Match Report

Sep 092017

League One

0 – 2

Goals from Brett Pitman and Conor Chaplin helped Pompey secure their first away victory of the season against AFC Wimbledon.

It was Pitman who broke the deadlock in the first half at Kingsmeadow after first winning and then converting a penalty.

Chaplin came off the bench immediately following the interval and took just five minutes to wrap the points up.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side narrowly beaten at home by Rotherham the previous week.

Damien McCrory was handed a debut at left-back, while there were first starts for both Matty Kennedy and Nathan Thompson.

Chaplin dropped to the bench, while there was no place in the matchday squad for Brandon Haunstrup or the injured Jack Whatmough.

There was also a change of system, with the wing-backs dropped in favour of a more familiar four-man defensive line.

AFC Wimbledon included a couple of familiar names in their line-up, giving starts to former Fratton stars Paul Robinson and Andy Barcham.

A large grey cloud made its way ominously across the sky as the first half progressed, although the action on the pitch was fairly sedate to start with.

There were a couple of half-chances, but certainly nothing of note as both keepers enjoyed a watching brief.

Barcham did enjoy a surging run through the Blues back-line, only to end the move with a wild effort that flew over the bar.

Matty Kennedy then did well to pick out Pitman in the box, but the visiting skipper had strayed narrowly offside.

It was midway through the first period when the first noteworthy opportunity finally arrived, as Dean Parrett curled a shot narrowly past the post.

Adam May was slightly more off target at the other end of the pitch, with his effort on the bounce clearing the stadium.

Pompey threatened more on 31 minutes following some great work by Jamal Lowe to beat his man down the right.

But Pitman slipped at the worst possible moment before recovering and seeing a shot deflected just off target.

The resulting corner was swung in by McCrory and led to an almighty scramble, with Matt Clarke eventually poking wide.

It was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, however, after Pitman was pushed to the ground by Barry Fuller.

Referee Kevin Johnson immediately pointed to the spot and PITMAN dusted himself down to confidently send George Long the wrong way.

A stretching Oliver Hawkins was then only able to send the ball into the keeper’s arms following some good build-up from Kennedy and Lowe.

The home fans were left angry by a couple of challenges just before the break, feeling that Pitman should have been punished for a clash with Robinson that left the defender with a large gash on its head.

There was then a nasty collision between Hawkins and Callum Kennedy that resulted in both players sprawled on the turf.

Johnson decided to blow for half-time and Pompey’s striker was left bandaged and covered in blood, while the Wimbledon full-back had to be stretchered off.

Half Time

(0 – 1)

A large flash of lightning and clap of thunder meant that the start of the second half had to be delayed for a few minutes.

Hawkins, unsurprisingly, was not present when the sides did emerge, with Chaplin on to replace him up front.

And it was CHAPLIN who doubled the advantage just five minutes after the restart, showing typical predatory instincts to capitalise on Anthony Hartigan’s fluffed clearance and slot home.

Another substitute almost reduced the Dons’ deficit at the other end, though, with Luke McGee doing just enough to put off Lyle Taylor as he bore down on goal.

Wimbledon were trying to find a route back into the game and Christian Burgess headed George Francomb’s cross clear, while McCrory’s block kept out Taylor’s follow-up.

But the Blues almost extended their lead on 68 minutes, with a powerful free-kick from Pitman superbly kept out by Long.

The visitors were comfortably holding onto their advantage, although Harry Forrester bundled his way into space before McCrory cleared the danger.

Pompey had understandably tempered their ambitions, although an audacious 35-yard lob from May had to be tipped over by a back-pedalling Long.

The hosts’ day soon got even worse when Burgess attempted an over-head kick and inadvertently caught Robinson.

It was clearly accidental and Burgess was booked, but the defender had to go off and the Dons had already made all three of their substitutions.

But, in truth, a comeback always looked unlikely for Wimbledon, as Pompey comfortably saw out the closing stages to secure all three points.

AFC Wimbledon (4-3-3): Long; Fuller (c), Robinson, Nightingale, Kennedy (Hartigan 46); Parrett (Forrester 57), Francomb, Trotter; Appiah, McDonald, Barcham (Taylor 57)
Subs not used: McDonnell, Sibbick, Kalambayi, Kaja

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, McCrory; May, O’Keefe; Lowe, Pitman (c), Kennedy (Bennett 67); Hawkins (Chaplin 46)
Goals: Pitman 38 (pen), Chaplin 50
Booked: O’Keefe, Kennedy, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Close, Donohue, Naismith

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 4,585 (786 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Sep 032017

League One

0 – 1

Pompey suffered their first home defeat since March, as Rotherham left Fratton Park with all three points.

Jon Taylor netted the only goal during the first half of a televised contest that improved as it went on.

The Blues were much better after the break, but were unable to convert any of the numerous chances they carved out.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew at Wigan the previous week.

He handed debuts to Stuart O’Keefe and Oliver Hawkins, while fellow deadline day signings Damien McCrory and Matty Kennedy had to be content with a place on the bench.

Matt Clarke returned from the groin injury that had kept him sidelined since pre-season and there was also a start for Conor Chaplin.

That saw a switch to a 3-4-1-2 system, with Brandon Haunstrup and Jamal Lowe occupying the wide roles, and skipper Brett Pitman playing behind Chaplin and Hawkins.

The rain was falling heavily when the game got underway and the action on the pitch was doing little to brighten the mood.

It was a fairly lethargic opening to proceedings, with both sides struggling to keep hold of the ball, perhaps hindered by the wet conditions.

The first chance fell for the hosts, though, and Pitman ran at the Rotherham defence, beat his man and fired narrowly over the bar.

But the Millers soon threatened themselves, with Michael Ihiekwe failing to find the target before O’Keefe bravely blocked Lee Frecklington’s effort.

Kieffer Moore than tried his luck from the edge of the box, but could not make a clean connection and the ball bobbled safely into Luke McGee’s arms.

There were not too many clear-cut openings, but the Blues did have opportunites to break the deadlock.

Haunstrup saw a shot deflected past the post after meeting Adam May’s delivery, while Hawkins’ long-range attempt only flew narrowly wide.

Instead it was Rotherham who took the lead on 36 minutes, as Taylor latched onto a ball down the right and lashed home a powerful strike.

Pompey immediately set about trying to find a leveller and Clarke failed to divert Chaplin’s corner on target.

A superb cross Haunstrup cross from wide on the left was then headed over by Lowe, as the hosts went in behind at the break.

Half Time

(0 – 1)

Jackett made a change of personnel and system for the start of the second half, with a return to four at the back.

Jack Whatmough and Chaplin both failed to emerge from the tunnel and were replaced by debutants Nathan Thompson and Kennedy.

And the latter made in instant impression with a cross that Millers keeper Richard O’Donnell could not get to.

The ball landed at the feet of Lowe at the far post and he took a touch before sending in a low drive that was deflected behind.

Pompey fans were baying for a penalty when Hawkins took a boot to the face on 57 minutes, although referee Gavin Ward was not interested.

There was then a lighter moment just past the mark, as Pitman and Kennedy both tried to keep the ball in play and the former ended up taking out the latter!

The hosts were looking much more dangerous than before the break and when a bandaged Hawkins met May’s free-kick, his header had to be cleared from the line by Darren Potter.

Jackett made a final throw of the dice on 70 minutes, with Hawkins given a generous ovation as he made way for Kal Naismith.

But the Scottish forward was getting patched up on the sidelines following a challenge with O’Donnell when the Blues came close to levelling on 79 minutes.

It was a dangerous low ball into the box from a slightly out-of-position Clarke, but a stretching Lowe could not quite make a connection at the far post.

Pompey poured forward in the closing stages, which were played out almost entirely in Rotherham’s half.

And the display of six additional minutes gave the Fratton faithful hope of salvaging something, but the visitors held on for victory.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): McGee; Burgess, Whatmough (Thompson 46), Clarke; Lowe, May, O’Keefe, Haunstrup; Pitman (c); Chaplin (Kennedy 46), Hawkins (Naismith 70)
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, McCrory, Close, Donohue

Rotherham (4-2-3-1): O’Donnell; Cummings, Ihiekwe, Wood, Purrington; Potter, Vaulks; Williams (Forde 54), Frecklington (c) (Towell 90+1), Taylor (Newell 85); Moore
Goals: Taylor 36
Booked: Potter, Purrington, Vaulks
Subs not used: Bilboe, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris, Ball

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,118 (436 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 262017

League One

1 – 1

Chaplin to the rescue

Conor Chaplin came off the bench to rescue a point for Pompey at promotion favourites Wigan.

It did not look a likely outcome when Ivan Toney fired the hosts ahead early in the contest and they then dominated the rest of the first half.

The Latics hit the woodwork on three occasions, but Chey Dunkley’s red card turned the tide in the Blues’ favour.

And Chaplin’s header ensured that the noisy travelling faithful had plenty to cheer on the long trip home, despite Gareth Evans also being dismissed late on.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Walsall the previous week.

Dion Donohue was handed a debut wide on the left, with Jamal Lowe returning from suspension to lead the line and Kyle Bennett also given a recall.

Kal Naismith dropped to the bench, while there was no place in the squad for Milan Lalkovic or the injured Drew Talbot.

Wigan immediately showed why they are the favourites for League One promotion and it took just eight minutes for them to break the deadlock.

Nick Powell threaded a pass through to Gavin Massey and he slid the ball across the face of goal for Toney to tap home from close range.

That failed to temper the hosts’ attacking intent and the only surprise at half-time was that they failed to extend their advantage.

It was a combination of Luke McGee and the woodwork that came to Pompey’s rescue to limit the damage.

The keeper made a fine save with his feet to deny Toney a second when the striker looked to convert a dangerous Massey delivery.

Reece James then teed-up Powell, whose fierce strike cannoned back off the crossbar on 22 minutes.

The Blues had created little at the other end of the pitch, with an uncharacteristic heavy touch from Brett Pitman denying him a shooting opportunity.

Wigan, by contrast, were looking dangerous with every attack and Christian Burgess did well to block Samy Morsy’s effort after the midfielder had initially given him the slip.

Pompey did provide more of a threat towards the end of the half and when Evans’ met a Donohue free-kick, his downwards header had to be scrambled clear.

A couple of corners also caused the Latics problems, but although Christian Walton flapped at one, they both ultimately came to nothing.

Paul Cook would have enjoyed seeing his new side dominate his old one, although that failed to stop Wigan’s boss berating the fourth official for some perceived poor refereeing decisions.

And he had more reason to moan when Toney, under pressure from Evans, could only turn Massey’s cross against the post.

The hosts looked like they would grab a second before the break, with Lee Evans’ strike heading for the net until a diving McGee managed to palm it behind.

Half Time

(0 – 1)

It had been virtually one-way traffic before the break, but the Blues came close to levelling just 56 seconds after the restart.

Brandon Haunstrup sent the ball into the box from wide on the left, only for Lowe to turn it wide from close range.

Wigan were soon back on the attack, however, and McGee was at his best once more to keep out Michael Jacobs’ fiercely-struck attempt.

The keeper then failed to hold another effort from the same player, but was quickly able to smother the loose ball.

Jackett made a double switch on 53 minutes in an attempt to spark a reversal of fortunes, with Donohue and Danny Rose withdrawn for Naismith and Ben Close.

And a Wigan player was also departing soon after – although there was nobody coming on to replace Dunkley.

The centre-back lashed out at Pitman off the ball and referee Robert Jones had no choice but to brandish a red card.

But it was the Latics who almost scored again on 69 minutes, with the post coming to Pompey’s rescue once more when an effort from substitute Terell Thomas beat McGee’s grasp.

The Blues were trying to make their numerical advantage count, but were finding it difficult to test Walton.

There was an equaliser for the large travelling support to cheer on 76 minutes, however.

Haunstrup swung in a fine cross from wide on the left and CHAPLIN – who had only just been brought on – deftly nodded it home.

It almost got even better for the visitors soon after, but Walton just about got down quick enough to palm clear Adam May’s daisy-cutter.

There were still chances at the other end, though, and Will Grigg should have done better than divert his far-post header straight into McGee’s arms.

But the Blues also had to play out the closing stages with 10 men when Evans’ foul earned him a second booking of the afternoon.

The fourth official’s display of six additional minutes spurred the home side on in their search for a winner.

But Pompey were able to see that out to secure a point and end Wigan’s 100 per cent start to the League One campaign.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James; Evans, Morsy (c); Massey (Colclough 83), Powell (Grigg 73), Jacobs; Toney (Thomas 61)
Goals: Toney 8
Sent off: Dunkley
Subs not used: Jones, Perkins, Gilbey, Hunt

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Evans, Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup; May, Rose (Close 53); Bennett (Chaplin 73), Pitman (c), Donohue (Naismith 53); Lowe
Goals: Chaplin 76
Sent off: Gareth Evans (two yellow cards)
Booked: Donohue, Pitman, Whatmough
Subs not used: Bass, Thompson, Davies, Kabamba

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 9,685 (1,966 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 192017

League One

1 – 1

Brett Pitman struck from the spot as Pompey fought from behind to secure a draw with Walsall at Fratton Park.

After a lethargic first half, Luke Leahy capitalised on some sloppy defending early in the second to score for the visitors.

But Pitman confidently netted a penalty following a foul on Nicke Kabamba and it was the Blues who ended the contest on top.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side beaten at Oxford in the last league outing.

Milan Lalkovic had recovered from an ankle injury to feature against his former club, with Kyle Bennett dropping to the bench.

The 4-2-3-1 system remained, although this time it was skipper Pitman up front, with Kal Naismith just behind.

New signing Dion Donohue had to watch from the stands after completing his Fratton switch too late to feature.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of all those who lost their lives in the Barcelona tragedy.

Once the action got underway, referee Brett Huxtable soon had to reach for his pocket, showing Saddlers skipper Adam Chambers a yellow card following a late challenge on Adam May.

But it was the visitors who looked brighter in the opening stages and Leahy unleashed a fierce shot that flew narrowly past the post.

The wing-back then missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock on 15 minutes, heading wide from close range after good work down the right by James Wilson.

Christian Burgess came to the rescue moments later when a sloppy Jack Whatmough pass gifted possession to Amadou Bakayoko.

But it was Whatmough – celebrating his 21st birthday – who then started the move that led to Pompey’s best chance of the half on 31 minutes.

The defender’s superb cross-field ball picked out Gareth Evans on the right and his cross was met by the head of a diving Pitman, only for Shaun Donnellan to make a vital block.

Evans then sent a header over the bar from Danny Rose’s cross, as the hosts finally started to pick up the pace.

But there was a blow for the Blues on 36 minutes, as Drew Talbot became the latest victim of the defensive injury curse.

He went down clutching his hamstring and limped to the sidelines, with Bennett coming on to make his 100th appearance.

The remainder of the half did little to excite a large Fratton crowd, though, with the half-time whistle greeted by yawns rather than cheers.

Half Time

(0 – 0)

It was pretty sleepy stuff before the break and Pompey clearly had not woken up for the start of the second half.

Wilson sent in a low cross from wide on the right and Leahy was left all alone to tap home at the far post.

The Blues were struggling to create much at the other end of the pitch, as Mark Gillespie continued to enjoy a comfortable afternoon between the sticks.

He was not tested by Bennett on the hour mark, with the substitute firing wide from the edge of the box after being teed-up by Naismith.

Jackett opted to make a double substitution on 65 minutes, as Naismith and Lalkovic made way for Curtis Main and Kabamba.

But Walsall almost doubled their lead soon after, with Luke McGee saving well from Amadou Bakayoko and then Burgess blocking a shot from the same player.

The Blues were presented with an excellent chance to level on 74 minutes, though, when Gillespie tripped Kabamba, who did not appear to be posing a threat.

Huxtable immediately pointed to the spot and PITMAN made no mistake, slamming home his third goal of the season.

That provided a spark for Pompey and they immediately started to display more energy going forward.

Pitman almost grabbed his second with a shot that dipped narrowly over the bar after Bennett had done well to steal possession.

It was the Blues looking more likely to grab a winner and Pitman in particular was looking a threat, not quite able to guide Adam May’s pass on target on 87 minutes.

But, despite five minutes being added on for stoppages, Pompey were not able to complete the turnaround by finding a winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Talbot (Bennett 36), Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup; Rose, May; Evans, Naismith (Kabamba 65), Lalkovic (Main 65); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 74 (pen)
Booked: Pitman
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, Close, Chaplin

Walsall (3-5-2): Gillespie; Wilson, Donnellan, Guthrie; Devlin, Morris (Cuvelier 69), Chambers (c), Edwards, Leahy; Oztumer, Bakayoko (Jackson 77)
Goals: Leahy 47
Booked: Chambers, Guthrie, Devlin, Bakayoko
Subs not used: L.Roberts, K.Roberts, Kouhyar, Kinsella, Candlin

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 17,198 (464 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 162017

Checkatrade Trophy

3 – 3

Honours even in game….almost

Pompey began their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with an entertaining 3-3 draw against Fulham’s under-21 side at a sparsely-populated Fratton Park.

But it was the visitors who claimed a bonus point after triumphing 4-2 in the resulting penalty shoot-out.

Stephen Humphrys gave the Londoners an interval lead, while the goals rained in following the interval.

Jamal Lowe and Kal Naismith turned the match around before George Williams levelled from the spot.

But there was still time for Lowe to fire the Blues back into the lead, while Elijah Adebayo’s strike then ensured penalties.

Kenny Jackett made seven changes to the side that were beaten at Oxford in the league on Saturday.

First year scholar Joe Hancott – at the age of just 16 years and 161 days – was handed a debut at left-back.

The competition rules also allowed Lowe to feature, despite being in the middle of his three-match suspension.

Gareth Evans, Jack Whatmough, Adam May and Naismith were the only players who started at the Kassam Stadium to keep their place.

There were not too many inside Fratton Park to watch an entertaining first half that saw chances at both ends of the pitch.

A lovely passing move from the hosts ended with May drilling in a low shot that was well held by Cottagers keeper Magnus Norman.

Alex Bass then juggled a dangerous Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson free-kick that was whipped in from wide on the left.

Williams also saw an effort well blocked by Whatmough before Jerome Opku headed a corner straight at Bass.

The action quickly switched from one end of the pitch to the other and Curtis Main glanced a header wide from Ben Close’s cross.

But it was Fulham who broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, as Humphrys drilled an angled shot right into the bottom corner.

Bass stopped Thorsteinsson from doubling their lead moments later, getting down to his right to push the midfielder’s effort clear.

Pompey were soon on the hunt for an equaliser, however, and Close’s snap-shot was deflected inches past the post.

The hosts then broke quickly from a Cottagers corner and Main released Hancott, whose fierce strike was well saved by Norman.

Whatmough wasted a fantastic opportunity to score late in the first half when he was left free to meet May’s delivery, only to send the ball wide.

Half Time

(0 – 1)

Pompey had a great chance to draw level just after the interval when May slipped a pass through to Naismith in the box.

The Scottish forward elected to try to squeeze a shot inside the keeper’s near post, but Norman managed to divert the ball behind.

LOWE did find the net on 54 minutes, though, picking up Main’s neat back-heel and angling a shot into the net.

And the match was turned on its head moments later, as Evans whipped in a cross from wide on the right that NAISMITH fired home.

Pompey were not ahead for long, though, as Bass needlessly brought down Williams and referee Antony Coggins pointed to the spot.

It was Williams who stepped up to take the penalty and hammered it straight down the middle to make it all square.

But the goals kept coming and the Blues were back in front on 66 minutes when Evans’ attempt was deflected into LOWE’s path and he swivelled before firing an unstoppable shot past Norman.

Substitute Kyle Bennett almost gave the hosts a cushion, only to see his long-range effort rattle the crossbar.

And Fulham ensured there was more drama in a topsy-turvy encounter when Adebayo slammed home, despite furious Pompey appeals for offside.

That ensured both sides took one point, with a penalty shoot-out held to see who would claim the bonus one on offer.

Fulham took four in the new ‘ABBA’ format and scored them all, but while Conor Chaplin and Bennett both found the net, Norman saved from Naismith and Evans.

Pompey (4-3-3): Bass; Evans (c), Davies, Whatmough, Hancott; May, Baker (Bennett 60), Close (Talbot 76); Lowe, Main (Chaplin 68), Naismith
Goals: Lowe 54, 66, Naismith 57
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Haunstrup, Kabamba

Fulham U21 (4-4-2): Norman; Sessegnon, Davies (c), Opoku (Harris 76), Kavanagh; Humphrys, O’Riley, Kait (Kwietniewski 79), Thorsteinsson; Williams, Adebayo
Goals: Humphrys 21, Williams 62 (pen), Adebayo 82
Subs not used: Ashby-Hammond, Nabay, Andrason, Elstone, Pearce

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 1,520 (62 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 122017

League One

3 – 0

Wes Thomas struck against his former club to ensure that Pompey left the Kassam Stadium empty-handed.

A tight encounter was short on clear-cut chances, although Kyle Bennett and Brett Pitman both went close, while the latter also had a goal disallowed.

But Thomas found the net just after the restart before substitute Gino van Kessel and Josh Ruffels both notched late on to ensure the Blues suffered their first league loss of the season.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that were narrowly beaten at Cardiff in the Carabao Cup earlier in the week.

That meant Kal Naismith continued to lead the line, with teenager Adam May given another chance to impress in midfield.

Oxford handed starts to three former Blues players, with keeper Simon Eastwood, defender Mike Williamson and striker Thomas all featuring.

It was the hosts who dominated possession during the first half, although Pompey laid claim to the better of the scoring chances.

Jack Whatmough could not get on the end of a Gareth Evans corner in the opening stages, while Pitman met May’s centre and sent a firm header narrowly past the post.

Bennett then tried his luck with a snap-shot from outside the box, with Eastwood scrambling across his goal to palm the ball behind.

The hosts started to look more threatening as the half progressed and Drew Talbot did well to cut across and prevent Thomas from getting a shot away.

Then, moments later, Christian Burgess made a crunching tackle to dispossess Christian Ribeiro on the edge of the box.

Pompey won a few corners and one of them from Evans was nodded back across goal by Burgess, only for Whatmough to head into Eastwood’s arms.

But United then had their best chance of the half on 39 minutes, as Curtis Nelson turned Williamson’s pass wide from close range.

Pitman did have the ball in the back of the net at the other end moments later when he met Brandon Haunstrup’s cross, but referee Graham Salisbury spotted a foul.

There were still time for Bennett have a shot in stoppage-time, although his cleanly-struck effort was straight at Eastwood.

Half Time

(0 – 0)

It had been a fairly calm opening first half, but Oxford broke the deadlock within a couple of minutes of the restart.

McGee failed to hold on to an angled drive from Ribeiro and Thomas was well placed to force home the loose ball.

A substitution then had to be made, as referee Salisbury – who seemed to walk off relatively untroubled – was replaced by fourth official Marc Wilson.

Naismith was not too far away from an equaliser when he sent in a corner from the right that almost swung in at the far post.

But that was his last piece of the action as, just seconds later, the Scottish forward was replaced by Conor Chaplin.

It became an end-to-end affair, as Pompey went in search of a leveller and Oxford looked to hit them on the break.

A couple of dangerous crosses from Talbot and Brandon Haunstrup were dealt with assuredly by Williamson.

On both occasions the hosts were quickly up the other end to go close themselves and twice Burgess came to the rescue, first with a key tackle and then a crucial block.

The Blues made their second switch on 69 minutes and it was an attacking one, with Talbot making way for Carl Baker and Evans moving to right-back.

A moment of confusion between Burgess and Evans almost gave Oxford a second goal soon after, but McGee managed to push Jon Obika’s effort over the bar.

The hosts did wrap things up on 82 minutes, however, when van Kessel – who had only just come on – cut in from the left and coolly fired home.

Pompey kept battling away, but were unable to send the large travelling support home with at least a consolation effort to cheer.

And their misery was compunded deep into stoppage-time when Jack Payne slipped in Ruffels to slot home a third for the hosts.

Oxford (4-2-3-1): Eastwood; Ribeiro, Nelson (c), Williamson, Ricardinho; Ledson, Ruffels; Henry (Hall 76), Payne, Johnson (van Kessel 79); Thomas (Obika 69)
Goals: Thomas 47, van Kessel 82, Ruffels 90+4
Subs not used: Shearer, Carroll, Martin, Rothwell

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Talbot (Baker 69), Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup; May, Rose; Evans, Pitman (c), Bennett; Naismith (Chaplin 56)
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, Close, Main, Kabamba

Referee: Graham Salisbury (Marc Wilson 51)

Attendance: 9,510 (1,810 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 082017
League Cup,,,,
,Cardiff City,2 – 1,Portsmouth,


Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Greg Halford both scored against their former club as Pompey fell at the first hurdle in the Carabao Cup.

But they took the lead against their Championship hosts when Sean Morrison sent the ball into his own.

Mendez-Laing levelled early in the second half before Halford struck late in extra-time to send the Welsh side through.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that beat Rochdale in the league at the weekend.

One of those was enforced, with Brandon Haunstrup replacing the injured Tareiq Holmes-Dennis at left-back.

The others saw Kal Naismith come in for Conor Chaplin up front, while Carl Baker made way for Adam May in midfield.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the hosts’ line-up, with former Pompey players Brian Murphy and Halford both starting.

It was a cagey start to proceedings, although a few deliveries from Cardiff’s right forced the Blues back-line into action.

One from Danny Ward was headed clear by Jack Whatmough, while another by Matthew Kennedy had to be dealt with by Christian Burgess.

Kyle Bennett saw a shot from outside the box fly narrowly past the post, while Luke McGee was confidently off his line to claim another Kennedy delivery.

But it was otherwise a pretty cagey opening to proceedings on a damp and chilly evening in South Wales.

Stuart O’Keefe sent a header straight into McGee’s arms on 31 minutes before a Cardiff player finally did find the back of the net moments later.

But MORRISON will not have celebrated breaking the deadlock, as he inadvertently turned Naismith’s low cross past his own keeper.

And Murphy was then booked just before the break for pushing down Gareth Evans after the winger had beaten him to the ball.

Half Time: Cardiff 0 Pompey 1


Second Half

The hosts, unsurprisingly, came out all guns blazing after the interval and McGee did well to tip Bruno Ecuele Manga’s header onto the crossbar.

But it was only a brief respite for the Blues, as former Fratton loanee Mendez-Laing – who had only just come off the bench – steered home after Lee Tomlin’s ball had been deflected into his path.

It was certainly not all one-way traffic, however, and Murphy got down to his right to stop Bennett from squeezing a shot inside the post.

Jackett made a change to his forward line on 65 minutes, as Naismith made way for Nicke Kabamba – much to the delight of the 851 travelling fans, who were quick to serenade the striker.

But it was Cardiff who were next to go close following Tomlin’s quick break and a deflected drive from Mendez-Laing was well held by McGee.

And the keeper was then quickly off his line to deny Kennedy after some clever trickery from Mendez-Laing had sent the winger through on goal.

It was the hosts who looked more threatening as the seconds ticked down, with Kennedy heading wide before Danny Rose chucked himself in the path Loic Damour’s strike.

The Blues were not done yet, though, and Murphy had to palm Evans’ drilled shot behind for a corner on 84 minutes.

But neither side was able to find a late winner and referee Stephen Martin’s whistle signalled an additional 30 minutes.

After 90 Minutes: Cardiff 1 Pompey 1

Mendez-Laing continued to look dangerous in extra-time, but sent two efforts wide after good work to find space.

And Drew Talbot then took the sting out of Junior Hoillet’s drive to allow McGee a relatively comfortable save.

Blues fans saw a ‘first’ on 102 minutes, when Cardiff brought on Joe Ralls to take advantage of a new rule that allows a fourth substitution to be made in extra-time

The visitors had to soak up plenty of pressure as the Championship side tried to forge ahead before the interval.

But it was Pompey who had a chance immediately after it, with Carl Baker sending a low ball across the face of goal that none of his team-mates could quite connect with.

Cardiff were dominating possession, however, and finally made their dominance count with a winning goal on 113 minutes.

It was Halford who slotted the ball home following a Hoillet corner, but the defender’s celebrations were muted against his former club.

Chaplin immediately came on to try to find a leveller and take the tie to penalties, but Pompey could not find a way through.

Cardiff (4-4-2): Murphy; Halford, Morrison (c), Ecuele Manga, Richards; Pilkington (Mendez-Laing 46), O’Keefe, Damour (Ralls 102), Kennedy (Hoillet 87); Ward, Tomin (Meite 97)
Goals: Mendez-Laing 48, Halford 113
Booked: Murphy
Subs not used: Etheridge, Peltier, Coxe

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Talbot, Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup (Close 106); Rose, May; Evans, Pitman (c) (Chaplin 114), Bennett (Baker 98); Naismith (Kabamba 65)
Goals: Morrison 32 (og)
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, Main

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 6,592 (851 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 052017
League 1,,,,
,Portsmouth,2 – 0,Rochdale,


Brett Pitman scored a brace on his debut to ensure Pompey began life in League One with victory over Rochdale.

The striker bagged an impressive individual goal after Keith Keane had been dismissed for the visitors at Fratton Park.

But there was a nervous edge to the closing stages, with substitute Jamal Lowe also sent off for the Blues.

That changed to elation in stoppage-time, however, as Pitman headed home to complete a memorable afternoon for the skipper.

Kenny Jackett handed starts to three summer signings in his first competitive match as Pompey manager.

Luke McGee, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Pitman all featured, while there was also a surprise appearance for Drew Talbot at right-back.

There were a mixture of emotions before kick-off, with Michael Eisner and other members of the Tornante Company applauded onto the pitch.

It was a more sombre occasion after that, however, with a minute’s applause to remember former Blues players Fred Evans, Pat Neil and Jimmy White, who all passed away over the summer.

Supporters were also paying their respects to fan Alan Dobson, who sadly died during the recent friendly against Bournemouth.

Once the action got underway at a sunny Fratton Park, it was the visitors who looked the more threatening.

Andy Cannon blasted a shot over the crossbar, although there were not too many opportunities to test McGee.

And Rochdale’s threat was blunted somewhat when they were reduced to 10 men on 21 minutes.

Conor Chaplin collected a loose ball and charged towards goal, only to be crudely upended by Keane just outside the box.

Referee Lee Probert immediately brandished a red card and the centre-back was forced to trudge off to the dressing room.

Pompey were unable to make the free-kick count, though, as Carl Baker’s delivery evaded everyone and went behind.

Calvin Andrew then did well to nip in ahead of Christian Burgess and head behind Baker’s dangerous corner.

The hosts went close again from the resulting flag-kick, as Pitman found space to nod narrowly past the post.

But the Blues were dealt a blow of their own late in the first half, with Holmes-Dennis going down injured on the left.

He limped off to be replaced by Lowe, with Gareth Evans dropping to right-back and Talbot moving across to the left.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Rochdale 0


The first half had been rather slow to get going, but the second exploded into life after just 34 seconds.

It was a fine effort from PITMAN, who picked the ball up on the left and – through a mixture of skill and persistence – found space to slot it into the net.

There was soon an opening for the visitors at the other end of the pitch, although Ollie Rathbone dragged his effort wide.

Rochdale then won a free-kick 25 yards out, but Reece Brown could not quite force his shot through the defensive wall.

An error from Josh Lillis almost handed Pompey a second goal on 69 minutes, with the keeper tearing off his line to try to beat Chaplin to the ball.

But he only succeeded in chesting it into the path of Lowe, whose cheeky lob landed narrowly wide of the post.

Jackett made his second substitution moments later, with Chaplin making way for Kal Naismith in the Blues attack.

And Lowe made way on 81 minutes – although there was nobody to replace him after the substitute was shown a red card.

He stretched to win the ball, but caught Jamie Allen and Probert decided it was enough to warrant a sending off.

That ensured a more fraught end to proceedings than perhaps was necessary, but Pitman eased those nerves in stoppage-time.

Evans got free down the right and picked out the unmarked striker in the box, with PITMAN expertly guiding his header past Lillis and into the net.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Talbot, Burgess, Whatmough, Holmes-Dennis (Lowe 39); Baker, Rose; Evans, Pitman (c), Bennett; Chaplin (Naismith 71)
Goals: Pitman 46, 90+2
Sent off: Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, May, Main, Kabamba

Rochdale (4-4-2): Lillis; Brown, Keane, McNulty, Ntlhe; Cannon (Davies 75), Camps (Rafferty 59), Allen, Rathbone; Henderson (c), Andrew (Done 59)
Sent off: Keane
Subs not used: Collis, Canavan, Inman, Williams

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 18,009 (471 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 292017
,Crawley Town,1 – 2,Portsmouth,


Pitman bags brace as Blues end pre-season with victory

Pompey go into the new campaign on a high after ending their pre-season programme with victory at Crawley.

But they had to come from behind, with Thomas Verheydt giving the hosts an early lead at a wet Broadfield Stadium.

Skipper Brett Pitman led the turnaround, levelling with a fine second half free-kick before snatching the winner.

It was the League Two side who were quickest from the blocks and Josh Lelan headed narrowly wide from Mark Randall’s corner.

And the hosts did break the deadlock from another flag-kick just seconds later, with Verheydt converting Randall’s delivery.

There was not too much else to excite the Sussex crowd in a drab first half played out in unseasonable conditions.

Kyle Bennett and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis were the two Blues players to impress going forward and a teasing low cross from the former had to be cleared behind by Josh Yorwerth.

A skewed clearance from Tom Davies at the other end led to Randall firing wide with Luke McGee off his line.

Bennett then had one shot comfortably saved by Glenn Morris, while another was blocked following some fancy footwork.

Crawley were creating the better openings, however, and Enzio Boldewijn flashed a shot narrowly over after cutting inside from the right.

Then, after Jordan Roberts had just about beaten McGee to the ball, Holmes-Dennis made a superb clearance from the line.

And, from the resulting corner, McGee was forced to claw away another Verheydt effort that was heading for the net.

Pompey started to look more threatening as the interval beckoned and with Pitman lurking at the far post, Mark Connolly had to intercept Holmes-Dennis’ low cross.

Bennett’s incisive pass then picked out Conor Chaplin in the box, but the striker could not get the ball untangled from his feet.

Half Time: Crawley 1 Pompey 0


Chaplin thought he should have been awarded a penalty early in the second half when his surge into the area was abruptly halted, but referee Carl Brook was not interested.

But the Blues were level on 55 minutes after Pitman had been crudely challenged by Connolly in a central position outside the box.

It was PITMAN who stepped up to take the free-kick and curl a fantastic effort right into the top corner of the net.

The striker was then involved in a clash with Yorwerth on the edge of the Crawley area, but perhaps with the fact it was a friendly in mind, Brook just gave the pair a stern telling off.

It was otherwise typical friendly fare on the pitch, with the game starting to lag as the second half progressed.

Kal Naismith angled a shot into the side netting for Pompey, while Boldewijn fired wide at the other end.

But the Blues found themselves ahead on 75 minutes, as PITMAN collected a neat pass from substitute Milan Lalkovic and coolly lifted the ball over Morris.

The lead should have been strengthened further, only for Naismith to slot wide when it seemed far easier to score.

And the Blues comfortably passed the ball around among themselves to see out the final few minutes and secure the win.

Crawley (5-4-1): Morris; Young, Lelan, Yorwerth, Connolly, Evina; Boldewijn, Bulman (c), Randall (Payne 68), Roberts (Lewis 80); Verheydt (Harrold 70)
Goals: Verheydt 3
Subs not used: Mersin, Arthur, Cox, Blackman, Djalo, Clifford, Tajbakash, Sanoh, Camara

Pompey (4-4-1-1): McGee; Evans, Davies, Whatmough, Holmes-Dennis; Naismith, Baker, Rose, Bennett; Pitman (c); Chaplin (Lalkovic 62)
Goals: Pitman 55, 75
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Haunstrup, Close, May, Lowe, Main, Kabamba

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 1,603 (778 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 222017
,Portsmouth,1 – 2,AFC Bournemouth,


Chaplin on target in friendly defeat

Conor Chaplin was on target as Pompey were narrowly beaten by top-flight Bournemouth at Fratton Park.

The striker levelled in the second half after Lys Mousset had earlier fired the visitors into the lead.

But Benik Afobe almost immediately netted for the Cherries and, despite a spirited display, the Blues could not find another goal.

Pre-season conjures up images of baking hot days with plenty of drinks breaks.

But coats and umbrellas were needed at Fratton Park, as the rain fell steadily throughout the only home friendly of the summer.

Recent Bournemouth signings Asmir Begovic and Jermain Defoe returned to their former club, while ex-Cherry Brett Pitman skippered the hosts.

It was the Premier League side that made the brighter start, with Luke McGee doing well to keep out Tyrone Mings’ deflected drive.

Mousset then met Ryan Fraser’s cross with a firm header that had to be cleared by a well-placed Pitman.

And Bournemouth broke the deadlock on nine minutes, as Afobe got down the right and cut the ball back for Mousset to fire home.

But the Blues grew into the game as the first half progressed and a left-footed attempt by Kyle Bennett from outside of the box narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Pitman then had a shot inadvertently blocked by Chaplin before heading Kal Naismith’s cross just over the bar.

The Cherries still threatened, though, and when McGee could not get a strong enough hand to Afobe’s angled drive, Carl Baker had to hack the ball from the line.

But Pompey were not looking over-awed and both Baker and Naismith were not too far away with efforts from distance.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Bournemouth 1


There was almost a leveller early in the second half, but Begovic showed his class by keeping out Pitman’s drive.

Pompey did grab an equaliser on 52 minutes, however, as Pitman cushioned a header into the path of CHAPLIN, who coolly slotted home.

But they were not on level terms for long, with Afobe’s neat back-heel almost immediately restoring Bournemouth’s lead.

The visitors then made a host of substitutions just before the hour mark and Defoe was among those introduced.

There were soon cries for a penalty when Bennett’s cross appeared to strike the arm of Cherries skipper Simon Francis, but referee Andy Davies was not interested.

The raft of changes ultimately took the sting out of the game and it started to meander towards a conclusion.

But Chaplin got everyone off their seats late on by drilling a left-footed shot against the base of the post.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis’ cross then had to be cleared behind, while the impressive Christian Burgess headed over from the resulting corner.

Pompey were ultimately unable to find a second leveller, but it was certainly a performance to take comfort from against Premier League opposition.

Pompey (4-4-1-1): McGee; Evans, Davies, Burgess, Holmes-Dennis; Bennett, Baker, Rose, Naismith (Lalkovic 69); Pitman; Chaplin
Goals: Chaplin 52
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Whatmough, Haunstrup, May, Close, Lowe, Main, Kabamba

Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Begovic (Federici 59); Francis (c), S.Cook (Worthington 46), Cargill (Ake 59), Mings (Daniels 46); Surman (L.Cook 59), Arter (Gosling 59); Fraser (Ibe 59), Mousset (King 59), Gradel (Pugh 59); Afobe (Defoe 59)
Goals: Mousset 9, Afobe 54
Subs not used: Mahoney, Simpson, Whitfield

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 7,182 (988 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 152017


0 – 2

Pitman nets twice in pre-season victory

Brett Pitman bagged a brace in his first Pompey appearance to secure another pre-season victory for Kenny Jackett’s side at Bognor.

He netted at both ends of a contest that often drifted along, although fellow debutant Luke McGee made a fine stop in the second half.

The Rocks were certainly not over-awed against their higher-level opponents, but they rarely threatened to secure a share of the spoils.

The visitors made a bright start and Conor Chaplin hit a clean effort from 25 yards that flew narrowly past the post.

And the diminutive striker was involved in the goal that saw them break the deadlock with just five minutes on the clock.

He beat Rocks keeper Dan Lincoln to a poor Sami El-Abd back-pass and squared for PITMAN to slot home his first goal for the club.

The advantage was almost doubled moments later, but Lincoln got down to palm clear Carl Baker’s angled drive.

After that early flurry, however, the match soon settled into more traditional pre-season fare, with fans more interested in visiting the bar than watching what was unfolding on the pitch.

Bognor started to enjoy more possession as the half progressed and Ollie Pearce was let down by a poor touch after latching onto a ball over the top.

There was also a Baker corner at the other end that Christian Burgess was unable to divert on target.

But it was pretty slow going until Pompey finally started to show more attacking intent just before the break.

Adam May should have strengthened their lead, but fired a shot straight at Lincoln from inside the box.

Bognor’s keeper then made sure he was not beaten at his near post from Gareth Evans’ drilled effort.

Half Time

(0 – 1)

The second half got off to a sedate start, although Kyle Bennett flashed a long-range attempt narrowly wide.

There was not much else to excite a healthy Nyewood Lane crowd, though, with clear-cut openings at a premium.

Tom Davies headed a free-kick wide, while a shot from May was blocked by his former team-mate Chad Field.

And an effort from Danny Rose just past the hour mark took a deflection and looped just wide of the post.

It was certainly Pompey looking more likely to add to the scoring and a lunging Pitman could not quite connect with Bennett’s low delivery from the left.

Bognor were left perturbed on 70 minutes when they tried to bring subbed defender El-Abd back on, only to be denied by the officials.

They almost levelled soon after, though, when Davies’ slip let in Tommy Scutt, but McGee came to the rescue with a fine save.

That was then matched by Lincoln at the other end, with the stopper keeping out Pitman’s acrobatic close-range flick after Davies had headed the ball towards goal.

But PITMAN did wrap things up on 86 minutes, neatly controlling Baker’s dinked pass over the defence and slotting home his second of the afternoon.

Bognor (4-2-3-1): Lincoln; Whyte (Davies 46), Field (Block 71), El-Abd (c) (Heath 46), Bird; Tuck, Lee (Beck 46); Parsons (Muitt 46), Suraci (Scutt 63), Pearce (Dolcetti 82); Wild (Rowlatt 46)

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Evans, Burgess, Davies, Holmes-Dennis; May, Rose; Baker, Pitman (c), Bennett; Chaplin
Goals: Pitman 5, 86
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic, Naismith, Main

Referee: Gary Parsons

Attendance: 1,800

Portsmouth FC

Jul 082017


0 – 6

Chaplin bags treble in Westleigh Park rout

Conor Chaplin hit a hat-trick as Pompey continued their prolific pre-season form with a 6-0 thrashing of Havant & Waterlooville.

The rout began with a Lee Molyneaux own-goal, while the striker then ran riot with a treble before the interval.

He also teed-up Kal Naismith to add to the advantage early in the second half, while Curits Main wrapped things up from the penalty spot.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis made his first appearance in a Pompey shirt following his loan signing from Huddersfield earlier in the week.

The hosts named former Fratton midfielder Wes Fogden in their starting line-up, but Matt Tubbs missed out with an injury.

It was a hot and sunny afternoon at Westleigh Park, but that did not stop the first half from being played at a hectic pace.

And it was the visitors who unsurprisingly looked the more threatening side throughout the opening 45 minutes.

They had already gone close on a couple of occasions when Kyle Bennett fired against the crossbar following some fine build-up play between Chaplin and Holmes-Dennis.

The woodwork came to the Hawks’ rescue again soon after, with Bennett this time having a shot deflected against the post.

There was a blow for Kenny Jackett’s side in between those chances, however, as Matt Clarke limped off the pitch injured.

But the breakthrough did finally arrive – albeit in somewhat farcical fashion – on 26 minutes.

Naismith’s corner caused havoc in the box and the ball eventually ricocheted off the unfortunate Molyneaux and into the net.

That was the signal for the floodgates to open and Pompey doubled their advantage just a few moments later.

Holmes-Dennis swung a delightful cross into the area from wide on the left and CHAPLIN was left with a simple finish at the far post.

The Hawks then had their best chance of the half with a quick counter-attack, but Alex Bass surged from his line to brilliantly deny Alfie Rutherford.

Pompey were not quite so profligate and CHAPLIN bagged his second of the afternoon on 39 minutes, collecting a ball down the line and cutting inside before smashing home a shot.

And CHAPLIN completed his hat-trick in stoppage-time with a first time finish into the bottom corner after being teed-up by Naismith.

Half Time

(0 – 4)

Pompey did not sit on their lead at the start of the second half and Chaplin was once again involved in their fifth goal.

The diminutive striker sent a dangerous low ball into the box from wide on the left, leaving NAISMITH with a simple tap-in.

A flurry of substitutes soon disrupted the flow, however, with Chaplin among those taking a well-earned rest.

But it was one of the players who came on that managed to add a sixth goal for the Blues on 76 minutes.

MAIN barged his way into the box and drew a foul from Alfie Whittingham, then picked himself up to slam home from the spot.

The visitors continued to threaten and Nicke Kabamba was inches away from connecting with Drew Talbot’s cross.

Milan Lalkovic then embarked on a mazy run through the Hawks defence before being denied by a fine save from substitute keeper Alan Walker-Harris.

But Lee Bradbury’s Hawks managed to see the remaining moments out to limit the damage in front of a healthy Westleigh Park crowd.

Hawks (3-5-2): Young (Walker-Harris 72); Woodford, Molyneaux (Wakley 64), Harris; Tarbuck, Lewis (c) (Whittingham 64), Carter (Stock 64 (Yokota 79)), Fogden (Ridge 64), Williams; Prior (Odubade 46), Rutherford (Hayter 46)
Sub not used: Robinson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Evans (c) (Talbot 72), Burgess (Whatmough 72), Clarke (Davies 16), Holmes-Dennis (Haunstrup 46); May (Roberts 76), Rose (Close 57); Baker (Lowe 57), Naismith (Kabamba 72), Bennett (Main 72); Chaplin (Lalkovic 57)
Goals: Molyneaux 26 (og), Chaplin 30, 39, 45+1, Naismith 47, Main 74 (pen)
Sub not used: Collins

Referee: Alex Blake

Attendance: 2,700

Portsmouth FC