Sep 282021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Burton Albion 2
Portsmouth 1



Pompey’s wait for a win continued as they slipped to a League One defeat against Burton at a soggy Pirelli Stadium.

The hosts twice stole possession from the Blues to score, with Tom O’Connor’s first half strike added to by Daniel Jebbison.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild came off the bench to reduce the deficit with a fine free-kick, but there was to be no equaliser.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that were unfortunate to pick up just a point at Charlton on Saturday.

There was one switch among the substitutes, however, as Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez made way for Michael Jacobs.

It was the home side that made the brighter start and when a free-kick was only partially cleared, Michael Bostwick’s shot had to be turned around the post by Gavin Bazunu.

Jonny Smith then angled an attempt wide of the post before Jebbison saw efforts blocked by Kieron Freeman and Sean Raggett in quick succession.

But then it was Pompey’s turn to take control and when John Marquis rose to meet Mahlon Romeo’s cross, his header was saved by Ben Garratt.

Romeo then had a chance of his own after cutting inside from the right and hitting a fierce left-footed strike narrowly off target.

And a hooked Joe Morrell clearance up the pitch soon led to a race between Garratt and Ronan Curtis.

It was the keeper that just about got their first and although he made a mess of dealing with the danger, the ball would not fall kindly for the Pompey forward to capitalise.

Both sides were looking capable of breaking the deadlock as the first half progressed and the rain kept falling.

But it was the Brewers that did score on 32 minutes after stealing possession, with Lucas Akins squaring for O’Connor to fire home from the edge of the box.

And although it was Pompey who were on top as the interval approached, they could not find that crucial final ball to trouble their hosts.

Half Time

Burton Albion 1

Portsmouth 0

The contest did not spark immediately into life after the restart and the Blues were still struggling in the final third.

There was a chance when Lee Brown’s cross was flicked on by Curtis, but Romeo could not keep his hooked shot down.

Burton were not just sitting on their lead, though, and it took some last-gasp defending from first Freeman and then Raggett to deny them.

And it then required a superb diving save from Bazunu to keep out a swerving long-range strike from Charlie Lakin.

But the hosts did double their lead on the hour mark, as Pompey got caught in possession again and Jebbison took advantage by curling home.

Cowley immediately responded with a triple change, as Marquis, Freeman and Ryan Tunnicliffe made way for Ellis Harrison, Louis Thompson and Hackett-Fairchild.

It was the latter who got the Blues back into the contest, with HACKETT-FAIRCHILD’s fine free-kick flying into the net following a foul on Morrell.

That gave the large travelling army of fans reason to cheer – although they had barely stopped since the first whistle.

Burton kept looking to attack themselves and Lakin missed a great chance when the ball found him unmarked at the back post, only for the midfielder to swipe at thin air.

Bazunu then came to the rescue, using his legs to make a save when a ricochet sent Akins through on goal.

Pompey immediately launched a quick break up the pitch and Harrison took a tumble to the turf, but referee Tom Nield waved away his appeals.

And when the ball fell for Thompson on the edge of the box soon after, the substitute’s shot was deflected inches off target.

The game threatened to boil over in the closing stages, with a series of yellow cards being brandished by the rather fussy Nield.

A display of six additional minutes then provided some hope, but efforts from Thompson and Harness were blocked and time ran out for the Blues.

Burton (4-2-3-1): Garratt; Brayford (c), Bostwick (Leak 53), Shaughnessy, Hamer; Oshilaja, O’Connor; Smith, Lakin (Maddox 76), Akins; Jebbison (Hemmings 64)
Goals: O’Connor 32, Jebbison 60
Booked: Smith, Lakin, Jebbison
Subs not used: Balcombe, Borthwick-Jackson, Chapman, Patrick

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Freeman (Hackett-Fairchild 61), Raggett, Williams; Romeo, Tunnicliffe (Thompson 61), Morrell, Brown (c); Harness, Marquis (Harrison 61), Curtis
Goals: Hackett-Fairchild 64
Booked: Raggett, Brown, Hackett-Fairchild, Harness
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Jacobs, Hirst

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 2,810

Sep 252021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Charlton Athletic 2
Portsmouth 2



Pompey twice let a lead slip and were forced to settle for a point against Charlton, despite a largely impressive performance at The Valley.

Ronan Curtis had given them an early advantage with an excellent strike and it was a dominant display before the break.

The hosts were better in the second period, however, and substitute Sean Clare levelled before Harness hit back for the Blues.

But with time running out, another replacement struck for the Addicks, with Josh Davison ensuring the spoils would be shared.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that dramatically drew with Plymouth on home soil earlier in the week.

It meant that Sean Raggett made his 100th appearance for the club, flanked by Shaun Williams and Kieron Freeman in a back three.

Former Pompey players Craig MacGillivray, Jason Pearce and Jayden Stockley all started for the hosts, while Stephen Henderson was on the bench.

The visitors came charging out of the blocks and it came as no surprise to see them break the deadlock on six minutes.

It was a fine goal from CURTIS, who collected a pass from Mahlon Romeo and sent a shot dipping over MacGillivray and underneath the crossbar.

Charlton almost hit back immediately when Elliot Lee raced onto Jonathan Leko’s pass and fired in a low effort that hit the inside of Gavin Bazunu’s leg and flew narrowly past the post.

The Blues were the team in control, though, and the home support were growing increasingly frustrated at the way their side were being cut through.

Manager Nigel Adkins was the focus of their ire, while his Southampton connections ensured the travelling fans also offered plenty of stick.

Only some fine defending from Pearce and Adam Matthews prevented Harness and Marquis respectively from testing MacGillivray.

The lead should have been doubled on 19 minutes when Harness found Marquis unmarked in the box.

He took a poor first touch, however, and despite recovering to get a shot away, could only screw the ball wide.

Pompey were showcasing some neat passing football and looking capable of adding to their slender lead.

But the Addicks finally enjoyed some joy going forward towards the end of the first half and Bazunu had to adjust his feet to deal with a swerving Leko strike.

Alex Gilbey then surged forward and swapped passes with Leko before hitting a low effort that Bazunu kept out with his leg.

The visitors had the final say before the break, though, and Marquis flicked a Ryan Tunnicliffe delivery narrowly wide.

Half Time

Charlton Athletic 0

Portsmouth 1

While Pompey had started the first half in impressive fashion, it was their opponents who were brighter straight after the restart.

Raggett conceded a free-kick to the right of the box and the free-kick was cut back by Lee for Clare – who had been on the pitch for a matter of seconds – to slot home the equaliser.

The Blues looked to build again, although Curtis could not repeat his earlier magic after finding space to run into and dragged a shot wide.

And the Addicks were still looking threatening at the other end, with Lee’s strike forcing Bazunu into action.

Lee Brown had tried to halt that attack with a cynical foul on Clare and referee Antony Coggins went back to book the skipper.

It was then Pompey’s turn to challenge, although Curtis’ cross was just behind Romeo, whose header lacked the power to properly trouble MacGillivray.

The action was continuing to switch from one side of the pitch to the other and a Charlton corner almost led to the visitors retaking the lead.

Curtis broke quickly up the pitch and slipped in Harness and he tried to find Marquis in the middle, but Clare slid in to make a crucial interception.

They did go back into the lead on 72 minutes, however, as Tunnicliffe’s pass was neatly flicked on by Marquis for HARNESS to confidently slide into the net.

Pompey set about trying to wrap things up and MacGillivray was called into action twice in quick succession to deal with shots from Harness and Marquis.

A change soon followed from Cowley, with Reeco Hackett-Fairchild coming on against his former club in place of Harness.

And another switch came along moments later, as George Hirst replaced the tireless Marquis up front.

But Charlton hit back in the closing stages, with two of their substitutes combining to find another equaliser.

Corey Blackett-Taylor escaped down the right and squared the ball for the onrushing Davison to slam home from close range and deny the Blues a win.

Charlton (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Matthews, Lavelle, Pearce (c), Souare; Watson; Leko, Arter (Clare 46), Gilbey, Lee (Blackett-Taylor 82); Stockley (Davison 82)
Goals: Clare 47, Davison 87
Booked: Souare, Clare
Subs not used: Henderson, Famewa, Dobson, Kirk

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Williams; Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c); Harness (Hackett-Fairchild 78), Marquis (Hirst 82), Curtis
Goals: Curtis 6, Harness 72
Booked: Brown, Raggett
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Thompson, Azeez, Harrison

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 16,278 (2,995 Pompey fans)

Sep 212021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Plymouth Argyle 2



Sean Raggett scored deep into stoppage-time to ensure Pompey and Plymouth would draw 2-2 for the third meeting in succession.

It appeared as though the Blues were slipping to a fourth successive League One defeat after Ryan Hardie raced clear to score twice in the second half at Fratton Park.

That came after Lee Brown had doubled his tally for the season by converting a low free-kick for the hosts in the early stages.

Argyle were seemingly heading for the third tier summit, but Pompey kept pushing and were rewarded for their efforts with Raggett’s late contribution.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side beaten by Cambridge – also on home soil – at the weekend.

Kieron Freeman, Joe Morrell and John Marquis all returned to the starting line-up, as Paul Downing, Miguel Azeez and Ellis Harrison dropped to the bench.

It meant a switch to a 3-4-1-2 system, with Freeman and Shaun Williams either side of Raggett at the back.

Ronan Curtis moved into a more advanced position alongside Marquis, while Marcus Harness floated in behind.

And the change had an instant impact, as the home side broke the deadlock with less than six minutes on the clock.

Conor Grant was booked for bringing down Mahlon Romeo just outside the box, although Pompey players felt the punishment should have been harsher.

Curtis shaped to shoot, but instead it was BROWN who took the free-kick, slotting it under the leaping wall and into the net.

There was a moving tribute to young Blues fan Sophie Fairall, who lost her brave battle with cancer earlier in the week.

Both sets of fans broke out into applause in the 10th minute, with all the players all stopping to join in.

There was then almost another goal when a low Romeo delivery was only cleared as far as Ryan Tunnicliffe.

He tried to sneak the ball inside the near post, but Mike Cooper got down to his left to push it behind.

The contest turned niggly as the first half developed, with referee Carl Brook dishing out a total of six bookings – three for either side – before the break.

Plymouth threatened themselves as the action progressed and Gavin Bazunu dealt with Luke Jephcott’s long-range effort.

Hardie then met Grant’s pass into the box with a neat flick that flashed a matter of inches past the post.

At the other end, Brown tried to repeat his earlier trick in stoppage-time, but this time slammed a free-kick straight into the wall.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Plymouth Aryle 0

The hosts were looking for a strong start to the second half, only to concede within three minutes of the restart.

It came from their own corner, with the ball hacked up the pitch and Freeman only able to head it into the path of Hardie.

The striker raced up the pitch with only the keeper to beat and neatly lifted home his shot to draw Argyle level.

There was a positive reaction from the Fratton faithful, who continued to get behind their side after that setback.

But the goal certainly seemed to knock the players off their stride, with a few sloppy passes seeing moves break down.

Plymouth were next to seriously threaten, with Bazunu off his line to deny Jephcott and the Blues then surviving a scramble in their box.

There was soon a chance at the other end, though, as Romeo’s effort was blocked by Ryan Broom, while Curtis could not get enough power on his header when the ball ran loose.

Romeo was looking particularly lively for the Blues and met Harness’ cross with a fierce volley that rattled the post, although he had strayed narrowly offside.

And they went close again moments later following some neat passing play involving Morrell and Harness.

The latter’s low centre was turned across the face of goal by Curtis, but a stretching Marquis could not guide the ball on target.

Both sides were looking capable of scoring a winner, with the action quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.

It was Plymouth who went ahead on 80 minutes, though, after Williams misjudged a Panutche Camara pass and Hardie broke clear to score his second of the night.

A gamble was needed and Freeman and Brown were sacrificed for forwards Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and Harrison.

But Argyle were using up whatever time they could to see out the closing stages – and it appeared they had done their job.

Then, in the final seconds of stoppage-time, Curtis swung in a fine cross that was nodded down by Harrison and RAGGETT turned the ball home from close range.

There was a mixture of relief and delight as Fratton Park erupted, with the final whistle sounding moments later.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman (Harrison 87), Raggett, Williams; Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Morrell, Brown (c) (Hackett-Fairchild 84); Harness; Curtis, Marquis
Goals: Brown 6, Raggett 90+5
Booked: Raggett, Curtis, Harness
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Thompson, Azeez, Hirst

Plymouth (3-5-2): Cooper; Wilson, Scarr, Galloway; Edwards (c), Camara, Houghton, Broom (Law 85), Grant; Jephcott (Agard 90+2), Hardie (Garrick 87)
Goals: Hardie 48, 80
Booked: Grant, Edwards, Houghton
Subs not used: Burton, Gillesphey, Randell, Shirley

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 13,375 (824 away fans)

Sep 182021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Cambridge United 2



Pompey’s Fratton homecoming ended in disappointment, as they slipped to a third successive League One defeat by losing to Cambridge.

The home side were unable to make the most of their overall control of proceedings and trailed at the break to Joe Ironside’s header.

Liam O’Neil doubled United’s advantage after the break and a fine strike from Ronan Curtis was not enough for the Blues.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at MK Dons the previous week.

Miguel Azeez was handed his debut, while Mahlon Romeo made his Fratton bow and there were also starts for Ellis Harrison, Ronan Curtis and Paul Downing.

The latter replaced injured skipper Clark Robertson – with Lee Brown taking the armband – while Reeco-Hackett Fairchild, John Marquis, Joe Morrell and Kieron Freeman dropped to the bench.

There was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, with Fratton academy graduate Adam May starting in midfield.

It was a familiar story once the action got underway, as Pompey dominated possession without really testing Dimitar Mitov between the sticks.

In fairness, the visitors defended resolutely and the keeper did come off his line to collect some dangerous deliveries.

One dangerous move saw the Blues break quickly forward from a Cambridge corner, but Harrison was tackled inside the box after good work from Azeez and Marcus Harness.

Conor Masterson also made a key headed clearance when Brown tried to pick out Harrison at the back post.

It was one-way traffic, with Pompey showcasing some neat passing play as they sought a breakthrough.

But Cambridge went ahead against the run of play on 38 minutes, as Ironside hung in the air to meet George Williams’ cross, sending a header looping over Gavin Bazunu and into the net.

And they might have had a second before the break, with Bazunu getting down to deal with a long-range drive from May.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Cambridge United 1

The visitors appeared more than happy to sit back deep inside their own half when the action restarted.

It meant that Pompey had the freedom of most of the pitch, but getting inside the final third continued to prove problematic.

One break did provide an opening, as Harness found Harrison who slid the ball across goal for the advancing Ryan Tunnicliffe, only for Mitov to get there first.

Cowley made a double switch just before the hour mark, with Harrison and Azeez withdrawn for Marquis and Louis Thompson.

But United were next to threaten when a May corner was met by Ironside and his header deflected behind off Romeo.

Pompey’s third and final switch saw George Hirst replace Downing, meaning Shaun Williams dropped back into defence.

Their hopes of taking something from the game were dealt a huge blow on 69 minutes, however, as Cambridge doubled their lead.

May’s corner was only cleared as far as O’Neil on the edge of the box and he hit a half-volley into the top corner.

Hirst went down in the box under pressure from two defenders moments later, but his penalty cries were ignored by referee Gavin Ward.

And the striker then saw a shot blocked inside the box, only for the Blues to score just a few seconds later.

The ball ran loose for CURTIS, who hit a fine strike into the net from a tight angle to give the home faithful renewed hope.

Now the search was on for an equaliser, but Hirst’s shot lacked power after a neat turn on the edge of the area and Mitov made a comfortable stop.

Tempers flared in the closing stages and a bout of shoving in front of the Milton End led to Brown and George Williams both being booked.

The crowd were also growing frustrated by some apparent play-acting from the visitors to use up time, with seven minutes added on by the officials.

Pompey tried to snatch a point, but the closest they came was when Sean Raggett headed over from a Harness free-kick.

Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bazunu; Romeo, Downing (Hirst 67), Raggett, Brown (c); Williams; Harness, Tunnicliffe, Azeez (Thompson 59), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 59)
Goals: Curtis 76
Booked: Williams, Brown, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Morrell, Hackett-Fairchild

Cambridge (4-1-4-1): Mitov; Williams, Jones, Masterson, Iredale; Digby (c); Tracey (Dunk 87), May, O’Neil, Brophy; Ironside (Smith 74)
Goals: Ironside 38, O’Neil 69
Booked: Tracey, Digby, Williams
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Okedina, Weir, Lankester, Knibbs

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 15,330 (544 away fans)

Sep 112021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
MK Dons 1
Portsmouth 0



Pompey’s League One goal drought continued as they suffered a narrow loss on the road at MK Dons.

The home side dominated the first half and only a series of fine saves from Gavin Bazunu kept the scores level at the break.

It was a different story after the restart, but the Blues could not find a breakthrough and Ethan Robson completed a quick counter-attack to condemn them to defeat.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that were narrowly beaten at Wigan in the last League One outing a fortnight earlier.

Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench to make way for Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, with new signings Miguel Azeez and Mahlon Romeo joining him among the substitutes.

There was an impressive milestone for the MK Dons skipper, with Dean Lewington making his 700th league appearance for the club.

It was the home side that looked the more likely to break the deadlock before the break, with Bazunu – back from international duty – being kept busy.

He recovered from sending a poor clearance straight to Scott Twine in the opening seconds that the forward could not capitalise on.

But the Manchester City loanee was soon at his best to prevent Troy Parrott from finding the target from an acute angle.

Parrott also curled an effort past the post before Bazunu came tearing from his line to beat him to the ball.

Pompey almost made him pay for his profligacy on 17 minutes, when Hackett-Fairchild dived to meet a teasing Kieron Freeman delivery.

The wide-man sent the ball bouncing into the turf, however, and it looped up narrowly over the crossbar.

A quiet spell followed, but it was livened up again when Hiram Boateng hit a ferocious strike from the edge of the box that cannoned off the inside of the post.

Bazunu was soon called into action again, getting down low to his right to deal with Harry Darling’s downward header from a Matt O’Riley corner.

The keeper then made an even better save to stop Parrott bending the ball home after being teed-up by Twine.

Sean Raggett showed plenty of commitment to the cause, putting his head where it hurts to deal with a long ball.

But it was Bazunu at the centre of the action again just before the break, this time acrobatically dealing with a long-range Twine effort.

Half Time

MK Dons 0

Portsmouth 0

The visitors looked a bit brighter once the second half started, although an early spell of pressure came to nothing.

And Cowley decided to freshen things up with a change on 54 minutes, as Hackett-Fairchild made way for Curtis in the forward line.

A second switch followed a few moments later, with Romeo making his league debut in place of Freeman at right-back.

However, it was two men already on the pitch who combined to almost break the deadlock in Pompey’s favour on the hour mark.

Marcus Harness slipped a neat pass through to Marquis, whose low angled shot was kept out by Dons keeper Andrew Fisher.

And the striker was demanding the ball at the back post on 64 minutes, with Curtis electing to have a pop himself after cutting in from the left and drawing a parried save from Fisher.

It was a reverse of the opening half, with Pompey now looking the dominant team and posing plenty of problems.

But MK Dons showed a more clinical touch to open the scoring after breaking quickly up the pitch from a Blues corner.

Parrott’s superb cross-field pass sent Twine charging through on goal and he unselfishly squared for Robson to slot home.

Cowley soon made his final throw of the dice, with Ellis Harrison – who netted a Papa John’s Trophy treble earlier in the week – replacing Marquis up front.

But another break almost saw the home side double their lead on 81 minutes, as Parrott dithered too long over his shot before eventually rolling the ball wide.

Pompey were trying their best to get back into the contest, but MK Dons were holding firm at the back.

And they saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to ensure three successive away defeats for the Blues and have them longing for next week’s Fratton return.

MK Dons (3-4-3): Fisher; O’Hora, Darling, Lewington (c); Watson (Kioso 69), O’Riley, Robson, Harvie; Boateng (McEachran 62), Parrott (Watters 90), Twine
Goals: Robson 72
Booked: Parrott, Fisher
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, Jules, Brown, Martin

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman (Romeo 57), Raggett, Robertson (c), Brown; Morrell, Williams; Harness, Tunnicliffe, Hackett-Fairchild (Curtis 54); Marquis (Harrison 78)
Booked: Williams
Subs not used: Bass, Ogilvie, Thompson, Azeez

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 10,822 (2,920 Pompey fans)

Sep 072021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A EFL Trophy
AFC Wimbledon 5
Portsmouth 3



Ellis Harrison’s hat-trick ultimately counted for nothing, as Pompey dramatically lost their opening match in Southern Group B of the Papa John’s Trophy.

Goals from Paul Kalambayi and Aaron Pressley put AFC Wimbledon into a commanding position at Plough Lane.

But Harrison netted either side of the break to level the contest and then completed his treble to turn the game on its head.

Pressley then equalised from the spot and a penalty shoot-out was looming before Will Nightingale headed the hosts back in front.

The Blues poured forward in search of another goal, but were caught on the break as Luke McCormick wrapped things up in stoppage-time.

Danny Cowley changed the entire starting line-up from Pompey’s last outing at Wigan 10 days earlier.

There were three debuts handed out, including keeper Jake Eastwood following his emergency loan switch from Sheffield United.

Summer signing Louis Thompson also came into the midfield, while deadline day capture Mahlon Romeo was at right-back.

The defence was completed by Haji Mnoga – who can feature in this competition despite his loan move to Bromley – Connor Ogilvie and Paul Downing.

Michael Jacobs, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, Gassan Ahadme, Harrison and George Hirst completed the team, with the latter making his first start for the club.

There was a youthful look to the bench, with the seven substitutes all members of Liam Daish’s under-18 side.

The visitors got off to the worst possible start and found themselves trailing just 61 seconds into the contest.

A corner found its way to Kalambayi inside the area and the defender had far too much time to find the net.

The Blues responded well to that setback, however, and started to look a real threat going forward themselves.

A low shot from Gassan was kept out by Zaki Oualah, while the keeper soon flapped at a Jacobs free-kick and had to be bailed out by his defence.

Romeo then raced onto a pass over the top by Thompson, but could not beat the Dons stopper from an acute angle.

Pompey looked nervy at the other end, though, and some sloppy play provided an opportunity for the home side.

But Ayoub Assal and Pressley both took too long over deciding to shoot and the latter’s eventual effort was deflected wide.

Neither side seemed comfortable at the back, although Kalambayi made a vital block to deny Harrison.

It was Wimbledon who were finishing the half strongly and when the ball ricocheted kindly into Ethan Chistlett’s path, Eastwood had to come off his line to make a key save.

And they did have a second goal when Cheye Alexender got free down the right and found Assal, who squared for Pressley to slot home.

Pompey then perked up dramatically in stoppage-time and hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.

Harrison did well to find Hackett-Fairchild and he hit a rocket against the crossbar, while Hirst’s follow-up header struck the same part of the frame.

The Blues did halve their deficit seconds before the interval, though, as Thompson stole possession and Oualah made a mess of dealing with the shot from HARRISON.

Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 2

Portsmouth 1

Pompey had switched to a back three midway through the first half and continued with that once the action restarted.

And they immediately set about trying to find a leveller, with Oualah escaping any punishment for failing to hold a Hackett-Fairchild corner.

Another flag-kick from the wing-back led to the Blues’ leveller, however, as his centre was nodded back by Ogilvie at the back post.

HARRISON was surrounded by defenders, but showed plenty of strength to rise above them and firmly head home.

The hosts started to come back into the contest, although an Alexander header lacked the power to trouble Eastwood.

Thompson was starting to look a real presence in Pompey’s midfield, but – probably with his recent return to fitness in mind – was replaced by academy midfielder Harry Jewitt-White on 71 minutes.

Pompey kept pushing for a winner and almost went ahead for the first time when a Hackett-Fairchild corner was only cleared as far as Jacobs on the edge of the box.

His low drive was diverted towards the target by Hirst, but Oualah used his legs to prevent the striker from opening his account.

And they did go in front when Jacobs used the outside of his boot to spray the ball out to Hackett-Fairchild on the left.

He squared it for Gassan inside the box and although the loanee’s attempt was blocked, HARRISON pounced to convert the rebound.

The lead did not last long, however, as Mnoga was penalised for a foul on Henry Lawrence inside the area and Pressley converted from the spot.

Pompey then immediately came close to another goal of their own, with a Hirst header clawed away by Oualah.

But a topsy-turvy contest swung back in Wimbledon’s favour as Anthony Hartigan’s free-kick was nodded into the net by Nightingale.

And with the Blues committing most of their players forward in stoppage-time, the hosts broke up the pitch to score again.

Eastwood did well to deny Pressley his own hat-trick, but the ball ran loose for substitute McCormick to score.

AFC Wimbledon (4-2-3-1): Oualah; Alexander, Kalambayi (c), Nightingale, Guinness-Walker; Marsh, Hartigan; Assal (McCormick 70), Chislett (Rudoni 70), Mebude (Lawrence 57); Pressley
Goals: Kalambayi 2, Pressley 43, 80 (pen), Nightingale 87, McCormick 90+4
Booked: Lawrence
Subs not used: Tzanev, Heneghan, Woodyard, Bartley

Pompey (4-4-2): Eastwood; Romeo, Mnoga, Downing (c), Ogilvie; Hackett-Fairchild, Thompson (Jewitt-White 71), Jacobs, Gassan; Hirst, Harrison
Goals: Harrison 45+4, 52, 78
Booked: Mnoga
Subs not used: Steward, Kaba, Simpson, Bridgman, Payce, Gifford

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Aug 282021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Wigan Athletic 1
Portsmouth 0



A second half strike from Callum Lang saw Pompey’s unbeaten start to the League One season ended at Wigan.

They had looked in control for long periods of the DW Stadium contest, but did not do enough to test Ben Amos between the sticks.

There had not been much to cause concern from the Latics either, until Lang was left alone to score in the closing stages.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that played out a goalless draw at Doncaster the previous week.

Marcus Harness returned from a quad injury to join the forward line, while there were also starts for Lee Brown and Shaun Williams.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, Gassan Ahadme and Connor Ogilvie dropped to the bench, where they were joined by recent arrival Louis Thompson.

Former Fratton favourites Jack Whatmough and Tom Naylor were both named in the hosts’ side following their summer switches.

Pompey controlled possession before the break, although there were not many clear-cut openings at either end.

The best for the visiting side came in the early stages, as Sean Raggett met a Williams corner with a downward header that was cleared from the line by Tendayi Darikwa.

Jordan Jones thought he should have won a penalty at the other end after trying to burst through two defenders and tumbling to the turf.

But referee Christopher Sarginson immediately waved the appeals away, much to the chagrin of the home support.

The Blues soon broke threateningly down the right and a delivery from Harness found Ronan Curtis unmarked in the box.

He was able to get a shot away, but it was blocked before it could trouble Amos, who then did the mopping up.

Pompey were passing the ball around nicely and getting into some dangerous positions, without being able to perfect that crucial final pass.

And they almost paid for some dithering at the back just before the break, with a Tom Pearce cross not properly dealt with.

The ball landed kindly at the feet of Darikwa, whose low drilled effort was smothered by Gavin Bazunu.

Half Time

Wigan Athletic 0

Portsmouth 0

Pompey started the second half brightly and Curtis burst forward after winning possession, only to be denied by a fine sliding challenge from former team-mate Naylor.

And then, just a few moments later, it was Whatmough making a key tackle to stop the Republic of Ireland international’s path to goal.

Wigan, meanwhile, were guilty of some sloppy play and a few lapses in concentration allowed the Blues to get forward.

Some patient build-up work eventually saw Kieron Freeman provide a dangerous cross, but Curtis could not keep his header down.

After a spell of Latics pressure, Cowley made a couple of changes in quick succession midway through the second half.

Hackett-Fairchild and George Hirst were the players brought on, with Ryan Tunnicliffe and John Marquis making way.

However, it was a substitute for the home side who started the move that provided a breakthrough on 78 minutes.

James McClean found Pearce and he sent in a low cross from the left that evaded a few players, but found Lang, who calmly slid it into the net.

Pompey immediately set about trying to find an equaliser and Gassan was added to the attacking options.

Wigan held firm, however, to secure all three points and dent the Blues’ promising start to the season.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Amos; Darikwa (c), Whatmough, Watts, Pearce (Massey 85); Naylor, Cousins; Lang (Edwards 90+4), Keane, Jones (McClean 54); Wyke
Goals: Lang 78
Booked: Whatmough
Subs not used: Jones, Aasgaard, Bayliss, Humphrys

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson (c), Brown; Morrell, Williams; Harness (Gassan 84), Tunnicliffe (Hackett-Fairchild 71), Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 73)
Subs not used: Bass, Ogilvie, Thompson, Jacobs

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 9,571 (963 Pompey fans)

Aug 212021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Doncaster Rovers 0
Portsmouth 0



Shaun Williams saw a second half penalty saved, as Pompey’s winning start to the season ended with a draw at Doncaster.

The home side looked more dangerous in the first half, but it was certainly a different story after the interval.

Michael Jacobs and John Marquis were both denied by fine Pontus Dahlberg saves, while the keeper then kept out a spot-kick from substitute Williams.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that beat Shrewsbury on home soil earlier in the week.

Joe Morrell was handed a first start in the centre of midfield, while there were also returns for Connor Ogilvie and Gassan Ahadme.

Williams and Lee Brown both dropped to the bench, but Marcus Harness (quad) missed out through injury.

There was a quick reunion with academy graduate Ben Close, who appeared in midfield for the hosts.

The hosts were dealt an early blow when skipper Tom Anderson went down injured and had to be replaced in the centre of defence by Branden Horton.

But it was Rovers who looked the more dangerous side before the break, with Tiago Cukur not quite able to turn home Charlie Seaman’s teasing delivery.

They thought the deadlock had been broken after Close had picked out Tommy Rowe in the Pompey box.

His first attempt was brilliantly saved by Gavin Bazunu and although the second was tucked away, the linesman was flagging for a foul on Clark Robertson.

Close was looking a particular threat and dragged one good opportunity wide before seeing another well saved by Bazunu.

The Blues, meanwhile, were still looking to make a real impact on proceedings, having been forced onto the back foot.

A cross from Kieron Freeman was angled over the bar by Ronan Curtis, who later tried to make Ro-Shaun Williams pay for dallying on the ball.

Curtis also hit a firm 35-yard free-kick through the Doncaster wall, but straight into the arms of Dahlberg.

The keeper had drawn a few groans for sending some goal-kicks out of play and there were ironic cheers when he managed to keep one on the pitch.

Pompey’s best chance came just before the break, as Robertson met Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s corner, but could only manage to divert the ball into Dahlberg’s arms.

Half Time

Doncaster Rovers 0

Portsmouth 0

The visitors had a chance soon after the interval, when Gassan recovered from taking a heavy touch to find Curtis in the box.

He met the ball with a neat flick, but Dahlberg did well to get down quickly and stop the ball finding the net.

Pompey were still struggling for fluency, however, and Cowley decided the time was right to make a change just before the hour mark.

It came in the centre of midfield, where Morrell was withdrawn and replaced by the evergreen Williams.

And a second switch followed a few minutes later, with Jacobs coming on for the tireless Hackett-Fairchild.

He almost gave the visitors the lead on 67 minutes following a frantic spot of pinball in the Doncaster box.

The ball eventually fell to Jacobs and he hit a shot through a sea of bodies and towards the net, only for Dahlberg to get down and make a fine stop.

But the keeper then made an even better save to deny Marquis from point-blank range after a Williams corner had been nodded back into the centre by Sean Raggett.

The danger was not over, though and when the ball was sent into the box again, Gassan’s header looped just over.

Pompey were suddenly looking really dangerous, but the otherwise faultless Bazunu almost spilled a Seaman shot into the net and had to grab it at the second attempt.

Cowley’s final change followed on 74 minutes, with Marquis applauded off by both sets of supporters and replaced in attack by George Hirst.

The Blues should have gone in front late on, as Bazunu’s long pass forward found Gassan in the box and he was clumsily bundled to the turf.

Referee Carl Boyeson immediately pointed to the spot, but Williams’ penalty lacked power and Dahlberg went the right way to keep it out.

The game remained incredibly open, however, and it was still Pompey on the front foot, looking to turn one point into three.

But Doncaster almost grabbed a late winner themselves, as Branden Horton’s effort bounced into the turf and was looping into the net before a back-pedalling Bazunu managed to tip it over.

The Blues kept piling on their pressure throughout seven minutes of additional time, but could not force a way through.

Doncaster (4-2-3-1): Dahlberg; Knoyle, R.Williams, Anderson (c) (Horton 12), John; Bostock (Smith 69), Galbraith; Seaman, Close, Rowe; Cukur (Gardner 87)
Booked: Bostock, Knoyle
Subs not used: Jones, Blythe, Barlow, E.Williams

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Morrell (Williams 59); Hackett-Fairchild (Jacobs 62), Gassan, Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 74)
Booked: Marquis, Jacobs
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Brown, Harrison

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 6,660 (1,292 Pompey fans)

Aug 172021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 1
Shrewsbury Town 0



Ryan Tunnicliffe struck after just 120 seconds to see off Shrewsbury and secure a third successive League One victory for Pompey.

The midfielder had already provided three assists in the first couple of games, but managed to open his account at the Milton End to send the hosts to the summit.

There was a welcome return to Fratton Park for Shrews boss Steve Cotterill following his spell in intensive care with Covid-19 last term.

And his side certainly provided tough opposition, but could not find a way through to seriously test Gavin Bazunu between the sticks.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that had played so well in their victory over Crewe at the weekend.

The ground was noticeably fuller than the weekend and the crowd were in fine voice when the action got underway.

But some had barely settled into their seats by the time the deadlock was broken after just 120 seconds.

The visitors struggled to deal with some nice passing play between Marcus Harness and TUNNICLIFFE, with the latter neatly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Shrewsbury had an instant chance to level, with Bazunu getting down to his left to deny Elliott Bennett and Tom Bloxham blazing the loose ball over.

It was an entertaining contest and a mis-hit forward pass from Tunnicliffe almost looped over Shrews keeper Marko Maroši, who just about managed to pluck it from the air.

A long-range effort from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild was then deflected wide after the young forward had been teed-up by a neat Harness flick.

But it was certainly not one-way traffic and the visitors enjoyed plenty of joy going forward, without being able to test Bazunu.

A Shaun Williams corner caused problems at the other end, but a touch in the box from Clark Robertson allowed Matthew Pennington to make a vital block.

Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Shrewsbury Town 0

There were two changes before the action restarted, with Harness not emerging from the tunnel and being replaced by Gassan Ahadme.

Robertson initially came out onto the pitch, but was withdrawn for Connor Ogilvie, suggesting he might have picked up a knock.

It was the visitors that made the stronger start to the half, with Bazunu getting down to tip Luke Leahy’s bobbling effort around the post.

And the wide player then hit a dangerous delivery across the face of goal that none of his team-mates could connect with.

Ronan Curtis sent a superb cross into the box at the other end and it deserved a converting touch, but Hackett-Fairchild could not quite get there at the back post.

Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring and Bazunu was soon called into action to deal with a Josh Vela drive from the edge of the box.

Pennington then bravely put his head in front of Gassan to deal with a Hackett-Fairchild centre, with both players getting nasty cuts in the process.

Hackett-Fairchild had a chance to double the hosts’ lead when the action restarted, but dragged his shot wide after the ball was laid off by Gassan.

Shrewsbury poured forward in the closing stages, though, and almost had a leveller, only for Aaron Pierre’s firm header to be kept out by Bazunu.

The visitors were buoyed by a display of eight additional minutes, but the Blues saw them out to claim top spot.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson (c) (Ogilvie 46), Brown; Tunnicliffe, Williams; Harness (Gassan 46), Hackett-Fairchild, Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 90+4)
Goals: Tunnicliffe 3
Booked: Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Morrell, Jacobs, Hirst

Shrewsbury (4-2-3-1): Maroši; Daniels (Ogbeta 84), Pennington, Pierre, Nurse; Bennett (c), Vela; Bloxham (Pyke 62), Udoh, Leahy; Cosgrove
Booked: Vela
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Gregory, Davis, Caton

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 14,471 (259 away fans)

Aug 142021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

H League 1
Portsmouth 2
Crewe Alexandra 0



The long wait for fans to return to Fratton Park for a competitive fixture was certainly worth it, as Pompey eased to a 2-0 victory over Crewe.

They were in control for most of the contest on the sunny south coast, although had to remain patient against stubborn opposition.

But the result never looked in doubt once John Marquis had angled home an opener early in the second half.

And Marcus Harness then added the second goal the Blues’ dominance deserved to make sure there would be no way back for the Railwaymen.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Millwall in the Carabao Cup earlier in the week.

Gavin Bazunu was handed his debut between the sticks, while Kieron Freeman, Lee Brown and Harness all returned.

Alex Bass, Connor Ogilvie and Gassan Ahadme dropped to the bench, with Callum Johnson missing through suspension.

A minute’s applause was held before kick-off to remember all those Pompey fans – as well as former players and managers – who have passed away in the past 17 months since fans were allowed inside the ground in significant numbers.

Pompey controlled possession from the first whistle and set about trying to find a route through the opposition defence.

Ronan Curtis nodded over an early cross from Shaun Williams, then sent a long-range effort past the post.

And when Williams then sent a corner into the box, Clark Robertson appeared to have his shirt tugged, only for referee Will Finnie to wave away his appeals.

The deadlock was almost broken midway through the first half, when Brown cut the ball back for Harness.

But he was brilliantly denied by Will Jaaskelainen from point-blank range and Ryan Tunnicliffe then nodded over.

Crewe were not causing too many problems, although Mike Mandron’s header cleared the crossbar from a recycled corner.

And Pompey finished the half with a flourish, as Curtis’ clean strike had to be tipped over by Jaaskelainen.

A teasing stoppage-time cross from Harness was then agonisingly out of reach for both Marquis and Curtis.

Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Crewe Alexandra 0

A goal looked like it might be coming as the interval approached – and it finally arrived within three minutes of the restart.

Tunnicliffe drove forward with purpose before releasing MARQUIS, who angled in a shot that clipped the inside of the post and nestled in the net.

They seemed to have the initiative and set about trying to find another goal to give the Fratton faithful even more reason to cheer.

But the Blues were almost undone from a corner, with Freeman not able to clear and an almighty scramble ensuing before Callum Ainley eventually dragged a shot wide.

Normal service soon resumed, though, and when the hosts were gifted possession, Marquis collected a cross from Curtis and was not quite able to pick out Reeco Hackett-Fairchild.

The Fratton faithful through their side had gone further ahead on the hour mark after Brown had done well to win a corner.

Williams’ delivery was flicked on by Hackett-Fairchild for Marquis to turn home at the back post, but the flag was raised for offside.

However, a second goal did arrive on 64 minutes after Curtis had switched the ball across the field to Tunnicliffe.

He then found HARNESS and the winger managed to squeeze a shot past defender and keeper from a tight angle.

Cowley soon handed a debut to Joe Morrell in place of Williams, with both players afforded a standing ovation from the crowd.

Two more substitutions soon followed for the home side, as Hackett-Fairchild and Marquis made way for Michael Jacobs and George Hirst respectively.

Pompey remained on the attack as the seconds ticked down and Curtis’ cleanly struck effort from the edge of the box rose inches over the bar.

And they kept pushing for more goals right up until the final whistle, as an impressive start to the season continued.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson (c), Brown; Tunnicliffe, Williams (Morrell 74); Harness, Hackett-Fairchild (Jacobs 79), Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 82)
Goals: Marquis 48, Harness 64
Subs not used: Bass, Ogilvie, Gassan, Harrison

Crewe (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Ramsay, Daniels, Offord, Adebisi; Lundstram, MacDonald (Finney 65), Murphy (c), Ainley; Mandron (Porter 88), Dale (Long 41)
Booked: Long
Subs not used: Richards, Thomas, Johnson, McFadzean

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 11,470 (306 away fans)

Aug 102021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

Millwall 2
Portsmouth 1



An early goal from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild was not enough to keep Pompey in the Carabao Cup, as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Millwall.

And they had to play almost half the match with just 10 men following Callum Johnson’s red card early in the second half.

It was a fine effort from Hackett-Fairchild that broke the deadlock, but Scott Malone and George Saville netted in quick succession to give the Championship side an interval advantage.

Johnson was then dismissed for a late challenge, although Hackett-Fairchild almost snatched a late leveller for the Blues.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that won at Fleetwood in the league at the weekend.

Shaun Williams came in for his competitive debut against his former club, while there were also starts for Johnson and Hackett-Fairchild.

Lee Brown, Kieron Freeman and Marcus Harness all dropped to the bench and Connor Ogilvie reverted to his usual left-back position.

Ex-Fratton favourite Jed Wallace was handed a start by the home side, but Ben Thompson had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

Pompey made a perfect start to the contest, as HACKETT-FAIRCHILD roamed forward and cut onto his left foot before slamming home an unstoppable shot to open his account for the club.

The visiting support had been in fine voice from long before kick-off and that goal only served to whip them into more of a frenzy.

But Millwall grew into the game and started to enjoy more possession before levelling the tie midway through the first half.

Alex Bass got down to deal with an angled drive from Wallace, but Malone reacted quickest to fire the loose ball into the net.

And it soon got worse for the Blues after Sean Raggett had thrown himself into the path of a Tom Bradshaw effort.

The ball was recycled back into the box and Saville was left in far too much space to slot past Bass and turn the match on its head.

It might have got even worse for Pompey just before the break, as Ryan Tunnicliffe played a loose pass inside his own box.

Benik Afone was the grateful recipient of the ball, only for Bass to come to his team-mate’s rescue with a fine stop.

Half Time

Millwall 2

Portsmouth 1

Cowley made a switch at the break, with Leicester loanee George Hirst leading the line in place of John Marquis.

And there was plenty of controversy once the action got back underway, with Johnson at the centre of it.

First the defender appealed for a penalty when his cross appeared to hit an arm in the area, but referee Charles Breakspear.

And the official upset the Pompey right-back even more moments later, brandishing a straight red card for a challenge on Saville.

Cowley was forced into another change, with Gassan Ahadme the man to make way for Kieron Freeman.

Williams also made way just past the hour mark and received an ovation from both sets of supporters as he trudged off to be replaced by Michael Jacobs.

The game was drifting, with the Londoners content to keep possession, but the Pompey fans made their own entertainment in the stands.

They serenaded Thompson as he warmed up for the home side and asked for waves from both Cowley brothers.

Millwall had a chance to wrap things up on 76 minutes, with a firm header from substitute Matt Smith coming back off the post.

And Bass then came quickly off his line to narrow the angle for Mahlon Romeo and force the wing-back to shoot wide.

Pompey almost made them pay for their profligacy, as Hackett-Fairchild raced clear on the closing stages.

He eventually managed to squeeze a shot past George Long, only for a well-placed Ryan Leonard to head from the line and ensure the Lions would book their spot in the second round.

Millwall (3-4-1-2): Long; Leonard, Hutchinson (c), Cooper; Romeo, Kieftenbeld, Saville, Malone (Thompson 79); J.Wallace (Mahoney 66); Bradshaw (Smith 66), Afobe
Goals: Malone 21, Saville 27
Booked: Cooper
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Pearce, M.Wallace, Mitchell

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Johnson, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Williams (Jacobs 61); Hackett-Fairchild, Gassan (Freeman 52), Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 46)
Goals: Hackett-Fairchild 4
Sent off: Johnson
Booked: Hackett-Fairchild
Subs not used: Bazunu, Mnoga, Brown, Harness

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 7,915 (2,000 Pompey fans)

Aug 072021

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022

A League 1
Fleetwood Town 0
Portsmouth 1



Lee Brown was on target as Pompey got the 2021/22 campaign off to the perfect start with victory at Fleetwood.

They grew into the contest and survived some early pressure from the hosts before Ronan Curtis struck the woodwork.

And the only goal arrived after the interval, when Brown sent a fine effort nestling in the bottom corner of the net.

Danny Cowley handed competitive debuts to four players, with Clark Robertson wearing the captain’s armband.

Ryan Tunnicliffe, Gassan Ahadme and Connor Ogilvie also started, with the latter a late replacement following an injury to Shaun Williams in the warm-up.

Right-back Kieron Freeman – who had a loan spell with Pompey in 2016 – was also named in the team.

Fellow summer signings Gavin Bazunu and George Hirst had to be content with a spot on the bench, where they were joined by academy youngsters Izzy Kaba and Harry Jewitt-White.

It was a welcome sight to see supporters back inside the ground and the travelling fans, who were packed into two stands, made a racket throughout.

But it was the home side that made the quicker start and Alex Bass was quickly down to his left to claim a long-range Ged Garner strike.

And the keeper made an even better save moments later, this time denying Harrison Biggins, who had turned sharply inside the area.

Bass then made a third stop to prevent Callum Morton from converting Max Clark’s centre, with the forward unable to guide the loose ball on target.

But the Blues improved as the first half progressed and started to find some more joy in the final third.

There was a half-chance for Tunnicliffe, while Fleetwood were able to clear when John Marquis sent a dangerous ball into the centre after being played onside.

And the deadlock was almost broken on 28 minutes after Robertson was brought down and Curtis sent a 25-yard free-kick rattling against the crossbar.

The hosts also hit the woodwork soon after, with Shayden Morris bursting into the box from the right and angling a shot against the outside of the post.

A Brown corner caused problems at the other end, with the ball making its way through a sea of bodies before eventually being hacked clear at the far post.

Half Time

Fleetwood Town 0

Portsmouth 0

The heavens opened as the second half started, but clear-cut openings were not flowing quite so freely.

Morton sent a dangerous delivery into the visitors’ box, but the ball flew out the other side and was cleared to safety.

Morris then raced away on 56 minutes and tried to fire a shot inside Bass’ near post, only for the keeper to get quickly down to make the save.

But it was Pompey who were almost celebrating an opener moments later after Tunnicliffe’s shot was blocked.

The ball ricocheted into the path of Gassan, but Alex Cairns made a superb stop to deny the debutant from point-blank range.

Fleetwood’s relief was short-lived, however, as the Blues did open the scoring – much to the delight of the travelling army.

Tunnicliffe tried to pick out Curtis in the box and the winger appeared to be dragged to the ground by Brad Halliday.

It mattered not, though, as the ball ran out to BROWN on the left and he took a touch before drilling a shot into the bottom corner.

Cowley made a switch on 68 minutes, with Gassan leaving to warm applause from the away support and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild coming on.

It might have been a dream league debut for the forward, but after cutting onto his left foot, he could only fire over.

There was soon another introduction to the Pompey fans, as Leicester loanee Hirst replaced Marquis up front.

The visitors had collected three bookings for infringements on the pitch, but their fourth was shown to coach Simon Bassey for getting a tad too excited on the sidelines.

A quick counter-attack then almost wrapped things up for the Blues, with a heavy first touch costing Hackett-Fairchild and then Curtis straying narrowly offside.

It mattered not, though, as Cowley’s side saw out the closing stages to ensure the long trip home would be a happy one.

Fleetwood (3-4-3): Cairns; Hill, Clarke, Andrew; Halliday, Biggins (Batty 73), Rossiter (c), Clark (Edmondson 82); Morris, Garner (Pilkington 73), Morton
Subs not used: Crellin, Johnson, Holgate, Camps

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Freeman, Raggett, Robertson (c), Brown; Tunnicliffe, Ogilvie; Harness (Johnson 90+2), Gassan (Hackett-Fairchild 68), Curtis; Marquis (Hirst 74)
Goals: Brown 60
Booked: Brown, Curtis, Freeman
Subs not used: Bazunu, Mnoga, Kaba, Jewitt-White

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Attendance: 4,562 (1,092 away fans)