson 60), Thompson (Tunnicliffe 71), Morrell, Hume (Hackett 90+5); Jacobs; Hirst (O’Brien 82), Curtis
Goals: Jacobs 10, Curtis 51
Sent off: Morrell
Booked: Jacobs, Hirst, Hume, Curtis, Bazunu, Tunnicliffe, Raggett
Subs not used: Webber, Harness, Walker

Referee: Samuel Barrott

Attendance: 10,373 (1,754 Pompey fans)

Jan 312022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Charlton Athletic 2



Pompey’s poor start to 2022 continued with defeat to Charlton, despite a late charge at Fratton Park.

There was a huge moment of controversy when Conor Washington opened the scoring, with the officials missing a clear offside in the build-up.

And when Clark Robertson inadvertently found his own net after the break, it looked as though the Addicks’ points were secure.

But Michael Jacobs came off the bench to reduce the deficit and the Blues threw everything at their visitors before time ran out.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Sunderland in the last outing.

Denver Hume was handed his debut wide on the left, while there were also starts for Shaun Williams and George Hirst.

There were home bows for Tyler Walker and Hayden Carter, with deadline day capture Aiden O’Brien watching from the directors’ box.

Reeco Hackett, Louis Thompson and Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench and were joined by new keeper Ollie Webber.

Former Fratton favourite Craig MagGillivray started for the visitors, who had Stephen Henderson and Jason Pearce among their substitutes.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off to remember former Blues left-back Jamie Vincent, who tragically passed away recently at the age of 46.

When the action started, Pompey looked bright and a ball over the top from Sean Raggett saw the crowd rise to their feet.

Hume just about beat Hirst to get a shot away and sent a low effort creeping agonisingly wide of the post.

It was certainly a lively start for the wing-back, who soon provided a fine delivery that Mahlon Romeo could only turn over at the far post.

Then, when a free-kick from Williams was only partially cleared, Joe Morrell thumped a shot just off target.

And some nice build-up play ended with the bright Morrell sweeping the ball right into the mixer, but Hirst could not make a connection.

There was a warning for the hosts midway through the first half, however, as Corey Blackett-Taylor surged half the length of the pitch before narrowly clearing the crossbar.

Charlton did break the deadlock on 31 minutes, but it was a goal that should never have been allowed to stand.

Chuks Aneke was clearly offside when he met an Adam Matthews cross, but the assistant referee kept his flag down.

Gavin Bazunu made a fine save to deny the striker, only for Washington to follow up and find the net from close range.

The visitors might have doubled their advantage soon after, but Alex Gilbey’s strike rattled the woodwork from a tight angle.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Charlton Athletic 1

There was a slow start to proceedings once the action restarted, but Pompey came close to levelling on 56 minutes.

Williams lifted the ball into the box, where it was nodded on by Hirst for skipper Robertson, who could only poke wide.

But the Addicks looked threatening on the break and one quick move up the pitch ended with Blackett-Taylor angling a shot over.

A pass from Morrell then sent Hirst charging into the box, only for a perfectly-timed Ryan Inniss challenge to deny him.

The Blues were left with a mountain to climb when their opponents doubled their lead just past the hour mark.

It was a fine cross into the box from Sean Clare on the right and in his attempt to deal with it, Robertson headed into his own net.

There was ironic applause at the other end when Romeo’s deflected shot finally forced MacGillivray into action, albeit with a regulation stop.

Cowley replaced Walker and Williams with Curtis and Thompson on 71 minutes, while Carter made way for Jacobs soon after.

And it was JACOBS who provided some hope when he collected Curtis’ pass and took a couple of neat touches before hitting a shot that was fumbled over the line by MacGillivray.

A quick counter almost led to a leveller, with Morrell feeding Curtis and the forward’s low shot fizzing just past the post.

There were farcical scenes when Aneke – booked for time wasting seconds earlier – then had to be dragged to his feet by Morrell.

The visitors took an age in bringing the striker off, which resulted in referee Neil Hair showing a yellow card to manager Johnnie Jackson.

Pompey were pushing for a leveller and a dangerous Jacobs free-kick somehow evaded everyone as it flew out of play.

Hirst then did well to lay the ball off for Thompson, with the substitute’s shot saved low down by MacGillivray.

A Raggett header in stoppage-time then ricocheted into the keeper’s arms, as the Blues’ ultimately fell just short.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter (Jacobs 72), Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo, Morrell, Williams (Thompson 71), Hume; Harness; Hirst, Walker (Curtis 71)
Goals: Jacobs 79
Booked: Morrell
Subs not used: Webber, Freeman, Ogilvie, Hackett

Charlton (3-5-2): MacGillivray; Clare, Inniss (c) (Pearce 70), Famewo; Matthews, Gilbey, Dobson, Morgan, Blackett-Taylor (Purrington 87); Aneke (Leko 87), Washington
Goals: Washington 31, Robertson 64 (og)
Booked: Famewo, Aneke, Dobson, Leko
Subs not used: Henderson, Watson, Jaiyesimi, Lee

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 15,326 (1,230 away fans)

Jan 222022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Sunderland 1
Portsmouth 0



Pompey’s January blues continued as they slipped to a narrow League One defeat at high-flying Sunderland.

They dominated the first half, without really looking likely to break the deadlock and were caught by some sloppy defensive play.

Elliot Embleton took advantage to net the game’s only goal before the interval, with the Black Cats comfortably holding onto their lead.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that were held to a draw at AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week.

Skipper Clark Robertson returned for his first league start since mid-September, while there were also spots for Reeco Hackett and Ronan Curtis.

Connor Ogilvie dropped to the bench after missing training with a nose injury and was joined by Lee Brown and George Hirst.

It was a familiar tale for Pompey when the action started, as they dominated possession, but could not capitalise on that in the final third.

Tyler Walker saw an effort blocked inside the box, while a decent Hackett delivery was headed to safety.

The best opportunity came when Hackett’s corner was flicked on by Curtis, with Lynden Gooch having to hack clear before Walker could pounce.

But the Black Cats almost broke the deadlock with their first attack after a loose pass from Curtis was intercepted.

Embleton advanced forward and bent in a shot that was pushed clear by a diving Gavin Bazunu, with the keeper recovering to beat the same player to the loose ball.

Sean Raggett saw an angled attempt blocked, while a misunderstanding between Thorben Hoffmann and Danny Batth resulted in a Blues corner, but half-chances were the order of the day.

There was a let-off at the other end when Raggett was dispossessed by Leon Dajuku, who could not find the target from out wide.

But there was no reprieve on 40 minutes, as this time it was Hayden Carter who had the ball stolen from him.

Embleton played the role of pickpocket and he slotted past Bazunu to open the scoring following a neat one-two with Ross Stewart.

Pompey tried to hit back just before the break, but Marcus Harness could only hook Curtis’ cross over the bar.

Half Time

Sunderland 1

Portsmouth 0

The visitors did not enjoy as much control when the match restarted and were looking sloppy on the ball.

There was not too much happening at either end of the pitch, with Corry Evans and Dan Neil both firing wide for Sunderland.

Pompey started to find a bit more rhythm as the second half progressed, but Hoffmann was still having a quiet afternoon.

Cowley made a double switch on 71 minutes, as Curtis and Louis Thompson were replaced by Hirst and Shaun Williams.

However, the hosts were still finding it all too comfortable to keep their opponents at bay, as the Blues’ frustrations continued.

Robertson made way for Michael Jacobs as Cowley made an attacking last throw of the dice for the closing stages.

And the newcomer made an instant impact, bursting through the Black Cats back-line, only to be halted just before he could attempt to test Hoffmann.

Jacobs again found space to advance towards goal soon after, but his 20-yard effort flew straight at Hoffmann.

And he whipped in a teasing corner on 90 minutes, with a firm header from Hirst flying narrowly over the bar.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors, who had to make the long trip home on the back of a defeat.

Sunderland (3-4-1-2): Hoffmann; Flanagan, Batth, Doyle; Gooch, Evans (c), Neil, Cirkin; Embleton (Winchester 83); Dajaku (O’Brien 88), Stewart
Goals: Stewart 40
Booked: Flanagan
Subs not used: Patterson, Hume, Xhemajli, Diamond, Kimpioka

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c) (Jacobs 78); Romeo, Thompson (Williams 71), Morrell, Hackett; Harness; Walker, Curtis (Hirst 71)
Booked: Romeo, Williams
Subs not used: Steward, Freeman, Ogilvie, Brown

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 32,220

Jan 182022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
AFC Wimbledon 0
Portsmouth 0



Pompey were held to a draw at AFC Wimbledon, despite applying plenty of second half pressure.

They grew stronger as the Plough Lane contest progressed and ultimately had the better chances to claim all three points.

But Mahlon Romeo struck the woodwork, while Sean Raggett forced a fine save from Nik Tzanev to ensure the spoils would be shared.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that were beaten on home soil by MK Dons at the weekend.

Tyler Walker and Hayden Carter were both handed debuts following their loan captures from Coventry and Blackburn respectively.

Lee Brown returned to skipper the team out on the left, while Louis Thompson was given a midfield role.

Ronan Curtis, Kieron Freeman and Shaun Williams all dropped to the bench, but Reeco Hackett had a foot injury and was not named in the matchday squad.

Much like the dramatic Papa John’s Trophy contest earlier in the season, it was the home side who were quickest out of the traps.

Luke McCormick raced pass Connor Ogilvie to meet Ollie Palmer’s delivery and square for Jack Rudoni, but Gavin Bauznu got down well to deal with his close-range effort.

There was not too much to excite the crowd in a cagey opening 45 minutes, however – not that the lack of goalmouth action kept the large travelling contingent from the south coast quiet.

Most of the noteworthy incidents came courtesy of referee James Oldham, who drew the ire of the visiting team for not punishing McCormick following a heavy challenge on Joe Morrell.

The man with the whistle did show two yellow cards soon after, with Marcus Harness and Alex Woodyard both having their names noted down.

Pompey finally threatened on 26 minutes, when Raggett’s deep free-kick into the box caused problems.

Harness sent the ball right into the mixer and it took a couple of ricochets before being cleared as Walker looked to capitalised.

George Hirst did well at the other end, hacking away at the back post when Cheye Alexander nodded towards the net.

But the Blues almost broke the deadlock before the break, as Romeo swung in a particularly dangerous delivery.

Brown used his head to try to guide the ball into the net, only for a well-placed Dan Csoka to hook it over the bar.

Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 0

Portsmouth 0

The visitors looked to attack right from kick-off and when Romeo picked out Walker, the debutant’s low effort had to be turned around the post by Tzanev.

They had another opportunity soon after, but Tzanev just about beat Carter to the ball when Ogilvie headed Brown’s corner into the mixer.

And Pompey thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Hirst went down under Czoka’s challenge, only to have their appeals ignored by Oldham.

Romeo was causing plenty of havoc down the right and one marauding burst almost led to the opener, with the loanee’s angled drive fizzing narrowly past the post.

It was the Blues looking more threatening, although Alexander should have done better the bend his shot well wide after McCormick’s free-kick found him in acres of space.

Cowley made a switch straight after that, with Curtis replacing Hirst to provide Walker with a new partner up front.

And a second substitution soon followed, as Thompson made way for Williams in the midfield engine room.

It looked like the deadlock would be broken on 75 minutes when a corner was worked out to Romeo, whose thunderous 30-yard strike cannoned against the crossbar.

And the visitors went close again after a corner was not fully cleared and the eventual angled effort from Curtis had to be parried away by Tzanev.

The keeper then made an even better stop when Raggett roses highest in the box to make a firm connection with a Williams flag-kick.

Pompey’s final switch came with 10 minutes remaining, as Michael Jacobs was tasked with trying to unlock the Dons defence in place of Harness.

He did embark on one promising run before lifting the ball towards Walker, who could not guide his header on target.

The Blues continued to apply pressure as the seconds ticked down, but they were unable to find a breakthrough.

AFC Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Tzanev; Alexander, Nightingale, Csoka, Osew (Guinness-Walker 82); Marsh, Woodyard (c); Rudoni, McCormick, Mebude (Assal 64); Palmer (Ablade 76)
Booked: Woodyard, McCormick
Subs not used: Oualah, Kaja, Chislett, Cosgrave

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Ogilvie; Romeo, Thompson (Williams 71), Morrell, Brown (c); Harness (Jacobs 80); Walker, Hirst (Curtis 67)
Booked: Harness, Romeo
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Robertson, Tunnicliffe

Referee: James Oldham

Jan 152022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
MK Dons 2



Pompey’s long-awaited return to Fratton Park proved to be an underwhelming affair, as MK Dons left the south coast with all three points.

The hosts made a promising start, but their opponents were more clinical, with Mo Eisa and Theo Corbeanu both netting before the break.

George Hirst reduced the deficit after the interval and although the Blues applied plenty of pressure, they could not find a leveller.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that drew at Cambridge in the last league outing earlier in the month.

That meant new signing Hayden Carter had to be content with a place on the bench, where he was joined by fit-again skipper Clark Robertson.

There was a bizarre start to proceedings, as Pompey took a knee while their opponents kicked-off, with referee Scott Oldham allowing them to continue.

But the Blues soon settled into a rhythm and looked in almost complete control during the opening stages.

They should have broken the deadlock when Joe Morrell lifted a deep cross into the box and Sean Raggett nodded it down for Connor Ogilvie, who cleared the bar from just six yards out.

Ronan Curtis then tried his luck from 20 yards, but did not quite hit it cleanly enough, allowing Jamie Cumming to get down and make a save.

There were further half-chances for Hirst and Curtis, as the hosts continued to dominate proceedings.

But the Dons broke the deadlock against the run of play on 20 minutes, as Matt O’Riley stole the ball in midfield and found Eisa, who neatly slotted the ball past Gavin Bazunu.

That lifted the visitors and deflated Pompey, who found themselves on the back foot and struggling to keep hold of possession.

Marcus Harness was proving a bright spark, though, and after skipping past a couple of challenges, his effort crept just past the post.

They had another decent opportunity when Kieron Freeman won the ball and found Harness, who did well to shake off his marker.

He played the ball to Curtis, but a poor first touch took the forward wider than he wanted and the eventual shot was turned over by Cumming.

It was MK Dons who ended the half on top, however, and Bazunu smothered an attempt from Scott Twine.

And they had a second goal just before the break after Freeman won a tackle, only for the ball to run through for Twine.

His strike was blocked by Ogilvie, but Corbeanu was following up and lashed home in fine style to leave the Blues with a mountain to climb.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

MK Dons 2

The hosts searched for a lifeline once the action restarted, although Cumming was trying to use up as much time as possible with his lengthy goal-kicks.

And when Harness did whip a teasing delivery towards the back post, there was nobody there attacking it.

Pompey were certainly enjoying a lot of possession, but could not quite find that all-important spark around the penalty box.

They had an opening when Ogilvie did well to keep the ball in play and send it into the mixer, where an onrushing Hirst was inches away from making contact.

The visitors were still looking dangerous on the break, though, and Bazunu had to beat away Corbeanu’s strike.

And the Blues then reduced their deficit on the hour mark, as Freeman picked out HIRST in the box, with the striker guiding the ball into the bottom corner.

Cowley made a change shortly afterwards, with Louis Thompson replacing Shaun Williams in the engine room.

The midfielder soon had a chance to draw Pompey level after racing into the box, but a wild finish saw the ball sail wide.

MK Dons then had a couple of opportunities of their own, with Raggett and Thompson combining to muscle Corbeanu off the ball inside the area.

And Daniel Harvie soon hit a ferocious 25-yard effort that left Bauznu’s crossbar rattling for some time.

Cowley made a switch up front to try to inject some more impetus into proceedings, with Hirst making way for John Marquis.

And Michael Jacobs then came on for Freeman to throw an extra player into the forward line for the closing stages.

It was Ogilvie who came close to scoring on 89 minutes, however, meeting a Curtis cross and seeing his header palmed behind by Cumming.

Pompey were committing plenty of men up the pitch and Bazunu had to deny Twine and Hiram Boateng in quick succession.

The keeper then went up to try to attack a free-kick in stoppage-time, but it came to nothing, while Marquis was flagged offside when he did prod the ball into the net.

But time ultimately ran out for the hosts and the Fratton faithful’s homecoming ended in disappointment.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman (Jacobs 82), Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Williams (Thompson 63), Hackett; Harness; Hirst (Marquis 73), Curtis
Goals: Hirst 60
Booked: Hirst, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Robertson, Carter, Brown

MK Dons (3-4-1-2): Cumming; Kioso, O’Hora, Lewington (c); Watson (Baldwin 74), O’Riley, Robson, Harvie; Twine; Corbeanu (Parrott 84), Eisa (Boateng 69)
Goals: Eisa 20, Corbeanu 45
Booked: Robson, Harvie
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, McEachran, Ilunga

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 14,958 (494 away fans)

Jan 112022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A EFL Trophy
Cambridge United 2
Portsmouth 1



Pompey’s eventful Papa John’s Trophy adventure finally came to an end with a narrow defeat at Cambridge.

The home side appeared to have got the job done with a brace from Harvey Knibbs early in the second half.

A Michael Jacobs header gave the Blues hope of a comeback, but there was to be no late drama at Abbey Stadium.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that dramatically beat Exeter on Friday night to reach the last 16.

There was a welcome return for skipper Clark Robertson, who made his first appearance in exactly four months after recovering from a hip injury.

Ronan Curtis started following his heroics from the bench in Devon, while there were also places for Louis Thompson, Reeco Hackett and Jacobs.

Sean Raggett, Lee Brown, Miguel Azeez, Marcus Harness and John Marquis all dropped to the bench, where they were joined by a fit-again Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Both teams showed an intent to get forward in the opening stages, with chances arriving at either end of the pitch.

Sam Smith raced in behind the defence to meet a deep Wes Hoolahan cross, but Alex Bass made a fine save to tip the ball over.

The keeper had an easier stop to make a few moments later, with Knibbs firing straight at him.

It was Pompey’s turn to attack soon after and Curtis scuffed a shot past the post after his initial attempt had been blocked.

George Hirst’s touch from a Hackett free-kick was then just too heavy, allowing Dimitar Mitov to gather.

But the quality started to wane as the action progressed, with each side cancelling the other one out.

Kieron Freeman did well to deal with the danger after Hoolahan skipped past a couple of half-hearted challenges.

Meanwhile, a spell of promising Blues pressure eventually broke down when Curtis nodded a cross wide.

And a low long-range effort from Jacobs was struck cleanly enough, only to fly straight into Mitov’s midriff.

Half Time

Cambridge United 0

Portsmouth 0

Robertson’s work was done for the night, with the captain replaced in the centre of defence by Raggett.

It was Cambridge who made the brighter start to the second half, however, and enjoyed a period of pressure that led to their breakthrough.

The ball ricocheted kindly for Knibbs on the edge of the box and he hit a precise shot that flew past Bass and nestled in the bottom corner.

And the home side continued to dominate, with Knibbs nodding them further into the lead after Hoolahan had lifted a pass into the mixer.

Cowley’s response was to make another quartet of substitutions, as Tunnicliffe, Brown, Marquis and Harness replaced Thompson, Hackett, Hirst and Curtis.

But it was still United looking more likely to add to the scoring and Jack Lankester curled a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

Bass then made three saves in quick succession to deny Harrison Dunk and James Brophy from tight angles, and then a more central effort from Lankester.

The ball was finally put in the back of the net by Knibbs, but referee Darren Drysdale had spotted an infringement.

And the Blues suddenly found themselves back in the contest, as JACOBS rose to nod home a Brown corner, despite the best efforts of Liam Bennett to clear from the line.

That perked the visitors up and they set about trying to find another late goal in the Papa John’s Trophy.

They were not too far away when a cross from Jacobs was deflected onto the head of Marquis and the ball fizzed past the post.

Brown then saw a shot blocked after being teed-up by Jacobs, as the Blues tried to force a penalty shoot-out.

They came even closer when Harness swung the ball into the box from the left and Marquis prodded it straight into the arms of Mitov.

And Cambridge were able to see out six minutes of stoppage-time to seal a quarter-final trip to Rotherham.

Cambridge (4-2-3-1): Mitov; Bennett, Okedina, Iredale, Dunk (c); O’Neil (Worman 46), May (Digby 71); Lankester (Dickens 90+1), Hoolahan (Brophy 71), Knibbs (Ironside 83); Smith
Goals: Knibbs 50, 59
Booked: Lankester, Iredale
Sub not used: Mannion

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bass; Freeman, Robertson (c) (Raggett 46), Ogilvie; Romeo, Thompson (Tunnicliffe 60), Morrell, Hackett (Brown 60); Jacobs; Hirst (Marquis 60), Curtis (Harness 60)
Goals: Jacobs 76
Subs not used: Steward, Azeez

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 1,308 (283 Pompey fans)

Jan 072022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A EFL Trophy
Exeter City 2
Portsmouth 3



Ronan Curtis came off the bench to score two late goals and secure a dramatic Papa John’s Trophy victory for Pompey at Exeter.

The visitors were heading out of the competition before the Republic of Ireland international’s late heroics.

George Hirst had nodded them into an early lead in Devon, only for Matt Jay to hit an immediate leveller.

The Blues then failed to make the most of their first half dominance and were made to pay when Archie Collins struck for the Grecians after the break.

But Curtis headed home with time running out and appeared to have secured a penalty shoot-out, only to then find the net again in stoppage-time.

Pompey will now look to make it through to the quarter-finals when they head to Cambridge on Tuesday night.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that drew at the Abbey Stadium in the league at the start of the week.

John Marquis was handed a starting berth up front, while Lee Brown – who wore the captain’s armband – Alex Bass and Miguel Azeez all returned.

Curtis and Reeco Hackett both dropped to the bench, while Gavin Bazunu and Shaun Williams were not included in the squad.

Also named among the substitutes were teenage keeper Toby Steward and his academy team-mate Harry Jewitt-White.

The contest certainly got off to a lively start and the visitors took an early lead when Marcus Harness lifted the ball towards the back post and HIRST rose highest to head into the bottom corner.

But their advantage lasted just 68 seconds, as Exeter went straight up the pitch to level from kick-off.

Jay picked up the ball and found it all too easy to shake off a couple of challenges before expertly guiding a shot past Bass.

From that point on, though, it was pretty much one-way traffic, as the Blues were totally dominant in possession.

But the struggle was to make the most of it and a number of key openings were wasted in the search for a second goal.

Pompey’s high-pressing game was causing plenty of problems and there were a few occasions when possession was stolen and the situation not capitalised on.

The lead should have been retaken when Harness released Marquis down the left and the striker saw his shot blocked.

Hirst tried to convert the loose ball, but was left swiping at thin air, as the Grecians breathed a sigh of relief.

The striker soon had another opportunity after being fed by Kieron Freeman following a patient spell of passing, spinning neatly and seeing his attempt deflected just past the post.

And he twice tried to get on the end of Brown deliveries in quick succession, but could not make a firm contact on each occasion.

Pompey maintained a constant vigil in their hosts’ half as the seconds ticked down, with Exeter defending resolutely to keep them at bay.

Half Time

Exeter City 1

Portsmouth 1

It was the home side who were first to threaten when the action restarted, but Bass was equal to Jay’s shot after Owura Edwards had teed the ball up perfectly for his team-mate.

And they had another decent chance moments later, with Josh Key’s teasing cross somehow evading everyone as it made its way across the Blues box.

Pompey started to settle again and looked to impose themselves, although Azeez’s pass for Marquis in the area ricocheted off the striker and landed clear.

Cowley then introduced a raft of fresh legs by making a quartet of substitutions just past the hour mark.

Curtis, Hackett, Michael Jacobs and the fit-again Louis Thompson all came on, as Marquis, Hirst, Harness and Azeez made way.

Exeter were still looking more threatening than before the break, though, and Connor Ogilvie got in the way of Key’s effort before Bass beat Jay to Jake Caprice’s cross.

And they did take the lead on 76 minutes, as Key got forward and laid the ball off for Collins, whose shot deflected off Freeman to sneak into the net.

The home side tried to see out the closing stages and were doing a good job of protecting their slender lead.

There was a late opportunity for Pompey, but Cameron Dawson dealt with Hackett’s header after Joe Morrell had lifted the ball into the mixer.

Jewitt-White injected some youthful vigour into the Blues for the final few minutes, but it was a more experienced player who drew them level.

Jacobs swung in a free-kick from the right and CURTIS timed his leap perfectly to head the ball past Dawson.

He might have had another just a few moments later, but Hackett’s cross was just too high for him to head on target.

CURTIS did grab the winner deep into stoppage-time, though, firing into the net after Hackett had raced across goal and found the forward.

Exeter (3-4-3): Dawson; Sweeney (Kite 46), Stubbs, Diabate; Key, Collins, Taylor (Dieng 55), Caprice; Seymour (Brown 55), Jay (c) (Coley 79), Edwards (Amond 71)
Goals: Jay 6, Collins 76
Subs not used: Brown, Ray

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bass; Freeman, Raggett, Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell (Jewitt-White 88), Azeez (Thompson 63), Brown (c); Harness (Jacobs 63); Marquis (Curtis 63), Hirst (Hackett 63)
Goals: Hirst 5, Curtis 89, 90+3
Booked: Morrell, Raggett, Curtis
Subs not used: Steward, Downing

Referee: Paul Howard

Attendance: 2,146 (507 Pompey fans)

Jan 032022

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Cambridge United 0
Portsmouth 0



Pompey began 2022 by picking up a point in a goalless – but certainly eventful – draw with Cambridge at Abbey Stadium.

There were a few questionable challenges from both sides, while the hosts were reduced to 10 men after the break.

But despite dominating possession, the Blues were unable to celebrate their long-awaited return to action with a win.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that had beaten Morecambe on home soil 23 days earlier.

Joe Morrell returned to the centre of midfield, with Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez dropping to the bench.

It was the home side who were first to threaten after Sean Raggett had intercepted a low Smith delivery.

But the ball fell at the feet of Joe Ironside, who fired in a shot that was beaten away by Gavin Bazunu.

Tempers then rose following a clash between Marcus Harness and Jack Iredale, which infuriated the home side.

Pompey’s forward was put in a headlock by Paul Digby, but referee Joshua Smith let them both off with a talking to before booking Smith for dissent.

The visitors soon had a chance to take the lead, only for Reeco Hackett to fire over after being picked out in the box by Harness.

Cambridge immediately broke down the other end and Bazunu flung himself to the right to palm away a strike from Blues academy graduate Adam May.

It looked as though James Brophy was going to tuck away the loose ball, but Mahlon Romeo dived in to make a fine block.

Pompey kept probing as the first half progressed and were just lacking a quality final ball to truly trouble their opponents.

And it was United who almost went ahead in stoppage-time, but Smith was unable to beat Bazunu from a tight angle.

Half Time

Cambridge United 0

Portsmouth 0

There was a healthy crowd inside the Abbey Stadium, although they were not treated to much excitement once the action restarted.

Pompey threatened from a couple of corners, while there were some dangerous counter-attacks from the hosts.

But neither side was looking particularly likely to break the deadlock as the contest meandered along.

Things certainly livened up on the hour mark, however, as Smith caught Ogilvie and left the defender with a nasty cut on his face.

It was enough to earn the midfielder a booking from the referee and, following his earlier transgression, a red card.

The action was then halted while medical teams dealt with an emergency among the home supporters.

Both sides departed down the tunnel while treatment was given and a supporter was stretchered from the pitch to warm applause from the stands.

The game restarted after almost 15 minutes and Cowley made an immediate change, with Michael Jacobs replacing Kieron Freeman.

Pompey were keen to get forward and caused a few scares among the United defence, while Hackett then made way for Lee Brown.

But Cambridge had a chance of their own when Digby’s header from a May free-kick was saved by Bazunu, who then grabbed the loose ball before Joe Ironside could capitalise.

It was the visitors enjoying the territorial advantage, though, and Dimitar Mitov got down low to turn behind Jacobs’ strike.

The hosts thought Pompey should have been reduced to 10 men when Romeo was penalised for a foul.

But the Millwall loanee was not punished further than a free-kick and Iredale instead got booked for dissent.

The resulting free-kick from May was nodded clear by Raggett and Iredale’s follow-up effort flew wide.

That earlier delay meant there were 21 minutes added on and the Blues tried to find a breakthrough.

There was still a danger of more dismissals, though, with a Shaun Williams challenge on Brophy causing tempers to flare once more.

United were doing a good job of holding their visitors at bay, but when a Harness ball ran across the box for Ronan Curtis, he blazed wastefully over the bar.

George Hirst was replaced by John Marquis as Cowley made one final roll of the dice in search of a winner.

But the Blues were unable to find their way through a resolute United back-line and a late Connor Ogilvie shot went over as they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Cambridge (4-2-3-1): Mitov; Williams, Okedina, Iredale, Dunk; Digby (c), Worman (Knibbs 77); Smith, May, Brophy (Hoolahan 90+18); Ironside
Sent off: Smith (two yellow cards)
Booked: Brophy, Iredale
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Masterson, O’Neil, Weir, Lankester

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman (Jacobs 76), Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Williams, Hackett (Brown 81); Harness; Hirst (Marquis 90+16), Curtis
Booked: Romeo, Raggett, Williams
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Azeez, Harrison

Referee: Joshua Smith

Attendance: 6,832 (1,463 Pompey fans)

Dec 112021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Morecambe 0



Pompey stretched their unbeaten League One run to nine games by beating Morecambe to send the Fratton faithful home full of festive cheer.

Marcus Harness took his tally for the season to 10 goals by firing home after George Hirst and Miguel Azeez had both gone close.

And while it was not exactly a Christmas cracker of a performance from the Blues, they wrapped up the points when Connor Ogilvie headed home after the break.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that were held to a goalless draw by Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the week.

But Michael Jacobs and Paul Downing had recovered enough – from illness and injury respectively – to be named on the bench.

After a slow start, it was Pompey who settled quickest and a fizzing effort from Ronan Curtis was not too far over.

Scott Wootton then just about got to the ball before Hirst after Azeez’s clever dummy allowed Mahlon Romeo to whip in a cross.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 11 minutes – even if they did make harder work of it than was perhaps necessary.

It started when the hosts broke quickly up the pitch through Azeez and Curtis hit a fine first time pass over the top for Hirst.

He was forced wide, but still managed to angle in a shot that was cleared against the crossbar by Wootton.

The ball then hit Azeez and ricocheted against the post, while the midfielder’s second attempt was blocked by Liam Gibson.

It looked as if the chance had gone, but HARNESS raced in to finally slam a shot into the net and end a frenzied period of play.

Morecambe tried to hit back and Gavin Bazunu got down well to deal with a low effort from Cole Stockton.

The hosts were, in the main, looking comfortable without really getting out of third gear and continued to pass the ball around nicely.

A shot from Curtis was spilled by Kyle Letheren, but the keeper recovered to grab the loose ball before Azeez could capitalise.

And Letheren then did well to gather a dangerous delivery from Harness while under pressure from Curtis.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Morecambe 0

It was the visitors who were first to threaten when the action restarted and Hirst had to acrobatically clear a dangerous Alfie McCalmont free-kick.

Harness saw a shot blocked at the other end, but sent the ball back into the box, where a stretching Curtis could only nod straight at Letheren.

Morecambe were certainly providing more of a threat than before the break and substitute Jonah Ayunga dispossessed Kieron Freeman inside the Blues box.

The former Hawks forward sent a low ball into the mixer, but Romeo came to the rescue by clearing the danger.

Cowley decided the time was right to change his striker on 70 minutes and Hirst made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were still struggling for fluency, however, and Bazunu had to deal with a glancing header from Stockton.

But they had some breathing space when Azeez swung in a corner and OGILVIE was left unmarked to head home his first Blues goal.

A second switch soon followed, with Harness given a breather and Ellis Harrison coming on in his place.

The Shrimps came close to setting up a grandstand finale when Adam Phillips hit a long-range piledriver, only for Bazunu’s fingertips to divert the ball against the crossbar.

But the hosts saw out the closing stages to add a fourth successive league clean sheet to their three-point haul.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Azeez, Williams, Hackett; Harness (Harrison 80); Curtis, Hirst (Marquis 70)
Goals: Harness 11, Ogilvie 77
Booked: Hackett
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Jewitt-White, Jacobs, Gassan

Morecambe (3-4-1-2): Letheren; O’Connor (c), Wootton (Delaney 56), Gibson; McLaughlin, McLoughlin, McCalmont, Leigh; Phillips; Obika (Ayunga 59), Stockton
Booked: Gibson, McLaughlin, Delaney
Subs not used: Andrésson, Cooney, Jones, Wildig, Gnahoua

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 15,001 (182 away fans)

Dec 072021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 0
Sheffield Wednesday 0



Pompey and Sheffield Wednesday played out an entertaining goalless draw after heavy rain threatened to halt the League One contest before it had got started.

The Fratton Park surface passed a pitch inspection just over an hour before kick-off and played host to a contest full of chances.

It took a series of fine saves from Bailey Peacock-Farrell to deny the Blues all three points, while Massimo Luongo’s red card saw the visitors finish with just 10 men.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that exited the FA Cup to Harrogate Town at the weekend.

George Hirst – who had recovered from a sickness bug – and Ronan Curtis both returned, with Ellis Harrison and Michael Jacobs making way.

With injuries and illness affecting the squad, there were three members of the academy squad named among the substitutes.

The first half was played at a fast tempo, with both sides carving out some decent opportunities to break the deadlock.

Curtis was unable to keep his shot down after being teed-up by Hirst, who was then denied a penalty after appearing to be tripped in the box by Liam Palmer.

Peacock-Farrell also made a mess of dealing with a Shaun Williams corner and was relieved to see the ball land safe.

The keeper came to the Owls’ rescue soon after, though, sticking out a boot to thwart Hirst, who had received a fine threaded pass from Marcus Harness.

The visitors grew stronger as the half progressed and a wickedly bending strike from Fisayo Dele-Bashiru flew narrowly over.

Bazunu then used his outstretched leg to deal with Lee Gregory’s pass into the mixer after initially struggling to connect with Barry Bannan’s corner.

And a Bannan free-kick was soon flicked on by Gregory, with the ball hitting Palmer and ricocheting past the post.

But it was the Blues who almost broke the deadlock just before the break, as Peacock-Farrell did brilliantly to stop a low Curtis effort from finding the bottom corner.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sheffield Wednesday 0

The chances kept coming once the action restarted, although Palmer could head only head a Bannan free-kick down into the turf and see the ball bounce over.

Hirst then flicked on a Reeco Hackett delivery from the left, but it was just behind Harness, who was unable to make a connection.

Hackett then had a go himself and hit an absolute rocket from 20 yards that Peacock-Farrell just about managed to tip over.

And the Northern Ireland international stopper was at it again with an even better save on 66 minutes.

Harness hit a poor corner, but the ball landed back at his feet and a superb delivery was met by a firm Curtis header that was clawed out by Peacock-Farrell.

The visitors were dealt a huge blow when they were reduced to 10 men just a few moments later, though.

Luongo overran the ball and lunged to win it back from Curtis, only to catch the ankle of the Pompey forward.

Referee Sam Purkiss took some time to think about his decision before brandishing a red card to the Australian midfielder.

Pompey set about trying to make the most of their numerical advantage and when Mahlon Romeo’s shot was blocked, a Sean Raggett follow-up cleared the crossbar

Cowley made a change up front for the closing stages, with Hirst making way for Harrison on 84 minutes.

The hosts kept pushing into stoppage-time, with Romeo and Connor Ogilvie having attempts blocked in quick succession.

And Sheffield Wednesday managed to hold the Blues at bay for the final few seconds to ensure they would leave the south coast with a point.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Azeez, Williams, Hackett; Harness; Hirst (Harrison 84), Curtis
Booked: Hackett
Subs not used: Bass, Hughes, Jewitt-White, Gassan, Gifford, Marquis

Sheffield Wednesday (3-4-1-2): Peacock-Farrell; Paterson, Palmer, Johnson; Hunt, Dele-Bashiru, Luongo, Shodipo; Bannan (c); Gregory (Berahino 87), Kamberi (Wing 72)
Sent off: Luongo
Booked: Paterson
Subs not used: Wildsmith, Brown, Byers, Corbeanu, Sow

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 16,472 (1,549 away fans)