Transfer : Burton Albion – Portsmouth
Transfer : Burton Albion – Portsmouth
|Pompey have signed winger Marcus Harness from Burton for an undisclosed fee.
The 23-year-old has penned a three-year deal at Fratton Park, with the club holding an option for a further 12 months.
Harness joined Burton from Coventry as a teenager and gained experience with several loan spells, most recently spending a season with Port Vale.
He made a total of 83 appearances for the Brewers and scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 victory at Rochdale last term.
Harness was part of the Burton side that were narrowly beaten by the Blues on home soil back in April.
He ended his career at the Pirelli Stadium by scoring a stunning strike against Premier League side Sheffield United in a friendly on Tuesday evening.
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.
Burton Albion 0
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
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)
Pompey were forced to settle for a draw in an often breathless encounter with Burton at Fratton Park.
They looked stronger before the break and appeared comfortable after Oli Hawkins’ header had secured an interval advantage.
But Devante Cole and Jake Hesketh both netted at the start of the second half to leave the League One leaders stunned.
Matt Clarke soon nodded in an equaliser in a hectic period, although neither side was able to score again and snatch all three points.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that had beaten Fleetwood on home soil a few days earlier.
With Nathan Thompson’s wife having just given birth to a baby boy, Anton Walkes replaced him at right-back.
David Wheeler was named among the substitutes after recovering from an ankle problem that has kept him sidelined for the past three games.
A couple of Lee Brown crosses showed Pompey’s mentality in the opening stages, as they looked to get at their visitors.
Goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov was then called into action for the first time, getting his fingertips to a rasping Ronan Curtis drive.
The hosts were on top and when Tom Naylor stole possession in the middle of the pitch, the midfielder picked out Ben Thompson.
His fierce drive was kept out by Evtimov and the stopper dived on the loose ball before Jamal Lowe could capitalise.
But Naylor collected a booking soon after following a late challenge on Stephen Quinn. It was his fifth league caution of the season, earning a one-match suspension.
It was a fairly quiet time for Craig MacGillivray in the Blues goal, although he came off his line to deny Jamie Allen.
Will Miller then wasted a decent opportunity by hitting a tame effort straight at the keeper after being picked out by Ben Fox.
And there was a blow for Pompey when Dion Donohue limped off with an injury, with Gareth Evans on to replace him.
It was generally proving to be a positive evening for the hosts, though, with Jack Whatmough and Evans both having half-chances.
And the Blues broke the deadlock on 36 minutes when Thompson swung in a fine cross from the right and HAWKINS charged in to head home from close range.
The closest that Albion came to levelling before the break was a shot from Kyle McFadzean, although that went out for a throw.
There was still time for another Pompey opportunity, however, and Evtimov did well to stop Lowe’s cross reaching Curtis.
Burton Albion 0
But the Brewers started the second half strongly and Naylor had to slide bravely in to block Hesketh’s attempt.
The loose ball fell for Liam Boyce, however, and his shot was saved low to his left by a full-stretch MacGillivray.
An equaliser did arrive moments later, though, when Allen found Cole, who – having been brought on at the break – sent a neat finish nestling in the bottom corner.
And the Blues were left stunned on 52 minutes when Hesketh wriggled his way past a couple of challenges and hit a thunderous shot into the roof of the net.
The Fratton faithful raised the decibels to try to roar their side back into action and it seemed to have an effect.
Evans saw an effort blocked a few yards from the line, while Evtimov did well to keep out Lowe’s angled strike.
But the hosts were back on level terms on 57 minutes, with CLARKE rising highest in the box to convert an Evans corner.
Brett Pitman replaced Hawkins just past the hour mark, as Jackett opted to freshen up his forward line.
But it was Brown who had a chance to score when Lowe was brought down by Reece Hutchinson 20 yards out.
The left-back managed to send his free-kick through the wall, only for it to fly safely into the arms of Evtimov.
Pitman was then unable to make a connection with an attempted over-head kick after Whatmough’s long throw had been flicked on by Clarke.
A shot from Quinn at the other end lacked pace, but took a deflection and almost wrong-footed MacGillivray.
Both sides looked capable of scoring again, but it was Burton who almost grabbed a late winner following a quick break.
Cole tried to pick out an unmarked Lucas Akins in the box, with Naylor just about managing to intercept and MacGillivray diving on the loose ball.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor (c), Donohue (Evans 28); Lowe, B.Tompson, Curtis; Hawkins (Pitman 64)
Goals: Hawkins 36, Clarke 57
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Close, Wheeler, Mason
Burton (4-2-3-1): Evtimov; Akins (c), Brayford, McFadzean, Hutchinson; Quinn, Allen (Beardsley 90+3); Hesketh, Fox (Cole 46), Miller (Buxton 77); Boyce
Goals: Cole 48, Hesketh 52
Subs not used: Collins, Hodge, Harness, Sbarra
Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 18,200 (156 away fans)
Pompey have signed versatile midfielder Tom Naylor on a three-year deal.
The 26-year-old – who is also comfortable in defence – will officially become a Blues player on July 1 when his contract expires at Burton.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “It strengthens the spine of our side, while he also brings us recent Championship experience.
Naylor joined Burton in the summer of 2015 following a spell on loan and made a total of 134 appearances for the Brewers, scoring 13 goals.
He began his career at Mansfield and has also turned out for Derby, as well as having temporary stints with Bradford, Grimsby, Newport and Cambridge.
Loan : Burton Albion – Portsmouth
Pompey have signed Damien McCrory on loan from Burton until January.
The 27-year-old Irishman is primarily a left-back, but can also be utilised in a more advanced position.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “He’s an experienced player who provides competition for Brandon Haunstrup in that role.
“It’s a specialist position and we’ve been looking to bring someone in since Tareiq Holmes-Dennis’ unfortunate injury on the opening day.
“He’s won promotion from this division before and has also played in the Championship, so we’re delighted to bring him in on loan.”
McCrory started his career at Plymouth and enjoyed a successful stint with Dagenham before joining Burton in 2012.
He has made almost 200 appearances for the Brewers and represented Republic of Ireland at youth level.
|Striker completes Fratton switch.
Pompey have signed striker Adam McGurk on a two-year deal.
The 26-year-old was available following the expiration of his Burton Albion contract.
He scored seven goals in 41 appearances last term – including one against Pompey – to help the Brewers lift the League Two title.
McGurk – who has represented Northern Ireland at under-21 level – played youth team football for Aston Villa before moving on to Hednesford and Tranmere.
He signed for Burton in the summer of 2013 and netted 19 goals in 83 games during his two years at the Pirelli Stadium