Aug 312019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey had to settle for a share of the spoils at Blackpool, despite Marcus Harness netting his third goal for the club.

The visitors improved as the first half progressed and deservedly went ahead through the winger’s neat finish.

But the Seasiders were much better following the interval and Armand Gnaduillet’s header ensured they claimed a point.

There were chances for both sides to grab a winner after that, with Gnanduillet and John Marquis going close for their respective clubs.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at QPR in the Carabao Cup earlier in the week.

It was a straight swap, as Andy Cannon replaced Gareth Evans in midfield, with Tom Naylor taking the captain’s armband.

The latter remained stationed in the centre of defence, as Christian Burgess continued in a right-back role.

It was a blustery day in the north-west and the windy conditions were clearly making life difficult for both sides.

But Blackpool started brightly and delivered plenty of early crosses that had to be dealt with by the Blues back-line.

Paul Downing conceded a foul in a dangerous position and took responsibility by heading behind the resulting free-kick.

The visitors soon started to move through the gears and Ronan Curtis had a shot blocked before sending in a ball that was just out of reach for the diving Marquis.

Some neat Harness footwork and sheer persistence from Andy Cannon then provided a chance for the latter, who prodded wide.

Blackpool threatened at the other end, with Sullay Kaikai sliding in and not quite able to meet James Husband’s pass.

But it was Pompey who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes after Marquis had done well to catch Curtis Tilt in possession.

Ryan Edwards made a good recovery challenge on the striker, only for the ball to land for HARNESS to flight home with his left foot.

The visitors looked well on top and Marquis soon had a shot deflected narrowly wide after racing through.

A cross from Ross McCrorie was then just behind Harness, who could not get enough power on his header to trouble Jak Alnwick in the Blackpool goal.

Both sides picked up a booking each, with McCrorie penalised for a foul on Kaikai, while Edwards was punished for a cynical tug on Marquis.

There was a scare for Pompey when the former collided with Tilt and fell into the advertising hoardings, but the Scottish midfielder was able to continue.

It was Harness who was replaced just before the break, however, with the winger appearing to limp off, despite not collecting any obvious injury.


Half Time

Blackpool 0

Portsmouth 1


Both sides took time to get back up to full speed following the restart, with a few loose passes halting any attacking fluidity.

Burgess had to make a key challenge inside the box on 54 minutes to prevent Gnanduillet from getting a shot away.

There were half chances at each end for Kaikai and Marquis, but neither keeper was being given much to do.

Blackpool found themselves level just before the hour mark, however, as Liam Feeney’s fine cross was converted by a firm Gnanduillet header.

And the striker almost scored a second moments later after meeting Husband’s centre, but Naylor and Craig MacGillivray combined to divert the ball behind.

Pompey were under pressure and Jackett made his second switch on 65 minutes, with earlier substitute Evans replaced by Ellis Harrison.

The hosts were causing plenty of problems and after one corner had been turned behind, a second was headed just past the post by the dangerous Gnanduillet.

It was then the Blues’ turn to go close to taking the lead on 70 minutes following good work down the left by Curtis.

He cut inside and found Cannon and after the midfielder’s blocked attempt fell for Marquis, his shot was kept out by a fine Alnwick save.

Pompey’s final change came in the centre of midfield on 76 minutes, with Anton Walkes on for McCrorie.

So it was a worrying sight to see Curtis hobbling along after picking up a knock, although the winger was fine to continue following some treatment on the pitch.

He soon collected a threaded pass from Naylor and advanced towards goal, flashing in a dangerous cross-shot that flashed past the post.

Both sides were looking capable of scoring the goal that would turn one point into three, but ultimately had to settle for a draw.

Blackpool (4-3-1-2): Alnwick; Turton, Edwards, Tilt, Husband; Feeney, Spearing (c) (Guy 81), Thompson; Kaikai (Virtue 85); Gnanduillet, Nuttall
Goals: Gnanduillet 58
Booked: Edwards, Spearing
Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Bushiri, Heneghan, Shaw, Hardie

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Burgess, Downing, Naylor (c), Haunstrup; McCrorie (Walkes 76), Close; Harness (Evans 40 (Harrison 65)), Cannon, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Harness 17
Booked: McCrorie, Haunstrup
Subs not used: Bass, Raggett, Maloney, Pitman

Referee: Chris Sarginson

Attendance: 10,605 (1,816 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 282019
 

Match Report

Highlights

Carabao Cup 2




Pompey reached the third round of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2010 after scoring two second half goals at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

There was not much to separate the sides for much of a low-key contest, but the Blues finally showed a clinical touch towards the end.

John Marquis broke the deadlock from the penalty spot and Marcus Harness then wrapped things up following good work from Ross McCrorie.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that dramatically drew with Coventry eight days earlier.

Brandon Haunstrup came in for the injured Lee Brown, while Sean Raggett dropped to the bench to make way for Christian Burgess.

The latter started in an unfamiliar right-back role, as Tom Naylor stepped back into defence and McCrorie moved to midfield.

It was a largely forgettable affair in the first period, with neither keeper being particularly over-worked.

The Championship hosts were marginally on top in the early stages and their best chance to break the deadlock arrived on 11 minutes.

Jan Mlakar raced past Naylor and slipped a cross-shot towards the far post, where a sprawling Bright Osayi-Samuel could not quite make a connection.

A long-range attempt from the lively Ilias Chair was then comfortably dealt with by Craig MacGillivray.

Pompey had a couple of decent opportunities of their own midway through the half, as they began to move through the gears.

A 30-yard effort from McCrorie bounced awkwardly in front of Rangers keeper Liam Kelly and he did well to push the ball clear.

Ronan Curtis then took a poor first touch from Marquis’ pass, but spun quickly and curled a shot narrowly past the post.

Another Chair effort failed to properly trouble MacGillivray, while his team-mate Ryan Manning was booked for a late challenge on McCrorie.

It was the Blues who looked brighter just before the break, although Harness’ delivery was just too high for skipper Gareth Evans in the box.


Half Time

QPR 0

Portsmouth 0


The action did not immediately heat up once the action restarted, with the contest continuing to drift along.

But Rangers carved open a decent chance just before the hour mark after Harness and Burgess had combined to negate Osayi-Samuel’s tricky footwork.

The ball was immediately sent back into the area by Manning, however, and Marc Pugh could only direct his header straight at MacGillivray.

That came during a bright spell for the hosts, who started to cause Pompey a few problems at the back.

Jackett freshened things up by making a substitution, as Evans made way for Andy Cannon, with Naylor taking the armband.

Burgess soon had a chance to be the unlikely goalscoring hero, hitting a fierce first-time shot from the edge of the box that fizzed over the crossbar.

And the visitors did take the lead on 77 minutes after Toni Leistner tugged Marquis to the turf inside the box.

Referee Ross Joyce immediately pointed to the spot and MARQUIS sent Kelly the wrong way, coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

But it got even better for the Blues just four minutes later, as they doubled their advantage following a quick break.

Marquis laid the ball off for McCrorie, who suddenly shot forward, leaving Leistner trailing in his wake.

The Scotland under-21 international then slid a pass across the face of goal, teeing-up HARNESS for a simple finish.

Rangers should have reduced their deficit soon after, only for Mlakar to hit a tame effort straight at MacGillivray from just a few yards out.

Pompey then went close themselves in a breathless finale, with Kelly doing well to keep out a fierce close-range strike from Marquis.

The hosts thought they had given themselves a chance of taking the tie to penalties when Ebere Eze found the net in stoppage-time.

They raced back to the centre circle, but after conversing with his assistant, Joyce ruled the goal out for offside.

QPR (4-4-1-1): Kelly; Kane, Leistner (c), Barbet, Manning; Pugh (Ball 75), Owens, Smith, Osayi-Samuel (Eze 60); Chair (Wells 60); Mlakar
Booked: Manning, Wells, Kelly, Kane
Subs not used: Barnes, Masterson, Scowen, Hugill

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Burgess, Downing, Naylor, Haunstrup; Close (Walkes 90+4), McCrorie; Harness, Evans (c) (Cannon 60), Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Marquis 77 (pen), Harness 81
Booked: Cannon
Subs not used: Bass, Raggett, Maloney, Pitman, Harrison

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 7,783 (1,874 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 242019
 

Novation Ultranova




Finally got myself an Novation Ultranova.

My fourth attempt at buying one of these. Every previous time I was sold one they decided they were out of stock. This was possibly the last new one in the UK.

I love it, so many options, almost too many. Who really needs 6 Envelopes!

The Wavetables I would say are the only disappointment when compared to what the MS2000B gives but the basic waveforms on offer and how you can vary them more than makes up for it.

Kept me occupied while my Internet was out for over a week!

Music Technology

Aug 202019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey threw away two points at Fratton Park after nine-man Coventry staged an incredible fightback.

They looked to be cruising to victory, having recovered from the setback of falling behind to Jordy Hiwula’s early strike.

Ronan Curtis headed the hosts back on level terms and John Marquis turned the game on its head just before the break.

The win appeared to be wrapped up when Gareth Evans raced through to score and their opponents saw Fankaty Dabo dismissed.

Matt Godden then netted a penalty as the drama continued, only for Gervane Kastaneer to also be sent off.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Michael Rose grabbed a late equaliser for the Sky Blues to leave the Fratton faithful stunned.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Sunderland on Saturday.

Evans returned to skipper the side, with Ross McCrorie starting at right-back, having impressed from the bench on Wearside.

Sean Raggett also came in for his full Pompey debut, as Andy Cannon, Christian Burgess and Anton Walkes made way.

The first half was played at breakneck speed and Coventry keeper Marko Marosi was forced to parry clear Marcus Harness’ delivery, with Liam Kelly on hand to clear the loose ball.

But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in just the third minute after breaking quickly from a Blues corner.

Godden was sent clear down the left and he slipped a pass across for the unmarked Hiwula to lash a shot into the roof of the net.

The hosts were not behind for long, however, and when the impressive Harness intercepted a clearance, it led to the equaliser.

He received the ball back and whipped in a superb cross towards the back post, where CURTIS arrived to powerfully head home.

And Pompey felt they should have had the chance to go ahead just moments later when Marquis went down in the box.

It appeared as though he had been tripped by Rose and the striker was furious when referee Kevin Johnson awarded a corner.

McCrorie then went close with a swerving strike from the edge of the box that a diving Marosi did well to push clear.

Coventry were looking dangerous themselves, though, and Hiwula fired into the side netting after collecting Brandon Mason’s threaded pass.

The hosts were forced to make a change on 31 minutes when Lee Brown went down injured and had to be replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.

And their opponents soon had a couple of players booked, with Dabo and Kyle McFadzean having their names taken for fouls on Harness and Marquis respectively.

It seemed as though the players would be heading in all square for the interval, but a fine move ensured Pompey would be ahead.

Tom Naylor played a superb long pass up the pitch for Curtis, whose backheel was collected by the overlapping Haunstrup.

He fired in a low cross and a stretching MARQUIS was able to poke the ball into the net for his first goal since his Fratton return.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Coventry City 1


Paul Downing somehow managed to head wide an Evans free-kick once the action restarted, although his blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag.

His centre-back partner did nor fare much better when Evans cut a corner back for him, with Raggett ballooning a shot over the bar.

Coventry certainly looked capable of scoring themselves and it took a fine save by Craig MacGillivray to deny Godden when Downing’s clearance ricocheted into his path.

McCrorie then made a perfectly-timed challenge inside the box to halt the progress of the marauding Hiwula.

Both defences were looking susceptible to conceding more goals and it was a mistake from the hosts that led to Pompey’s third goal.

McFadzean was caught dithering on the ball by EVANS, who burst clear and calmly slotted into the net.

The hosts were then furious when play was stopped for Dabo’s handball, despite Curtis racing clear and finding the net.

But the Coventry right-back had already been booked and received his marching orders from Johnson.

Marosi then came close to gifting Harness a goal, fumbling his fierce shot and quickly recovering to prevent the ball from spinning over the line.

MacGillivray looked more assured at the other end, adjusting his position to push over a swerving Liam Kelly strike.

But the Sky Blues did have a lifeline on 75 minutes, as Godden stroked home from the spot after Ben Close had been penalised for upending Kelly.

Their hopes of a comeback almost immediately received a setback, however, when Kastaneer – who had only been on the pitch for 11 minutes – was dismissed.

He lunged in on Downing having already received a yellow card and despite his pleading, was shown a red card by Johnson.

But it looked as though they had equalised on 82 minutes when Rose turned the ball home at the back post, only to have his celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

Burgess replaced Evans, as Pompey tried to shore up their backline for the closing stages of the contest.

Coventry had other ideas, though, and the nine men remarkably levelled when Rose poked home from a long throw.

Brett Pitman was thrown on for the closing stages, although it was Close and Curtis who had half-chances to rescue the victory.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; McCrorie, Raggett (Pitman 90), Downing, Brown (Haunstrup 32); Naylor, Close; Harness, Evans (c) (Burgess 85), Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 10, Marquis 43, Evans 56
Booked: Naylor, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Cannon, Harrison

Coventry (4-3-3): Marosi; Dabo, McFadzean, Rose, Mason; Shipley, Kelly (c), Westbrooke (McCallum 64); Jobello (Kastaneer 67), Godden, Hiwula (Bakayoko 80)
Goals: Hiwula 3, Godden 75 (pen), Rose 86
Sent off: Dabo (two yellow cards), Kastaneer (two yellow cards)
Booked: McFadzean
Subs not used: Wilson, Hyam, Eccles, Bapaga

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 18,748 (950 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 172019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey suffered defeat in their latest encounter with familiar foes Sunderland, despite taking the lead in the north-east.

A first goal for Marcus Harness since his summer switch from Burton broke the deadlock – and the Blues were good value for their lead.

But the Black Cats had turned things around by the interval, with Jordan Willis heading a leveller before Chris Maguire struck against his former club.

There were chances for the visitors to leave with at least a share of the spoils, but Sunderland held on for the win.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Tranmere on home soil the previous weekend.

John Marquis returned to the starting line-up to lead the line, with Ellis Harrison dropping to the bench.

Former Blues loanees Marc McNulty and Maguire both featured for the hosts, with the latter having scored the decisive goal in last season’s play-off clash.

It was Pompey who made the brighter start and a cross from Anton Walkes in the opening seconds was diverted over by Ronan Curtis.

Ben Close has netted a couple of recent stunners and tried his luck with another 30-yard effort, although this time the ball narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Then, after Marquis had done well to win a corner on the right, Lee Brown’s delivery was cleverly collected by Jon McLaughlin.

The Sunderland stopper soon had to come racing from his line to stop Marquis latching onto Close’s fine pass.

And the visitors made their dominance count by breaking the deadlock midway through the first half.

Harness played a neat one-two with Marquis and was unable to dig out a shot, with his team-mate also failing to make a clean connection at the second attempt.

But the ball fell for HARNESS and he made no mistake, sweeping home a shot to open his goalscoring account for the club.

The lead did not last long, however, as Willis charged into the box to powerfully convert a Grant Leadbitter corner.

Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring as the half progressed, although it was the hosts celebrating on 39 minutes.

Walkes tried to stop Aiden McGeady, but his interception ricocheted against the winger, who continued his charge

The Irishman then played a lovely pass across the face of goal, with Maguire there to slot past a helpless Craig MacGillivray.


Half Time

Sunderland 2

Portsmouth 1


The hosts did receive a blow soon after the restart, as McNulty went down injured and was unable to continue, with Charlie Wyke on to replace him.

Pompey were looking for a leveller, but Curtis could not find the target after rising to meet Walkes’ right-sided delivery.

They had a better chance when the visitors won position and Harness slipped a neat pass through to Marquis, who was unable to find the target.

And a spell of intricate short passes led to Brown finding the ball on the left, although his cross was not quite right for Harness.

Brown soon received the ball back again, though, and this time could not beat McLaughlin from a tight angle.

Luke O’Nien wanted a penalty at the other end after going down under pressure from Tom Naylor, but his appeals were immediately dismissed by referee Michael Salisbury.

And the official was equally unimpressed just moments later, when Maguire decided to theatrically hit the turf.

Jackett made a double switch just past hour mark, with Curtis and Andy Cannon making way for Harrison and Gareth Evans.

There was then a nervy moment as the ball flew around the Blues box and could not be cleared, but the danger eventually passed.

The final substitution for the visitors saw on-loan Scottish youngster Ross McCrorie replace Walkes at right-back.

And he immediately released Marquis with a great pass down the right. The striker squared for Evans, whose goal-bound effort was blocked by Alim Ozturk.

A cross from McCrorie was then diverted towards his own net by Leadbitter, but McLaughlin was able to claw the ball to safety.

Pompey continued to control possession as the seconds ticked down, although Sunderland remained resolute to see the game out.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): J.McLaughlin; O’Nien, Ozturk, Willis, C.McLaughlin; Power, Leadbitter (c); Gooch, Maguire (Hume 87), McGeady (Grigg 81); McNulty (Wyke 49)
Goals: Willis 27, Maguire 39
Booked: McGeady, Maguire
Subs not used: Burge, Flanagan, Dobson, McGeouch

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes (McCrorie 73), Downing, Burgess, Brown; Close, Naylor (c), Cannon (Evans 62); Harness, Marquis, Curtis (Harrison 62)
Goals: Harness 22
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Raggett, Haunstrup, Pitman

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 29,140 (874 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 102019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Ben Close’s stunning strike set Pompey on their way to victory over Tranmere in the first Fratton league fixture of the season.

The midfielder netted with a second long-range strike in the space of just a few days and it was a finely-executed effort midway through the first half.

There were plenty more chances for the dominant Blues to extend their lead, but they had to wait until the closing stages for Tom Naylor to wrap things up.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that eased past Birmingham in the Carabao Cup earlier in the week.

It meant that the returning duo of John Marquis and Ross McCrorie had to be content with a place on the bench.

Pompey also kept the same 4-3-3 system that had yielded such positive results against Championship opposition.

Michael Eisner and his family were over to watch the game – and were joined by an extremely famous face.

Hollywood favourite Will Ferrell – star of hit films like Anchorman and Elf – was sat in the directors’ box to take in the action.

When the action began, it was the hosts who quickly began to dominate and some early balls into the box had to be dealt with.

Ronan Curtis then played a neat one-two with Andy Cannon and drilled in a low shot that Scott Davies did well to get down and save.

But it was the Republic of Ireland international who was first to the loose ball and George Ray was forced to make the block.

Newly-promoted Tranmere’s best chance of the half came from a corner, with Craig MacGillivray having to claw away Manny Monthe’s powerful header.

Kieron Morris also drilled the ball narrowly past the post, but the visitors were not causing too many problems.

Pompey were looking more threatening and a couple of crosses from Marcus Harness were not far from reaching their targets.

The opening goal almost arrived from an unlikely source, with a fierce volley from Naylor well dealt with by Davies.

Rovers eventually managed to clear behind for a corner – and that did lead to the Blues forging ahead.

An initial attempt from Cannon was blocked, but the ball bounced up nicely for CLOSE, who showed excellent technique to guide it into the top corner from 30 yards.

They looked to add to their scoring and Paul Downing could not make a clean connection after diving in to meet a Curtis free-kick.

Tranmere tried to hit back before the break, but MacGillivray comfortably dealt with a Connor Jennings drive.

Anton Walkes then did well to stop Morgan Ferrier from collecting a threaded pass and advancing towards goal.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Tranmere Rovers 0


Jackett made a change at the break, with Harrison making way for John Marquis in the centre of the hosts’ attacking three.

Tom Naylor then became the first name taken by referee Scott Oldham following a clumsy challenge on Ferrier.

But the Blues might have doubled their advantage within five minutes of the restart following a display of fine footwork from Harness.

He then squared the ball for Walkes in space inside the box, but the right-back fired wildly over the crossbar.

Marquis did manage to find the net moments later, although the whistle had already been blown for a foul on David Perkins by Naylor.

Pompey were still showing plenty of attacking promise and one neat passing move ended with Lee Brown firing just past the post.

The windy conditions were making life difficult, however, and a couple of Brown crosses were blown off target.

And when the ball did land for a blue-shirted player, the woodwork managed to come to Rovers’ rescue.

Brown’s low delivery was not cut out by Davies and flew along the face of goal, with Cannon arriving at the back post to smash the ball against the post.

A Rovers corner was then glanced narrowly wide by Monthe, while Curtis soon had the ball in the net at the other end, only for the linesman’s flag to cut short any celebrations.

Brett Pitman replaced a tiring Cannon on 68 minutes, with the midfielder abiding by the new substitution rules by exiting the pitch in front of the North Stand.

His performance was recognised by the Fratton faithful, who rose to give a standing ovation as he made his way around to the dug-out.

Tranmere were suddenly looking lively and Walkes timed his challenge well to dispossess Corey Blackett-Taylor in the box, while MacGillivray kept out a low Morris shot.

But the Blues had a cushion on 75 minutes after Harness won a corner on the right that was delivered by Brown.

Downing rose to meet it and saw his header cleared from the line by Perkins, only for NAYLOR to rifle home the loose ball.

A third almost goal arrived courtesy of a fierce Pitman strike that was heading for the net, but inadvertently blocked on the line by team-mate Downing.

In a hectic finale that saw both sides on the attack, it looked like Brown had finally opened his Pompey account.

He tucked the ball home after Pitman’s initial attempt had been parried by Davies and looked utterly dejected when he spotted the offside flag.

The Rovers keeper then did well to deny Curtis after Harness had sent a teasing ball across the box following a quick break.

But the hosts had already done enough to secure the points and Fratton Park roared in appreciation when the final whistle was blown.

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Downing, Burgess, Brown; Cannon (Pitman 68), Naylor (c), Close; Harness, Harrison (Marquis 46), Curtis
Goals: Close 27, Naylor 75
Booked: Naylor, Downing
Subs not used: Bass, Raggett, Haunstrup, McCrorie, Evans

Tranmere (4-1-4-1): Davies (c); Wilson, Ray, Monthe, Ridehalgh; Potter; Morris, Banks, Perkins, Ferrier (Payne 63); Jennings (Blackett-Taylor 58)
Subs not used: Pilling, Nelson, Gilmour, Ponticelli, Mullin

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 18,575 (639 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 062019
 

Match Report

Highlights

Carabao Cup 1




Pompey eased into the second round of the Carabao Cup with a dominant display against Birmingham at Fratton Park.

Ellis Harrison headed in his first goals since arriving from Ipswich, with a fine strike from Ben Close sandwiched between.

It was a similar tale to Saturday’s League One game at Shrewsbury on Saturday in terms of the way the Blues dominated the play.

But this time they also managed to find a cutting edge, creating plenty of chances to put their higher-ranked opponents to the sword.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at New Meadow at the weekend.

Harrison made his full debut in place of fellow summer signing John Marquis, whose partner was about to give birth.

Close replaced the suspended Ross McCrorie in midfield, while Gareth Evans dropped to the bench to make way for Andy Cannon.

Pompey made a bright start against a much-changed Birmingham side and Marcus Harness’ cross had to be hacked behind by Geraldo Bajrami before it could reach Harrison.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut chances, but the hosts certainly looked the more dangerous of the two teams in the early stages.

Their opponents did have an opportunity to break the deadlock on 16 minutes, however, when Ronan Curtis attempted to clear a corner and sliced the ball straight up into the air.

It landed right in front of the goal and there was an almighty scramble before the ball was hacked to safety.

But much of the action was taking place at the opposite end of the pitch and a series of corners eventually led to the opening goal.

The first couple of deliveries were nervously dealt with by the visitors, but it proved to be third time lucky.

It eventually found skipper Tom Naylor and his header was blocked by Steve Seddon, only for the ball to fall for HARRISON.

Wes Harding tried his best to punt the ball away before it crossed the line, but referee Neil Hair decided to award the goal.

Birmingham almost found an immediate leveller, though, and a shot from Jude Bellingham was well saved by an otherwise underworked Craig MacGillivray.

Harrison then clashed with Bajrami right in front of the North Stand, leading to a melee that ultimately saw both players booked.

Pompey were still on top and deservedly doubled their advantage thanks to a sumptuous strike on 39 minutes.

An effort from Curtis was blocked by Jake Clarke-Salter and the ball fell kindly for CLOSE to unleash a fine volley that flew into the net.

They almost had a third goal in stoppage-time following a quick break up the pitch, but Curtis’ drive flashed narrowly past the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Birmingham City 0


The Blues remained in control once the action restarted, although Curtis was unable to glance Harness’ cross on target.

A third goal did arrive on 54 minutes, however, as Curtis whipped in a pin-point cross for HARRISON to nod home at the back post.

It might have got worse for the visitors, but Hair decided to be lenient with Bajrami – who had already been booked – following a late challenge on Harrison.

Pompey were looking to add to their already impressive tally and were almost rewarded after some fine footwork from Harness and Close.

The move looked to have broken down, but the visitors could not clear their lines and Close teed-up Harrison for a hat-trick attempt.

Stockdale came to Birmingham’s rescue with a smart stop and Lee Brown could only lash the loose ball into the side netting.

The hosts were putting in plenty of effort all over the pitch and Naylor threw himself in the path of Steve Seddon’s shot, with Odin Bailey then firing over.

Jackett made a couple of changes on 77 minutes, with Harrison and Brown withdrawn for Brett Pitman and Brandon Haunstrup.

Brum came close to reducing their deficit soon after, but MacGillivray was equal to Gary Gardner’s thunderous 35-yard free-kick.

Sean Raggett was brought on for Paul Downing for the final few minutes, giving the on-loan defender his competitive Blues debut.

And Pompey passed the ball around comfortably in the closing stages, although another long-range attempt from Gardner had to be pushed over by MacGillivray.

The hosts had long since got the job done, though, and can look forward to a first trip to the second round of the competition since 2015.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Downing (Raggett 85), Burgess, Brown (Haunstrup 77); Naylor (c), Close; Harness, Cannon, Curtis; Harrison (Pitman 77)
Goals: Harrison 30, 54, Close 39
Booked: Harrison
Subs not used: Bass, Evans, Maloney, Hawkins

Birmingham (3-1-4-2): Stockdale; Harding, Bajrami, Clarke-Salter; Medina; Dacres-Cogley, Gardner (c), Lakin, Seddon; Bellingham (Boyd-Munce 81), Crowley (Bailey 55)
Booked: Harding, Bajrami, Medina, Bellingham
Subs not used: Trueman, Redmond, O’Keeffe, Burke, Stirk

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 9,913 (1,513 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 032019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey began the new League One campaign with a narrow defeat to Shrewsbury, despite dominating possession at New Meadow.

The game was short of clear-cut chances and it took a fine second half strike from Ryan Giles to settle the contest.

And Ross McCrorie was then sent off on his debut to cap a disappointing opening day for the Blues in Shropshire.

Kenny Jackett also handed competitive starts to summer signings Paul Downing and Marcus Harness.

And there was a second Blues bow for striker John Marquis, who had a short spell on loan at the club in 2013.

Former Shrewsbury full-back James Bolton had to be content with a place on the bench, as did striker Ellis Harrison.

Brett Pitman was also named among the substitutes, so Gareth Evans claimed the captain’s armband.

It was not surprising to see a disjointed start to the action so early in the campaign, with the visitors enjoying territorial advantage, but not creating any clear-cut openings.

Downing thought he was fouled at the far post when trying to meet Lee Brown’s corner, although referee Charles Breakspear did not agree.

Pompey had a large share of the possession and were just lacking a final pass in key areas of the pitch.

McCrorie shanked a volley from the edge of the box and when the ball came back to him, the on-loan midfielder saw his second attempt gathered by Shrews stopper Max O’Leary.

The Blues were growing frustrated as the half progressed, feeling that decisions were going against them.

Shrewsbury then had a great chance when veteran striker Steve Morison controlled the ball neatly and volleyed narrowly over the bar.

Pompey were still angry about failing to get some free-kicks, leading to fouls from Anton Walkes and Gareth Evans that earned the pair bookings in quick succession.

They brightened up as half-time neared, however, and several deliveries into the area were well dealt with by O’Leary.

Marquis also had a couple of long-range shots blocked, as the hosts ensured it was goalless at the interval.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey looked to get at their hosts following the restart, but were still finding it hard to test O’Leary.

A fizzing Brown cross did cause alarm when it drifted towards goal and the keeper had to palm the ball to safety.

Jackett soon decided to make a double substitution, with Evans and Anton Walkes replaced by Pitman and Bolton.

A free-kick from Brown – after Ethan Ebanks-Landell was booked for barging Marquis to the ground – was flicked on by Tom Naylor and deflected behind.

Pitman and McCrorie also received cautions for late challenges on Romain Vincelot and Shaun Whalley.

And the free-kick conceded from the second of those led to Shrewsbury opening the scoring on 68 minutes.

Giles received the ball and hit a rocket of a shot from long-range that left Craig MacGillivray helpless against his former club.

Pompey tried to hit back and Pitman instinctively stuck out a boot to meet Bolton’s cross, only to see the ball land safely in O’Leary’s arms.

And they almost found an equaliser when Brown played a clever free-kick to Marquis, who had broken away from a packed box to receive the ball.

He sent the ball towards the net, but Aaron Pierre slid in to somehow turn the ball just past his own post.

Jackett made his final throw of the dice soon after, with Harrison coming on for his debut in place of Bolton.

But the Blues were soon down to 10 men, with Breakspear deciding that McCrorie had caught Donald Love late and showing the Scot his second booking.

They threw men forward in search of a leveller, although Shrewsbury were holding firm at the back to repel them.

There was six minutes of added time to give the travelling army of Pompey fans hope of some late drama.

And it almost arrived when Brown sent a low ball across the face of goal that nobody was able to get a touch on.

A corner was then cleared only as far as an unmarked Curtis in the box, but he fired over and that proved to be the final chance.

Shrewsbury (3-5-2): O’Leary; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Love, Edwards (c), Vincelot, McCormick (Laurent 53), Giles; Morison (Eisa 89), Okenabirhie (Whalley 64)
Goals: Giles 68
Booked: Ebanks-Landell, Whalley, Love
Subs not used: Murphy, Beckles, Golbourne, Walker

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes (Bolton 53), Downing, Burgess, Brown; McCrorie, Naylor; Curtis, Evans (c) (Pitman 53), Harness (Harrison 75); Marquis
Sent off: McCrorie (two yellow cards)
Booked: Walkes, Evans, Pitman
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Close, Cannon

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 7,880 (1,714 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC