On This Day
Pompey lost 2-1 at Oxford to ensure they suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
Goals from Cameron Brannagan and James Henry meant the hosts enjoyed a comfortable lead at the interval.
The Blues were well below par, but Brett Pitman came on to spark hopes of a comeback with a fine finish.
Those 1,803 travelling fans were not given a result their backing deserved, however, as United held on for the points.
Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten by Blackpool on home soil the previous week.
One was enforced, with Andre Green being recalled from his loan spell by Aston Villa, while Dion Donohue and Pitman dropped to the bench.
A fit-again Lee Brown returned at left-back, Andy Cannon was handed his full debut and David Wheeler also got a rare league start.
It meant that Jamal Lowe led the line for Pompey and skipper Gareth Evans moved into a more advanced role.
Matt Clarke’s appearance in the side brought up 150 appearances for the defender, but new signing Bryn Morris had to be content with a spot among the substitutes.
The visitors started brightly and won an early corner that was dealt with, while a similar set-piece at the other end was nodded wide by Rob Dickie.
A deep free-kick from Brown then caused problems in the United defence, who were eventually able to scramble the ball to safety.
There were not an abundance of opportunities, with both sides showcasing attacking intent, but unable to produce any meaningful shots.
A couple of set-pieces were comfortably dealt with by Craig MacGillivray, while Evans’ curler from the edge of the box was not too far off target.
But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock midway through the first half, although it might have been the Blues celebrating a goal.
Lowe could not quite charge the ball down following a slip from former Fratton keeper Simon Eastwood.
Instead his long clearance eventually made its way to Brannagan, who drilled a fine low shot right into the bottom corner.
Oxford might have doubled their lead soon after, as a corner led to a spot of pinball inside the Pompey box.
The visitors won a couple of their own soon after and Eastwood dropped the second, but grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
It became a niggly affair as the interval approached, but United were able to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Jamie Mackie was unable to get a shot away and instead played the ball across for an unmarked Henry to lash home.
Oxford United 0
There were no substitutions for the Blues at the break, although Wheeler and Lowe swapped positions.
And the former had a chance to reduce the deficit moments after the restart, meeting Evans’ free-kick and sending a header just off target.
But it was still Oxford looking more likely to add to the scoring and an effort from Mackie flew narrowly over.
Then, after a Lowe strike had been comfortably dealt with by Eastwood, the hosts had two more chances to put the result beyond doubt.
First, a cross from Jordan Graham was punched away by MacGillivray and Jamie Hanson’s follow-up was deflected off target by Clarke.
Gavin Whyte’s corner was then palmed clear by the Blues stopper and this time Brannagan’s attempt flew into the side netting.
With the visitors struggling to find any kind of fluency, Jackett made a double change just before the hour mark.
Wheeler and Evans were the men to make way, with Pitman and Louis Dennis coming on to replace them.
And it proved to be an inspired decision, as the duo combined to reduce Pompey’s deficit on 64 minutes.
Dennis provided the assist, crossing the ball for PITMAN to convert with an acrobatic overhead effort that left Eastwood helpless.
The Blues were struggling to build on that goal, however, and Cannon made way for Donohue in a final throw of the dice.
One patient move did lead to a chance on 81 minutes, although Lowe could not adjust his body enough to guide Brown’s delivery on target.
And despite producing plenty of effort in the closing stages, Oxford remained firm at the back to secure victory.
Oxford (4-2-3-1): Eastwood; Hanson, Nelson, Dickie, Ruffels; Mousinho (c), Brannagan; Whyte (Kashi 86), Henry, Graham (Browne 76); Mackie
Goals: Brannagan 25, Henry 45
Subs not used: Stevens, Long, Garbutt, Sykes, Carruthers
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Cannon (Donohue 76), Naylor; Wheeler (Pitman 59), Evans (c) (Dennis 59), Curtis; Lowe
Goals: Pitman 64
Booked: Lowe, Whatmough, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Morris
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 8,202 (1,803 Pompey fans)
Pompey finished 2018 on a high by thrashing Fleetwood 5-2 in a dramatic League One contest at Highbury.
Ben Thompson’s stunning strike gave them the lead, only for Paddy Madden and a Ched Evans penalty to see the hosts ahead at the break.
But Dean Marney’s red card for two bookable offences proved crucial – and the Blues took advantage.
Brett Pitman levelled with another spot-kick and a first goal of the season from Anton Walkes ensured they retook the lead.
It was left to Jamal Lowe to wrap things up with a brace that ensures Pompey will welcome in 2019 at the top of the table.
Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that suffered a first defeat on the road at Gillingham on Boxing Day.
Two of them were enforced, with Walkes and skipper Pitman replacing Nathan Thompson (hamstring) and Oli Hawkins (ankle) respectively.
The other switch came in the middle of the park, where former Fleetwood star Gareth Evans made way for Ben Close.
That meant a switch to a 4-3-3 system, with Lowe and Ronan Curtis flanking Pitman in the forward line.
The hosts had a great opportunity in the opening stages, but Evans’ header was held low down to his left by Craig MacGillivray.
Pompey soon started to settle and Close was unable to make a clean connection with his shot, allowing Alex Cairns to save.
But the Cod Army keeper made an even better stop soon after, keeping out a volleyed effort from Matt Clarke after the defender’s first attempt had been blocked.
The visitors then received a blow when Lee Brown went down injured and had to come off, with Brandon Haunstrup replacing him at left-back.
There was reason to celebrate for the travelling supporters on 26 minutes, however, as their side took the lead.
It was a fine finish from THOMPSON, whose fierce effort from outside the box struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the line.
Close might have doubled the lead, but could not get enough power on his header from a Lowe cross to trouble Cairns.
Instead it was Fleetwood who were next to score on 39 minutes, when Madden raced in to meet Lewie Coyle’s cut-back and arrow a first time shot right into the bottom corner.
And it soon got even worse for the Blues as Madden fired past the post, but went down after colliding with Clarke and, following a lengthy pause, referee Matt Donohue pointed to the spot.
It was Evans who stepped up to take the penalty, sending MacGillivray the wrong way to turn the contest on its head.
Pompey might have levelled deep into stoppage-time, only for Ross Wallace to clear behind and prevent Lowe from converting Curtis’ delivery at the back post.
Fleetwood Town 2
The Blues were quickly out of the traps following the interval, but when a corner was cleared, Haunstrup fired wildly off target.
Hopes were raised soon after, though, when Marney fouled Thompson and – having earlier been booked for a challenge on Curtis – saw red.
A cross from Haunstrup was then hacked to safety, as Walkes raced into the box to try to make contact.
Jackett soon made an attacking switch, with Evans brought on to provide more of a goal threat and Close withdrawn.
But it was two other players who provided the drama that saw the Blues score twice in as many minutes to take the lead.
Donohue pointed to the spot for the second time after Curtis was brought down by Ross Wallace and PITMAN confidently slammed home the spot-kick.
It soon got even better, though, as the Cod Army failed to deal with a Curtis cross and WALKES bent a shot into the top corner with his left foot.
The action did not stop there, however, and MacGillivray kept out Wes Burns’ free-kick, then quickly recovered to keep out James Wallace’s follow-up effort.
There was a period of calm after that, although Pompey were not content to sit back and Curtis continued to torment the home defence.
But they were lucky to still be ahead when, following a Fleetwood corner, both Madden and James Wallace struck the post.
Tom Naylor then hacked the ball clear from the line before Pompey went up the other end to wrap things up.
LOWE collected a pass from Curtis and held off two challenges, turning neatly to sneak a low shot inside the near post.
And it soon got even better for the Blues, as LOWE raced on to Thompson’s fine pass and lashed home their fifth goal of an eventful afternoon.
Andre Green came on for Curtis in the closing stages, but the visitors were unable to grant the wishes of the travelling fans, who chanted ‘we want six’.
Clarke came closest to adding another, but his header was well saved by Cairns. It mattered not, as Pompey had done more than enough to ensure they would end the year at the summit.
Fleetwood (4-4-2): Cairns; Coyle, Morgan (c), Eastham, R.Wallace; Burns (Dempsey 63), Marney, Biggins (Bolger 79), Hunter (J.Wallace 54); Madden, Evans
Goals: Madden 39, Evans 43 (pen)
Sent off: Marney (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Jones, Sheron, Holt, McAleny,
Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown (Haunstrup 19); B.Thompson, Naylor, Close (Evans 53); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Green 90)
Goals: Thompson 26, Pitman 57 (pen), Walkes 58, Lowe 81, 84
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Wheeler, Mason
Referee: Matt Donohue
Attendance: 3,494 (853 Pompey fans)
Pompey booked their spot in the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy with a dominant display against Arsenal under-21s.
Brett Pitman gave the Blues an early lead at Fratton Park, but their quest for a healthier advantage was denied three times by the woodwork.
The skipper and, on two occasions, man-of-the-match Adam May were both left frustrated before Bukayo Saka impressively brought the scores level.
But the hosts got the victory their impressive performance deserved thanks to a second goal in three days from Andre Green.
Kenny Jackett made 11 changes from the side that progressed in the FA Cup at Rochdale on Sunday.
He handed debuts to youngsters Matt Casey and Freddie Read, while May was back from a loan spell at Aldershot.
There was also a return for skipper Pitman up front, flanked by Green and Louis Dennis in the Pompey attack.
Arsenal handed a start to 33-year-old former French international Laurent Koscielny, who added plenty of experience to an otherwise youthful side.
One of his highly-rated team-mates was the first to threaten, although after spinning neatly in the box, Saka fired straight at Luke McGee.
The Blues soon took control and after collecting a pass from Casey, Anton Walkes saw his shot cleared from the line by Danny Ballard.
Brandon Haunstrup then had a fierce effort well saved by Deyan Iliev, but the hosts forged ahead from the resulting corner.
Dennis’ delivery was headed back by Walkes at the far post and PITMAN acrobatically flicked the ball home from close range.
It was a lively display from Dennis, who had a chance of his own by nodding Green’s cross wide on 15 minutes.
May came a lot closer to doubling the advantage, stealing possession from James Olayinka and hitting a 25-yard shot against the post.
And Dennis then tried his luck with a long-range effort that dipped narrowly over as Pompey continued to dominate.
Arsenal looked neat on the ball, but were not really troubling their hosts, who seemed the more likely to add to the scoring.
An angled attempt from Christian Burgess was blocked by Ballard, while Pitman sent a free-kick into the Gunners wall.
Arsenal U21 0
A corner from Dennis led to some pinball in the visitors box once the action restarted, with the ball eventually hacked to safety.
McGee was still not being overworked at the other end and an effort from Charlie Gilmour was well off target.
But May came close to scoring for the Blues, neatly controlling the ball 25 yards out and sending the ball crashing against the crossbar.
That came after Read left the pitch to warm applause, with a fit-again Joe Mason on to replace him and provide some more firepower.
The hosts appeared to be cruising, only for the Gunners to level against the run of play. It was a fine effort from Saka, though, who cut in from the left before firing into the top corner.
And the Londoners might have gone ahead soon after, with Burgess throwing himself in front of Tyreece John-Jules’ effort.
Pompey tried to restore their advantage, but were denied by the woodwork for an incredible third time on 76 minutes.
Pitman met a cross from the right by Walkes, only to see his header come back off the inside of the post and be cleared by the Arsenal defence.
The hosts were starting to move through the gears again and Dennis was sent through on goal by Mason. He lifted a shot over Iliev, but the ball flew agonisingly wide.
It was Green who was next to have a go just a few seconds later and this time the keeper saved with his feet.
And the on-loan Aston Villa winger finally made the pressure count by restoring Pompey’s lead on 83 minutes.
It was a lovely move, with Dennis playing a neat one-two with Pitman before arrowing the ball across the face of goal for GREEN to emphatically fire into the roof of the net.
And the Blues comfortably saw out the final few minutes to seal the win that ensures their place in Saturday’s third round draw.
Pompey (4-3-3): McGee; Walkes, Casey, Burgess, Haunstrup; May, Rose, Read (Mason 58); Green, Pitman (c), Dennis
Goals: Pitman 10, Green 83
Booked: Dennis, Walkes
Subs not used: L.Pitman, Mnoga, Johnston, Flint, Smith, Maloney
Arsenal U21 (3-4-3): Iliev; Ballard, Koscielny (Tormey 85), Medley; Osei-Tutu, Omole (Coyle 65), Gilmour (c), Bramall; Saka, John-Jules, Olayinka
Goals: Saka 66
Subs not used: Hein, Bola, Olowu, Thompson, Zelalem
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Attendance: 3,109 (188 away fans)
Pompey fought from behind to beat Rochdale and return to the top of the League One table.
The hosts took an early lead in some style when Aaron Wilbraham struck a sensational shot from long-range.
But the Blues were impressive in the opening 45 minutes and Jamal Lowe deservedly ensured the scores would be level at the break.
It was not quite so strong after the interval, but Brett Pitman showed typical striking instincts to turn the game around on his 50th appearance for the club.
And Matt Clarke added a fine third goal to wrap the points up for the visitors in the closing stages of an enjoyable Spotland contest.
Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Wycombe on home soil the previous week.
Pitman returned to skipper the team, while there was also a start for Jack Whatmough at the back, with Oli Hawkins and Christian Burgess dropping to the bench.
Pompey got off to the worst possible start by falling behind in the fourth minute – not that they could have done much to prevent it.
It was a phenomenal effort from Wilbraham, who hit a stunning strike on the half-volley from almost 30 yards that left Craig MacGillivray with no chance.
But it was the Blues largely on top for the remainder of the half and an ambitious over-head effort from Gareth Evans flew past the post.
Nathan Thompson almost grabbed an unlikely leveller after collecting a pass from Pitman and firing a rocket against the crossbar.
Ollie Rathbone then had another long-range attempt for the hosts, although this one thankfully flew wide.
But Pompey were level on 25 minutes, thanks to a well-worked goal involving all three of the forward line.
Pitman collected the ball from Ronan Curtis, swivelled and sent in a low centre for LOWE to slide into the net.
He might have had another after being picked out by Pitman, but a poor first touch allowed Joe Rafferty to clear the danger.
The trio linked up well again when the skipper flicked on Lowe’s cross and Curtis met it with a deft touch, but Josh Lillis got down to his right to save.
Pompey were looking to attack at every opportunity and there were some nervy moments for the Dale back-line.
But Lillis was not being over-worked and made relatively comfortable stops to deny both Curtis and Lowe.
The keeper then came tearing from his line in stoppage-time to stop Lowe reaching Pitman’s threaded pass after Curtis had nipped in to steal possession from a Rochdale throw.
It was the hosts that were first to threaten after the restart, but when MacGillivray parried Andy Cannon’s effort, Rathbone skied the loose ball over.
There was certainly some of the excitement from the first half missing, however, with both sides guilty of some misplaced passes.
Ian Henderson curled a shot wide for Rochdale, while a well-placed Ben Close headed clear Cannon’s dangerous cross.
Then – after Lowe had been booked for a foul – Rathbone came close to sneaking the free-kick inside MacGillivray’s near post.
There was not too much happening at the other end of the pitch, although an Evans set-piece was glanced wide by Tom Naylor.
But the Blues took the lead on 71 minutes when a low ball from Lee Brown was deftly turned home by PITMAN at the near post.
A substitution soon followed, with Ben Thompson coming on for Evans to shore up the Blues midfield.
But it was not the end of Pompey’s attacking intent and they were able to extend their advantage on 81 minutes.
Rochdale failed to properly deal with a corner and CLARKE showed he is not just a class act at the back.
The defender brought the ball under control, beat his man and angled home a fierce strike that arrowed into the net.
David Wheeler and Hawkins were both introduced from the bench late on, as the visitors comfortably saw out the final few moments.
Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Lillis; Rafferty, McNulty, Delaney, Hart (Cannon 45); Camps (Clough 77), Perkins; J.Williams (Andrew 50), Rathbone, Henderson (c); Wilbraham
Goals: Wilbraham 4
Subs not used: Norman, Morley, MJ Williams, Gillam
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Close, Naylor; Lowe, Evans (B.Thompson 76), Curtis (Wheeler 89); Pitman (c) (Hawkins 90+2)
Goals: Lowe 25, Pitman 71, Clarke 81
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Haunstrup, Mason
Referee: John Busby
Attendance: 3,796 (966 Pompey fans)
Pompey remain unbeaten in League One, but a late penalty denied them all three points at a sodden Fratton Park.
The hosts trailed to a Bryn Morris strike at the interval, although they emerged much stronger after the break.
Gareth Evans nodded them back on level terms and Brett Pitman came off the bench to turn the game on its head.
But with another victory looking likely for the Blues, Joe Jacobson struck from the spot to ensure it finished all square and the hosts dropped to second.
Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that beat Peterborough the previous week to climb to the League One summit.
With the rain pouring relentlessly down, conditions were not exactly conducive to an attractive contest.
There was plenty of slipping and sliding the opening stages and a niggly game was not helped by the eagerness of referee Craig Hicks to use his whistle.
A centre from Jamal Lowe was inexplicably left by defender Darius Charles, only for Sido Jombati to hack clear from the line.
Christian Burgess then met a corner from Evans, with his firm header punched clear by former Fratton loanee Ryan Allsop.
Craig MacGillivray comfortably claimed Adabayo Akinfenwa’s effort at the other end, but did not deal with Jacobson’s free-kick soon after and watched gratefully on as Fred Onyedinma slot narrowly wide.
And it was Wycombe who broke the deadlock midway through the first, with Morris playing a neat one-two with Akinfenwa before curling home a fine finish.
The Chairboys were obviously keen to protect their lead, but it seemed a bit too early for time-wasting and Allsop got a talking to from Hicks.
Wanderers were guilty of some crude challenges and saw four players carded before the break, including one for Onyedinma for the most obvious shirt pull you could hope to see.
The hosts did improve as the interval approached, although Burgess could not quite adjust his body enough to capitalise on Tom Naylor’s flick.
It was Naylor who almost forced an equaliser when he met Lowe’s pass, although the ball would not quite squeeze through Allsop’s legs.
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Wycombe were first to have an opening when the action restart, with Matt Bloomfield’s strike hitting team-mate Scott Kashket and ballooning over.
With Pompey struggling to find a way through, Jackett was preparing to bring on Pitman and Joe Mason.
But the pair were promptly sent to warm-up again after EVANS headed the hosts back on level terms.
Oli Hawkins won a long punt up the pitch by MacGillivray and played the ball to Lowe, whose fine delivery was nodded in by the skipper from close range.
Both teams then had a decent opportunity to forge ahead in the space of just a few seconds, with the Chairboys first to go close.
Morris sent the ball into the box and Akinfenwa should really have done better then divert the ball wide from a few yards out.
Pompey went straight up the other end and Lowe raced clear, only for his shot to be diverted wide by Allsop.
Pitman was finally introduced on 69 minutes, with Hawkins given a warm ovation as he departed the action.
Hicks was continuing to infuriate both sides by blowing his whistle every time a player hit the turf, despite the difficult conditions.
One soft free-kick for an alleged foul by Ben Close was fired narrowly past the post by the lively Morris.
Nathan Thompson then narrowly missed the target from close range, while Pitman’s cut-back hit a defender and went agonisingly behind the waiting Mason.
But PITMAN did give the Blues the lead on 86 minutes, rising at the far post to convert another fine Lowe cross.
An action-packed half swung back the other way moments later, however, when Burgess was penalised for a foul on Onyedimna in the box.
Hicks pointed straight to the spot and Jacobson slammed his penalty straight down the middle to draw Wycombe level.
There were five minutes of added time for either side to find a winner, but substitute Mason was denied late appeals for a foul in the box and the spoils were shared.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Evans (c) (Mason 80), Curtis; Hawkins (Pitman 69)
Goals: Evans 57, Pitman 86
Booked: Lowe, N.Thompson, Burgess
Subs not used: McGee, Walkes, Haunstrup, B.Thompson, Wheeler
Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, Jombati, Charles, Jacobson; Gape; Kashket (Cowan-Hall 63), Bloomfield (c) (Thompson 90+2), Morris, Onyedinma; Akinfenwa
Goals: Morris 21, Jacobson 89 (pen)
Booked: McCarthy, Jombati, Onyedinma, Kashket
Subs not used: Ma-Kalambay, Harriman, Saunders, Williams, Mackail-Smith
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 18,648 (749 away fans)
Brett Pitman came off the bench to net a penalty and ensure Pompey’s unbeaten start to the League One campaign continued.
The first half was a largely drab affair, although the hosts did improve markedly following the interval.
It looked like a first defeat was on the cards when Greg Docherty took advantage of some sloppy defending to give Shrewsbury the lead.
But – much to the relief of the Fratton faithful – Pitman kept his cool from the spot to secure a share of the spoils.
Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that comfortably saw off Plymouth the previous week.
With Ronan Curtis away on international duty, Andre Green was handed his league debut wide on the left.
There were also a couple of enforced switches at the back, with Christian Burgess and Nathan Thompson replacing the injured Jack Whatmough and Anton Walkes.
The Blues had got off to a flying start against Argyle, but it was flat opening 45 minutes against the struggling Shrews.
That did not look like being the case when Jamal Lowe’s shot was tipped around the post by Joel Coleman in the early stages.
But that was not a portent of what was to come, with the remainder of the half being a fairly lifeless affair.
Indeed, it was Shrewsbury who looked more likely to break the deadlock, without really being able to test Craig MacGillivray between the sticks.
Lenell John-Lewis could not connect with Shaun Whalley’s teasing delivery at the back post, while a drive from Omar Beckles was not too far off target.
And John-Lewis had another decent opportunity after Ollie Norburn had dispossessed Tom Naylor, only to fire high over the bar.
Christian Burgess had to make a timely challenge inside the box on 42 minutes to stop Josh Laurent getting a shot away.
But the visitors’ best chance came just before the break, as Anthony Grant turned neatly and fired inches past the post.
Shrewsbury Town 0
Jackett made a double switch at the start of the second half, as Green and Ben Thompson made way for David Wheeler and Ben Close.
The former won a free-kick after being fouled by Mat Sadler just after the restart, with Gareth Evans’ effort pushed clear by the diving Coleman.
It was much better from the Blues and a corner from Evans caused problems, while Wheeler was unable to beat Coleman at the keeper’s near post.
The visitors thought they should have been awarded a penalty just past the hour mark after Alex Gilliead had cut through the home defence.
He went down under Lee Brown’s challenge and cried foul, but referee Charles Breakspear was not interested.
And Brown then had an ambitious shot from 30 yards that fizzed narrowly wide, amidst anguished cries from the crowd.
They went even closer when Evans met Nathan Thompson’s cross with a firm header that Coleman just about managed to push clear.
Pompey’s final change came on 67 minutes, as the hard-working Hawkins was withdrawn for Pitman.
The hosts had looked much more of a threat since the restart, but it was the Shrews celebrating a goal on 74 minutes.
Burgess was unable to clear a cross from Whalley and Docherty – who had only come on a few seconds earlier – took advantage to lash the ball into the net.
The Blues tried to hit back and thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Pitman went down on 81 minutes.
Josh Emmanuel certainly had his hands on the striker, but Breakspear waved away the noisy appeals from players and fans alike.
The referee did point to the spot soon after, though, when Gilliead brought down Nathan Thompson in the box.
It was the linesman who flagged, although Breakspear took a while to make his mind up before awarding the penalty.
PITMAN stepped up to take it and although Coleman went the right way, the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
Five minutes of stoppage-time meant there were even hopes raised for a dramatic winner, but the Blues were unable to strike again.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson (Close 46), Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Green (Wheeler 46); Hawkins (Pitman 67)
Goals: Pitman 87 (pen)
Subs not used: McGee, Haunstrup, Rose, Mason
Shrewsbury (4-1-4-1): Coleman; Emmanuel, Waterfall, Sadler (c), Beckles; Grant; Whalley, Norburn, Laurent (Docherty 73), Gilliead; John-Lewis (Amadi-Holloway 67)
Goals: Docherty 74
Subs not used: Gregory, Sears, Haynes, Colkett, Okenabirhie
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 17,634 (281 away fans)
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.
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
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
Subs not used: Holy, O’Mara, Woods, Mbo
Referee: Alan Young
Brett Pitman showed his poacher’s instincts, but Pompey had to settle for a pre-season stalemate against Brighton.
The match was played at the Premier League side’s Elite Football Performance Centre and both sides fielded a strong line-up.
There did not look a two division gap between the teams, with the Blues looking assured in possession and strong at the back.
And it looked like victory was on the cards when Pitman prodded home, only for Anthony Knockaert to head home an equaliser.
The game was split into three 25-minute periods, with Pompey changing the majority of their side two-thirds of the way through the contest.
They certainly did not look overawed against their top-flight opponents and created the better chances in the early stages.
Pitman did deal with a Seagulls corner at the near post, while a long-range effort from Knockaert flew over the bar.
But it was the Blues that almost broke the deadlock when Pitman stooped to reach Brandon Haunstrup’s corner and saw his header come back off the post.
Knockaert then threw himself in front of Lee Brown’s drive to deny the left-back following a neat spell of possession from the visitors.
There were also half-chances for Haunstrup and Pitman as Pompey finished the opening third on top.
End Of First Period
Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Pitman thought he should have won a penalty when the action restarted after trying to meet a Haunstrup corner.
The skipper could only turn the ball over as he went to ground under pressure from the Brighton back-line, but the referee was not interested in his appeals.
It might have been billed as a friendly, but that did not stifle either side’s competitive instincts, with plenty of healthy challenges being made.
One of them led to a Blues free-kick and although Pitman got plenty of pace on his effort, the striker’s radar was slightly off.
Craig MacGillivray was relatively untroubled at the other end and although he was briefly wrong-footed by Yves’ Bissouma’s deflected shot, the keeper recovered to comfortably gather.
End Of Second Period
Brighton & Hove Albion 0
The visitors made multiple changes for the final third, with only Pitman and Haunstrup remaining on the pitch.
And it was PITMAN who broke the deadlock seconds after the restart, bundling the ball over the line from close range after Adam May’s corner had been headed towards goal by Christian Burgess.
Substitute Seagulls stopper Hugo Keto then kept out Pitman’s curling effort to stop his side falling further behind.
But Brighton almost found an equaliser moments later, with Ezequiel Schelotto getting into the box and striking the base of the post.
Oliver Norwood then delivered a dangerous free-kick from wide on the right that Beram Kayal glanced narrowly wide.
But the equaliser did arrive on 67 minutes, with Tomer Hemed doing well to beat his man and swing in a cross that Knockaert in.
It was the Seagulls who looked more likely to grab a winner in the closing stages, although Pompey held firm at the back to ensure the spoils were shared.
Brighton (4-4-1-1): Ryan (Keto 51); Schelotto, Duffy, White, Bong (Gyokeres 51); Knockaert, Bissouma (Mandriou 51), Kyal, Suttner; Norwood; Hemed (Collar 51)
Goals: Knockaert 67
Subs not used: Moore, Davies
Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray (McGee 51); Thompson (Smith 51), Whatmough (Burgess 51), Clarke (Casey 51), Brown (Dennis 51); Lowe (Chaplin 51), Naylor (May 51), Walkes (Rose 51), Haunstrup; Pitman (c), Curtis (Hawkins 51)
Goals: Pitman 51
Subs not used: Flint, Lethbridge
Peterborough United 0
Brett Pitman bagged a brace as Pompey secured a comfortable victory over Peterborough to finish eighth in League One.
They both arrived in an electric spell of first half football that belied the game’s status as an end of season dead rubber.
The prolific striker also missed a great chance to claim his first Blues hat-trick, while the fare on offer after the interval was significantly more forgettable.
Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side beaten at Bury the previous week.
The most notable incoming was Alex Bass, with the academy graduate handed his league debut between the sticks.
There were also starts for Brandon Haunstrup, Gareth Evans and Kal Naismith, with Luke McGee, Dion Donohue, Connor Ronan and Oli Hawkins all dropping to the bench.
Matt Clarke had plenty of reason to celebrate before kick-off, as he picked up The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season award – one of a host of trophies dished out.
And he was up for a Gareth Evans corner on 13 minutes, only for PITMAN to get there first and head Pompey into the lead.
It was a quiet evening for Bass in the south coast sunshine, although he did well to come from his line and dive at the feet of Idris Kanu.
Most of the action was taking place at the other end of the pitch, however, and it came as no surprise when the advantage was doubled on 25 minutes.
An angled drive from Jamal Lowe may well have been heading for net anyway, but PITMAN made sure by tapping the ball into the net from a yard out.
He really should have completed his treble before the break following some fine attacking play from Clarke.
The defender charged forward from the back and accepted a return pass from Haunstrup before back-heeling the ball into the path of Pitman, who blazed over from close range.
And the skipper went close again late in the half, with Jonathan Bond at full stretch to push clear his swerving strike.
Peterborough United 0
If the first half made you long for the season to continue, then the second would have had you booking your summer holiday.
There were certainly no notable opportunities to speak of in a period of football that was played at a pedestrian pace.
Evans dragged a long-range shot at one end, while Bass made a comfortable save at the other when Clarke’s block took the sting from Danny Lloyd’s effort.
Fratton Park was briefly livened when Lowe went down in the box, but referee John Busby waved away his appeals.
There were also a couple more half-chances for Pitman, but nothing that ever looked like increasing his impressive tally.
Matty Kennedy replaced Naismith for the closing stages, with the outgoing players receiving warm applause as he vacated the pitch.
The game then continued to meander towards its conclusion, as players and fans alike seemed happy to bask in the sunshine.
The whistle then blew to signal the end of Pompey’s first season back in the third tier and a final position they can certainly be satisfied with.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): Bass; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; O’Keefe; Lowe, Evans, Close, Naismith (Kennedy 77); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 13, 25
Subs not used: McGee, Donohue, May, Ronan, Chaplin, Hawkins
Peterborough (4-4-1-1): Bond; Shephard, Baldwin (c), Taylor, Hughes; Maddison, Da Silva Lopes, Grant, Edwards; Cooper (Lloyd 46); Kanu (Ward 46)
Subs not used: Tyler, Anderson, Doughty, Forrester, Marriott
Referee: John Busby
A last-gasp own-goal saw Pompey continue their unbeaten run with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Rochdale at Spotland.
They showed their fighting spirit by battling back to level on three separate occasions, as the prolific Brett Pitman cancelled out efforts from Bran Inman and Stephen Humphrys.
Ian Henderson scrambled home what seemed to be a Dale winner, only for Matt Done to find his own net deep into stoppage-time.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Wigan on home soil on Easter Monday.
Dion Donohue missed that game to attend the birth of his son, but returned at left-back, with Brandon Haunstrup dropping to the bench.
There was a minute of applause before kick-off to remember former England international Ray Wilkins, who sadly passed away earlier in the week.
The hosts might have been sitting inside the drop zone, but had won each of their past two games and made a bright start.
A hooked effort from Humphrys was deflected wide, while several crosses into the box caused Pompey problems in the opening stages.
But the Blues could have broken the deadlock when Gareth Evans picked out Pitman, only for the unmarked skipper to guide the ball over.
Instead it was Dale who scored on 13 minutes, as Inman bent a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
They thought they had another when Joe Rafferty flicked on Inman’s corner and Ian Henderson bundled the ball over the line, only to be flagged offside.
And Pompey made the most of that let-off by levelling midway through the first half, thanks to some great work from Pitman and Jamal Lowe.
The skipper held the ball up well in the centre of the pitch before releasing Lowe, who showed lightning pace to surge into the box.
He slipped at a pivotal moment, only to recover well and square for PITMAN to lash home his 20th league goal of the campaign.
The Blues then came close to forging ahead, courtesy of a thunderbolt from Evans that crashed against the crossbar.
It was Rochdale that finished the half on top, however, and Luke McGee was twice called into action to deny Rafferty and Humphrys, while Oliver Rathbone saw a shot deflected past the post.
But there was one more chance for the visitors before the break, with Pitman diverting an Evans centre over the top.
Rochdale were quicker from the blocks once the action restarted and Matt Clarke was well-placed to head clear a couple of dangerous deliveries.
But it took another fine finish for the hosts to retake the lead, as Humphrys collected Done’s pass and arrowed the ball past McGee’s grasp.
Jackett responded with a double switch on the hour mark, withdrawing Nathan Thompson and Kal Naismith for Matty Kennedy and Stuart O’Keefe.
And his side were level moments later when Donohue clipped in a free-kick that was only partially dealt with.
The ball was headed back into the danger zone by Clarke, where PITMAN was waiting to slot home again.
But the action soon switched back to the other end of the pitch and an Inman effort took a deflection to send the ball just over the bar.
Rochdale were back ahead on 71 minutes, though, when Calvin Andrew nodded Inman’s delivery across goal and Henderson bundled the ball over the line.
Jackett soon made his third and final change, with Oli Hawkins adding more firepower in place of Evans.
There was a nervy moment for the hosts when Josh Lillis failed to claim a high ball, but they were eventually able to scramble clear.
Hawkins did well to shake off having his shirt tugged and get a shot away late on, although the attempt failed to trouble Lillis.
The visitors tried to get the ball forward and four minutes of stoppage-time gave them hope of finding an equaliser.
And it arrived when Jack Whatmough’s centre was nodded towards goal by Pitman, with DONE only able to head the ball into his own net from a couple of yards out.
Rochdale (4-1-4-1): Lillis; Rafferty, McGahey, McNulty, Done; Camps; Andrew, Rathbone, Henderson (c), Inman (Delaney 80); Humphrys (Thompson 74)
Goals: Inman 13, Humphrys 57, Henderson 71
Subs not used: Moore, Wiseman, Ntlhe, Dobre, Davies
Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson (Kennedy 60), Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Walkes; Lowe, Evans (Hawkins 72), Close, Naismith (O’Keefe 60); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 26, 62, Done 90+2 (og)
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Ronan
Referee: Scott Oldham
Wigan Athletic 1
Pompey’s fine run of form continued with a convincing victory over title-chasing Wigan at Fratton Park.
It was the second home game in succession that the Blues impressed in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Brett Pitman maintained his own prolific run with a penalty before the break, while Jamal Lowe doubled the advantage on a damp Easter Monday.
Will Grigg came off the bench to pull once back for the Latics late on, but Pompey held on to maintain their play-off hopes.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Walsall just a couple of days earlier.
With Dion Donohue’s partner about to give birth, he was replaced at left-back by Brandon Haunstrup.
It was a first return to Fratton Park for title-winning manager Paul Cook and his assistant Leam Richardson.
But Gary Roberts had to be content with a place on the bench against his former club, while Noel Hunt was in the press box on radio punditry duties.
It was the hosts who had the first chance when Gareth Evans delivered a low cross that Chey Dunkley just about got to before Pitman.
But the Latics – as expected – controlled possession and a few niggly challenges from Pompey ensured the contest became a scrappy affair.
Max Power saw a shot deflected narrowly past the post after possession had been stolen, as Wigan looked to make the pressure count.
It was certainly not one-way traffic, though, and when the atmosphere started to go up a few notches, the players responded.
Pitman managed to send a dangerous low cross into the box from the right and Lowe slid in at the near post, but could not quite make a connection.
Both sides earned a yellow card midway through the first half, with Callum Elder cautioned for a foul on Lowe and Nathan Thompson booked for upending Nick Powell.
Michael Jacobs thought he should have been awarded a penalty on 28 minutes after going down under pressure from Thompson, only to see his appeals waved away by Tim Robinson.
The referee – after being alerted by the fourth official – then had to go over to speak to Cook about his protestations, with the Latics boss given a stern ticking off.
Powell sent a free-kick into the wall, while James Vaughan dragged a shot wide following good work by Max Power.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 40 minutes after Dan Burn had clumsily brought down Ben Close in the box.
PITMAN stepped up to take the penalty, sending Christian Walton the wrong way as he buried the ball into the bottom left corner.
He almost had another before the break when Elder made a hash out of clearing, but Walton came to the defender’s rescue.
There was still time for Wigan to have a chance to level, though, and it took a fine diving header from Jack Whatmough to stop Powell meeting Nathan Byrne’s cross.
Wigan Athletic 0
It was a fairly quiet start to the second half, with Powell hitting another free-kick into the wall, while Kal Naismith’s long-range effort was comfortably dealt with at the other end.
But LOWE certainly got Fratton Park rocking again on 55 minutes when he doubled Pompey’s advantage.
The forward collected a low cross from Thompson, turned sharply and sent the ball past Walton’s grasp and into the bottom corner.
That was the cue for the heavens to open, although it failed to dampen the spirits of the crowd – even if some in the front row did make a dash for shelter.
Wigan had an opportunity when a free-kick was only partially cleared, but Sam Morsy hit the loose ball high into the Fratton End.
Cook made a double switch as he tried to find a route back into the game, with the dangerous Grigg joining Ryan Colclough on the pitch.
But it was Powell who almost reduced the deficit on 69 minutes, only for Luke McGee to brilliantly divert the ball against the crossbar.
There were a few nerves creeping in – on and off the pitch – and the game descended into a scrappy affair once more, with cheap fouls conceded by both sides.
McGee was still looking assured, though, and made a super stop to keep out Grigg’s cleanly-struck volley from a Jacobs centre.
Roberts was brought on as Cook made one last throw of the dice, with the midfielder given warm applause by the Fratton faithful.
Pompey were beginning to tire, but failed to let their efforts falter, with a host of brave challenges and strong headers.
It looked like they would comfortably see the game out, but the nerves returned when Grigg nodded home a Roberts cross.
The Blues saw out five minutes of stoppage-time, however, to secure a memorable victory and spoil Cook’s south coast return.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Haunstrup; Walkes; Lowe, Evans, Close, Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 40 (pen), Lowe 55
Booked: Thompson, Walkes, Naismith
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, O’Keefe, Ronan, Kennedy, Chaplin, Hawkins
Wigan (4-2-3-1): Walton; Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder; Power, Morsy (c); Massey (Grigg 66), Powell, Jacobs (Roberts 81); Vaughan (Colclough 66)
Goals: Grigg 89
Booked: Elder, Walton
Subs not used: Jones, Bruce, Perkins, Walker
Referee: Tim Robinson