Pompey have signed left-back Lee Brown on a two-year deal.
The 27-year-old will officially become a Blues player on July 1 when his contract with Bristol Rovers expires.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “Lee brings an awful lot of experience to our side and yet he probably still has his best years in front of him.
“I felt we gave away too many goals last season and he can certainly help with that, but he’s also a full-back that likes to attack and create goals.
“We’re really pleased to bring someone of his character to the club and I believe he’ll really add to our group.”
Brown started his career at QPR and had a couple of loan spells with non-league clubs before joining Rovers in the summer of 2011.
He made 319 appearances for the Pirates – scoring 22 goals – and was part of the side that secured back-to-back promotions into League One.
Bristol Rovers 2
Pompey suffered a cruel opening to 2018 after Bristol Rovers struck two late goals to secure all three points at the Memorial Stadium.
The visitors took the lead in an often scrappy contest when Oliver Hawkins headed home in the second half.
And there were opportunities to extend the advantage before Stuart Sinclair struck following a period of Pirates pressure.
It looked like the spoils were to be shared, only for Liam Sercombe to drill a winner in the dying moments.
Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side that saw off Northampton on home soil at the weekend.
Danny Rose and Gareth Evans both limped off against the Cobblers, so in came Adam May and Jamal Lowe.
Pompey’s injury problems were clear from a look at the bench, with Theo Widdrington recalled from a loan spell with the Hawks and joining academy prospects Matt Casey and Dan Smith.
It was the hosts who looked brighter in the opening stages and Luke McGee got down well to deal with a long-range attempt from Billy Bodin.
But the Blues soon grew into the game and were enjoying plenty of possession, without being able to test Adam Smith between the sticks.
A couple of balls into the box had to be hacked to safety, while Lowe’s effort was deflected narrowly wide.
There was danger at the other end when Lee Brown sent a dangerous delivery into the mixer, only for Bodin to collide with Sinclair as they both tried to meet it.
It was certainly the hosts looking more fluent as the half progressed and May charged down Rory Gaffney’s strike, before Tom Broadbent’s surging run was halted by Christian Burgess.
Pompey were still trying to create chances of their own, however, and Smith had to keep out Brett Pitman’s drive at his near post following good work down the right from Nathan Thompson.
Matt Clarke then looked like he was about to convert Dion Donohue’s free-kick, only for the keeper to come off his line and punch clear.
It was a decent spell from Pompey and Joe Partington had to divert the ball behind when Pitman – given plenty of stick for his Bristol City connections – stretched to reach Thompson’s cross.
The action then swung back in Rovers’ favour, although pressing from the Blues back-line was leaving the home crowd frustrated.
Bristol Rovers 0
Pompey won an early corner once play restarted and Burgess sent a header looping narrowly over from Donohue’s delivery.
But it was Rovers who came close to breaking the deadlock on 51 minutes, as the ball pinged around the Blues box.
Bodin’s effort was kept out by the feet of McGee and when it was sent back into the area, Tom Nichols diverted it narrowly off target.
There was a melee in the opposite area on the hour mark, but when Pitman centred the ball, Chris Lines was well-placed to hack it clear.
And the visitors did forge ahead on 64 minutes, as a HAWKINS rose to meet May’s fine cross and guide a precision header past the desperate dive of Smith.
They came close to doubling their advantage, only for a Ben Close thunderbolt to be blocked by a Rovers shirt in a packed box.
And Matty Kennedy then did well to trick his way into space and flash a low shot narrowly past the post.
But Bodin came close to a leveller at the other end on 77 minutes, with a rising effort that McGee had to palm over the crossbar.
Rovers were piling on plenty of pressure in the closing stages and it finally paid off with a late leveller.
Bodin’s strike was sav ed by McGee, but he could not keep hold of the ball and Sinclair followed up to find the net.
And the Blues were left heartbroken when, in the 90th minute, a free-kick was played to Sercombe, who drilled a shot into the bottom corner.
Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Smith; Partington, Lockyer (c), Broadbent (Sweeney 59), Brown; Sinclair, Clarke (Sercombe 74), Lines; Bodin, Nichols, Gaffney (Harrison 74)
Goals: Sinclair 84, Sercombe 90
Subs not used: Slocombe, Bola, Moore, Telford
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, May; Lowe (Bennett 90+2), Pitman (c) (Main 81), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 64
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Widdrington, Smith, Chaplin
Referee: David Webb
Bristol Rovers 0
Oliver Hawkins opened his goalscoring account as Pompey returned to winning ways against Bristol Rovers.
He headed home just before the interval of an absorbing contest that was often played at a breathless pace.
The Fratton faithful played their part by creating a vibrant atmosphere and Brett Pitman made sure they had plenty to celebrate by adding a second half brace.
Kenny Jackett kept faith with the side that were beaten at Scunthorpe at the weekend.
But there was no place for Conor Chaplin among the substitutes, with his hamstring injury handing Curtis Main a seat on the bench.
The visitors looked dangerous on the break in the opening stages and Christian Burgess got in the way of Ellis Harrison’s strike before Joe Partington’s fine cross somehow evaded Billy Bodin.
Matt Clarke then just about did enough to put off Tom Nichols after the forward had latched onto a ball over the top and advanced on goal.
But the Blues were providing a threat of their own and it took a key interception from skipper Tom Lockyer to prevent Hawkins turning in Jamal Lowe’s teasing delivery at the far post.
The winger sent in another dangerous centre moments later and this time it was Pitman who was unable to get on the end of it.
Limbs were then flying at the other end of the pitch on 21 minutes, with Burgess and Clarke flinging themselves in front of shots from Bodin and Ollie Clarke respectively.
Both sides had a man cautioned before the break, with Stuart O’Keefe penalised for a foul on Partington and Harrison shown a yellow card for tugging back Burgess.
It looked like the players would be heading in all square at the break, but the Blues broke the deadlock – in confusing fashion – on 42 minutes.
Dion Donohue’s first cross was blocked, but his second was perfect for HAWKINS to meet at the back post.
Chris Lines made a valiant attempt to hack the ball from the line, although only succeeded in sending it into the roof of the net.
But celebrations were cut short by a linesman’s flag, only to start back up again when referee John Busby conferred with his colleague and awarded the goal.
(1 – 0)
Donohue’s set-pieces were proving a dangerous weapon in the Blues’ armoury and one free-kick had to be punched clear.
O’Keefe then tried to convert the loose ball, only for a well-placed Harrison to boot it away and to safety.
Hawkins soon did well to steal the ball from Lockyer and draw a foul, which earned the defender his side’s second yellow card.
Pitman was way off target with the resulting free-kick, however, sending the ball high into the Fratton End.
But the Blues skipper showed some fine trickery to dribble the ball along the byline just past the hour mark, although there was nobody in the box to meet his cutback.
There was a scare at the other end when Bodin burst into the box, only for Nathan Thompson to make a fine challenge to dispossess him.
And O’Keefe then managed to get in the way of Liam Sercombe’s shot when the midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area.
But a quick Pompey break really should have resulted in the hosts extending their advantage on 75 minutes.
Thompson started the move by stealing possession and when O’Keefe delivered the ball to the far post, Hawkins could only guide it wide.
PITMAN did make sure of the victory soon after, though, meeting Matty Kennedy’s pin-point cross with a firm header that Sam Slocombe could not keep out.
Hawkins was afforded a standing ovation when he made his way off the pitch to be replaced by Gareth Evans for the final few minutes.
But PITMAN’s evening was not over and he shrugged off the challenge of Lockyer with ease before slamming home Pompey’s third goal to complete a successful night.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, O’Keefe; Lowe, Pitman (c), Kennedy (Bennett 87); Hawkins (Evans 82)
Goals: Hawkins 42, Pitman 77, 85
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Haunstrup, Naismith, Main
Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Slocombe; Partington, Lockyer (c), Sweeney (Brown 78), Bola; Sercombe, Lines, Clarke; Bodin, Harrison (Dunwald 78), Nichols (Telford 66)
Booked: Harrison, Lockyer
Subs not used: Smith, Broadbent, Menayese, Broom
Referee: John Busby
Bristol Rovers 0
Naismith scores late cup winner
Pompey’s hopes of progressing in the Checkatrade Trophy remain alive thanks to a late winner against Bristol Rovers.
Kal Naismith’s long-range strike settled the group stage encounter after Michael Smith had seen his early penalty saved.
The Blues must now hope that Reading under-21s beat Yeovil on Wednesday night to bring the fight for second place down to either goal difference or goals scored.
But the game attracted a crowd of just 1,200 – the lowest attendance at Fratton Park for a competitive post-war fixture.
Paul Cook rung the changes from the side that exited the FA Cup against Wycombe at the weekend.
Adam Buxton, Milan Lalkovic and Ben Close were the only players to keep their place, with the latter handed the captain’s armband.
Those coming into the line-up included a fit-again Drew Talbot and Amine Linganzi, whose suspension does not include games in this competition.
Rovers technically stuck to the rules by only making six changes, although they did replace keeper Kelle Roos with Will Puddy after just 142 seconds.
And the first meaningful piece of action for the new man between the sticks was to give away a penalty.
Smith took advantage of a heavy touch to steal possession and Puddy brought him down, with referee James Adcock pointing straight to the spot.
It was Smith who stepped up to take the penalty and it was certainly not the worst attempt, but the keeper guessed the right way and saved low to his right.
The visitors soon had a chance to make Pompey pay for their profligacy, but Luke James’ shot was deflected wide.
Rory Gaffney then missed an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock after being picked out by Daniel Leadbitter.
He was in space and just a couple of yards out, but headed the ball into the turf and watched as it bounced narrowly over the crossbar.
And James went close for Rovers with an opportunistic long-range strike that bounced back off the woodwork.
But the match settled down after all that early action, with neither keeper given too much to do for the rest of the half.
Liam O’Brien made a regulation stop to deny Jermaine Easter, while Naismith curled a free-kick wide in stoppage-time.
(0 – 0)
The second half began at the same pedestrian pace, but the Blues should have forged ahead on 55 minutes.
Naismith’s free-kick found Linganzi in the box, but the midfielder – like Gaffney before the break – directed his header into the ground and it bounced over.
And Naismith sent in another decent delivery moments later following a foul on Buxton, only for the ball to fly just out of reach for Jack Whatmough.
There was a chance at the other end when Adcock waved play on following a foul on James by Tom Davies.
Leadbitter went charging through on goal, but before he could get a shot away, Whatmough made a superb tackle inside the box to clear the danger.
The game soon turned back into a somewhat turgid encounter, however, and Cook made a double switch on 73 minutes to try to liven things up.
Buxton and Close were the two to make way, with Danny Rose and Gareth Evans coming on to replace them.
The third and final substitution arrived soon after, with Kyle Bennett swapped for Noel Hunt, as Smith was given a partner up front.
And he might have grabbed an immediate goal, only to get tangled up with Rose as the duo both tried to get on the end of Smith’s low cross.
Once again it was a Naismith free-kick that saw Pompey go close on 87 minutes, as Puddy went too far to the right and almost got caught out.
But NAISMITH did grab the winner just seconds later, courtesy of an ambitious 35-yard drive with enough swerve to deceive the keeper.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): O’Brien; Talbot, Whatmough, T.Davies, Buxton (Rose 73); Linganzi, Close (c) (Evans 73); Naismith, Lalkovic, Bennett (Hunt 77); Smith
Goals: Naismith 88
Booked: Bennett, T.Davies
Subs not used: Hall, Hyam, Clarke, Chaplin
Bristol Rovers (4-1-2-1-2): Roos (Puddy 3); Leadbitter, McChrystal (c), Hartley, Roberts; Boateng; Mansell, Colkett; Easter (Clarke 78); James, Gaffney (Harrison 80)
Booked: Mansell, McChrystal
Subs not used: Lockyer, Montano, Lines, Moore
Referee: James Adcock
Bristol Rovers 1
Pompey returned to form in stunning style as they romped to victory over promotion rivals Bristol Rovers.
They had already carved out a host of opportunities when Gareth Evans broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Michael Smith then opened his Blues account by converting a cross from the excellent Ben Davies just before the interval.
And Marc McNulty came off the bench to add a third in the second half for the rampant hosts.
The margin of victory could – and perhaps should – have been greater, but a combination of wasteful finishing and superb goalkeeping denied them even more goals.
And a fine free-kick from Lee Brown late on for the visitors proved nothing more than a consolation.
Paul Cook made three changes from the side beaten by Leyton Orient the previous week.
Evans replaced McNulty, as Pompey reverted to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 system, with Smith leading the line.
There were also a couple of switches in the defence, as Kieron Freeman and Matt Clarke made way for Davies and Adam Webster.
The first half was an entertaining, end-to-end affair, although it was the hosts who carved out the better chances.
Pirates keeper Steve Mildenhall made a stunning save in the opening seconds, somehow managing to claw away Christian Burgess’ header.
That came from a Davies corner and the right-back delivered another cross moments later that was nervously dealt with by the visitors’ defence.
The Blues certainly looked hungry and one flowing passing move involved Smith, Kyle Bennett and Gary Roberts, but the latter’s cut-back was intercepted.
Mildenhall was then Rovers’ saviour once more, this time doing well to deny Bennett at his near post.
But the keeper could do nothing to prevent Pompey from taking a deserved lead on 19 minutes.
Smith played a superb cross-field pass to Davies and his ball into the box was deftly flicked home by EVANS.
Rory Gaffney came close to levelling when he rattled the crossbar at the other end, although it would have been a controversial goal, as Roberts was lying injured on the turf.
Rovers had certainly grown into the game and it took a fine challenge by Webster to halt Daniel Leadbitter’s dangerous run.
It was still Pompey looking most dangerous, however, and Smith could not quite sneak a shot past Mildenhall after collecting Webster’s raking pass.
Evans and Roberts should both have done better late in the half, with the duo failing to find the target from close range.
But any feelings of frustration were lifted when the hosts did double their advantage in the third minute of stoppage-time.
It was Davies who provided the assist once again, collecting the loose ball after his corner had been blocked and picking out SMITH to head home his first Blues goal.
Bristol Rovers 0
Evans had an early attempt once the second half got underway and Mildenhall had to tip the ball over the bar.
He then tried a more acrobatic effort after connecting with Bennett’s cross, but this time it flew wide.
The visitors were looking nervous and Tom Lockyer had to hack clear after Mildenhall and Tom Parkes made a mess of dealing with Davies’ low cross on 50 minutes.
And Smith really should have added to his goalscoring account soon after, somehow sliding wide from a few yards out when Roberts’ pass found him unmarked in the box.
The same duo then combined again, but this time Mildenhall came tearing off his line to deny Smith.
Cook made his first change on 69 minutes and it was the tiring Smith who made way for McNulty up front.
Adam McGurk then came on for the impressive Roberts as the game began to drift towards a conclusion.
But it exploded back into life on 77 minutes when McNULTY latched onto Bennett’s threaded pass and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
It almost got worse for the ailing Pirates, only for Mildenhall to once again make a stunning save to deny Evans from point-blank range.
McGurk almost got in act as well, but his curling effort was diverted over the bar by the head of Brown.
Instead it was Rovers who grabbed a late consolation when Brown hammered home a ferocious free-kick from the edge of the box.
But that failed to dampen the spirits of the Fratton faithful, who saw their side return to the top seven on a comfortable afternoon.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Close, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (McGurk 75), Bennett (Chaplin 86); Smith (McNulty 69)
Goals: Evans 19, Smith 45+3, McNulty 77
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Tollitt
Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Mildenhall; Leadbitter, Lockyer, Parkes, Brown; Sinclair, Mansell (c) (Montano 55), Lawrence (Lines 77); Bodin, Gaffney, Easter (Taylor 55)
Goals: Brown 90+1
Booked: Easter, Brown, Montano, Lockyer
Subs not used: Puddy, McChrystal, Clarke, Fallon
Referee: Trevor Kettle
1 – 2
Pompey’s impressive start to the season continued as they took all three points away from Bristol Rovers.
Gareth Evans headed home midway through the first half as the Blues dominated the opening part of the game.
But the hosts improved after the interval and forced an Aaron McCarey own-goal during a period of pressure.
That kicked the visitors back into life, however, and Jayden Stockley – who was not even supposed to be starting – grabbed the winner.
Paul Cook made three enforced changes from the side that drew at Oxford the previous week.
Loan signing McCarey came straight into the team in place of injured keeper Paul Jones.
There were also spaces for Danny Hollands and Adam Barton in midfield, with Nigel Atangana (back) and Michael Doyle (suspended) both out.
But another switch had to be made once the sides had been named – with Adam McGurk picking up a knock in the warm-up and being replaced by Stockley.
After a slow start to proceedings, it was Pompey who soon started to control possession and trouble their opponents.
Their first decent opening arrived on 15 minutes when Evans charged into the box and shot with the outside of his boot, only to be denied by onrushing Rovers keeper Lee Nicholls.
Tom Lockyer then had to race across the box and clear the danger when Stockley quickly flicked Evans’ pass on to Conor Chaplin.
And it was Chaplin who should have broken the deadlock moments later, with the teenager somehow heading Kyle Bennett’s cross wide from just a couple of yards out.
The Blues continued to torment their hosts and their pressure finally paid off on 29 minutes.
It was the impressive pairing of Bennett and EVANS who combined to open the scoring, with the latter meeting the former’s cross and guiding a header into the corner.
Debutant McCarey had been a virtual bystander for much of the half, but was called into action twice before the interval.
First he had to adjust his feet quickly to stop Lee Brown’s deflected cross from sneaking in at the near post.
Then he made a smart stop to deny Jermaine Easter after Christian Burgess’ unfortunate slip had gifted an opening to the Rovers striker.
It was the visitors who had the final say, however, with a quick counter-attack, but Evans could only divert Chaplin’s pass straight at Nicholls.
(0 – 1)
Pompey had been in almost total control before the break, but the hosts found themselves level early in the second half.
They enjoyed a spell of pressure before grabbing the equaliser – although there was a hint of fortune about the goal.
The Blues failed to deal with a cross and although Easter’s shot came back off the bar, the ball ricocheted off McCarey and into the net.
Pompey were struggling to find any sort of rhythm and they almost fell behind on 56 minutes when Easter’s long-range drive cannoned back off the post.
But the hosts then had two penalty appeals from skipper Ben Davies and Chaplin turned down, with referee Jeremy Simpson deciding the latter had dived and brandishing a yellow card.
Cook made his first substitution on 68 minutes, with Gary Roberts – who has been suffering with an ankle problem – replacing Chaplin.
But it was Bennett who immediately had a chance to restore the Blues’ advantage when he surged down the right and into the box, only to fire wide when a pass to Stockley was arguably the better option.
STOCKLEY soon had his chance to score, however, and took it when he poked home a fine Davies cross to end a patient passing move from Pompey.
Rovers tried to find another leveller, but the Blues were looking dangerous on the break, with Cook opting to bring on Kal Naismith and Matt Tubbs rather than shut up shop.
That attacking mentality almost paid off on 82 minutes when Roberts played a clever pass to Evans, but Nicholls kept out his fierce drive.
The hosts tried desperately to get the ball forward in search of a last-gasp point, but Pompey held firm to go top of the League Two table.
Bristol Rovers (3-5-2): Nicholls; J.Clarke (Gosling 46), Lockyer, Parkes; Leadbitter, Sinclair, Lines (c), O.Clarke (Bodin 46), Brown; Harrison, Easter (Taylor 72)
Goals: McCarey 48 (og)
Booked: Lines, Gosling, Lockyer
Subs not used: Mildenhall, McChrystal, Montano, Mansell
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies (c), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Barton, Hollands; Evans, Chaplin (Roberts 68), Bennett (Naismith 74); Stockley (Tubbs 79)
Goals: Evans 29, Stockley 71
Booked: Stockley, Chaplin
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, May
Referee: Jeremy Simpson