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

Jul 102019
 

Match Report

Highlights

Friendly




Pompey kicked-off their pre-season schedule with an emphatic 11-0 victory at UCD.

Brett Pitman hit a hat-trick, while there were braces from Louis Dennis and Ronan Curtis, with Jamal Lowe, Gareth Evans, Joe Hancott and Ben Close also scoring against the top-flight Irish club.

Following almost two weeks of training at bases in Portsmouth and Dublin, the Blues returned to match action with less than a month until the start of the new League One campaign.

Pompey – with summer recruits James Bolton, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Ross McCrorie and Ellis Harrison all starting – looked bright from the off and opened their account after just 10 minutes.

Dennis looked electric in the opening half and he crossed from the right, with CURTIS doing just enough to force his header home.

And the lead was soon doubled following more good work from Dennis, who delivered from the opposite flank, leaving LOWE with plenty of time to slot past Conor Kearns.

The visitors almost added a third just seconds later, but Lowe’s effort was saved and the ball ricocheted against the bar.

That would be Kearns’ final contribution, with the keeper taken off injured and replaced between the sticks by Tom Murphy.

The lead was increased midway through the half, however, as DENNIS latched on to Lee Brown’s quickly taken free-kick and bent a shot around the new stopper.

CURTIS then got his second of the evening on 39 minutes when Harrison’s cross evaded its intended target of Dennis.

Instead it fell for the Republic of Ireland international, who chested the ball down and emphatically found the net.

There was an almost instant fifth goal, as DENNIS rounded off an impressive first half display by receiving Harrison’s pass, spinning past the last defender and coolly finishing.


Half Time

UCD 0

Portsmouth 5


Jackett changed his entire team at the break, but that did not stop the goals from flowing in the second half.

EVANS became the fourth different scorer of the contest, with a blocked pass bouncing back to him and a powerful shot striking the underside of the crossbar before finding the net.

PITMAN then got his first on the hour mark, capitalising on some slack defending to take a touch and find the target from close range.

He might have earlier scored in more acrobatic fashion, but a scorpion-style attempt narrowly cleared the bar.

Murphy was being continually called into action, getting down low to save first from Anton Walkes and then deny Evans at the near post.

But an eighth goal did arrive, with PITMAN picking the defence’s pocket following an Evans cross to double his personal tally.

Teenage full-back HANCOTT – playing a more advanced role – was next to score, being quickest to react when Pitman was denied by Murphy.

The travelling Blues fans wanted 10 and skipper PITMAN duly obliged by completing a 20-minute treble.

Aaron McGrath took too much time over clearing the ball, allowing the striker to steal possession and bend it around Murphy.

The scoring was finally complete six minutes from the end, with UCD unable to clear under pressure and CLOSE emphatically finishing.

Pompey’s run of friendlies continues at Westleigh Park on Saturday when they take on neighbours Havant & Waterlooville (3pm kick-off).

UCD: Kearns; Tobin, Farrell, McEvoy, McClelland; Doyle (c), Keaney; O’Farrell, Kinsella-Bishop; Dignam; Mahdy
Subs: Murphy, Griffin, Mullen, Akinsete, Daly, Ring, Ryan, Boore, Keane, Smith, McGrath

Pompey: MacGillivray (Bass 46); Bolton (Walkes 46), Downing (Burgess 46), Raggett (Casey 46), Brown (Haunstrup 46); Naylor (c) (Morris 46), McCrorie (Close 46); Lowe (Evans 46), Dennis (Cannon 46), Curtis (Hancott 46); Harrison (Pitman 46)
Goals: Curtis 10, 39, Lowe 16, Dennis 24, 41, Evans 49, Pitman 60, 76, 80, Hancott 78, Close 84

Referee: David Dunne

Portsmouth FC

May 042019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1 1 Accrington Stanley

Pompey will be facing Sunderland in the play-offs following a 1-1 draw with Accrington at Fratton Park.

They fell behind to Sean McConville’s strike just after the break, but Ben Close’s ninth goal of the season drew them level.

Close also hit the woodwork as the Blues chased a winner, with the dropped points allowing Charlton to climb above them into third spot.

Kenny Jackett made five changes to the side that were narrowly beaten by Peterborough earlier in the week.

Gareth Evans returned to skipper the team, while there were also starts for Oli Hawkins, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Bryn Morris and Anton Walkes.

Brett Pitman, James Vaughan, Ronan Curtis and Nathan Thompson all dropped to the bench, with Jamal Lowe missing out completely.

With it being the final game of the regular campaign, there were plenty of awards given out prior to kick-off.

They all went to Matt Clarke, who collected the main The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season prize, as well as trophies from 12 supporter groups.

The fans then fell silent as the names of all those fans – and former players – who have passed away over the course of the campaign were read out.

When the action got underway, there was a rather pedestrian pace to proceedings and a flat atmosphere to accompany it.

Accrington almost livened things up with an early goal, as McConville met Janoi Donacien’s cross with a header that bounced back off the bar.

Solomon-Otabor had an effort blocked at the other end, with a long-range Close strike comfortably dealt with by Dimitar Evtimov between the Stanley sticks.

Pompey really should have been awarded a penalty on 18 minutes, with Donacien clearly tugging at Hawkins’ shirt, but referee Scott Duncan appeared not to notice.

It certainly did not feel like the end of the campaign, with an unseasonable chill in the air causing coats to be put back on.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut opportunities on the pitch, although an angled drive from Paul Smyth was saved by Craig MacGillivray.

Pompey then had a great chance when Evans’ free-kick found Christian Burgess in the box, but the defender did not get enough on his header and the ball flew past the post.

Hawkins and Morris also sent efforts over the crossbar just before the break, as the hosts tried to find a breakthrough.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Accrington Stanley 0


Morris did not emerge following the interval, with Curtis brought on and Evans moving to a more central role.

There were just 44 seconds on the clock when Accrington opened the scoring, courtesy of McConville’s fine low strike from the edge of the box.

Pompey looked to hit back immediately and Curtis’ teasing delivery took a slight deflection to prevent Hawkins from tapping in from close range.

There was another opportunity for Burgess, with the defender heading wide after rising to meet a cross from Evans.

But it was CLOSE who levelled just before the hour mark, swapping passes with Hawkins and surging forward before beating Evtimov with a low finish at the keeper’s near post.

Hawkins was immediately brought off, with a fit-again Omar Bogle coming on to lead the Blues’ forward line.

Pompey were trying to find a winner and an acrobatic Bogle effort went past the post, while a clearance hit Pitman and flew off target just moments after the skipper had replaced Evans.

It was certainly a busy introduction for the striker, who scuffed wide after Bogle’s pass had gone just behind him.

But it was Close who almost gave the hosts the lead with a superb shot from outside the box that thundered against the angle of bar and post.

Pompey were pouring forward in search of a winner, while Accrington looked to exploit that on the break.

But despite a frantic conclusion to the action, neither keeper was really tested as the teams had to settle for a point each.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (c) (Pitman 74), Morris (Curtis 46), Solomon-Otabor; Hawkins (Bogle 60)
Goals: Close 59
Subs not used: Bass, Thompson, Haunstrup, Vaughan

Accrington (4-4-2): Evtimov; Donacien, Sykes, Hughes, Richards-Everton; Clark (Sousa 66), Barlaser, Conneely (c), McConville; Armstrong, Smyth
Goals: McConville 46
Subs not used: Warner, Rodgers, Ogle, Brown, Simmons, Zanzala

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 18,439 (241 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 302019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 3 Peterborough United

Pompey’s automatic promotion hopes are over after they suffered defeat to Peterborough in an eventful contest at Fratton Park.

They dominated for much of the evening, but Lee Tomlin and Ivan Toney both struck to give the visitors a commanding lead.

Ben Close pulled one back before the break and a grandstand finish looked on the cards when Christian Burgess levelled.

Substitute Viv Solomon-Otabor then had a goal disallowed and Posh took advantage, with Toney netting again to condemn the Blues to the play-offs.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that drew at Sunderland on Saturday, with James Vaughan continuing to lead the line.

Pompey came roaring out of the blocks and set about attacking a Peterborough side who got plenty of players behind the ball.

Brett Pitman diverted a Lee Brown delivery wide in the opening stages, while an effort from Ronan Curtis was blocked by Toney.

A quick break then saw another Brown cross nodded down by Vaughan, but Curtis’ shot struck team-mate Jamal Lowe.

It was pretty much one-way traffic and the hosts were only missing that clinical edge, with Nathan Thompson’s drive lacking enough power to trouble Aaron Chapman.

But the Fratton faithful were left stunned when Peterborough went ahead on 13 minutes, as Marcus Maddison cut the ball back for Tomlin to rifle home.

It looked as though Vaughan would level after more good work down the right from Lowe, only for a brilliant sliding challenge by Ben White to deny the striker his first goal for the club.

Instead it was Posh who were next to score when Maddison whipped a corner into the box and Toney was left in space to nod into the net.

Tomlin was not endearing himself to the home supporters and got away with kicking the ball away from a Blues free-kick.

But referee Dean Whitestone’s patience finally run out following another bout of time-wasting from the forward and brandished a yellow card.

Naylor fired over after Pitman brought down Matt Clarke’s cross, as Pompey tried to get back into the contest.

And they had a lifeline on 38 minutes, although it took an extremely scrappy goal to reduce the deficit.

Pitman swiped at a delivery from Curtis and completely mis-kicked the ball, but it landed for CLOSE to drive into the net via a deflection off White.

A quick break then almost provided a leveller in stoppage-time and after Lowe released Curtis, his low drive was saved by the foot of Chapman.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Peterborough United 2


There was a change at the break, with Vaughan failing to return and Oli Hawkins taking his place up front.

Curtis was first to try his luck with a free-kick from 30 yards that struck the wall and was deflected behind.

That was the last bit of action for the Irish winger, however, who was immediately replaced by Solomon-Otabor.

It was a similar to the first half, with Pompey looking to get at their opponents whenever possible and Hawkins nodded over from a corner.

Pitman then cut the ball back into the centre, where first Close and then Lowe saw efforts blocked in quick succession.

There was a spot of handbags following the award of a Blues free-kick, with both Maddison and Brown seeing yellow.

But the equaliser arrived seconds later, as Brown whipped the set-piece right into the mixer for Hawkins.

The tall striker was unable to get a shot away, but instead laid the ball off for BURGESS to drive into the net.

And there was almost another goal for the hosts soon after, with a dipping half-volley from Close narrowly clearing the crossbar.

Peterborough also needed to win, however, and when Craig MacGillivray could not hold Maddison’s drilled free-kick, Clarke had to hack clear.

But it was Pompey providing more of a threat, as the lively Solomon-Otabor cut in from the left and drilled narrowly past the post.

They almost came undone when nobody picked up Ryan Tafazolli from a Maddison free-kick and his thumping header bounced back off the bar.

What followed was an incredible couple of minutes that saw the hosts have a goal disallowed before falling behind again.

Pitman raced onto a Thompson pass and was sent through on goal, but rather than shoot he elected to slide the ball across to Solomon-Otabor.

The loanee had the simple task of sliding into an empty net, although he was in an offside position and the flag was raised.

As Fratton Park recovered from that blow, worse was to come, with Toney wriggling into space at the other end to fire Posh back in front.

Pompey tried their best to recover, but Peterborough saw out the closing stages and the hosts now have to prepare for the lottery of the play-offs.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Solomon-Otabor 54); Vaughan (Hawkins 46)
Goals: Close 38, Burgess 59
Booked: Brown, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Morris, Evans, Bogle

Peterborough (4-4-2): Chapman; Naismith, White, Tafazolli, Lafferty; Maddison, Woodyard (c), Knight, Ward (Dembele 65); Tomlin, Toney
Goals: Tomlin 13, Toney 27, 75
Booked: Tomlin, Ward, Maddison, Woodyard
Subs not used: O’Malley, Bennett, Denton, Burrows, Cooke, Stevens

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 18,396 (235 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 192019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Burton Albion 1 2 Portsmouth

Matt Clarke struck right at the death as Pompey beat Burton to keep their automatic promotion quest on track.

A fine strike from Ben Close – just days after the midfielder had penned a new contract – gave them an interval lead.

But the Brewers hit back through Liam Boyce early in the second half and it looked like a stalemate was on the cards.

There was time for a late dose of drama, however, as Clarke fired home following a stoppage-time bundle to seal victory.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that eased past Rochdale on home soil the previous week.

Gareth Evans came on to score at Fratton Park and was rewarded with a starting berth, as Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench.

He was joined by a fit-again Viv Solomon-Otabor following the winger’s return to action for the reserves on Tuesday.

There was also a switch of system for the Blues, who began in a 4-3-3 formation, with Jamal Lowe and skipper Brett Pitman flanking Oli Hawkins.

The travelling fans were in fine voice as they enjoyed the Burton sunshine, with plenty packed into the terrace behind the goal and seated on one side.

Their team made a bright start and won a couple of early corners, the first of which was taken by Lee Brown and glanced wide by Clarke at the near post.

Evans then sent one in from the other end, but it was just too high for Tom Naylor – appearing against his former club – at the back post.

It was certainly not one-way traffic, though, and the Brewers caused plenty of problems before the break, without really testing Craig MacGillivray.

Jamie Allen went closest to opening the scoring and drilled a fierce low effort inches wide on 16 minutes.

Stephen Bywater had to come quickly off his line at the other end and just about beat Evans to Close’s delivery.

And it was the latter who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes, playing a key role in the build-up before finishing the move in style.

The midfielder’s initial cross was headed clear, but Nathan Thompson picked the ball back up and laid it off for CLOSE to bend home from the edge of the box.

The visitors charged forward again moments later and Bywater did just enough to stop Lowe slipping a pass across to Hawkins.

Burton looked dangerous themselves, though, and caused an almighty scramble in the Blues box before the ball was eventually hacked to safety.

And there was a repeat just before the break, with Clarke and Evans forced to make blocks inside the area.

There was still time for Pompey to have another chance, however, and Pitman bent a shot narrowly over after being teed-up by Hawkins.


Half Time

Burton Albion 0

Portsmouth 1


The second half was not even two minutes old when the hosts found themselves level, as Boyce converted Colin Daniel’s fine cross with a firm header from close range.

Lucas Akins soon had another chance for the Brewers, although his effort forced a regulation save from MacGillivray.

Pompey tried to hit back and when Christian Burgess met a free-kick from Evans, his header had to be tipped over by Bywater.

And MacGillivray then did well at the other end, getting down low to his left to push behind a low drive from Stephen Quinn.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Hawkins and Pitman making way for Omar Bogle and Bryn Morris.

But Burton were still causing problems as the second half progressed and forcing their opponents into some sloppy play.

There was some fine bits of individual defending from the Blues, though, including a headed clearance from Burgess and a fine tackle on Scott Fraser by Thompson.

Bogle did have an opportunity for the Blues when he found space to advance down the left, but a weak effort was easily dealt with by Bywater.

And a better opening was wasted moments later, as Morris skied the ball over after Brown had laid it off for him.

Jackett made a final throw of the dice on 77 minutes, with Curtis replacing Evans to inject some attacking impetus.

The newcomer soon did well to beat his man and get into the box, but Lowe was unable to get a shot away.

Both sides were trying their best to grab a late leveller as time ticked away, although it looked like heading for a draw.

Then, deep into stoppage-time, Curtis’ cross caused a melee in the Burton box and Thompson somehow managed to keep the play alive.

The ball fell for CLARKE, who slotted it into the net to spark scenes of delirium among the travelling support.

Burton desperately appealed for both offside and a handball, but their cries fell on deaf ears and referee Craig Hicks blew the final whistle soon after.

Burton (4-3-3): Bywater; Brayford (c), McFadzean, Wallace, Daniel; Allen, Quinn (Fox 81), Fraser (Hutchinson 85); Akins, Boyce, Harness (Miller 85)
Goals: Boyce 47
Booked: McFadzean
Subs not used: Hawkins, McCrory, Bradley, Clarke

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Close, Naylor, Evans (Curtis 77); Lowe, Hawkins (Bogle 61), Pitman (c) (Morris 61)
Goals: Close 31, Clarke 90+2
Booked: Close, Bogle
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 4,034 (1,290 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 232019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Shrewsbury Town 0 2 Portsmouth

Pompey’s run of good form continued as they won 2-0 at Shrewsbury to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.

The visitors improved following a slow start and took the lead through Ben Close just before the break.

There were chances to add to the scoring at both ends of the pitch in the second half, but a defensive mix-up allowed Brett Pitman to seal the points for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that beat Scunthorpe on home soil the previous week.

Viv Solomon-Otabor’s calf injury meant that Gareth Evans returned to the starting line-up, with Jamal Lowe switching to the left.

It was the struggling hosts that made the brighter start and a low delivery from Fejiri Okenabirhie was just of reach for a stretching Shaun Whalley.

Steve Arnold had to tear from his line at the other end to stop Lowe racing onto a superb diagonal pass from Tom Naylor.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency, however, and a weak effort from Okenabirhie was comfortably dealt with by former Shrews stopper Craig MacGillivray.

The keeper had to do even better on 16 minutes, though, getting down quickly to push Whalley’s effort to safety.

Shrewsbury’s forward then had an effort that was heading for the net until Nathan Thompson’s deflection diverted the ball wide.

And it took a fine last-gasp challenge by Lee Brown inside the box to prevent Ollie Norburn getting a shot away.

Scott Golbourne’s free-kick was then flicked on for James Bolton, who sent a header looping onto the roof of the net.

But the Blues picked up as the half progressed and Arnold did well to deny Evans after the ball had been squared to him by Close.

It was Close who then sent a shot wide after playing a one-two with Omar Bogle, while Matt Clarke could not divert Brown’s corner on target at the near post.

Pompey did make their pressure count before the break, as Brown’s angled effort was parried away by Arnold and CLOSE drilled the ball home through a sea of bodies.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 1


The hosts tried to hit back following the restart and Christian Burgess dived in to divert Greg Docherty’s effort behind.

There were a few sighs of relief when the same player then went down inside the box following a challenge by Thompson.

Referee Ollie Yates blew his whistle, but the challenge had taken place just outside the area and Okenabirhie’s free-kick was dealt with.

Jackett made a switch on 55 minutes, with Bogle – who had angered the home faithful with a challenge on Golbourne that earned him a booking – replaced by Oli Hawkins.

And the newcomer almost doubled the visitors’ lead after meeting Brown’s low delivery, only for the ball to hit Omar Beckles and loop against the crossbar.

Hawkins had another great opportunity on 71 minutes when he connected with a cross from Brown, but Arnold made a great save down to his left to deny the striker.

Shrewsbury soon had a chance of their own after Whalley’s mazy run had been crudely brought to a halt by Burgess on the edge of the box.

Norburn cleverly kept his effort low and sent it through the wall, but an unsighted MacGillivray was able to fumble the ball away.

And Pompey soon went up the other end to give themselves a cushion – although the Shrews gave them a helping hand.

Arnold’s clearance cannoned against team-mate Beckles and Hawkins picked up the loose ball, squaring it for PITMAN to slot home.

Shrewsbury were soon dealt a further blow when Arnold was forced to limp off, with Jonathan Mitchell replacing him between the sticks.

Six minutes of stoppage-time meant that the hosts’ hopes of an unlikely comeback were raised, but Pompey comfortably saw out the closing stages to move up to third spot in the League One table.

Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Arnold (Mitchell 84); Williams, Waterfall, Beckles; Bolton (Campbell 72), Norburn (c), Grant (Laurent 77), Docherty, Golbourne; Whalley, Okenabirhie
Booked: Grant
Subs not used: Sadler, Edwards, Holloway, Payne

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (Walkes 89), Pitman (c), Lowe; Bogle (Hawkins 55)
Goals: Close 40, Pitman 79
Booked: Bogle, Naylor, Close, Burgess, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Isgrove, Vaughan

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 8,028 (1,172 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 022019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 5   1 Bradford City

Pompey returned to winning ways in the league in some style, with a 5-1 rout of Bradford at Fratton Park.

Gareth Evans got the ball rolling from the penalty spot, while Tom Naylor ensured the interval lead was a comfortable one.

Hope Akpan did reduce the deficit for the struggling Bantams, only for Jamal Lowe to immediately restore the two-goal advantage.

Ben Close then ensured the scoreline received a gloss by adding a brace to cap a fine individual display.

The downside for the Blues were injuries suffered by Oli Hawkins, Ronan Curtis, Matt Clarke and Nathan Thompson – the latter two following a clash of heads.

Throw in a delay while a drone flew over the ground and it was certainly an eventful afternoon on the south coast.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Bury to reach the Checkatrade Trophy final earlier in the week.

Lowe came in for Viv Solomon-Otabor out wide, with Christian Burgess making a quicker than expected return from an ankle injury.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of Division Three title-winner Bobby Doyle, who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

The start of the first half was a disjointed affair, with neither goalkeeper being called into action during the early stages.

Hawkins did almost break the deadlock on six minutes, stooping to head against the post after Evans had lifted the ball into the mixer.

Close then swivelled neatly inside the box moments later, although failed to guide his shot on target.

Those opportunities aside, it was not exactly proving to be a flowing contest, but Pompey started to dominate as the game progressed.

They were handed an excellent chance to open the scoring midway through the half when Oliver Langford pointed to the spot.

Evans had sent a corner into the box and with Hawkins being hauled to the ground by Anthony O’Connor, the referee had no choice.

It was EVANS who stepped up to take the penalty and confidently slammed his penalty into the top corner.

The traffic was mostly one-way from that point, with Hawkins proving to be a particular menace to the Bantams back-line.

He played a fine pass through to Curtis on 34 minutes, but the ball got stuck under the forward’s feet and Lowe’s effort was blocked.

And their pressure paid off late in the half when the advantage was doubled, courtesy of another Evans corner.

It was flapped at by Richard O’Donnell and the ball fell for Curtis, whose strike cannoned off the underside of the bar.

The forward thought it had crossed the line, but there was no signal from the officials and NAYLOR followed up to slot home.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Bradford City 0


Pompey continued to look bright once the action restarted and Clarke glanced an Evans corner past the post.

But there was a bizarre incident just past the hour mark, when the referee called both sets of players to the sidelines.

Everybody was looking up in the air and there was a drone hovering overhead, but it eventually flew off and the action was able to restart.

It was the Bantams who were next to go close, with Craig MacGillivray doing well to palm over Akpan’s drive.

But Akpan did score from the resulting corner, driving the ball into the net after Kelvin Mellor’s had headed the ball into his path

Pompey’s response was immediate and when Lee Brown whipped a dangerous cross into the box, LOWE got down to convert with his chest.

But Hawkins had picked up an injury and was withdrawn by James Vaughan – not that it stopped the hosts’ momentum.

They soon had a fourth goal, as Evans met a delivery from Curtis with a half-volley that was turned into the net by CLOSE.

There was more injury concern for the Blues following a sickening clash of heads between Clarke and Nathan Thompson.

Both medical teams were quickly on the case and the right-back was withdrawn for Anton Walkes, with Clarke carrying on after getting bandaged up.

Pompey continued to attack and almost increased their lead, only for O’Donnell to tip over Lowe’s fierce drive.

A bloodied Clarke was struggling, however, and Jackett made his final change by bringing him off for Dion Donohue.

The action continued at a breathless pace and the hosts did have a fifth goal on 87 minutes, with Curtis’ pass being cut out, but the ball breaking for CLOSE to fire into the bottom corner.

The various injuries and drone interruption meant there were 10 minutes of stoppage-time displayed by the fourth official.

And Pompey finished the contest with 10 men, as Curtis pulled up while chasing the ball and hobbled off the pitch.

But the final moments passed by incident-free, as the Blues brought an impressive week to a close by collecting all three points.

Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Thompson (Walkes 77), Burgess, Clarke (Donohue 84), Brown; Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Close, Curtis; Hawkins (Vaughan 69)
Goals: Evans 23 (pen), Naylor 41, Lowe 67, Close 70, 87
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor, Pitman

Bradford (4-2-3-1): O’Donnell; Caddis (c) (Mellor 46), O’Connor, Knight-Percival, Wood (Miller 62); Akpan, Butterfield; Ball, Payne (Clarke 72), O’Brien; Doyle
Goals: Akpan 65
Booked: Caddis, Knight-Percival
Subs not used: Wilson, Anderson, Maltby, Patrick

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 17,657 (493 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 162019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Southend United 3    3 Portsmouth

Pompey moved back up to third in the League One table with a 3-3 draw against Southend.

But the visitors were in no mood to celebrate after throwing away a three-goal advantage at Roots Hall.

Bryn Morris, Ben Close – on his 100th appearance for the club – and Oli Hawkins all found the target as the Blues cruised into a commanding advantage.

Simon Cox reduced the deficit before the break, however, then added a penalty before completing his treble late on.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Plymouth the previous weekend.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was handed his debut wide on the left, while Hawkins and Anton Walkes both returned to the starting line-up.

That meant a switch to a 4-4-2 system with Hawkins partnering Omar Bogle, as Matt Clarke claimed the captain’s armband.

Gareth Evans and Ronan Curtis both dropped the bench, while Nathan Thompson missed out with a knock.

There was a minute’s applause ahead of kick-off in memory of World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who passed away earlier in the week.

It was the hosts who had the first effort, but Craig MacGillivray got down to his right to keep out Stephen McLaughlin’s low drive.

Christian Burgess then cleared the danger before Michael Turner could capitalise after Cox’s initial effort had been blocked.

But the Blues soon took control and broke the deadlock on eight minutes, as MORRIS opened his account for the club.

Bogle and Jamal Lowe combined well down the right and when the latter’s cross was pushed out by Nathan Bishop, the midfielder hammered the loose ball into the roof of the net.

They came close to doubling the lead from a corner soon after, with Clarke’s shot blocked and Burgess’ follow-up nervously dealt with by Bishop.

The visitors were well on top, although MacGillivray spilled an effort from Sam Mantom and dived on the loose ball before Michael Kightly could pounce.

And Pompey immediately went up the other end to strengthen their advantage, although the Shrimpers could have dealt with it.

Solomon-Otabor combined well with Lowe, but first Sam Hart and then Mantom made a hash of their clearances and CLOSE sent a neat volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

It looked like they had gone even further ahead when Bogle managed to force the ball over the line, although it was controversially ruled out for offside.

But they did have a third goal on 31 minutes when, at the end of a neat passing move, Morris struck the post.

This time it was Taylor Moore’s chance to decline the opportunity to clear the ball and a grateful HAWKINS slotted home.

Southend looked out of the contest, but gave themselves a lifeline when Cox rose in the box to convert Hart’s delivery.

They almost grabbed another before the break when a corner fell for Turner, who curled his shot just past the post.


Half Time

Southend United 1

Portsmouth 3


The visitors began the second period brightly and a snap-shot from Bogle was saved by Bishop, while a heavy first touch from Lowe allowed the Southend keeper to claim the ball.

But Burgess then made a key challenge inside the box to stop Kightly collecting MacLaughlin’s pass following a quick break.

Pompey immediately created an opening of their own, but Bishop kept out Bogle’s effort and then beat the striker to the loose ball.

It was not as action-packed since the restart, however, and the chances started to dry up as the half progressed.

McLaughlin did try his luck from outside the box, but the ball struck Clarke to divert it wide of the post.

A couple of corners for the hosts also caused problems, although MacGillivray was on hand to deal with them on each occasion.

Solomon-Otabor had faded slightly following a lively start to the contest and was replaced by Curtis on 71 minutes.

And Jackett soon made a second substitution, with Bogle the man to make way as Evans provided fresh legs to the forward line.

The game seemed to be drifting towards a conclusion, but Southend were not done yet and set up a tense finale by pulling another goal back.

Morris caught Kightly in the box and referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot, with Cox stepping up to send MacGillivray the wrong way.

Pompey were not just sitting back, though, and Close had a low effort blocked following some patient build-up play.

But Southend completed a remarkable comeback on 88 minutes, as Cox raced onto Timothee Dieng’s fine pass and neatly tucked away his hat-trick goal.

James Vaughan was brought on as the Blues tried to hit back, but they were unable to find another goal before the final whistle blew.

Southend (4-4-2): Bishop; Bwomono, Turner, Moore, Hart; McLaughlin, Mantom (c) (Hutchinson 73), Dieng, Kightly (Wabo 82); Cox, Humphrys (Klass 25)
Goals: Cox 36, 78 (pen), 87
Booked: Klass, Moore
Subs not used: Smith, Kiernan, Lennon, Kelman

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Brown; Lowe (Vaughan 88), Morris, Close, Solomon-Otabor (Curtis 71); Hawkins, Bogle (Evans 75)
Goals: Morris 8, Close 20, Hawkins 31
Booked: Walkes, Vaughan
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Haunstrup, May

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 7,300 (1,239 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 092019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Plymouth Argyle 1    1 Portsmouth

A first league goal of the season for Ben Close was not enough to secure a return to winning ways, as Pompey drew 1-1 with Plymouth.

The first half at Home Park was a turgid non-event, but the game really exploded into life after the break.

Close’s effort was reward for the fine support from the travelling Blue Army, but Graham Carey’s impressive free-kick ensured the spoils would be shared.

Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that exited the FA Cup at QPR earlier in the week.

Omar Bogle returned to lead the line, while there were also recalls for Nathan Thompson, Bryn Morris, Ronan Curtis and skipper Gareth Evans.

Oli Hawkins, Anton Walkes and Adam May all dropped to the bench, Louis Dennis missed out completely and Tom Naylor started a two-match ban for collecting 10 yellow cards.

The sold-out away contingent made plenty of noise in the build-up to kick-off and that did not change once the action started.

But they did not have much to get excited about in an opening 45 minutes that was full of endeavour, if short on quality in the final third.

A corner from Evans led to Bogle having a couple of shots blocked in quick succession, although referee Ben Toner spotted an infringement and blew for a foul.

The swirling wind would have been causing problems, especially with Home Park currently boasting only three sides.

And that was perhaps a reason why the contest failed to spark into life, although deliveries into the box from Evans and Close both had to be dealt with.

Both goalkeepers might as well have stayed in the dressing room, as their gloves remained unsoiled as the interval approached.

Half-chances were about as good as it got, with Curtis scuffing a shot wide after Thompson’s effort had been deflected into his path.

Not much was happening at the other end, with Ruben Lameiras’ dangerous low delivery turned behind, while Freddie Ladapo hit a long-range effort high over the bar.

Argyle keeper Kyle Letheren was finally called into action just before the break, but was not overly troubled by Matt Clarke’s tame header.


Half Time

Plymouth Argyle 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey were first to threaten following the restart when Bogle rose at the far post to meet Lee Brown’s cross with a firm header that was gathered by Letheren.

But the hosts then had a decent opening of their own, as Antoni Sarcevic dug the ball out for Ladapo, whose effort was deflected narrowly over the bar.

It was certainly proving to be a more action-packed contest and when Curtis picked the ball up on the left, he drove inside and hit a fierce drive that Letheren did well to tip over.

And the Blues were ahead from the resulting corner, with Evans’ delivery only cleared as far as CLOSE, who drilled the ball home from the edge of the box.

The midfielder then sent a fine pass over the top for Bogle to race on to, with Ryan Edwards doing well to prevent the striker getting a shot away.

That was Bogle’s last contribution to the game, as Jackett replaced him with Oli Hawkins on 67 minutes.

Argyle boss Derek Adams then began ranting on the touchline when he felt Evans’ free-kick should have warranted a second yellow card, instead earning a booking for himself.

But his mood changed when Thompson was adjusged to have fouled Yann Songo’o 25 yards from goal and Carey stepped up to curl home a fine free-kick.

They might have had another after Morris failed to clear, but Lameiras’ curler was deflected past the post.

Pompey were being pegged back, but had a chance to capitalise when Evans kept the ball in play on the right.

His fine deep pass found Hawkins, who nodded the ball down to Curtis, but the Republic of Ireland international fired high over the bar.

A curler from Evans was plucked from the air by Letheren, while Argyle also applied late pressure before the referee’s whistle brought a competitive clash to a close.

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): Letheren; Smith-Brown, Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer (c); Songo’o, Fox; Lameiras, Sarevic, Carey; Ladapo (Taylor 80)
Goals: Carey 70
Subs not used: Macey, Riley, Jones, Wootton, Threlkeld, Jephcott

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Morris, Close; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis; Bogle (Hawkins 67)
Goals: Close 56
Booked: Evans, Thompson, Curtis
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, May, Solomon-Otabor, Vaughan

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 12,052 (1,180 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Sep 042018
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy


Portsmouth 4    0 Gillingham

Pompey eased to victory over Gillingham in their opening Checkatrade Trophy group match at Fratton Park.

A largely uneventful first half came to life right at the end, with Matt Clarke and Ben Close finding the net in quick succession.

Brett Pitman then hammered home a penalty after the interval to erase any hopes of a Gills comeback.

And a comfortable evening was wrapped up right at the end when David Wheeler opened his Blues account.

Kenny Jackett made 10 changes from the side that comfortably saw off Plymouth in the league at the weekend.

Clarke was the only player to keep his spot, with loan sign Andre Green handed his debut in an attacking role.

Pitman reclaimed the captain’s armband up front, while fellow striker Joe Mason had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

The crowd were packed into the South Stand, but there was not too much to keep them entertained for the majority of the first half.

Pitman thundered a 30-yard free-kick against the crossbar after Wheeler had been fouled by Aaron Simpson.

But that was not typical of a listless opening period that only exploded into life just before the interval.

Neither keeper had much to deal with, although Luke McGee made a regulation save to deny Navid Nasseri.

Pompey finally moved through the gears on 41 minutes when Adam May slipped a fine pass down the line for Wheeler.

His low centre was intended for Pitman, who would have been left with a simple finish had Alex Lacey not cut the ball out.

But the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, as CLARKE was left untroubled to convert May’s delivery.

And the celebrations from the home supporters had barely died down before the Blues doubled their advantage.

Nathan Thompson crossed from the right and although CLOSE’s first time effort lacked power, it was neatly placed into the bottom corner.

It might have been even better in stoppage-time, but a long-range effort from May flashed past the post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Gillinghamn 0


There were only a few minutes on the clock when the hosts had a great chance to extend their lead further.

Wheeler whipped in a teasing cross from the right that would normally have been gobbled up by Pitman, but he fired uncharacteristically wide from a few yards out.

Pompey’s skipper made up for that, however, by opening his account for the season from the penalty spot on 55 minutes.

Alan Young pointed to the spot when Green went down under Aaron Simpson’s challenge, with PITMAN on hand to slam home from 12 yards.

Gills keeper Tom Hadler then came tearing from his line to stop Wheeler reaching Green’s threaded pass.

Mason was introduced for his Blues bow just past the hour mark, with May the man to make way for the on-loan Wolves striker.

The tempo of the contest unsurprisingly dropped with the lead so commanding and the chances started to dry up again.

Wheeler came close to adding a fourth goal after bundling his way into the box, but Hadler came to the rescue with a decent stop.

And that is exactly what he did at the death, with WHEELER on hand to net from close range after Mason’s blocked shot had fallen into his path.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Wheeler, May (Mason 62), Green; Pitman (c)
Goals: Clarke 41, Close 43, Pitman 55 (pen), Wheeler 90
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, Naylor, B.Thompson, Evans, Lowe

Gillingham (4-1-2-1-2): Hadler; O’Neill (c), Lacey (Scarlett 80), Ogilvie, Simpson (Nash 65); Oldaker; Rees (Chapman 62), Stevenson; Nasseri; Wilkinson, List
Booked: Nasseri
Subs not used: Holy, O’Mara, Woods, Mbo

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 2,011 (69 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 262017
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2    1 AFC Wimbledon

The big day might have passed, but there was still plenty of Christmas cheer on show as Pompey beat AFC Wimbledon.

Ben Close livened up a dull first half with a fine strike on a wet and windy Boxing Day afternoon on the south coast.

Lyle Taylor hit back with a penalty just after the break, only for Brett Pitman to net a spot-kick of his own to secure the points for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Shrewsbury before Christmas.

It came in attack, where Matty Kennedy dropped to the bench to make way for Conor Chaplin just behind lone striker Pitman.

Both sides had perhaps indulged themselves a tad too much the previous day, with the first half limping along.

Pompey enjoyed the majority of possession and territory, but George Long was largely untroubled in the Dons goal.

It was actually the visitors who were first to threaten, with Cody McDonald – perhaps put off by Luke McGee’s presence – poking the ball wide of the post.

Close sent a couple of dangerous deliveries into the box, only for the Londoners’ back-line to deal with them both.

A snap-shot from the returning Chaplin was well-struck on 19 minutes, but the ball flew straight at Long.

The lively Gareth Evans also had an effort that flew narrowly wide, as the contest struggled to move out of second gear.

Pompey fans were finally given reason to sit up and take notice when Chaplin’s shot took a deflection and hit Jamal Lowe.

He was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough, however, with the ball ricocheting off the winger and being saved by Long.

A couple of Wimbledon corners caused hearts to flutter at the other end, but it was the hosts who finally forged ahead just before the break.

Lowe slide in to win back possession and feed CLOSE, whose 25-yard effort skimmed off the wet surface and into the bottom corner.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

AFC Wimbledon 0


The mood was buoyant inside Fratton Park at the break, but it soon soured when the visitors levelled just after the restart.

There was plenty of controversy about the goal, however, with AFC Wimbledon awarded a penalty after the ball bounced up and struck Christian Burgess on the arm.

Referee Craig Hicks decided it was deliberate and Taylor smashed the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

There was growing frustration from fans and players alike, as a few more decisions started to go against them.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark to try to inject some fresh impetus into his side.

Chaplin and Lowe were the men to make way, with Oliver Hawkins and Kennedy coming on to replace them.

Hicks looked to have ensured he was off next season’s Christmas card list for anyone living in Portsmouth, but the official was soon back in the home side’s good books.

He spotted Barry Fuller’s shove on Pitman inside the box and, much to the delight of the Fratton faithful, pointed to the spot.

It was PITMAN who stepped up to take the penalty and confidently sent Long the wrong way with a thunderous finish.

Wimbledon almost hit back, as an angled drive from former Blues winger Andy Barcham flashed across the face of goal.

But Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure a return to winning ways in League One.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Evans, Chaplin (Hawkins 64), Lowe (Kennedy 64); Pitman (c)
Goals: Close 45, Pitman 72 (pen)
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, May, Bennett, Main

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Long; Fuller (c), Oshilaja, Charles, Meades; Trotter, Soares (Kaja 78), Abdou, Barcham; Taylor, McDonald
Goals: Taylor 50 (pen)
Booked: Soares, Barcham, Fuller, Trotter
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Kennedy, Hartigan, Egan, Francomb

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 18,644 (728 away fans)


Portsmouth FC