Dec 042021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H FA Cup
Portsmouth 1
Harrogate Town 2



Pompey are out of the Emirates FA Cup after Harrogate Town grabbed a last-gasp winner in a second round contest at Fratton Park.

Jack Diamond slotted home in the final minute of stoppage-time to seal progress for the League Two side.

Luke Armstrong had earlier given them the lead just before the break, only for Ellis Harrison to immediately equalise.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that dramatically won at Gillingham in the league the previous week.

Michael Jacobs was rewarded for his late Priestfield winner with a start, while Harrison, Miguel Azeez and Sean Raggett also returned.

George Hirst and Joe Morrell both missed out with a non-Covid related illness, while there were four academy players among the nine substitutes.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of promotion-winning manager Frank Burrows, who passed away recently at the age of 77.

An open first half saw both sides launch plenty of quick attacks, although there was not much to work either keeper.

Mark Oxley’s best moment between the Harrogate sticks came in the opening stages, as Marcus Harness forced a smart save after Jacobs’ run had been halted.

The forward had already nodded wide from a Mahlon Romeo cross, while a Shaun Williams corner just evaded the head of Raggett at the far post.

Pompey were passing the ball around nicely and one such passage of play ended with Romeo drilling the ball narrowly wide.

Harness also went close with an effort that was deflected behind, following some good work involving Harrison, Jacobs and Azeez.

And another precise corner from Williams then picked out Azeez, whose shot grazed the top of the net.

But Harrogate were causing problems of their own and it was not completely against the run of play when they took the lead just before the break.

A pass from Williams was intercepted and the ball worked to Armstrong, who neatly bent the ball around Gavin Bazunu’s grasp and into the net.

But the visitors’ lead lasted a matter of moment, as HARRISON was alert when a Jacobs run was halted and slotted into the net.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Harrogate Town 1

Raggett had to make a key block once the action restarted after Diamond beat Kieron Freeman in the centre of the pitch and charged towards goal.

There was a change of personnel and system just before the hour mark, with Freeman making way for Lee Brown and the Blues utilising a back four.

Harrison soon had a chance to score when he met a deep Williams free-kick, but could only guide his header into Oxley’s arms.

That was the striker’s final piece of action, though, as he was immediately replaced up front by Curtis.

Pompey were almost made to pay for some slack defending on 69 minutes, as Lloyd Kerry was allowed time to pick up a loose ball before seeing his shot deflected behind off Connor Ogilvie.

Cowley’s final throw of the dice was an attacking one, as Hackett was brought off for a fit-again John Marquis.

But it was Harrogate who almost scored seconds later, as Armstrong diverted a George Thomson effort inches past the post.

Referee Simon Mather was not endearing himself to the Fratton faithful with a couple of strange decisions, including showing a yellow card to Ogilvie for a clean tackle.

The Blues tried to apply plenty of pressure as the contest entered its closing stages and committed men forward.

But they were almost caught out on the break, with Armstrong’s effort blocked by Brown and Alex Pattison hitting the loose ball wastefully wide.

Raggett then got a foot to Diamond’s shot, affording Bazunu a simple save as Harrogate again countered quickly.

It looked as though the sides would be heading to Wetherby Road for a replay, only for Lewis Page to square the ball for a stretching Diamond to convert right at the death.

The result saw Pompey’s nine-match unbeaten run come to an end, while Harrogate can look forward to a spot in the third round for the first time.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman (Brown 57), Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Azeez, Williams, Hackett (Marquis 75); Jacobs; Harness, Harrison (Curtis 60)
Goals: Harrison 45+1
Booked: Azeez, Williams, Ogilvie
Subs not used: Bass, Hughes, Jewitt-White, Payce, Gassan, Gifford

Harrogate Town (4-2-3-1): Oxley; Sheron, Burrell, Hall, Page; Falkingham (c), Kerry; Thomson, Pattison, Diamond; Armstrong
Goals: Armstrong 44
Booked: Kerry, Burrell, Pattison, Hall
Subs not used: Cracknell, Power, Orsi, Muldoon

Referee: Simon Mather

Attendance: 7,857 (121 away fans)

Nov 272021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Gillingham 0
Portsmouth 1



Pompey scored in the final seconds of stoppage-time to beat Gillingham extend their winning run to six games.

It looked like a contest that was full of effort and desire – if a little short on quality – was going to end all square.

But some good play from substitute Michael Jacobs and a deflection from Jack Tucker saw the Blues find the net right at the death.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that impressively won away at Lincoln earlier in the week.

With Sean Raggett serving a one-match ban, Louis Thompson returned to the starting line-up and Shaun Williams dropped back into defence.

Lee Brown had completed his own suspension, although a back injury saw him initially named on the bench, only to then be replaced by academy midfielder Harry Jewitt-White.

And with Clark Robertson also still on the sidelines, it meant the captain’s armband was worn by Ronan Curtis.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the hosts’ side, with former Fratton loanees Stuart O’Keefe and John Akinde both starting.

Pompey made a fast start and had a couple of excellent chances to break the deadlock in the opening stages.

George Hirst looked to make the most of a poor Robbie McKenzie header and lifted a shot towards goal, but Jamie Cumming managed to push it against the crossbar.

The ball then hit the arm of Tucker as he tried to clear, but referee Dean Whitestone decided it was not deliberate.

Joe Morrell soon slipped a neat pass through to Hirst, who cut inside and fired in an effort that was beaten away by Cumming.

And the keeper then recovered well to deny Mahlon Romeo after the loose ball fell kindly for the wing-back.

But Gillingham fought their way back into the contest and began to dominate proceedings as the first half progressed.

They were pegging the visitors back into their own half, but without being able to test Gavin Bazunu between the sticks.

Marcus Harness had an opportunity at the other end after being teed-up by Morrell and dragged a shot past the post.

But the Gills had a better chance to forge ahead on 35 minutes, as Akinde held off a couple of challenges and charged forward, only to hit a tame attempt straight at Bazunu.

A couple of low Williams corners in quick succession then found Curtis and Reeco Hackett, but neither could make a clean connection.

Half Time

Gillingham 0

Portsmouth 0

Just as they had before the break, Pompey started the second half strongly and almost took the lead within three minutes of the restart.

It was a great run from Harness, who saw space open up in front of him before hitting a shot that was excellently palmed away by Cumming.

The ball then ricocheted into the path of O’Keefe, whose low effort was kept out in relatively comfortable fashion by Bazunu.

Gillingham felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Akinde took a tumble over Bazunu just past the hour mark.

But Bazunu had definitely got to the ball just before the striker and Whitestone correctly waved away their noisy appeals.

Cowley made his first substitution soon after that, with Thompson being replaced by Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez.

And with the contest still delicately poised, a second switch followed on 71 minutes, as Hirst made way for Harrison up front.

The game was lacking a bit of quality, summed up by Danny Lloyd’s wild finish when found in a good position by Akinde.

Pompey’s final change saw Jacobs – who scored at Priestfield last season – come on for Hackett.

And the newcomer had an immediate chance to be the late hero, but could not connect with Morrell’s low cut-back.

There was anger from the Blues when they had the ball on the edge of the Gills box, only for Whitestone to stop the play so Max Ehmer could receive some treatment.

They tried to attack from the resulting drop ball and despite taking a fine first touch, Harness was unable to squeeze his way through the back-line.

And Connor Ogilvie then tried to nod back a Romeo cross for Harrison, but the ball flew just behind the striker.

Then, with just a few seconds of the contest remaining, JACOBS showed some neat skill by the touchline and sent the ball into the centre, where it hit Tucker and flew into the net.

It was arguably harsh for Gillingham, but the large number of travelling fans who had spent the afternoon shivering on the open stand behind the goal did not seem to care.

And there was barely time for the contest to restart before the final whistle blew to lengthen Pompey’s fine run.

Gillingham (4-2-3-1): Cumming; Jackson, Ehmer, Tucker, McKenzie; Adshead (Akehurst 59), O’Keefe (c); Lloyd, Lee, Carayol (Sithole 83); Akinde
Subs not used: Chapman, Lintott, Gale, Gbode

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Ogilvie, Williams; Romeo, Thompson (Azeez 64), Morrell, Hackett (Jacobs 81); Harness; Curtis (c), Hirst (Harrison 71)
Goals: Tucker (og) 90+3
Booked: Romeo
Subs not used: Bass, Vincent, Jewitt-White, Gassan

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 5,637 (1,435 Pompey fans)

Nov 232021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Lincoln City 0
Portsmouth 3



Pompey made it five wins in succession with an impressive performance against Lincoln at Sincil Bank.

They were in charge for most of the contest, but had to wait until the closing stages of the first half before Marcus Harness increased his goal tally.

And they were rewarded for their overall play after the break, with George Hirst doubling the lead and Reeco Hackett wrapping things up at the death.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that dramatically beat AFC Wimbledon on home soil at the weekend.

Kieron Freeman came in for the suspended Lee Brown, but started in the centre of defence, with the Blues switching to a 3-4-1-2 system.

There were also starts for Hackett – as a left-sided wing-back – and Joe Morrell, as Michael Jacobs and Louis Thompson dropped to the bench.

With the absence of Clark Robertson and Brown, former Imps hero Sean Raggett was handed the captain’s armband.

Pompey dominated the first half and created a number of promising openings, but were often let down by the final ball.

An early Shaun Williams corner was turned wide by Raggett, while a deflected Ronan Curtis effort was diverted behind by Josh Griffiths.

And the Imps keeper was called into action again from the resulting corner, which was fired towards goal by Connor Ogilvie.

Curtis miscued another shot narrowly past the post and Ogilvie then saw his goal-bound drive cleared from the line by Lewis Montsma.

The momentum faded after that, although the Blues were still looking the stronger team, with Williams and Morrell – the latter facing his former club – dominating in midfield.

They received a blow when Raggett was – rather harshly – booked for a foul in the middle of the pitch on 28 minutes.

It was the defender’s fifth yellow card of the season and, just before an amnesty kicks in, means he will be suspended for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.

There had not been too much trouble at the other end, although the home support wanted a penalty when Hackett eased Lasse Sorensen off the ball inside the area.

The breakthrough almost came in stoppage-time, as Hirst charged his way up the pitch and past a couple of challenges before forcing a save from Griffiths.

But there was still time for Pompey to take the lead before the break – and there was no surprise to see who scored.

Mahlon Romeo found Hirst in the box and although he was denied, the loose ball ran for HARNESS to fire home in a fourth successive appearance.

Half Time

Lincoln CIty 0

Portsmouth 1

An early opportunity for Harness was stabbed wide, as the Blues looked to build on their lead once the action restarted.

And they went a lot closer to finding a second goal following some good work from Curtis along the edge of the box.

He eventually picked out Romeo on the right and the wing-back’s low effort struck the inside of the post and bounced back out.

But the Imps began to pick up the pace and former Fratton loanee Chris Maguire curled a shot narrowly over after cutting inside from the left.

Just as they were starting to get into the ascendency, however, the visitors doubled their lead – much to the delight of the noisy travelling army.

Harness slipped a neat pass through to Curtis, who unselfishly squared the ball for HIRST to slide home his first league goal for the club.

Lincoln tried to find a path back into the contest, but Gavin Bazunu did well to deny Hakeeb Adelakun from point-blank range.

Cowley then freshened things up with a couple of changes in quick succession, as Jacobs came on for Hirst before Thompson replaced Morrell.

And a third substitution followed on 80 minutes, with Harness making way for the fit-again Ellis Harrison.

Pompey appeared to be coasting towards the final whistle, but there was further reason to celebrate towards the end.

Harrison was brought down on the edge of the box and although the free-kick from HACKETT hit the wall, he was first to the loose ball to slam it into the net.

Lincoln (4-1-4-1): Griffiths; Poole, Montsma, Eyoma, Robson; McGrandles (c); Bishop (Nlundulu 58), Sorensen (Adelakun 68), Maguire, Fiorini; Draper (Sanders 86)
Booked: Montsma, Maguire
Subs not used: Long, Jackson, Roughan, Gallagher

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell (Thompson 76), Williams, Hackett; Harness (Harrison 80); Curtis, Hirst (Jacobs 73)
Goals: Harness 45+3, Hirst 66, Hackett 89
Booked: Raggett, Morrell
Subs not used: Bass, Vincent, Azeez, Gassan

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 8,533 (746 Pompey fans)

Nov 202021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 2
AFC Wimbledon 1



Marcus Harness continued his fine run of goalscoring form by hitting Pompey’s late winner against AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park.

The home side had to recover from falling behind following a terrible penalty decision, with Nesta Guinness-Walker’s theatrical tumble fooling the referee.

Ollie Palmer converted from the spot and it took until midway through the second half before Michael Jacobs finally got the equaliser.

Time was ticking away in the search for a winner, but Harness finally slotted home a seventh goal in his past 11 outings.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that impressively won at Wycombe the previous week.

Gavin Bazunu reclaimed his place between the sticks after returning from international duty, while there was a first league start of the season for Jacobs.

Alex Bass and Miguel Azeez both dropped to the bench, where they were joined by fit-again striker Ellis Harrison.

Before kick-off, a minute’s applause was held to pay tribute to 1979/80 promotion-winning skipper Joe Laidlaw, who passed away earlier in the week.

Pompey came charging out the blocks once the action began and Harness combined neatly with Jacobs.

The latter’s square pass looked like it would leave George Hirst with a simple finish, only for Paul Osew to make a timely interception.

Palmer then collected a pass from Luke McCormick at the other end, with his drive claimed at the second attempt by Bazunu.

But it was the Blues looking more likely to break the deadlock and some impressive pressing saw them win possession high up the pitch.

A neat Harness back-flick sent Jacobs through on goal, but Nik Tzanev spread himself well to make the save.

The home side were playing with real energy and causing plenty of problems, only to fall behind following a terrible refereeing decision.

Guiness-Walker and Ronan Curtis were shoulder-to-shoulder in the Blues box and the Dons defender threw himself to the ground.

Thomas Bramall was fooled, though, and pointed to the spot, much to the astonishment of the home side, their coaching staff and practically everyone inside Fratton Park.

Former Hawks striker Palmer stepped up to take the penalty and coolly sent it straight down the middle to find the net.

Pompey set about trying to find an equaliser and thought it had arrived when Lee Brown cut the ball back for Harness to slot home.

Bramall again incurred the wrath of the home faithful, though, by blowing for an earlier foul on Curtis.

The home side recovered from a ragged spell to the finish the half strongly and Tzanev beat away a long-range Curtis attempt.

And the keeper made an even better save moments later, this time stopping Harness from converting a clever Jacobs pass.

But a poor Bazunu kick almost led to a second goal for the visitors just before the break, with the Republic of Ireland international recovering well to deny McCormick.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

AFC Wimbledon 1

AFC Wimbledon went close again following the restart after Osew escaped down the right and found McCormick in the box.

The midfielder’s effort was heading for the net, but Sean Raggett slid in to make a timely block and keep the deficit at just one goal.

Cowley made his first switch on 53 minutes, with Hirst withdrawn and Reeco Hackett joining the forward line.

And another one soon followed, as Joe Morrell – back from international duty with Wales – replaced Louis Thompson.

The newcomer soon combined with Harness to release Mahlon Romeo, who surged half the length of the pitch before firing in a low shot that was kept out by Tzanev.

Wimbledon’s stopper had arguably been their best player, but will feel he could have done better with Pompey’s leveller on 63 minutes.

JACOBS collected a pass from Lee Brown and cut inside from the left before hitting a low shot that the keeper could only help into the net.

There might have been another goal for the hosts soon after, but Tzanev redeemed himself by keeping out a dipping Curtis free-kick.

They still had to stay alert at the other end, though, and Jack Rudoni wasted a decent opening by dragging the ball wide.

Bazunu then dived acrobatically to his left to cling onto a long-range effort from Osew, as the action continued to switch from one end to the next.

Cowley made one last attacking throw of the dice on 83 minutes, with the tiring Jacobs replaced by Harrison.

Bazunu then did well to dive at the feet of Osew inside the area after the Wimbledon right-back had found some space.

Pompey threw bodies forward in search of another goal, but time appeared to be running out on them.

Then, with just a minute of normal time remaining, HARNESS collected a Morrell pass and hit a low shot that clipped the inside of the post on its way into the net.

There was still time for a bit more late drama, as a Dons corner found substitute Ethan Chislett, whose shot was claimed by Bazunu.

Pompey (4-4-2): Bazunu; Romeo, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Harness, Thompson (Morrell 56), Williams, Jacobs (Harrison 82); Curtis, Hirst (Hackett 53)
Goals: Jacobs 63, Harness 89
Booked: Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Azeez, Gassan

AFC Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Tzanev; Osew, Heneghan, Czoka, Guinness-Walker; Hartigan, Woodyard (c); Assal (Chislett 82), McCormick (Marsh 76), Rudoni; Palmer (Pressley 76)
Goals: Palmer 24 (pen)
Booked: Assal
Subs not used: Oualah, Charles, Jenkins, Mebude

Referee: Thomas Bramall

Attendance: 16,234 (910 away fans)

Nov 132021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Wycombe Wanderers 0
Portsmouth 1



Marcus Harness netted his seventh goal of the season as Pompey earned a hard-fought victory at high-flying Wycombe.

The forward bundled the ball home after good work from Ronan Curtis and George Hirst to secure the points.

Alex Bass had earlier saved a poor penalty from Joe Jacobson to ensure the sides went in level at the break.

And the Blues had to survive a torrent of late pressure before the noisy travelling army were able to celebrate.

Danny Cowley made three enforced changes from the side that beat Harrow Borough in the FA Cup the previous week.

With Gavin Bazunu and Joe Morrell both away on international duty, Bass and Louis Thompson came into the starting line-up.

The other switch saw Hirst – fresh from his Papa John’s Trophy heroics – replace the injured John Marquis up front.

Reeco Hackett is also nursing a knock, as three members of the academy side occupied spots on the bench.

There was also an alteration to the formation, with Harness playing behind Curtis and Hirst at the tip of a diamond midfield.

The first half was an absorbing – often frantic – affair, with both sides causing problems going forward.

And the trickery of Harness drew an early foul from Jordan Obita that saw the former Fratton loanee receive a yellow card.

But the Wycombe winger was soon causing trouble of his own and fired in a low shot that struck the outside of the post.

A chance for Brandon Hanlan also rolled harmless wide, while strong defending from Anthony Stewart at the other end prevented Curtis from getting on the end of a Harness delivery.

Hirst was proving to be a lively presence up front and an effort from the edge of the box rolled past the post.

Bass then launched an attack after claiming a Jason McCarthy cross and when the ball eventually landed for Harness, he fired wastefully over.

There was a spot of controversy when Thompson took a tumble over Obita inside the area, only to have his penalty appeals waved away by referee Neil Hair.

And the mood did not improve when Anis Mehmeti collided with Sean Raggett and the Blues defender was deemed to have committed a foul.

Jacobson stepped up to take the penalty, but hit the ball straight down the middle and Bass made the save.

Pompey’s bench were raving about the two decisions, with both of the Cowley brothers being booked.

Hirst had a chance to get the visitors on top after racing onto a precise long pass from Shaun Williams.

He did well to hold off the challenge of Ryan Tafazolli and get past the defender, but David Stockdale dived at the striker’s feet to claim the ball.

Half Time

Wycombe Wanderers 0

Portsmouth 0

The Blues almost broke the deadlock soon after the restart when Harness slipped a neat pass through to Hirst.

It was a clean strike from the Leicester loanee, but Stockdale made a superb save to push the ball over.

And there was another opportunity from the resulting corner that was whipped in by Miguel Azeez, but Raggett could not quite keep his header down.

It was a similar story again a few moments later, although this time the centre-back nodded the ball downwards and it bounced wide.

The Chairboys had a chance of their own just before the hour mark, but Mehmeti’s fierce strike was beaten away by Bass.

Pompey were certainly looking capable of scoring and a teasing Curtis cross was just out of reach for Hirst after the Republic of Ireland international had been found by a fine Harness pass.

Curtis then had a chance of his own, but his angled shot flew agonisingly past the post, with Stockdale perhaps getting his fingertips to it.

Cowley made a switch on 68 minutes, providing a midfield refresh by replacing Azeez with Michael Jacobs.

Thompson then did well to surge forward in the centre of the pitch and find Harness, whose low shot was spilled by Stockdale, but grabbed at the second attempt.

And the goal the visitors deserved did arrive on 73 minutes after Curtis sent a fine pass down the left.

That sent Hirst racing clear and he unselfishly squared for HARNESS, who took a poor first touch, but slid in to make sure the ball crossed the line.

Wycombe threw on former Blues winger David Wheeler and Adebayo Akinfenwa in an attempt to find a leveller.

And the latter soon had a chance to score, but could not keep his header down from an Anthony Stewart centre.

The hosts were forcing plenty of late pressure on their opponents, which led to a few nervy moments.

Hirst received a standing ovation for his tireless display as he made way for Gassan Ahadme for the closing stages.

But it looked like Wanderers had levelled late on when McCarthy’s shot hit the inside of the post and his follow-up was blocked by Raggett.

Six minutes of stoppage-time lifted the home side’s spirits, but Bass made a brilliant save to keep out Sam Vokes’ header at the death.

He then did the same again, this time to deny Akinfenwa from point-blank range and ensure the Blues would depart with all three points.

Wycombe (3-4-3): Stockdale; Stewart, Tafazolli, Jacobson (c) (Wheeler 76); McCarthy, Thompson, Scowen, Obita; Mehmeti (Akinfenwa 76), Vokes, Hanlan
Booked: Obita, Jacobson, McCarthy
Subs not used: Przybek, Grimmer, Forino, Pendlebury, Parsons

Pompey (4-1-2-1-2): Bass; Romeo, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Williams; Thompson, Azeez (Jacobs 68); Harness (Downing 90); Hirst (Gassan 86), Curtis
Goals: Harness 73
Booked: Bass
Subs not used: Steward, Freeman, Kaba, Hughes

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 6,471 (1,420 Pompey fans)

Nov 092021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 3
Crystal Palace U21 0



Pompey snuck into the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy after comfortably beating Crystal Palace’s under-21 side at Fratton Park.

Miguel Azeez, Gassan Ahadme and George Hirst all opened their accounts for the club – the latter in stoppage-time – in a performance that was full of attacking verve.

And with AFC Wimbledon narrowly beaten at Sutton, it opened the door for the Blues to overhaul the former side on goals scored to finish second in the standings.

Danny Cowley made eight changes from the side that beat Harrow to progress in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Sean Raggett was handed the captain’s armband, while Connor Ogilvie and Azeez also remained in the line-up.

Academy teenagers Adam Payce and Harvey Hughes were both handed senior debuts, while several more members of the under-18 side filled the bench.

Alex Bass returned between the sticks, with Kieron Freeman, Louis Thompson, Michael Jacobs, Gassan and George Hirst also started.

The young Eagles were first to threaten when John-Kymani Gordon wriggled his way into space and saw a shot deflected against the outside of the post.

But the Blues soon began to dominate proceedings and had a great chance to break the deadlock on 14 minutes.

Hughes’ clearance was flicked on by Gassan and Hirst raced away, taking a great touch to beat his man, but then getting the shot with the outside of his boot all wrong.

It then almost became a dream debut for Hughes, with the left-back hitting a low drive that Owen Goodman turned around the post.

The chances continued to come and Hirst was so close to opening his Pompey account after Gassan’s initial effort had been blocked.

He hit a low shot that appeared destined for the net, but Goodman got down to his right to make a superb save.

And the opening goal did finally arrive on 32 minutes, as Hirst and Gassan combined to find AZEEZ, with the Arsenal loanee calmly finding the net.

The lead was almost doubled soon after, with Thompson surging forward and laying the ball off for Jacobs, with the winger’s effort smothered by Goodman.

But Palace thought they had levelled after stealing possession and working the ball through to Rob Street.

The striker neatly curled his shot into the net and celebrated in front of the Fratton End, only to be cut short by an offside flag.

And the hosts had the final say of the first half, as Jacobs hit a fine shot that bent agonisingly past the upright.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Crystal Palace U21 0

Cowley made a change at the break, with academy midfielder Harry Jewitt-White replacing Thompson in the centre of the park.

Hirst’s hunt for a goal took him close again, as the striker showed neat footwork after collecting a Jacobs pass and sent a low shot inches past the post.

And the advantage was doubled on 54 minutes, when a fine right-sided cross from Freeman was smartly headed home by GASSAN.

Pompey continued to push forward in search of more goals and Hirst had an effort blocked, with the Eagles forced into some desperate defending.

The striker just did not have luck on his side and Goodman just about managed to scoop his header – from a Jacobs corner – off the line.

With AFC Wimbledon narrowly losing at Sutton, the Blues still required one more goal to reach the knockout stages.

They had to be alert at the other end, although Bass was not overly troubled by a low drive from David Omilabu.

Palace then went closer to getting on the scoresheet, as a Malachi Boateng thunderbolt cannoned against the post.

Pompey were still hunting for a goal of their own, though, and Hirst’s ambitious 35-yard strike flew straight at Goodman following a fine pass from Jewitt-White.

Another youngster was then introduced from the bench for the closing stages, with Payce making way for Alfie Bridgman.

Hirst went close again in stoppage-time, but his shot took a wicked deflection and sneaked just past the post.

But he did finally get the goal his overall performance deserved from the resulting corner that was taken by Azeez.

His delivery was helped on by Gassan and HIRST was able to bundle the ball home and celebrate in front of the Fratton End.

There was then a wait to see if Sutton would hold onto their lead over AFC Wimbledon before Pompey’s place in the knockout stages was confirmed.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie, Hughes; Thompson (Jewitt-White 46), Azeez; Payce (Bridgman 88), Gassan (Kaba 90+5), Jacobs; Hirst
Goals: Azeez 32, Gassan 54, Hirst 90+2
Subs not used: Steward, Setters, Howell, Gifford

Crystal Palace U21 (4-1-4-1): Goodman; D.Boateng, Quick, Rich-Baghuelou, Watson (Imray 76); M.Boateng (c); Omilabu, Kirby (Mooney 76), Roles (Taylor 57), Gordon; Street
Subs not used: Izquierdo, Thiselton, Sheridan, Cadogan

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 1,660 (171 away fans)

Nov 062021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H FA Cup
Portsmouth 1
Harrow Borough 0



Pompey booked their spot in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup with relative ease after seeing off plucky Harrow Borough at Fratton Park.

Marcus Harness scored the only goal of the game in the first half following good work from Mahlon Romeo.

And there were plenty of other chances to make the margin of victory greater, but the Blues were unable to convert them.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that drew with Cheltenham in the league earlier in the week.

Miguel Azeez was handed just his second start for the club, while Shaun Williams also returned, as Reeco Hackett and Louis Thompson dropped to the bench.

With sides allowed to name nine players on the bench, academy duo Harry Jewitt-White and Harvey Hughes were included named among the substitutes.

Ahead of Armistice Day, there was a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

When the action began, it did not come as a surprise to see the home side dominating both possession and territory.

Pompey were immediately on the attack, with Azeez and Ronan Curtis both seeing efforts blocked in quick succession.

Harness then sent in a teasing low delivery from the right that was agonisingly out of reach for both Azeez and John Marquis.

And a stretching Curtis was then unable to guide a header on target after meeting another fine cross from the lively Harness.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although Gavin Bazunu was called into action to deal with an angled James Ewington attempt.

Pompey were doing most of the attacking and Joe Morrell released Romeo down the right, with the full-back’s fierce drive parried away by Joe Strizovic.

Curtis was next to try his luck, collecting a pass from Connor Ogilvie and fizzing a long-range shot narrowly over the bar.

But the breakthrough did arrive on 28 minutes, when Romeo was afforded space to gallop down the right.

He then cut the ball back perfectly for HARNESS, who was left in plenty of space to coolly slot into the net.

The lead should have been doubled just a few seconds later, as a sliding Marquis somehow failed to connect with a low Harness centre.

And when Sean Raggett met an Azeez corner with a firm header, Strizovic dived to his left to push the ball to safety.

There was one heart-in-mouth moment at the opposite end, as Raggett’s short back-pass gifted a chance to Ewington, but Bazunu came to the rescue by tackling the striker.

The centre-back tried to make amends just before the break, with his header from a Harness corner looping onto the roof of the net.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Harrow Borough 0

Pompey picked up where they left off once the action restarted and Harness drilled a shot against the base of the post, with the loose ball not running for Curtis.

The opportunities kept coming and Romeo tried a drive after Marquis’ effort had been blocked into his path.

It was a clean strike from the full-back and Strizovic almost spilled it over the line, but recovered to grab hold of the ball at the second attempt.

But Harrow were still sitting deep, forcing the Blues to pass the ball around patiently and search for openings.

Cowley freshened up his forward line on the hour mark, with Azeez making way for Gassan Ahadme in the number 10 role.

And Thompson then replaced Williams, as the visitors continued to frustrate the Blues in their hunt for another goal.

They were looking to sit deep and soak up the pressure before trying to catch out their hosts on the break.

When Harness did get a shot away on 78 minutes, he was unable to catch out Strizovic at the keeper’s near post.

Cowley’s final intervention was a double switch, with Harness and Marquis withdrawn for Hackett and Michael Jacobs.

Harrow were trying their best to conjure some late cup magic, but a clean strike from George Moore flew straight into Bazunu’s arms.

But they were unable to test the keeper again during four minutes of stoppage-time, as the Blues ensured they would be in the hat for Monday night’s draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Romeo, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Morrell, Williams (Thompson 73); Harness (Hackett 83), Azeez (Gassan 60), Curtis; Marquis (Jacobs 83)
Goals: Harness 28
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Hughes, Jewitt-White, Hirst

Harrow Borough (4-1-4-1): Strizovic; Adenola, Mansfield, Preddie (c) (Cole 71), Taylor; Donnellan; Bryan (Otudeko 74), Keita (Wynter 79), Uche, Moore; Ewington
Booked: Adenola
Subs not used: Pearce, Biler, Tricker, Cain, Ozobia, Owoeye

Referee: Scott Tallis

Attendance: 6,869 (499 away fans)

Nov 022021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Cheltenham Town 1



Pompey were unable to make it back-to-back victories after being held to a draw by Cheltenham at Fratton Park.

They had recovered from falling behind to Lewis Freestone’s early strike to draw level through a fortunate Reeco Hackett finish.

There were further chances to turn one point into three, but the Blues were unable to convert any of them.

Pompey made a couple of changes from the side that beat Bolton, also on home soil, at the weekend.

Louis Thompson was handed his full league debut, while there was also a return for Joe Morrell, as Shaun Williams dropped to the bench and Ryan Tunnicliffe missed out through injury.

But the Blues got off to a dreadful start and after an Alfie May sighter had been comfortably dealt with by Gavin Bazunu, fell behind with just six minutes on the clock.

A long throw was only partially cleared and the ball ricocheted off Hackett and fell for Freestone to turn sharply and slot into the net.

The hosts were looking sloppy and guilty of too many poor touches to let their promising moments disappear.

When Marcus Harness did swing in a dangerous delivery, the ball narrowly evaded John Marquis and had to be turned behind by Matty Blair.

And the Blues steadily improved as the first half progressed and Hackett should have guided another good Harness cross on target.

Then, following a passage of patient passing play, Thompson surged forward and angled in a shot that was pushed behind by Scott Flinders.

The leveller did arrive on 32 minutes, although HACKETT looked a bit sheepish about the way in which the ball found the net.

Mahlon Romeo’s centre was punched straight to the forward by Flinders, but his shot went straight into the turf before looping home.

Cheltenham should have hit back instantly, only for Kyle Vassell to slip at the vital moment and screw wide from a few yards out.

It was the hosts looking more likely to score again as the interval approached, though, and a fizzer from Morrell flew narrowly over.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Cheltenham Town 1

They almost went ahead shortly after the restart, when Hackett met a teasing Curtis cross with a glancing header and the ball flashed just past the post.

Curtis then sent another dangerous pass over the Cheltenham back-line, but the ball ran away from Marquis as he tried to get on the end of it.

Some good work from Morrell then opened up another chance just before the hour mark, with the midfielder holding off several challenges before finding Harness.

His centre from the right went over the head of Marquis, but was met by Curtis at the back post and his header flew into the side netting.

Cowley made his first change on 70 minutes, with Thompson being replaced by Williams in the engine room.

Cheltenham were next to threaten, though, and Dan Crowley – just moments after coming on – was furious when team-mate Vassell got in the way of his shot.

Pompey then stole possession and launched their own attack, with Marquis collecting a Harness pass and angling in an attempt that was well saved by Flinders.

Another switch soon followed, as Miguel Azeez was handed his first taste of action since mid-September in place of Hackett.

The newcomer was soon involved in the action, with his corner finding Sean Raggett, whose firm header was kept out by Flinders.

That led to a spot of pinball in the box and several shots were blocked before the Robins were able to clear the danger.

Cowley’s final throw of the dice saw a change of front man, with Marquis brought off for George Hirst.

The Blues kept pushing and when Azeez brought the ball down neatly, Harness swung in a low cross that was swept over by Curtis.

But Cheltenham held on to secure a point – and ensure that a clash between the sides finished all square for the sixth time in their eight meetings.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Romeo, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Thompson (Williams 70), Morrell; Harness, Hackett (Azeez 73), Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 81)
Goals: Hackett 32
Booked: Williams, Morrell
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Jacobs, Gassan

Cheltenham (3-5-2): Flinders; Long, Pollock (Horton 56), Freestone; Blair, Sercombe (c), Thomas, Chapman (Crowley 68), Hussey; May, Vassell (Joseph 76)
Goals: Freestone 6
Booked: Hussey, Crowley
Subs not used: Evans, Barkers, Williams, Norton

Referee: Robert Lewis

Attendance: 14,322 (208 away fans)

Oct 302021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Bolton Wanderers 0



An inventive John Marquis finish was enough for Pompey to secure all three points against Bolton at Fratton Park.

The hosts had looked in control in the early moments, but their opponents struck the woodwork twice before the break.

It was a more fluent display from the Blues in the second half, though, and Marquis’ goal secured a deserved victory.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that struck late to secure a point at Accrington the previous week.

Ryan Tunnicliffe returned to the starting line-up, with Joe Morrell the man to make way and dropping to the bench.

Former Fratton loanees Eoin Doyle – who helped secure the 2016/17 League Two title – and Lloyd Isgrove were both named in the Wanderers side.

There were impeccably observed remembrance tributes before the game, as both clubs paid their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Pompey made the brighter start, dominating both possession and territory in the contest’s opening stages.

Ronan Curtis showed some tricky footwork before eventually being dispossessed in the box by Ricardo Almeida Santos.

The Republic of Ireland international then had to stretch to meet a Marcus Harness delivery and could only nod the ball wide.

And following great work on the right by Reeco Hacket, Will Aimson did well to clear before the ball could reach Marquis in the centre.

Curtis had the hosts’ best chance of the half on 25 minutes, but Joel Dixon got down well to deal with his effort.

Bolton then came back into the contest as the action progressed and a thunderous strike from Dapo Afolayan rattled the crossbar.

And Mahlon Romeo did brilliantly to clear a Nathan Delfouneso delivery and deny Doyle a simple finish.

Pompey were forced to make a change late in the half after Tunnicliffe got injured in a challenge with Afolayan.

The midfielder quickly signalled that he was unable to continue and was replaced by Louis Thompson.

There was time for one more chance for the visitors before the interval, as Declan John clipped the outside of the post from an acute angle.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Bolton Wanderers 0

Pompey regrouped at the interval and came out strongly again once the action restarted, with Sean Raggett heading a Hackett free-kick over.

But the deadlock was broken on 51 minutes, courtesy of a neat back-flick by MARQUIS and an eagle-eyed assistant.

Curtis collected the ball from Hackett on the left and sent in a low cross that the striker met with an instinctive finish.

Wanderers keeper Joel Dixon desperately tried to stop the ball from going in, but the linesman spotted that it had crossed the line.

The keeper did prevent Marquis from adding a second moments later, making a smart stop with his feet.

Pompey’s number nine was certainly busy and could not guide a Romeo cross on target before seeing a Thompson delivery taken off his head by Santos.

Curtis then waltzed his way into a shooting position, but opted to take on one defender too many and was eventually dispossessed.

Cowley made his second switch on 78 minutes, with Morrell taking over from Shaun Williams in the engine room.

And it was still the hosts looking the more likely to score again, although Curtis’ effort lacked the power to properly trouble Dixon after brilliantly bringing a Gavin Bazunu clearance under control.

The contest was not over, though, and Doyle reminded the hosts of that by nodding a Harry Brockbank cross against the top of the bar.

But the Blues were able to see out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure they earned a much-needed win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Romeo, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Tunnicliffe (Thompson 40), Williams (Morrell 78); Harness, Hackett, Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 90+4)
Goals: Marquis 51
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Azeez, Jacobs

Bolton (4-1-4-1): Dixon; Isgrove (Brockbank 72), Santos (c), Aimson (Johnston 72), John; Williams; Delfouneso (Sheehan 56), Lee, Afolayan, Kachunga; Doyle
Subs not used: Gilks, Baptiste, Gordon, Thomason

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 16,231 (1,087 away fans)

Oct 232021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Accrington Stanley 2
Portsmouth 2



A late Marcus Harness goal rescued a point for Pompey after it looked like they would leave Accrington on the back of an undeserved defeat.

The Blues created a host of chances, but only had Ronan Curtis’ early finish to show for their efforts at the interval.

Harry Pell levelled for Stanley following the restart and after surviving plenty of dangerous moments, then took the lead through Matt Butcher.

It looked like being a harsh loss, but the noisy travelling faithful were rewarded for their backing when Harness struck late on.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were beaten on home soil by Ipswich earlier in the week.

Reeco Hackett and Connor Ogilvie both returned to the starting line-up, with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Kieron Freeman dropping to the bench.

That saw a return to a back four, with Shaun Williams returning to his preferred position in the centre of midfield.

Cowley had asked for a positive reaction following successive heavy defeats and his troops responded by making a fast start.

An early corner was worked to Harness on the edge of the box and his shot had to be tipped over by Toby Savin.

And the keeper did even better to deal with a thunderous Williams attempt that followed good work from the lively Hackett.

But it was proving to be a mixed display from Savin, who quickly grabbed the loose ball from John Marquis after spilling a Lee Brown delivery.

He was then back to his best on 15 minutes, saving at the feet of Marquis after Hackett and Harness had combined brilliantly down the right.

And the Blues got the lead their pressure deserved on 15 minutes, when Brown laid the ball off for CURTIS.

The Republic of Ireland international took a few touches before hitting a low effort that bounced awkwardly in front of Savin and crept into the bottom corner.

Pompey kept attacking and Hackett was asking plenty of questions, while Williams and Joe Morrell were looking assured in the centre of the pitch.

But Stanley had a chance to level when Ethan Hamilton crossed from the right and Colby Bishop could only turn it wide.

Savin then fumbled another centre – this time from Hackett – but the home side were able to clear the danger.

And when Accrington enjoyed a spell of pressure and won a corner, it almost led to another Pompey goal.

Morrell stole possession and launched a quick counter, with Harness showing some tricky footwork before hitting a shot that rose narrowly over the bar.

There was even a cheeky free-kick attempt by Williams from near the halfway line, although the midfielder could not find the target.

Half Time

Accrington Stanley 0

Portsmouth 1

The visitors picked up where they left off following the restart and Stanley were relieved to see the ball land safe when Savin parried an angled Hackett drive.

But the home side were level on 50 minutes after Gavin Bazunu had dived to his left to keep out Sean McConville’s strike.

The Accrington midfielder took the resulting corner and the ball was nodded on by Ross Sykes for Pell to head home from close range.

It might have got worse for the Blues, as a Hamilton effort took a big deflection off Brown and had to be dealt with Bazunu.

And Sean Raggett then suddenly appeared from nowhere to make a superb block to repel Bishop’s shot.

Pompey then went close to scoring themselves, as Savin raced from his area to deal with Bazunu’s long ball, only to swipe at thin air.

Curtis dispossessed the keeper and saw off Yeboah Amankwah’s challenge before hitting a shot from outside the box.

It appeared to be heading for the net, but Butcher got back and managed to clear the ball against the post and out to safety.

Pompey were certainly doing their best to retake the lead and Marquis rolled a shot past the post before Savin denied Harness.

Harness went close again on 69 minutes, but Sykes flung himself in the path of the ball to divert it behind.

And yet it was Stanley who went ahead for first time from a long Savin punt, with McConville playing in Butcher for a neat lobbed finish over Bazunu.

Louis Thompson immediately replaced Williams and there was a quick chance for the Blues to draw level.

Morrell’s pass found Marquis in the box, but the striker was unable to slide his shot past Savin, who saved with his foot.

A double substitution followed as Cowley made his final throw of the dice, with Morrell and Hackett making way for Tunnicliffe and Michael Jacobs.

The latter was soon involved in Pompey’s leveller on 86 minutes after combining with Marquis on the left.

Pompey’s hard-working striker sent the ball across the face of goal, where HARNESS was in space to fire home from close range.

There was still time for more late drama, but neither side were able to score again and had to settle for a point each.

Accrington (3-5-1-1): Savin; Amankwah, Nottingham, Sherring (Sykes 19); Butcher, Hamilton, Conneely (c), Morgan, McConville; Pell; Bishop
Goals: Pell 50, Butcher 77
Booked: Sykes, Hamilton
Subs not used: Trafford, O’Sullivan, Leigh, Nolan, Mansell, Malcolm

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Ogilvie, Brown (c); Morrell (Tunnicliffe 84), Williams (Thompson 78); Hackett (Jacobs 84), Harness, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 18, Harness 86
Booked: Raggett, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Azeez, Hirst

Referee: Geoff Eltringham

Attendance: 2,889 (892 Pompey fans)

Oct 192021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 0
Ipswich Town 4



Pompey endured a chastening night on the south coast as they fell to a heavy home defeat against Ipswich.

There was more generosity on display from the Blues to allow Macauley Bonne to break the deadlock at the end of an even first half.

But the Tractor Boys were on top throughout the second period and Conor Chaplin doubled their lead against his former club.

And it quickly got worse for Pompey, with Sone Aluko and Wes Burns both finding the target to leave Fratton Park stunned.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that were beaten on the road at Rotherham at the weekend.

Ronan Curtis returned from suspension to replace Connor Ogilvie, with Shaun Williams dropping back into defence.

Chaplin was in the visitors’ forward line, while there were also plenty of familiar faces in the dug-out, with Paul Cook’s backroom team including Gary Roberts and John Keeley.

There was not too much between the sides during the first half, but it was arguably Pompey who settled quicker.

And Christian Walton would have been relieved to see the ball fly safe after his clearance hit Curtis in the opening seconds.

Bonne nodded a cross from Lee Evans over the bar at the other end, but clear-cut openings were not exactly flowing.

The best arrived for the hosts on 15 minutes, with Marcus Harness only able to slot narrowly wide after meeting a low delivery from Lee Brown.

It was still the Blues looking the more assured side as the interval approached, but they were unable to properly test Walton.

And they undid all their good work by gifting the Tractor Boys an extremely soft opener on 41 minutes.

Gavin Bazunu took too much time on the ball and was dispossessed Bonne, who still had to keep the ball in play and then slam it into the net from an acute angle.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Ipswich Town 1

The Tractor Boys were quicker out of the blocks once the action restarted and they soon doubled their advantage.

Chaplin became the second striker to haunt his former club in a matter of days, neatly turning home a low Janoi Donacien delivery.

And he then turned provider to feed Aluko, whose shot squirmed under Bazunu’s hand and rolled over the line.

Cowley made his first substitution just past the hour mark, with George Hirst on to replace John Marquis up front.

And a second switch in the forward line followed moments later, as Harness made way for Reeco Hackett.

Pompey were being frustrated in the attempts to get back into the contest and struggled to find any rhythm going forward.

The third – and final – switch was in the heart of defence on 73 minutes, with Ogilvie coming on for Williams.

But it failed to halt the tide and substitute Burns soon turned in a low Donacien centre to increase the Tractor Boys’ lead.

The Fratton faithful made their displeasure known, but there was warm applause for Chaplin when he was brought off.

Walton was finally called into action late on and denied the hosts a consolation by making a smart save from Hirst.

But that was about as good as it got for Pompey, who must now find a way to recover ahead of Saturday’s tricky trip to Accrington.

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Williams (Ogilvie 73); Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c); Harness (Hackett 69), Marquis (Hirst 64), Curtis
Booked: Curtis, Harness
Subs not used: Bass, Thompson, Azeez, Jacobs

Ipswich (4-2-3-1): Walton; Donacien, Nsiala, Edmundson, Penney; Evans, Morsy (c); Aluko (Celina 85), Chaplin (Harper 78), Edwards (Burns 64); Bonne
Goals: Bonne 41, Chaplin 54, Aluko 58, Burns 75
Booked: Edmundson, Morsy
Subs not used: Hladky, Burgess, El Mizouni, Barry

Referee: Joshua Smith

Attendance: 16,301 (1,260 away fans)

Oct 162021

Portsmouth FC

A League 1
Rotherham United 4
Portsmouth 1



Pompey suffered a second half capitulation as they were beaten heavily by promotion hopefuls Rotherham at New York Stadium.

The visitors were arguably the better side before the break, only for Michael Smith to haunt his former club by breaking the deadlock.

Marcus Harness levelled quicky after the break and suddenly the Blues sensed they could claim all three points.

Their hope did not last long, however, as the Millers netted three times in the space of seven minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

Smith was handed his second goal of the afternoon on a plate, with Richard Wood and Ben Wiles soon piling on the misery.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that thrashed Sunderland on home soil a fortnight earlier.

Defender Connor Ogilvie came in for his first appearance in more than a month after picking up a quad injury.

He replaced the suspended Ronan Curtis in a three-man back-line, while Shaun Williams returned to the midfield.

Meanwhile, injured Pompey skipper Clark Robertson – who used to play for the Millers – was sat with the travelling fans.

It was the visitors who made the brighter start and they enjoyed more possession and greater territorial advantage in the opening stages.

Williams had an early chance with a fierce long-range effort that kept awkwardly and was just about diverted over by Viktor Johansson.

There were plenty of forays forward from the Blues and balls into the box that were either intercepted or would not quite land right.

Michael Ihiekwe did particularly well to prevent a cross from Harness finding John Marquis in the centre.

Rotherham had offered little, but almost took the lead on 17 minutes when a Dan Barlaser free-kick was headed on by Ihiekwe.

It looked like being a simple finish for Rarmani Edmonds-Green at the back post, only for Gavin Bazunu to somehow claw the ball away.

Pompey, meanwhile, were showcasing plenty of energy, without being able to penetrate their opponents’ back-line.

And the hosts made them pay on 29 minutes, as Smith was left unmarked to head home a fine Wes Harding cross.

There was a quick chance to level when Williams was fouled just outside the box, but Harness curled the free-kick wide.

And Johansson did well to clear the danger before Marquis could charge him down just before the break.

Half Time

Rotherham United 1

Portsmouth 0

Cowley’s message at the interval seemed to do the trick, as Pompey were level within five minutes of the restart.

Joe Morrell can take some of the credit, making a well-timed sliding challenge to halt a dangerous Will Grigg surge.

And the visitors went up the other end to score, with HARNESS collecting a pass from Ryan Tunnicliffe and arrowing a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

But just as they started to get on top in the contest once again, the Millers were gifted back their advantage.

A shot from Ollie Rathbone flew straight at Bazunu, but the keeper failed to hold on and Smith capitalised.

His initial attempt was brilliantly blocked by Kieron Freeman, only for the loose ball to fall back to the striker, who found the net with a neat back-heel.

And Rotherham went further ahead on the hour mark, with nobody picking up Wood as he raced in to head home a Barlaser free-kick.

Pompey had collapsed and it soon got even worse, as Wiles collected Mickel Miller’s pass, turned neatly and fired in a fourth goal for the hosts.

Bazunu then managed to stop the rot by diving to his right and pushing behind a fierce free-kick from Barlaser.

Cowley tried to freshen things up by making a substitution on 70 minutes, as George Hirst came on to face his former club in place of Marquis.

And two more quickly followed, with Reeco Hackett and Louis Thompson replacing Tunnicliffe and Williams.

Bazunu then had to be at his best to keep out another Barlaser free-kick, courtesy of an acrobatic dive to his right.

Rotherham then saw out the final few moments with relative ease to ensure the Blues would make the long trip home on the back of a heavy defeat.

Rotherham (3-1-4-2): Johansson; Edmonds-Green, Wood (c), Ihiekwe (Ogbene 54); Barlaser; Harding, Rathbone, Wiles, Miller; Smith (Kayode 81), Grigg (Ladapo 68)
Goals: Smith 29, 55, Wood 60, Wiles 62
Booked: Ihiekwe, Rathbone
Subs not used: Vickers, Ferguson, Odoffin, Sadlier

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Williams (Thompson 73), Brown (c); Tunnicliffe (Hackett 72); Harness, Marquis (Hirst 70)
Goals: Harness 49
Booked: Romeo, Freeman
Subs not used: Bass, Jacobs, Azeez, Gassan

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 9,684 (1,242 Pompey fans)

Oct 122021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 0
Sutton United 2



Pompey’s hopes of progressing to the Papa John’s Trophy knockout stages were left hanging by a thread following a 2-0 defeat to Sutton at Fratton Park.

It was a Southern Group B contest that never really threatened to move out of second gear and was largely a dull affair.

But Isaac Olaofe managed to break the deadlock after the interval and the Blues were then reduced to 10 men.

Ellis Harrison picked up an injury soon after coming off the bench and with three substitutions having already been made, nobody could replace him.

The visitors from League Two – who secured the National League title last term – then wrapped things up through Louis John.

Danny Cowley made eight changes from the side that beat Sunderland in wetter conditions in the league 10 days earlier.

Mahlon Romeo, Sean Raggett, and skipper Lee Brown were the only players to keep their place, with the latter two joined by Paul Downing in a back three protecting Alex Bass.

That meant Reeco Hackett was utilised as a left-sided wing-back, while Haji Mnoga partnered Louis Thompson in midfield.

Michael Jacobs was handed an attacking free role behind the loanee front pairing of George Hirst and Gassan Ahadme.

To say there were not an abundance of chances in the opening 45 minutes would be generous to say the least.

There was a complete lack of any entertainment for the small crowd, with the multiple changes for both sides probably not helping matters.

Hackett sent a free-kick thudding into the wall following a foul on Thompson, who was providing plenty of energy in the middle of the pitch.

A Will Randall corner at the other end then caused problems, only for Joe Kizzi to nod straight into the arms of Bass.

Thompson soon found space to surge forward, but saw his drilled effort bravely blocked by Coby Rowe.

But that was about it in terms of noteworthy action, with neither team able to find any kind of rhythm.

And the Blues were dealt a blow just before the break, as Downing limped off injured to be replaced by Kieron Freeman.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sutton United 0

Cowley made another substitution immediately after the interval, with Mnoga making way for Shaun Williams.

It was Sutton who were first to threaten when the action restarted, although Bass was not overly troubled by Tobi Sho-Silva’s shot.

A cross from Hackett was then dropped by United keeper Dean Bouzanis, but the ball was hacked clear before Raggett could capitalise.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 55 minutes, however, after Olaofe met a low cross from Ricky Korboa.

His first attempt was blocked by Freeman, but the loose ball ran kindly for the striker to fire into the net.

Harrison had been waiting patiently to come onto the pitch before the goal was scored and quickly replaced Gassan.

But his evening did not last long, with the striker getting injured in a challenge and limping from the pitch.

He tried to run it off before eventually disappearing down the tunnel and leaving the Blues a man light for the final quarter of the contest.

And Sutton soon made the most of their numerical advantage, as a Randall free-kick was nodded back by Kizzi for John to tuck away.

They might have added a late gloss to the scoreline, but substitute Richie Bennett twice finished wastefully inside the box.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bass; Downing (Freeman 43), Raggett, Brown (c); Romeo, Mnoga (Williams 46), Thompson, Hackett; Jacobs; Hirst, Gassan (Harrison 56)
Booked: Jacobs
Subs not used: Steward, Kaba, Hughes, Tunnicliffe

Sutton (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Kizzi, Rowe, John, Wyatt; Korboa, Beautyman (c) (Eastmond 74), Smith, Randall; Sho-Silva (Bennett 65), Olaofe (Boldewijn 61)
Goals: Olaofe 55, John 71
Booked: Eastmond
Subs not used: Palmer, Lovatt, Milsom, Ajiboye

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 2,490 (198 away fans)

Oct 022021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 4
Sunderland 0



Pompey produced their best display of the season to thrash League One leaders Sunderland at a sodden Fratton Park.

The job was done by half-time, with Marcus Harness completing a fine team move to open the scoring on his 100th appearance.

Skipper Lee Brown soon doubled the advantage, while John Marquis added a third goal just before the interval.

And with Marquis netting again following the restart, the only question was whether the rain would scupper things.

There was certainly plenty of standing water in the corners, but not enough to trouble referee Ben Toner.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that had been beaten on the road by Burton earlier in the week.

It might have come as a surprise to some following a performance at the Pirelli Stadium that was below-par at best.

But it looked an inspired decision following a first half display that blew the table-topping visitors away.

Pompey dominated from the off, dealing with the treacherous conditions – that left standing water on the south side of the ground – much better than their opponents.

Harness saw an early attempt deflected over, while Tom Flanagan did well to stop the same player receiving a square pass from Marquis.

But he did break the deadlock on 19 minutes by completing a fine team move that started with Gavin Bazunu.

He found Brown on the left and the skipper played a neat one-two with Ronan Curtis before finding HARNESS, who drilled a low shot inside Thorben Hoffmann’s near post.

Sunderland did have an early chance to level with a free-kick from Luke O’Nien that was curled narrowly over.

And there was a scary moment when Bazunu tried to roll the ball out for Kieron Freeman, only for it to get stuck in the sodden turf and have to be hurriedly dealt with by the defender.

But the Blues had a cushion on 33 minutes – and it was another impressive goal that saw them double their advantage.

Curtis did well to win back possession on the left and a low centre from Harness was back-heeled by Marquis for BROWN to fire home.

They kept pouring forward and Harness was not far off target with a curling strike after cutting in from the left.

And there was still time for things to get even better for the hosts when Carl Winchester was penalised for a foul on the impressive Curtis on the left.

The Republic of Ireland international took the free-kick himself and MARQUIS got in front of Dennis Cirkin to flick the ball into the net.

Half Time

Portsmouth 3

Sunderland 0

The conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the interval and the ball was getting particularly held up in the corners once the action restarted.

Pompey kept trying to add to their lead, though, and an instinctive effort from Curtis was not too far off target.

And Shaun Williams went close just before the hour mark, meeting Brown’s corner with a header that was just about prevented from crossing the line by Hoffmann.

But the Blues did go further ahead a few moments later after Joe Morrell curled a fine ball into the box.

MARQUIS stooped to meet it and although his header was kept out by Hoffmann, the striker was left with a simple tap-in.

There was almost another goal when Harness stayed onside to collect an incisive pass from Curtis and square for Ryan Tunnicliffe.

The midfielder tried to chip the ball over the advancing Hoffmann, but the keeper stayed upright to keep it out.

That was the last piece of action for Harness, who received a standing ovation after making way for Louis Thompson.

There was no let-up from the Blues as the game entered its closing stages, with their work-rate never dropping.

Fratton Park rose to its feet to applaud Marquis – who had provided two goals and one assist – when he made way for Ellis Harrison.

And the final few minutes passed by without incident to ensure that the home faithful went home singing in the rain.

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Williams; Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c); Harness (Thompson 74), Curtis, Marquis (Harrison 85)
Goals: Harness 19, Brown 33, Marquis 45, 61
Booked: Tunnicliffe, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Jacobs, Hackett, Hirst

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Hoffmann; Winchester, Flanagan, Wright, Cirkin; Evans (c) (Neil 74), O’Nien; O’Brien, Embleton (Doyle 46), Dajaku (Pritchard 68); Stewart
Booked: Neil
Subs not used: Burge, Huggins, Alves, Taylor

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 17,418 (2,110 away fans)