Pompey were the victims of a smash and grab raid by Bradford, as they slipped to a third successive defeat.
The hosts were on top for much of the contest, with Kyle Bennett and Matty Kennedy both coming close to scoring.
But they were made to play for their profligacy late on when Matthew Kilgallon headed home a late winner for the third-placed Bantams.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Blackburn the previous week.
Brett Pitman – wearing a mask to protect his recently broken nose – was fit enough to start after recovering from a knee operation, with Oliver Hawkins dropping to the bench.
The first half was a lively affair, although neither goalkeeper was given too much to do, with the hosts in particular misplacing their shooting boots.
Bennett had an early attempt charged down by Adam Thompson, while Christian Burgess was unable to turn Dion Donohue’s corner on target at the far post.
The former was producing an energetic performance and he did well to hold the ball up on the right and feed Jamal Lowe, who charged into the box and drew a save from Colin Doyle.
Pompey were looking the more threatening side and when Kennedy whipped in a dangerous free-kick, Pitman’s header was deflected wide.
There were a couple of scrambles in the area at the other end of the pitch, but the ball was cleared to safety on each occasion.
Some of Bennett’s build-up play was superb, but he was lacking a clinical touch when picked out by Kennedy, ballooning a shot high into the Milton End.
Kennedy than had a chance of his own on 36 minutes, trying his luck with a 20-yard curler that dipped narrowly over the crossbar.
Bradford almost took a shock lead just before the break after Matt Clarke had been punished for a foul out wide.
Tony McMahon sent a superb delivery into the Blues box and Romain Vincelot’s header was inches off target.
But it was the hosts who finished the half on top and Ben Close had an effort blocked after being teed-up by Bennett’s clever pass.
Bradford City 0
Bennett’s mixed afternoon continued after the interval when he did brilliantly to intercept a back-pass and round Doyle.
But that forced him out wider than he would have liked and he was left with head in hands after only being able to fire into the side netting.
The home fans’ frustrations grew further when McMahon took an age to tie his shoelaces, with referee Dean Whitestone doing little to hurry him up.
Bradford then missed an opportunity to forge ahead themselves, with Charlie Wyke directing his free header at Luke McGee.
But the action was soon back down the other end of the pitch and the ball had to be cut out when Lowe tricked his way into the box and tried to send it into the mixer.
The second half was being played at a frenetic pace, as both sides looked to get forward and find an opener.
Jackett made his first change on 67 minutes, with Bennett afforded a standing ovation as he made way for Conor Chaplin.
The newcomer made an instant impact by feeding Close, only for Doyle to leave his line and make a block.
And the keeper then got to his feet and made an even better save when Kennedy thundered the loose ball towards goal.
Donohue sent the resulting corner into the danger zone and a leaping Burgess looped his header onto the roof of the net.
But it was Bradford who were celebrating on 80 minutes after Dion Donohue had been booked for a foul on Alex Gilliead.
McMahon whipped the ball into the box, where Kilgallon was left in too much space to send a header past McGee.
Hawkins came on for Donohue as Jackett added an extra forward option to try to engineer some late drama.
But despite pushing plenty of men up the pitch for the closing stages, the Bantams held on to secure the victory.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue (Hawkins 86); Close, O’Keefe; Lowe, Bennett (Chaplin 67), Kennedy; Pitman (c)
Booked: Donohue, Pitman
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Rose, Evans, Naismith
Bradford (4-4-2): Doyle; McMahon, Thompson, Kilgallon, Field; Gilliead, Reeves, Vincelot (c), Law; Wyke, Taylor (Dieng 84)
Goals: Kilgallon 80
Subs not used: Raeder, Hendrie, Robinson, Jones, McCartan, Patrick
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 18,067 (1,003 away fans)
Pompey completed a disappointing week on the road with a 3-0 defeat at Blackburn.
The visitors created little, albeit in terrible conditions, and conceded goals in both halves to make the treacherous trip home with nothing to show for their efforts.
Bradley Dack opened the scoring before the break, while Danny Graham then doubled Rovers’ advantage after it.
Dominic Samuel was sent off for the hosts, but they were still able to wrap things up with a third goal from Craig Conway.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side beaten at Doncaster earlier in the week.
Jamal Lowe was restored to the starting line-up and Gareth Evans dropped to the bench, meaning that the captain’s armband returned to Stuart O’Keefe.
Brett Pitman had recovered from keyhole surgery on his knee, but had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
There was also a ‘Battle of the Bennetts’, as Pompey winger Kyle was up against his older brother Elliott.
Storm Brian made life difficult for both teams, with heavy rain accompanying the wind swirling around Ewood Park.
And there were not too many clear-cut chances to reward those fans who braved the conditions to watch the game.
It was the hosts looking the more threatening, though, and a couple of dangerous deliveries had to be scrambled clear.
Dack then fired a warning shot narrowly wide midway through the first half after being teed-up by strike-partner Graham.
Richie Smallwood was closer moments later, with a thumping effort from 30 yards that Luke McGee did well to turn over the bar.
The keeper was soon called into action again and denied Dack with his legs before Graham turned the loose ball against the crossbar.
But the Blues soon had a decent opportunity of their own when Bennett met Lowe’s cross with a volley that forced David Raya to save down to his right.
It was Rovers who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, however, as Harry Chapman stole the ball from Dion Donohue and fed Dack for a powerful finish.
Pompey tried to find a response before the break, although an O’Keefe shot that was comfortably saved by Raya was all they had to show for their efforts.
Blackburn Rovers 1
The rain got even heavier as the teams came out to start the second half and it certainly seemed to affect the standard of play.
Donohue was shown a yellow card for tugging back Chapman as the midfielder tried to surge into the box.
Skipper Charlie Mulgrew took the resulting free-kick from the side of the box and his fierce effort had to be beaten away by McGee.
But Rovers did double their advantage just before the hour mark, as Derrick Williams got down the left and teed-up Graham for a calm finish into the bottom corner.
Pompey had a chance to hit back when Ryan Nyambe received a yellow card for a foul on Matty Kennedy.
The free-kick was played short to Bennett, whose low shot from outside the area crept narrowly wide of Raya’s post.
That was Bennett’s last contribution to proceedings, however, as he and Oliver Hawkins made way for Conor Chaplin and a mask-wearing Pitman.
Both sides then had attempts from long distance, with strikes from Peter Whittingham and Pitman not too far off target.
With the rain continuing to fall there was plenty of surface water to make life even more difficult for both sides.
And with players struggling to keep their footing, the Blues could at least take comfort from the fact that nobody limped off in the closing stages.
But Rovers did not end the game with all 11 men on the pitch, with referee Chris Kavanagh forced to brandish a red card.
Christian Burgess held up Samuel as he tried to chase a loose ball and the frustrated Blackburn substitute kicked out at him.
The hosts were still able to add another goal late on, however, as Conway broke up the pitch and slotted past McGee.
Blackburn: Raya; Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew (c), Williams; Chapman (Conway 68), Smallwood, Whittingham, Bennett; Graham (Samuel 74), Dack (Evans 77)
Goals: Dack 38, Graham 58, Conway 90
Sent off: Samuel
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Caddis, Gladwin, Antonsson
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; O’Keefe (c), Close; Lowe, Bennett (Chaplin 64), Kennedy (Naismith 76); Hawkins (Pitman 64)
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Rose, Evans
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Attendance: 11,673 (1,209 Pompey fans)
A disastrous start cost Pompey as they made the long trip home from Doncaster on the back of a 2-1 defeat.
They conceded twice inside the opening five minutes, with Liam Mandeville opening the scoring before Christian Burgess inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.
A comical own-goal from Mathieu Baudry sparked hopes of a comeback, but they were dashed when Dion Donohue – figuratively and literally – saw red.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that convincingly beat MK Dons on home soil at the weekend.
Gareth Evans returned to the starting line-up in a wide attacking role on the right and was also handed the captain’s armband.
Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench, having travelled up later than the rest of the squad following the birth of his baby daughter.
Pompey were looking to build on successive league victories, but got off to a terrible start and found themselves two down before some fans had even taken their seat.
They had looked bright immediately following kick-off and a couple of attacks were thwarted by the Rovers back-line.
But the hosts were more clinical and broke the deadlock when Rodney Kongolo collected Tommy Rowe’s pass and squared for Mandeville to prod home.
And Doncaster doubled their advantage a few seconds later, as Burgess inadvertently sliced Harry Toffolo’s corner into his own net.
It almost got even worse for the Blues, but Andy Butler could not guide his header on target after meeting another Toffolo set-piece.
Pompey almost reduced their deficit midway through the first half, with Joe Wright forced to clear from the line when Burgess guided Matty Kennedy’s free-kick towards goal.
That was about it for clear-cut opportunities before the interval, with much of the battle taking place in the centre of the pitch.
Ben Close did see a volley charged down when Kennedy’s cross was headed into his path by Nathan Thompson.
Donohue then lifted a free-kick into the box with the seconds ticking down, but Kennedy was unable to force his shot through a sea of bodies.
Doncaster Rovers 2
Jackett, unsurprisingly, decided to make a couple of changes at the start of the second half, as the visitors looked for a route back into the game.
They were both attacking substitutes, with Evans and Kyle Bennett making for new father Lowe and – making his 100th appearance – Conor Chaplin.
And Chaplin almost made an immediate impression when Oliver Hawkins was fouled right on the edge of the box.
The diminutive striker stepped up take the free-kick and managed to bend it over the wall and against the crossbar.
But the Blues were handed a lifeline in bizarre fashion on 54 minutes – and it is a moment that Ian Lawlor will be keen to forget.
Doncaster’s keeper allowed Baudry’s back-pass to slip under his foot and was unable to hack the ball clear before it crossed the line.
That gave the visitors a visible lift, while their opponents started to display some nerves now their lead was so narrow.
A couple of dangerous Kennedy corners had to be headed clear, while a cross from the winger was then flicked narrowly wide by Chaplin.
But just when the 620 travelling fans started to dream of a comeback, Pompey were suddenly faced with an even steeper mountain to climb.
A frustrated Donohue kicked out at Niall Mason in an off-the-ball incident and although referee Martin Coy missed it, his assistant advised that the left-back should be dismissed.
The visitors kept trying to push forward in search of a leveller, but were obviously now finding it more difficult.
When they did get the ball into dangerous areas, Doncaster had plenty of players back to halt their charge.
There was clearly a bit of needle between the teams and something Mandeville said as he was substituted left Burgess enraged.
But Pompey were almost celebrating deep into stoppage-time when Lowe met Kennedy’s cross, only for his deft header to be superbly kept out by Lawlor.
Doncaster (4-2-3-1): Lawlor; Blair (Mason 46), Wright, Butler (c), Baudry (Beestin 72); Houghton, Whiteman; Kongolo, Rowe, Toffolo; Mandeville (Garratt 88)
Goals: Mandeville 3, Burgess 5 (og)
Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Ben Khemis, Fletcher
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, O’Keefe; Evans (c) (Lowe 46), Bennett (Chaplin 46), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Baudry 54 (og)
Sent off: Donohue
Booked: Burgess, O’Keefe
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rose, Naismith
Referee: Martin Coy
Attendance: 7,211 (620 Pompey fans)
16 October 2017
The return of Gary Numan to the south coast last night to promote his most successful album of recent years Savage
Great concert as per usual, including his daughter Persia taking the stage for backing vocals on My Name Is Ruin.
Didn’t see the support act this time
01. Ghost Nation
03. The Fall
04. Remind Me to Smile
05. Bed of Thorns
06. Dead Sun Rising
07. Down in the Park
08. Pray for the Pain You Serve
09. Here in the Black
11. Love Hurt Bleed
12. My Name is Ruin
14. When the World Comes Apart
15. A Prayer for the Unborn
16. I Die: You Die
17. Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
A brace from Oliver Hawkins ensured that Pompey beat MK Dons to secure successive league wins for the first time this season.
Both goals arrived in a first half that was almost completely one-sided, as the visitors struggled to deal with the Blues’ attacking play.
Hawkins was the beneficiary of some good work from the hosts’ wide players, as he converted crosses from first Matty Kennedy and then Jamal Lowe.
It was no surprise that the Dons were better after the break, but they did not do enough to test Luke McGee.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Gillingham the previous week.
Christian Burgess had recovered from a calf injury to start in defence and make his 100th appearance for the club, allowing Hawkins to move to a more natural position up front.
A slight niggle ensured that Curtis Main was the man to miss out, with Stuart O’Keefe continuing to wear the captain’s armband in Brett Pitman’s absence.
The visitors had an early chance when Osman Sow got past Matt Clarke, only for the centre-back to recover well and win the ball back.
But after that it was a first half that saw Pompey enjoy almost total dominance, as they poured forward at every opportunity.
Kyle Bennett burst free down the right and Kennedy just got a touch to his cross to take the ball away from the advancing Lowe.
But the deadlock was broken on 14 minutes – and Kennedy had a large part to play in giving the hosts the lead.
He intercepted a sloppy pass from Ethan Ebanks-Landell and burst past the Dons defender before teeing-up HAWKINS for a powerful finish into the roof of the net.
There was a scare for both teams when Kennedy and Callum Brittain disappeared over the advertising hoardings at the Fratton End.
But the Blues winger soon reappeared and, after some treatment, the visiting right-back was able to continue.
Lee Nicholls was looking nervous between the MK Dons sticks and was perhaps lucky to win a free-kick after failing to hold Dion Donohue’s corner.
He then made a hash of dealing with Lowe’s centre and would have been relieved to see no Pompey player nearby to take advantage.
Donohue then tried his luck from 25 yards when Kennedy’s free-kick was only partially cleared, but could not send the ball on target.
With the visitors clinging on, O’Keefe was next to try his luck and Scott Wooton had to fling himself in front of the shot.
And Nicholls then charged from his line to dive on the ball following some fine work between Bennett and Lowe on the right.
MK Dons finally threatened late in the half and it took a fine challenge from Clarke to deny Sow after the striker burst through on goal.
But there was still time for Pompey to double their lead prior to the interval, as a persistent Lowe was able to cut the ball back for HAWKINS to turn home from close range.
MK Dons 0
A Kennedy corner caused issues for the visitors just after the restart, but they were eventually able to scramble the ball clear.
Burgess then had to deal with Gboly Ariyibi’s dangerous low delivery from the right and just about managed to turn it the right side of the post.
MK Dons were looking more of a threat in the second half, but McGee was still a virtual spectator between the sticks.
And Hawkins had a chance to complete a hat-trick on the hour mark, only to swipe at thin air as he tried to convert Kennedy’s cross.
Bennett then missed another decent chance to put the result beyond doubt, firing wide when Lowe’s centre somehow found its way to his feet.
MK Dons might have made the most of that let-off and the Blues survived a couple of nervy scrambles in their box.
Ed Upson then whipped a free-kick into a crowded box and McGee did well to find his way through the bodies and punch clear.
Kennedy received a rousing reception from the Fratton faithful when he made way for Gareth Evans for the closing stages.
And Pompey saw out the final few minutes with relative ease to secure all three points on the sunny south coast.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, O’Keefe (c); Lowe, Bennett, Kennedy (Evans 81); Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 14, 45+2
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Haunstrup, Rose, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naismith
MK Dons (4-1-4-1): Nicholls; Brittain (Williams 41), Ebanks-Landell, Wootton, Golbourne; Cisse (Agard 66); Ariyibi, Upson, Gilbey (c), Nesbitt (Aneke 46); Sow
Booked: Williams, Nicholls, Ebanks-Landell
Subs not used: Sietsma, Walsh, Lewington, Seager
Referee: Graham Horwood
Attendance: 17,608 (580 away fans)
Matty Kennedy scored early in the second half to ensure Pompey picked up all three points at Gillingham.
The winger converted after Curtis Main’s header had come back off the woodwork to give the large travelling army – and all those watching live on Sky Sports – plenty to cheer.
A one-goal advantage ensured it was a nervy finale at Priestfield, but the struggling hosts never really looked like claiming an equaliser.
Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side beaten by Oldham in Pompey’s last league outing.
Striker Main was handed a first league start in more than a year in place of the injured skipper Brett Pitman.
Drew Talbot dropped to the bench to make way for Kyle Bennett, with Oliver Hawkins continuing to be deployed as a makeshift centre-back.
Nathan Thompson – who went off against the Latics with concussion – was declared fit to feature at right-back, but the game came too soon for Christian Burgess.
The watching television audience might have been forgiven for reaching for their remote, as the game took a while to find its flow.
In fact, the most noteworthy moment in the opening stages was the continuing efforts of various Priestfield staff to replace a dislodged corner flag.
Kennedy tried his luck with a curling right-footed effort, but the ball flew safely into the arms of Gills keeper Tomas Holy.
A delightful delivery from the outside of Jamal Lowe’s boot caused some problems, with Josh Parker having to head clear.
It was Ben Close who had the first decent chance on 20 minutes, though, with Holy having to get down to deal with his low drilled effort.
And a dangerous centre from Bennett flashed across the face of goal, with none of his white-shirted team-mates able to get a touch.
But the hosts grew in confidence as the first half progressed and thought they should have won a penalty on 34 minutes.
Hawkins’ challenge sent Sean Clare tumbling to the ground, only for referee Christopher Sarginson to ignore the appeals.
Pompey won a trio of corners before the break and two of them were met by Matt Clarke, but the defender sent both wide of the target.
It was Gillingham who ended stronger, though, and Parker volleyed narrowly past the post after being picked out by Lee Martin.
Pompey came tearing out of the traps at the start of the second half and were ahead after just 26 seconds.
Thompson whipped a cross in from the right and when Main’s header came back off the post, KENNEDY was waiting to stroke home the loose ball.
And Thompson might have added a second, with a cross that drifted towards goal and dipped narrowly over.
It was the visitors looking more likely to add to the scoring and a long-range attempt from Kennedy was not too far off target.
Hawkins then met another Kennedy corner, although his header lacked enough power to trouble Holy.
But Gillingham thought they had grabbed an equaliser when Finn O’Mara’s cross was converted by Parker.
The home fans leapt from their seats to celebrate before realising that the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
Jackett was forced to make his first change moments later, as Dion Donohue limped off to be replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.
Pompey had a chance to extend their lead when Bennett broke quickly on 74 minutes, but he took too long to find Lowe, whose effort was blocked.
Gareth Evans and Danny Rose were brought in for the closing stages, with Bennett and Close withdrawing to the bench.
But it was Clarke who almost grabbed a second goal for the Blues late on, diverting Kennedy’s free-kick inches past the post.
Gillingham (3-5-2): Holy; O’Hara, Ehmer, Nugent (Tucker 45); Parker, Hessenthaler, Martin (c) (List 57), Bingham, Ogilvie; Wilkinson, Clare (Oldaker 67)
Subs not used: Arnold, Simpson, Wagstaff, Nash
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Hawkins, Clarke, Donohue (Haunstrup 67); O’Keefe (c), Close (Rose 83); Lowe, Bennett (Evans 83), Kennedy; Main
Goals: Kennedy 46
Booked: Clarke, Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naismith
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 8,163 (1,333 Pompey fans)
Pompey boosted their chances of a qualifying for the Checkatrade Trophy knockout stages with victory over Crawley at a sparsely-populated Fratton Park.
Matt Clarke opened the scoring with the type of goal you would not normally associate with a defender.
His stand-in back-line partner Oliver Hawkins then doubled the lead, only for Moussa Sanoh to pull one back after the break.
But Stuart O’Keefe added a third for the hosts to wrap the points up and move the Blues to the top of Southern Group A.
Kenny Jackett made six changes from the side that were beaten at home by Oldham at the weekend.
Gareth Evans returned to skipper the side at right-back, while Danny Rose and Adam May were recalled in midfield.
Curtis Main led the line and there were also starts in attacking roles for both Kal Naismith and Kyle Bennett.
Pompey’s defensive injury crisis meant that striker Hawkins had to continue partnering Clarke in the centre of defence.
It was a fairly quiet start to proceedings, with neither side managing to create any clear-cut openings.
Bennett had an effort blocked, while Rose’s diagonal pass was just too heavy for Main, allowing Red Devils keeper Yusuf Mersin to claim.
Main did go close on 12 minutes, though, collecting Naismith’s through ball and fizzing an angled drive just past the post.
Crawley then forced Luke McGee into action for the first time midway through the first half, with the keeper doing well to push behind Kaby Djalo’s fierce drive.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 30 minutes and it was an impressive goal from CLARKE.
He ran more than half the length of the pitch before feeding Main and was on hand to calmly convert when the striker’s shot was saved.
And his central defensive partner HAWKINS soon doubled the lead, slamming home the loose ball after Main’s header from a Naismith free-kick had been kept out by Mersin.
The visitors then missed an opportunity to reduce the deficit just before the break when Panutche Camara fired wide.
Crawley Town 0
The Red Devils made a bright start to the second half, but a couple of half-chances failed to test McGee.
Ibrahim Meite then took a heavy touch from Sanoh’s dangerous low delivery to waste another decent opening.
And when Sanoh crossed dangerously for a second time, the ball was just out of reach for both Meite and Camara, as the visitors continued to threaten.
The impressive Sanoh had a shot of his own just before the hour mark, but McGee was equal to his powerful effort.
Jackett made a double switch soon after, withdrawing May and Rose for Brandon Haunstrup and Jamal Lowe.
But it was Bennett who had a great chance to wrap the game up when he took the ball past Mersin, only to fire over with the goal gaping.
And Crawley immediately went down the other end to reduce their deficit, with Sanoh racing onto Camara’s flick and sliding past McGee.
But Bennett soon made up for his miss by providing the assist for Pompey’s third goal of the evening on 71 minutes.
He jinked his way into the box and teed-up O’KEEFE to slot home and open his scoring account for the club.
Bennett might have added a gloss to the scoreline late on when he was left unmarked to meet Lowe’s cross, but sent his header wide.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Evans (c), Hawkins, Clarke, Donohue; May (Haunstrup 62), Rose (Lowe 62); O’Keefe (Close 87), Bennett, Naismith; Main
Goals: Clarke 30, Hawkins 34, O’Keefe 71
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Kennedy, Chaplin
Crawley (4-2-3-1): Mersin; Tajbakhsh (Lewis 76), McNerney, Yorwerth, Djalo (Smith 87); Payne, Bulman (c); Camara (Boldewijn 76), Clifford, Sanoh; Meite
Goals: Sanoh 65
Subs not used: Morris, Evina, Connolly, Lelan
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 1,527 (44 away fans)