Transfer : Portsmouth – Atlanta
Transfer : Portsmouth – Atlanta
|Anton Walkes has left Fratton Park to sign for Major League Soccer side Atlanta United for an undisclosed fee.
The versatile 22-year-old scored three goals in 66 appearances for Pompey after arriving, initially on loan, from Tottenham in January 2018.
Walkes had a previous loan spell with Atlanta during the 2017 American season, shortly before joining Pompey.
He appeared 19 times this term – in a variety of roles – and scored in the Leasing.com Trophy draw at Oxford back in October.
The striker cancelled out Matty Taylor’s opener at a sparsely-populated Kassam Stadium in Southern Group B.
Anton Walkes then looked to have won it for the youthful visitors with a late strike, only for Rob Dickie to level in stoppage-time.
But the night ended on a happy note for the Blues, as they won 5-4 on penalties to claim a bonus point and secure top spot, guaranteeing a home draw in the second round.
Kenny Jackett changed the entire side that won at Doncaster in the league at the weekend, with five teenagers getting a chance to impress.
Harvey Rew was handed his debut a week after signing a first professional contract and was joined in the starting line-up by Joe Hancott, Josh Flint, Leon Maloney and Lethbridge.
Paul Downing skippered a defence that also included Brandon Haunstrup and Walkes, with Alex Bass between the sticks.
Ryan Williams – who previously had a spell on loan with the hosts – and Andy Cannon completed the team, while there were plenty of experienced reinforcements on the bench.
Pompey’s young side started brightly and enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening stages, without being able to test former Fratton keeper Simon Eastwood.
They had a chance to break the deadlock when Cannon and Williams combined to tee-up Lethbridge, but he screwed wide from 10 yards.
And the more experienced hosts soon started to take control, with Rob Hall dragging a shot wide before Bass denied Taylor at his near post.
Rew was perhaps unfortunate to be shown a yellow card on 19 minutes for a challenge that referee Will Finnie deemed excessive.
United then broke the deadlock soon after, as Taylor latched onto Shandon Baptiste’s threaded pass and slotted home.
And the same player should have immediately doubled the lead, only to see his first effort saved by Bass and the second fly off target.
Pompey picked up after that nervy period, though, and levelled on 33 minutes thanks to a first senior goal for Lethbridge.
It started when Cannon stole possession and cut the ball back for Flint, whose effort was deflected into the striker’s path.
The angle was tight for LETHBRIDGE, but he got enough power on his shot for the ball to squirm under Eastwood and over the line.
It was United who finished the half on top, however, and a fierce drive from Cameron Brannagan had to be parried down by Bass and gathered at the second attempt.
And the keeper made an even better save just before the break, acrobatically tipping over Taylor’s firm header from a Josh Ruffels delivery.
Oxford United 1
Jackett made a double switch at the start of the second half, with Flint and Rew replaced by Gareth Evans and Ben Close.
It was Cannon who had the first shot following the restart, but quickly saw four yellow shirts around him and could only fire wide.
An angled effort from Maloney was then comfortably dealt with by Eastwood in a low-key opening to proceedings.
Then, after Hall had an effort deflected wide at the other end, Dickie diverted a corner straight at Bass.
Jackett made his final switch just past the hour mark, with goalscorer Lethbridge withdrawn and Saturday’s hero Ellis Harrison on in his place.
But it was United on the attack and they had two decent chances to retake the lead in quick succession.
First, Bass came off his line to narrow Taylor’s angle and make a smart stop after the striker had been sent through on goal.
Another header from Dickie was then blocked on the line by Williams, with Finnie waving away handball appeals.
Close has scored a couple of spectacular strikes already this season and tried to add a third when he hit a dipping ball cleanly on the volley, but it lacked the power to overly trouble Eastwood.
Evans then had a great chance after being sent through on goal by Maloney, only to lose his balance at the crucial moment, allowing his shot to be saved.
But Bass was keeping the Blues in the contest and he made another fine save to repel Brannagan’s fierce angled drive on 75 minutes.
And Walkes was also called into action moments later to block a powerful goal-bound effort from substitute Dan Agyei.
Pompey might have capitalised on a quick break, but the onrushing Williams could not quite reach Harrison’s ball across the box.
And they did go ahead on 85 minutes after WALKES raced on to a fine pass down the right from the lively Cannon.
Eastwood came off his line, but the right-back just about got there first and was able to send the ball rolling over the line.
But Oxford managed to draw level in stoppage-time when a free-kick was launched into a crowded box and Dickie spun before finding the bottom corner.
Full Time: Oxford 2 Pompey 2
A penalty shoot-out was then held to decide who would take the bonus point, with Evans, Harrison, Williams and Downing all scoring.
But Close sent his attempt high over the bar to hand the advantage to the hosts, only for Ruffels’ shot to be brilliantly saved by Bass.
Walkes and Agyei both failed to find the target in sudden death and after Haunstrup rolled home his penalty, Sam Long blazed high over the bar.
Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long, Dickie, Moore, Ruffels (c); Gorrin (Sole 86); Hall, Brannagan, Baptiste (Lopes 73), Sykes; Taylor (Agyei 69)
Goals: Taylor 21, Dickie 90+1
Subs not used: Stevens, Jones, Cadden, Fosu
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Walkes, Downing (c), Haunstrup, Hancott; Cannon, Rew (Close 46); Williams, Flint (Evans 46), Maloney; Lethbridge (Harrison 63)
Goals: Lethbridge 33, Walkes 85
Booked: Rew, Haunstrup
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Raggett, Harness
Referee: Will Finnie
Attendance: 1,548 (274 away fans)
Carabao Cup 1
It looked like they would progress when Christian Burgess nodded in following a first half that was short on entertainment.
But Joe Pigott headed in the equaliser and, with just a few minutes remaining, Walkes found his own net.
Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that won at Blackpool in the league at the weekend.
Brett Pitman returned to skipper the team, while there was a first Pompey start for on-loan winger David Wheeler.
Luke McGee, Burgess and Brandon Haunstrup were also called upon, with Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough, Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis and Oli Hawkins all dropping to the bench.
The first half was a forgettable affair, with little to entertain the fans packed into the Fratton End and South Stand.
It was the visitors who had the first chance when Mitchell Pinnock crossed from the left, but Scott Wagstaff’s header was off target.
The same player then screwed another effort well wide after Walkes had failed to properly deal with Pinnock’s free-kick.
And it was a hat-trick of chances missed when Wagstaff beat Haunstrup to a header and sent the ball looping towards goal, only for the left-back to recover and hook it clear.
But it was the Blues who almost broke the lead on 23 minutes when Wheeler met Pitman’s centre and sent his header wide.
Neither McGee or opposite number Tom King had been called into action and that did not change when Pinnock’s drive flashed past the post.
Jamal Lowe was not too far off target following a surging run through the centre, but there was still little to whet the appetite.
AFC Wimbledon 0
Pompey had struggled to create anything meaningful before the break, but they soon took the lead after it.
Pitman did well to bring the ball under control inside the box, only for his shot to be deflected behind.
And the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, as a delivery from Evans was emphatically headed home by BURGESS at the back post.
AFC Wimbledon thought they should have won a penalty when McGee and Pinnock collided soon after, but referee Ollie Yates was not interested.
They then came close to a leveller, as Anthony Wordsworth unleashed a rocket form 25 yards that fizzed over the bar.
Jackett made a double change on 67 minutes, with Pitman and Evans withdrawn for Conor Chaplin and Hawkins.
It had been a quiet evening for both keepers, but McGee was certainly not caught napping by a fierce Wordsworth drive that was well saved.
He could do nothing about the Dons’ equaliser on 76 minutes, though, as Pigott found space to meet Wagstaff’s cross and head home from just a few yards out.
That unsurprisingly gave the visitors a boost and they set about trying to find a winner, with Curtis brought on for Pompey to try to offer more at the other end.
But it was Wimbledon looking more threatening and when a corner was not properly dealt with, McGee had to get down and push Wagstaff’s shot around the post.
The Blues then almost retook the lead in a frenetic end to the game, but Hawkins was denied as he tried to convert Lowe’s centre.
Instead it was the visitors who grabbed a late winner – although they had their opponents to thank for the goal.
Tom Soares’ cross found Walkes at the back post and the defender tried to clear it, but only succeeded in planting the ball in the back of his own net.
Pompey threw bodies forward to try to force a penalty shoot-out, but they were unable to find a second goal.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Naylor, Close; Wheeler (Curtis 80), Evans (Hawkins 67) Lowe; Pitman (c) (Chaplin 67)
Goals: Burgess 49
Booked: Close, Naylor
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, May
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): King; Watson (Sibbick 77), Oshilaja (c), McDonald, Garratt; Wagstaff, Wordsworth, Soares, Pinnock (Appiah 66); Hanson, Pigott (Hartigan 90)
Goals: Pigott 76, Walkes 88 (og)
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Purrington, Ashley
Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 6,588 (438 away fans)
Both goals were worthy of a competitive encounter, however, with Sean Klaiber’s long-range strike cancelled out by an equally impressive effort from Anton Walkes.
Ronan Curtis produced a bright performance and was unsurprisingly named man-of-the-match by the sponsors.
Kenny Jackett dispensed with his usual 4-2-3-1 system and opted for a 4-4-2 formation, with Brandon Haunstrup on the left wing.
There were also first home appearances for Craig MacGillivray, Lee Brown, Tom Naylor and Curtis, with fellow summer signing Louis Dennis on the bench.
It was typical friendly fare in the opening stages, with little in the way of excitement at a blustery Fratton Park.
The visitors were forced into an early change when Jack Whatmough and Gyrano Kerk clattered into the advertising hoardings, with the latter replaced by Cyriel Dessers.
But neither goalkeeper was given much to do and so the quality of the opening goal caught everyone by surprise.
Dessers rolled the ball across to Klaiber and the right-back hit a stunning long-range shot that arrowed into the top corner.
Pompey improved as the half progressed and crosses from Haunstrup and Nathan Thompson were inches away from reaching their intended targets.
Curtis did meet a free-kick from Naylor and half of the Fratton End thought his header was in, when the ball in fact flew into the side netting.
Sander van de Streek then had a chance at the other end, but his angled drive was beaten away by MacGillivray.
Curtis was proving a lively presence up front for the hosts and almost capitalised on a defensive mix-up, only to see his eventual shot blocked.
It was the Blues on top as the interval approached and Brett Pitman had an effort blocked, while Curtis was flagged offside as he converted Jamal Lowe’s cross.
The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international then did well to get a shot away, forcing David Jensen to tip the ball over.
But a leveller did arrived just before the break – and it was another goal that came right out of the top drawer.
A cross from Curtis was brought down by Pitman for WALKES, who fizzed home a fierce strike from 25 yards.
FC Utrecht 1
Pompey almost flipped the match on its head just after the restart, but Matt Clarke was unable to guide a Curtis corner on target.
Curtis was involved in every attack for the hosts, although he was unable to connect with a testing Haunstrup delivery at the far post.
The hosts were also working hard out of possession, constantly pressing their opponents to force mistakes and win the ball back.
But there was a moment of concern just past the hour mark, as Lowe limped off injured to be replaced by Gareth Evans.
Both sides then had chances to take the lead during a flurry of activity midway through the second half.
Utrecht were first up when van de Streek met Urby Emanuelson’s corner and sent a header flying narrowly over the bar.
Pompey broke straight down the other end, with Curtis’ low angled drive diverted wide by the fingertips of Jensen.
A deluge of substitutes broke up the flow of the game on 73 minutes, with the hosts making six changes.
There was still time for Utrecht to find the net from a corner, although referee Andy Davies saw an infringement and the game ended all square.
Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray (McGee 73); Thompson (Rose 73), Whatmough, Clarke (Burgess 73), Brown; Lowe (Evans 62), Walkes, Naylor (Close 73), Haunstrup; Pitman (c) (Hawkins 73), Curtis (Chaplin 73)
Goals: Walkes 44
Subs not used: May, Dennis
FC Utrecht (4-1-2-1-2): Jensen; Klaiber, Leeuwin, Janssen (c), van der Maarel (Guwara 83); Strieder (Troupee 61); van Overeem, Emanuelson; van de Streek (Boussaid 83); Gustafson (Joosten 83), Kerk (Dessers 9 (Gortler 73))
Goals: Klaiber 15
Subs not used: de Keijzer, Paes, Memengi
Referee: Andy Davies
Attendance: 4,299 (144 away fans)
Transfer : Tottenham Hotspur – Portsmouth
|Pompey have signed Anton Walkes from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee.
The versatile 21-year-old – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Fratton Park – has penned a two-year deal, with the club holding an option for a further 12 months.
Walkes previously featured at both right-back and in midfield, and has been handed the number two shirt.
Walkes scored on his Pompey debut in a 2-2 draw against Doncaster after arriving on loan back in January.
He played a total of 12 times as the Blues narrowly missed out on a place in the League One play-offs.
Walkes is a graduate of Tottenham’s academy and made a single senior appearance for the Londoners, while also enjoying a spell on loan with MLS outfit Atlanta United.
They recovered from a disastrous start that saw James Coppinger score and Anton Walkes grabbed a deserved equaliser.
The hosts dominated from that point on, only for John Marquis to leave them trailing once more after the break.
But Brett Pitman came off the bench to level and the Blues saw out a nervy conclusion that saw Kal Naismith go in goal following an injury to Stephen Henderson, before Christian Burgess was sent off.
Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side narrowly beaten at home by Shrewsbury the previous week.
New signings Henderson and Walkes were both handed debuts, with there were also starts for Matty Kennedy and Connor Ronan.
That meant Luke McGee, Jamal Lowe and Naismith all dropped to the bench, while Adam May was serving a suspension.
But Henderson’s first job was to pick the ball out of his own net, as – for the second time this season against Doncaster – Pompey made a terrible start.
Walkes blocked Alfie Beestin’s path to goal, but Coppinger picked up the loose ball and managed to force the ball home.
It might have got even worse for the hosts, as they struggled to keep hold of the ball in the opening stages.
The evergreen Coppinger was proving a nuisance and one shot was dealt with by Henderson, while another was deflected just past the post.
Rovers did have the ball in the net again on 16 minutes when former Fratton loanee Marquis stooped to convert Coppinger’s cross, but their celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.
Pompey suddenly found their feet, though, and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first half.
Burgess was not quite able to take advantage when Ben Close’s free-kick was helped on, first by Matt Clarke and then Oli Hawkins.
But a leveller did arrive on 19 minutes and it was WALKES who was able to celebrate a goal on his Blues bow.
A corner was sent into the box by skipper Gareth Evans and that led to a scramble in the visitors’ box.
Clarke and Walkes both tried to stab home the loose ball, although it was the latter who got the vital touch before wheeling away to celebrate.
Pompey did not stop there, though, and a shot from Evans was deflected behind, while Tyler Garratt did well to beat Hawkins to Kennedy’s cross.
Ian Lawlor then made a stunning save to keep out Clarke’s header from point-blank range when the centre-back met Dion Donohue’s excellent corner.
There were plenty more dangerous deliveries into the Doncaster box – particularly from Kennedy – although the visitors were defending firm.
But there was late drama at the other end just before the break, as a late challenge from Donohue led to a melee.
Referee Graham Salisbury calmed things down, though, showing yellow cards to the initial perpetrator, as well as Burgess and Marquis.
Doncaster Rovers 1
It was still the hosts on top once the action restarted, although clear-cut opportunities were at a premium.
Hawkins met a low cross from Kennedy, only for a well-placed Andy Boyle to make a vital block in the Doncaster box.
Pompey almost took the lead just before the hour mark, though, as Ronan sent Close through on goal, only for Lawlor to tear from his line and make another fine save.
Jackett soon made his first change of the afternoon, as Hawkins was withdrawn for top scorer Pitman.
But the Blues then undid all their good work by leaving Marquis in acres of space to head home Coppinger’s corner and restore Rovers’ advantage.
The hosts tried to battle back, but some wayward crossing was undoing their progress into promising areas.
A double substitution was made to reinvigorate Pompey on 72 minutes, with Kennedy and Evans withdrawn for Naismith and Lowe.
Naismith almost levelled when he tried to sneak a long-range shot inside Lawlor’s near post, only for the keeper to get down and save.
But Pompey did find another equaliser from Donohue’s resulting corner, as PITMAN managed to bundle the ball over the line.
Delight turned to concern soon after, though, as Henderson went down off the ball and – clearly distraught – had to limp off.
Jackett had already made all three of his allowed changes, meaning Naismith had to don the gloves for the closing stages.
The challenge became even harder early in the seven minutes of stoppage-time, when Burgess handled and was shown a second booking to leave the Blues with nine men.
Naismith came to the rescue, though, making a key save with his feet to deny Ben Whiteman and ensure Pompey secured a point.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Thompson, Close; Evans (c) (Lowe 72), Ronan, Kennedy (Naismith 72); Hawkins (Pitman 59)
Goals: Walkes 19, Pitman 81
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: McGee, Deslandes, Widdrington, Chaplin
Doncaster (4-1-2-1-2): Lawlor; Blair, Anderson, Boyle, Garratt (McCullough 59); Houghton; Whiteman, Rowe; Coppinger (c) (Kongolo 73); Beestin (Kiwomya 59), Marquis
Goals: Coppinger 4, Marquis 63
Booked: Marquis, Anderson
Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Mason, May
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 17,364 (366 away fans)
Loan : Tottenham Hotspur – Portsmouth
Anton Walkes is looking to continue his football education on the south coast.
The 20-year old loan capture from Tottenham – who will wear the number two shirt – has joined Pompey for the remainder of the season.
He spent most of last year Stateside with the Georgia-based Atlanta United, netting twice in 23 appearances.
Now a player who is comfortable in midfield or at the back wants to assist the Blues in climbing the League One table.
Walkes helped the newly-formed Atlanta reach the MLS play-offs last season and enjoyed the experience.
He said: “They are an expansion team, so needed numbers. It turned out to be outstanding for me and I want to show what I’ve learnt.
“You’re miles from home and out of your comfort zone, so hopefully that’s helped me to mature.
“It’s an unbelievable standard out there, with top quality players, coaches and facilities. You can’t fault it.”