|Aaron Ashmore197940||Lauren Mayberry198732||Kira Kosarin199722|
|Jermain Defoe198237||Christian Burgess199128|
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.
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)
Carabao Cup 1
It looked like they would progress when Christian Burgess nodded in following a first half that was short on entertainment.
But Joe Pigott headed in the equaliser and, with just a few minutes remaining, Walkes found his own net.
Kenny Jackett made five changes from the side that won at Blackpool in the league at the weekend.
Brett Pitman returned to skipper the team, while there was a first Pompey start for on-loan winger David Wheeler.
Luke McGee, Burgess and Brandon Haunstrup were also called upon, with Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough, Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis and Oli Hawkins all dropping to the bench.
The first half was a forgettable affair, with little to entertain the fans packed into the Fratton End and South Stand.
It was the visitors who had the first chance when Mitchell Pinnock crossed from the left, but Scott Wagstaff’s header was off target.
The same player then screwed another effort well wide after Walkes had failed to properly deal with Pinnock’s free-kick.
And it was a hat-trick of chances missed when Wagstaff beat Haunstrup to a header and sent the ball looping towards goal, only for the left-back to recover and hook it clear.
But it was the Blues who almost broke the lead on 23 minutes when Wheeler met Pitman’s centre and sent his header wide.
Neither McGee or opposite number Tom King had been called into action and that did not change when Pinnock’s drive flashed past the post.
Jamal Lowe was not too far off target following a surging run through the centre, but there was still little to whet the appetite.
AFC Wimbledon 0
Pompey had struggled to create anything meaningful before the break, but they soon took the lead after it.
Pitman did well to bring the ball under control inside the box, only for his shot to be deflected behind.
And the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, as a delivery from Evans was emphatically headed home by BURGESS at the back post.
AFC Wimbledon thought they should have won a penalty when McGee and Pinnock collided soon after, but referee Ollie Yates was not interested.
They then came close to a leveller, as Anthony Wordsworth unleashed a rocket form 25 yards that fizzed over the bar.
Jackett made a double change on 67 minutes, with Pitman and Evans withdrawn for Conor Chaplin and Hawkins.
It had been a quiet evening for both keepers, but McGee was certainly not caught napping by a fierce Wordsworth drive that was well saved.
He could do nothing about the Dons’ equaliser on 76 minutes, though, as Pigott found space to meet Wagstaff’s cross and head home from just a few yards out.
That unsurprisingly gave the visitors a boost and they set about trying to find a winner, with Curtis brought on for Pompey to try to offer more at the other end.
But it was Wimbledon looking more threatening and when a corner was not properly dealt with, McGee had to get down and push Wagstaff’s shot around the post.
The Blues then almost retook the lead in a frenetic end to the game, but Hawkins was denied as he tried to convert Lowe’s centre.
Instead it was the visitors who grabbed a late winner – although they had their opponents to thank for the goal.
Tom Soares’ cross found Walkes at the back post and the defender tried to clear it, but only succeeded in planting the ball in the back of his own net.
Pompey threw bodies forward to try to force a penalty shoot-out, but they were unable to find a second goal.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Naylor, Close; Wheeler (Curtis 80), Evans (Hawkins 67) Lowe; Pitman (c) (Chaplin 67)
Goals: Burgess 49
Booked: Close, Naylor
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, May
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): King; Watson (Sibbick 77), Oshilaja (c), McDonald, Garratt; Wagstaff, Wordsworth, Soares, Pinnock (Appiah 66); Hanson, Pigott (Hartigan 90)
Goals: Pigott 76, Walkes 88 (og)
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Purrington, Ashley
Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 6,588 (438 away fans)
Christian Burgess and Jamal Lowe got the ball rolling with a goal each during a dominant opening 45 minutes for the English team.
Josh O’Hanlon reduced the deficit after the break, but Conor Chaplin showed he had lost none of his attacking instincts by adding a brace.
Kenny Jackett fielded a completely different team in each half and there was a first glimpse of all five of his summer signings.
Craig MacGillivray, Lee Brown, Tom Naylor and Ronan Curtis all started, with Louis Dennis playing in the second period.
Pompey looked the far superior team in the first half, although the hosts – in the middle of their title defence – made plenty of changes.
Brett Pitman had an early sighter saved low down by City keeper Peter Cherrie, while Naylor headed a corner clear at the other end.
A couple more half-chances followed for each side, with Brown dragging wide for the visitors before O’Hanlon sent a shot dipping narrowly over.
The few hundred travelling fans were in fine voice and would have enjoyed seeing Danny Rose – back from a long injury layoff – go into a crunching challenge as if he had never been away.
Pompey soon began to dominate and Curtis saw a header blocked after meeting a Gareth Evans corner.
The deadlock was broken just seconds later, however, when another Evans set-piece was firmly headed home by BURGESS.
Curtis then got free down the left and cut the ball back for Pitman, who hit a rocket of a shot that cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar.
And the lead was doubled just seconds later, as the skipper lofted a ball over the Cork defence and LOWE ran on to it before prodding into the net.
Pitman was looking a real threat and volleyed wide from Brown’s delivery, then failed to find the target at the back post after being picked out by Lowe.
Pompey were pouring forward at every opportunity and Curtis was denied by Cherrie, while Lowe had an effort deflected wide just before the break.
Cork City 0
Whatmough wore the armband for the second half, leading a more youthful side that included academy duo Freddie Read and Joe Dandy, as well as first year pros Matt Casey and Dan Smith.
And the visitors saw their lead halved when John Kavanagh squared for O’Hanlon, who managed to force a shot under Luke McGee’s body.
But the two-goal advantage was restored soon after, as CHAPLIN stole possession and found Oli Hawkins, before receiving the ball back and lashing home.
It was certainly a more balanced contest since the interval and both sides looked capable of adding to the scoring.
A spell of pressure from the hosts led to a Blues breakaway and Smith seeing a shot deflected on to the roof of the net.
Read then had an attempt from long-range and the ball flew narrowly off target as the visitors looked to wrap things up.
And that is exactly what happened on 76 minutes, when CHAPLIN made space for himself 25 yards out and fired home a fine effort that left Cherrie rooted to the spot.
The closing stages passed by without too much incident, although it was certainly a positive workout for the Blues on their return to match action.
Cork (4-4-2): Cherrie (Harrington 82); Kane, McCarthy (Kennedy 46), Delaney (Murphy 61), Barry; Kavanagh (Dunleavy 68), Phillips, Buckley (c) (Byrne 68), Daly-Butz (O’Sullivan 82); Beattie (Campion 46), O’Hanlon (Hurley 68)
Goals: O’Hanlon 53
Pompey: (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray (McGee 46); Thompson (Dandy 46), Burgess (Casey 46), Clarke (Whatmough 46), Brown (Haunstrup 46); Naylor (May 46), Rose (Read 46); Evans (Smith 46), Lowe (Chaplin 46), Curtis (Dennis 46); Pitman (c) (Hawkins 46)
Goals: Burgess 22, Lowe 28, Chaplin 58, 76
Referee: Graham Kelly
A disastrous start cost Pompey as they made the long trip home from Doncaster on the back of a 2-1 defeat.
They conceded twice inside the opening five minutes, with Liam Mandeville opening the scoring before Christian Burgess inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.
A comical own-goal from Mathieu Baudry sparked hopes of a comeback, but they were dashed when Dion Donohue – figuratively and literally – saw red.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that convincingly beat MK Dons on home soil at the weekend.
Gareth Evans returned to the starting line-up in a wide attacking role on the right and was also handed the captain’s armband.
Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench, having travelled up later than the rest of the squad following the birth of his baby daughter.
Pompey were looking to build on successive league victories, but got off to a terrible start and found themselves two down before some fans had even taken their seat.
They had looked bright immediately following kick-off and a couple of attacks were thwarted by the Rovers back-line.
But the hosts were more clinical and broke the deadlock when Rodney Kongolo collected Tommy Rowe’s pass and squared for Mandeville to prod home.
And Doncaster doubled their advantage a few seconds later, as Burgess inadvertently sliced Harry Toffolo’s corner into his own net.
It almost got even worse for the Blues, but Andy Butler could not guide his header on target after meeting another Toffolo set-piece.
Pompey almost reduced their deficit midway through the first half, with Joe Wright forced to clear from the line when Burgess guided Matty Kennedy’s free-kick towards goal.
That was about it for clear-cut opportunities before the interval, with much of the battle taking place in the centre of the pitch.
Ben Close did see a volley charged down when Kennedy’s cross was headed into his path by Nathan Thompson.
Donohue then lifted a free-kick into the box with the seconds ticking down, but Kennedy was unable to force his shot through a sea of bodies.
Doncaster Rovers 2
Jackett, unsurprisingly, decided to make a couple of changes at the start of the second half, as the visitors looked for a route back into the game.
They were both attacking substitutes, with Evans and Kyle Bennett making for new father Lowe and – making his 100th appearance – Conor Chaplin.
And Chaplin almost made an immediate impression when Oliver Hawkins was fouled right on the edge of the box.
The diminutive striker stepped up take the free-kick and managed to bend it over the wall and against the crossbar.
But the Blues were handed a lifeline in bizarre fashion on 54 minutes – and it is a moment that Ian Lawlor will be keen to forget.
Doncaster’s keeper allowed Baudry’s back-pass to slip under his foot and was unable to hack the ball clear before it crossed the line.
That gave the visitors a visible lift, while their opponents started to display some nerves now their lead was so narrow.
A couple of dangerous Kennedy corners had to be headed clear, while a cross from the winger was then flicked narrowly wide by Chaplin.
But just when the 620 travelling fans started to dream of a comeback, Pompey were suddenly faced with an even steeper mountain to climb.
A frustrated Donohue kicked out at Niall Mason in an off-the-ball incident and although referee Martin Coy missed it, his assistant advised that the left-back should be dismissed.
The visitors kept trying to push forward in search of a leveller, but were obviously now finding it more difficult.
When they did get the ball into dangerous areas, Doncaster had plenty of players back to halt their charge.
There was clearly a bit of needle between the teams and something Mandeville said as he was substituted left Burgess enraged.
But Pompey were almost celebrating deep into stoppage-time when Lowe met Kennedy’s cross, only for his deft header to be superbly kept out by Lawlor.
Doncaster (4-2-3-1): Lawlor; Blair (Mason 46), Wright, Butler (c), Baudry (Beestin 72); Houghton, Whiteman; Kongolo, Rowe, Toffolo; Mandeville (Garratt 88)
Goals: Mandeville 3, Burgess 5 (og)
Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Ben Khemis, Fletcher
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, O’Keefe; Evans (c) (Lowe 46), Bennett (Chaplin 46), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Baudry 54 (og)
Sent off: Donohue
Booked: Burgess, O’Keefe
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rose, Naismith
Referee: Martin Coy
An afternoon to forget for Blues
Pompey’s promotion charge received a set-back as they collapsed to defeat at Stevenage.
Despite hitting the woodwork twice, goals from Jack King and Matt Godden meant they deservedly trailed at the break.
Jobi McAnuff then wrapped things up in the opening seconds of the second half, while a red card for Christian Burgess and missed Conor Chaplin penalty served to perfectly sum up the Blues’ afternoon.
Paul Cook made two enforced changes from the side that beat Grimsby on home soil earlier in the week.
Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith both went off injured against the Mariners, so in came Tom Davies and Noel Hunt in a switch to a 3-5-2 system.
The visitors won an early corner and Carl Baker’s delivery was headed clear, with Davies receiving a bloody nose that forced him to change into a numberless shirt.
Enda Stevens then cut the ball across the face of goal and Gareth Evans charged in to send a fierce shot thudding against the crossbar.
But it was the hosts who then started to take control and they almost broke the deadlock on 12 minutes.
David Forde dived to his right to palm clear Steven Schumacher’s well-struck free-kick and then keep out Josh McQuoid’s follow-up.
The ball again fell to McQuoid, though, and his effort had to be hacked from the line by Matt Clarke, with referee Michael Salisbury ignoring pleas from the home fans that it had crossed.
But it was only a brief respite for the Blues and when an ambitious attempt from former Fratton trainee Luke Wilkinson cannoned back off the crossbar, the ball fell kindly for King to nod home.
Pompey tried to hit back and when Stevens’ cut-back evaded both Baker and Eoin Doyle, a shot from Evans flew wildly out of the ground.
Boro were looking full of vigour, however, and after Tom Pett surged through the centre, his strike had to be saved by Forde.
And they did double their advantage on 28 minutes when McAnuff found Godden in acres of space at the back post to fire into the net.
That finally seemed to spark Pompey into life and they did finish the first half strongly, without being able to find a goal.
Baker went closest with a fine free-kick that struck the underside of the bar and hit Stevenage keeper Chris Day, only to ricochet to safety.
Another Baker set-piece on 37 minutes then just evaded the leaping Davies and landed safely into Day’s arms.
Pompey would have wanted to build on that positive play just before the interval, but instead found themselves further behind within seconds of the restart.
Godden took advantage of some dithering defending to barge into a shooting position and although Forde did well to deny him, the keeper was powerless to prevent McAnuff from converting the loose ball.
The Blues tried desperately to find a route back into the contest, although their hurried play led to some sloppy moments.
They had a chance to reduce the deficit when Baker’s corner hit a defender in a crowded box and flew narrowly past the post.
But Stevenage were still looking a real threat on the counter-attack and when McAnuff picked out Godden, Davies had to get a block in.
Cook made a double substitution on 64 minutes, with Nicke Kabamba – making his senior debut – and Gary Roberts replacing Hunt and Baker.
A low delivery by Stevens then had to be cut out before it leave the lurking Eoin Doyle with a simple tap-in.
Chaplin came on for Eoin Doyle as Cook made his final throw of the dice, but the afternoon soon got worse for the Blues.
Burgess was booked for a foul and having already been carded for an earlier indiscretion, he received his marching orders.
But there was still time for more misfortune to befall Pompey as they missed an excellent opportunity to grab a consolation.
A penalty was awarded when Fraser Franks tripped Chaplin in the box, but the substitute hit his penalty down the middle and straight into Day’s arms.
That failed to dampen the noise emanating from the away end, though, as the Pompey fans kept cheering on their side despite a disappointing display.
Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Day; Franks, Wilkinson, King (c), Ntlhe (Gorman 74); Pett, Lee; McQuoid (Hinds 67), Schumacher, McAnuff (Loft 88); Godden
Goals: King 16, Godden 28, McAnuff 46
Booked: Wilkinson, Pett, Gorman, Franks
Subs not used: Preston, Johnson, Tonge, McKee
Pompey (3-5-2): Forde; T.Davies, Burgess, Clarke; Evans, Baker (Roberts 64), M.Doyle (c), Rose, Stevens; Hunt (Kabamba 64), E.Doyle (Chaplin 73)
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Booked: Stevens, Baker
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lowe
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Attendance: 4,185 (1,390 Pompey fans)
Blues move up to third
Pompey stormed into the top three with a comfortable victory at Crawley.
After a solid – if unspectacular – first half from the visitors, they took control following the interval.
Christian Burgess headed them into the lead almost immediately after Eoin Doyle had seen his penalty saved.
And Kyle Bennett made sure that the Blues would climb above Luton and Carlisle with a deflected second.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side beaten at home by Crewe at the weekend.
Danny Rose replaced the injured Amine Linganzi in midfield, while Gary Roberts dropped to the bench to make way for Carl Baker.
It was a fairly comfortable first half for the visitors, who controlled proceedings without creating too many clear-cut chances.
There was plenty of probing from Pompey who sent some dangerous balls into the box that Crawley had to deal with.
And they had the first shot on target on 22 minutes, although Danny Rose’s drilled shot forced no more than a regulation save from Glenn Morris.
A dangerous delivery from the left by the lively Bennett was then just out of reach for Baker at the far post.
David Forde was having a quiet evening at the other end of the pitch, although the Blues back-line did have to mop up a couple of Crawley breaks.
Rose then tested Morris once more on 32 minutes, but again the shot did not overly trouble Morris between the sticks.
The best chance arrived soon after, when Baker released Eoin Doyle and Morris had to spread himself to deny the on-loan striker.
Crawley enjoyed their best period just before the break, with Rhys Murphy bending a shot narrowly wide before Enzio Boldewijn’s stoppage-time header was held by Forde.
Crawley Town 0
The hosts were first to threaten after the restart, with James Collins electing to shoot from a tight angle and unable to keep the ball on target.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes – although they certainly could have done it in an easier manner.
Enda Stevens did well to break into the box and draw a late tackle from Red Devils right-back Josh Lelan.
Referee Kevin Johnson pointed to the spot and Eoin Doyle stepped up to take it, but Pompey’s penalty woes continued as Morris guessed the right way to make the save.
The ball was hacked behind, but Kal Naismith swung the corner into the box and BURGESS headed home from close range.
Naismith fancied another, though, and after being unable to catch Morris out from long-range, he surged half the length of the pitch before seeing a shot blocked.
But he was forced back on 64 minutes, filling the left-back role when Stevens limped off injured to be replaced by Noel Hunt.
That did not mean Naismith had to stop providing an attacking threat, however, and one cross from the left was held up by Hunt before Eoin Doyle’s fierce drive was blocked.
Pompey were not content to sit on their slim advantage and their attacking impetus was rewarded on 71 minutes.
Hunt sent the ball through Lelan’s legs, with BENNETT picking it up and launching a shot that was deflected past Morris’ grasp.
Crawley responded with a double substitution and one of the newcomers almost reduced the deficit, with Forde doing well to deny Billy Clifford with his legs.
They had to be more adventurous and Collins rose to meet a corner from the left, with the ball flashing inches wide of the post.
But the fact that Red Devils keeper Morris was awarded the home side’s man-of-the-match award was telling.
And the 2,300 travelling fans were in celebratory mood as the Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to secure a valuable victory.
Crawley (4-2-3-1): Morris; Lelan, Connolly, McNerney, Young; Smith (c), Payne (Henderson 72); Boldewijn (Bawling 76), Murphy, Cox (Clifford 72); Collins
Subs not used: Mersin, Blackman, Djalo
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens (Hunt 64); Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith, Bennett (T.Davies 90); E.Doyle
Goals: Burgess 54, Bennett 71
Booked: Hunt, E.Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Aborah, Lowe, Roberts, Chaplin
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Attendance: 5,350 (2,300 Pompey fans)
Burgess header secures victory
Pompey got 2017 off to a great start by beating Luton to close the gap on the automatic promotion places.
Christian Burgess grabbed the only goal of the game by heading home from a first half free-kick.
The hosts dominated before the break, but there were a few nervy moments after it and Gary Roberts missed a penalty before the victory could finally be celebrated.
Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew at a foggy Yeovil in the final game of last year.
Noel Hunt dropped to the bench to make way for Kyle Bennett, as the Blues switched back to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 system.
The visitors’ line-up suggested they would play with more ambition than most sides who visit Fratton Park.
But it was the Blues who made the brighter start, without really testing Christian Walton in the Hatters goal.
There was then a lengthy break in play when Cameron McGeehan went down injured following a challenge with Michael Doyle and had to be stretchered from the pitch.
The game took a while to gather pace once it restarted, but Pompey soon started to impose themselves.
Gareth Evans sent a snap-shot narrowly over the bar from 30 yards, while an unmarked Carl Baker then completely mis-hit his effort from inside the box.
Bennett was next to go close when he collected a pass from Enda Stevens and sent a low drive inches past the post.
But the Blues did break the deadlock on 31 minutes after Bennett had been fouled by Stephen O’Donnell wide on the left.
Baker stepped up to send a sumptuous delivery into the box, where BURGESS rose highest to send a thumping header into the net.
He then made an important intervention at the other end of the pitch to dispossess Danny Hylton inside the area.
But most of the action was still taking place in and around the Luton box, with Scott Cuthbert forced to make a vital challenge when Evans collected Baker’s incisive pass.
And Burgess almost doubled the advantage just before the break, only to divert Kal Naismith’s corner wide.
Luton Town 0
Pompey started the second half as they had finished the first – and an unmarked Evans should really have done better than guiding Baker’s free-kick straight at Walton.
Naismith then delivered a dangerous cross that was just behind the onrushing Michael Smith, as the Blues looked to make their pressure count.
But Luton almost levelled when Burgess was caught in possession seconds later. Hylton stole the ball and neatly chipped David Forde, but it bounced back off the crossbar.
The visitors were certainly looking more of a threat since the interval and Forde made a comfortable stop to deny Jonathan Smith before a free-kick was nervously dealt with by Stevens.
And it was Smith who should have at least tested Forde when Hylton ran along the byline and teed-up him up, only for the midfielder to fire wide from a few yards out.
Cook made his first substitution on 68 minutes, with a refreshed Roberts coming on for Bennett.
It was a nervy period for Pompey and Forde had to palm the ball clear when James Justin took advantage of Evans’ slip to fire in a shot.
The visitors were being hampered by an injury to Hylton, however. Boss Nathan Jones had already made all his changes, so the striker was forced to carry on, cutting a forlorn figure as he hobbled around the pitch.
Pompey tried to make the most of that and one attack looked particularly promising on 75 minutes.
They broke quickly up the pitch, but Smith picked the ball up when he probably should have left it for Naismith and when his path was blocked, Baker fired high over the bar.
There was certainly a feeling of tension around Fratton Park as the clock ticked down towards a much-needed home triumph.
Roberts then missed a chance to let everyone breathe out when he fired over from the spot after Noel Hunt had been tripped in the box by Olly Lee in stoppage-time.
But the Blues saw out the final few moments to ensure there was plenty of New Year cheer on the south coast.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Linganzi 84), Doyle (c); Baker (Hunt 80), Naismith, Bennett (Roberts 68); Smith
Goals: Burgess 31
Booked: Forde, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Lalkovic, Chaplin
Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Walton; O’Donnell, Cuthbert (c), Mullins, Justin; Rea; Gilliead (Lee 54), Smith; McGeehan (Mpanzu 20); Cook (Vassell 54), Hylton
Booked: McGeehan, Smith, Vassell, Mpanzu
Subs not used: King, Senior, Marriott, McQuoid
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 17,402 (1,547 away fans)
Blues suffer home defeat
Pompey were brought back down to earth with a bump after losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage.
The visitors seemed content to leave Fratton Park with a point as they soaked up pressure from the Blues.
But Steven Schumacher and Matt Godden both struck in quick succession after the break to leave the home fans stunned.
Michael Smith’s third goal in as many games restored some hope, but Pompey were unable to find a leveller.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that won at Luton earlier in the week.
That meant Conor Chaplin had to be content with a place on the bench after returning from suspension, with Smith keeping his place up front.
Pompey made a bright start and a fine cross from Kyle Bennett was just out of reach for Smith running in at the far post.
Bennett went even closer on eight minutes with an effort from the edge of the box that cannoned back off the post.
It was not a half full of clear-cut chances, however, with a solid Boro back-line making it difficult for the Blues to find a way through.
The hosts also had to deal with some rather physical defending and Smith in particular found his shirt being tugged whenever he tried to get on the end of a pass.
But the striker did find some space down the left on 24 minutes, cutting inside and seeing a shot blocked, with Gareth Evans’ follow-up then deflected over.
There was not too much for David Forde to deal with at the other end and when Godden volleyed narrowly wide of the post, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside.
It was still Pompey looking the more likely to break the deadlock, but when Gary Roberts met Carl Baker’s cross he could not get enough power behind his header to test Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones.
There was a surprise at the start of the second half, with Jack Whatmough and Amine Linganzi replacing Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle in a double switch.
It was the Blues who were first to threaten after a ragged opening when Bennett cut in from the left and stung Jones’ fingertips with a fierce shot.
But there was none of the passing fluency that was evident before the break, with the hosts guilty of some sloppy play.
Stevenage were still lacking in ambition, but a foul from Matt Clarke led to Schumacher curling a free-kick narrowly over the bar.
Cook made his last throw of the dice on 68 minutes, trying to inject a fresh attacking impetus by replacing Bennett with Chaplin.
The striker soon had a chance to break the deadlock, but fired over from close range following good work from Smith and Roberts.
But instead it was the visitors who scored against the run of play on 71 minutes, when Pompey failed to clear their lines and Schumacher slotted home.
That proved to be the midfielder’s final kick of the game as he was replaced by Charlie Lee before the game resumed.
It soon got even worse for the Blues, however, as Stevenage regained possession from a miscued Forde clearance and Godden slid the ball through the keeper’s legs.
But some hope was restored 10 minutes from the end when a cross from Evans missed Chaplin, but was lashed home by SMITH at the far post.
Pompey poured forward in search of an equaliser and Roberts hit a low effort narrowly wide on 89 minutes.
But Boro got plenty of men behind the ball to frustrate the Blues and when Whatmough headed against the post in stoppage-time it proved to be the last chance to salvage a point.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess (Whatmough 46), Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c) (Linganzi 46); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Chaplin 68); Smith
Goals: Smith 80
Booked: Clarke, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, Naismith, Lalkovic, Hunt
Stevenage (4-4-2): Jones; Henry (c), Wilkinson (Wells 46), Franks, Ntlhe; Cowans, Schumacher (Lee 72), King, Gorman (McKirdy 60); Godden, Kennedy
Goals: Schumacher 71, Godden 75
Booked: Gorman, Wilkinson, King
Subs not used: Day, McAnuff, Tonge, Pett
Referee: Ben Toner
Attendance: 15,987 (277 away fans)
Christian Burgess found the target as Pompey returned to winning ways at Leyton Orient.
The Blues recovered from successive league defeats to claim all three points in an absorbing contest in the capital.
They had to wait until after the interval to grab the game’s only goal, though, with Burgess heading home from a corner.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that were beaten by Doncaster the previous week.
Amine Linganzi was handed a first league start in the centre of midfield, while Kyle Bennett came in wide on the left.
Former Pompey loanees Alex Cisak and Paul McCallum both featured for the hosts, but Nigel Atangana had not fully recovered from a groin problem.
The first half was a goalless – but entertaining – affair, with both sides creating chances and the officials at the source of some controversial moments.
It was a quick start from the hosts, who had a corner hacked clear before David Forde denied McCallum with his legs.
Conor Chaplin then thought he had broken the deadlock with a neat sweeping finish from Enda Stevens’ cross, only for the linesman’s flag to cut his celebrations short.
Orient were soon forced into an early change after Liam Kelly had to be stretchered off, although it took almost four minutes for Sandro Semedo to get ready to replace him.
The first of three penalty appeals was made by the Blues on eight minutes, but referee Christopher Sarginson did not believe Gareth Evans’ cross had been turned behind by a hand.
An unmarked Linganzi should have broken the deadlock seconds later, heading Gary Roberts’ corner wide from a few yards out.
Then it was the Londoners’ turn to cry ‘penalty’ when Callum Kennedy’s free-kick appeared to be handled by Burgess.
Pompey’s defender then bundled over Yvan Erichot for good measure, but Sarginson again shook his head.
The visitors were causing problems with their constant pressing and when Chaplin forced a mistake from Cisak, the keeper recovered well to deny his opponent.
Bennett was proving a nuisance with his probing runs and one ended with a shot that was inadvertently diverted behind by Chaplin.
And it was Bennett who had the third penalty shout on 29 minutes. He neatly side-stepped Gavin Massey and looked to be tripped, but Sarginson disagreed once more and, adding insult to injury, also booked the winger.
He narrowly failed to find the target with a shot from the edge of the box soon after, while Chaplin’s fierce volley also went inches wide before the break.
Leyton Orient 0
There was a great Blues opening just after the restart when Stevens delivered a delightful low cross into the box.
It looked like the ball would land perfectly for Chaplin to convert, only for the striker to slip at the worst possible moment.
But the visitors were then caught in possession at the back, with Forde just about leaping high enough to stop Alan Dunne from chipping him.
It was a defender who finally opened the scoring for Pompey on 57 minutes, however.
Roberts did well to win a corner on the left side and when Carl Baker whipped the ball into the box, BURGESS rose highest to head home.
Cook made a double switch soon after, with Linganzi and Chaplin making way for Danny Rose and Curtis Main.
There was still work to be done at the other end, though, and a dangerous Kennedy free-kick had to be scrambled to safety.
But Leyton Orient were leaving gaps at the back for Pompey to exploit, although the visitors were just lacking a final killer ball in their attempts to double the lead.
Roberts had an effort deflected wide following some good link-up play with Bennett, while a couple of fine Baker crosses could not quite be converted.
The hosts were looking increasingly ragged at the back, with the Blues looking more likely to add to the scoring.
And they were almost gifted a second goal on 81 minutes when Nicky Hunt headed Baker’s cross against his own post.
But Orient were certainly not out of the contest and a corner led to two shots in quick succession, both of which were blocked.
That was as close as the Londoners came to snatching a share of the spoils, however, as Pompey’s travelling army were able to celebrate a win on the road.
Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Cisak; Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Kennedy; Janse, Kelly (c) (Semedo 9), Massey, Nnomo (Palmer 82); McCallum (Dunne 46), Simpson
Subs not used: Sargeant, Pollock, Benedicic, Bowery
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi (Rose 67), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Lalkovic 82); Chaplin (Main 67)
Goals: Burgess 57
Booked: Bennett, Stevens
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Lalkovic, Smith
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 6,078 (1,328 Pompey fans)
Paul Hayes’ opener was not in the script, but Christian Burgess’ leveller lifted everyone and Gary Roberts then converted a penalty.
An equaliser from Hayes dampened the mood, but a superb Conor Chaplin strike restored the Blues’ lead before the break and Carl Baker made sure of the points after it.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Crawley so convincingly the previous week.
It was the hosts who threatened first at a damp and gloomy Fratton Park, with showers frequently interrupting proceedings.
Gary Roberts slipped a quick free-kick through to Milan Lalkovic, but his cut-back was well claimed by Jamal Blackman with Curtis Main waiting to pounce.
The Wycombe keeper was pretty conspicuous with his bleached blonde hair and decked out in a garish pink and luminous green kit.
But it was his opposite number who was next called into action and David Forde denied Aaron Pierre after a Sam Wood cross had caused chaos in the Blues box.
And the visitors were ahead on 10 minutes, with Hayes left in too much space to convert Garry Thompson’s volleyed delivery.
That appeared to spark Pompey into life, although they were growing frustrated at the Chairboys’ attempts to slow things down.
There were cries from the crowd and bench that the visitors were spending too long over set-pieces and referee Tim Robinson was forced to calm an irate Cook down.
And the Blues soon started doing their talking on the pitch, with Main’s header deflected over by Pierre after Baker had picked the striker out.
Unfortunately, Main injured himself during the challenge and was forced to disappear down the tunnel to be patched up.
But he failed to reappear, and Chaplin was brought on to replace him – but not before Wood had almost doubled Wanderers’ lead with an effort that bounced off the crossbar and into the arms of a grateful Forde.
The Blues were starting to take control of proceedings and the newcomer saw his curling effort blocked.
Lalkovic was then unable to dig the ball out from under his feet following a good Enda Stevens’ ball into the box.
But the hosts were level on 34 minutes as Baker picked up a Lalkovic corner and although his shot was saved by Blackman, BURGESS was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Chaplin and Baker then both saw strikes blocked as Pompey tried to turn up the pressure and forge ahead.
And that is exactly what they did late in the half after Gareth Evans met Baker’s cross and saw his header blocked by the arm of Sido Jombati.
Robinson pointed straight to the spot and ROBERTS stepped up to emphatically continue his prolific streak with a rocket into the roof of the net.
But, amazingly, there was still time for both sides to add a further goal each in a breathless end to the first half.
First, there was no Blues defender picking up Hayes, who was able to volley a fine curling finish past Forde.
It looked like the sides would go in level at the break, only for a moment of genius from CHAPLIN to lift the Fratton faithful.
The striker ran onto Roberts’ pass, lifted the ball over Anthony Stewart and then, with Blackman off his line, calmly sent a header looping over the keeper and into the net.
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Lalkovic did not return following the interval, with Kal Naismith instead taking up the attacking role wide on the left.
Wycombe had a chance to level soon after the restart, but Stewart was unable to guide Wood’s cross on target.
There was immediately an even better chance at the other end, with Roberts somehow failing to turn home Chaplin’s cross from just a few yards out.
But the Blues did increase their advantage on 53 minutes, as Stevens sent the ball to the far post, where BAKER was waiting to squeeze in a volley at Blackman’s near post.
That did not stop Pompey from trying to add to the lead, however, and Naismith bent a shot narrowly over
Blackman then made a mess of dealing with a couple of routine Chaplin efforts, only to escape any punishment.
Wycombe threw on a couple of strikers in Dayle Southwell and Adebayo Akinfenwa to try to find a way back into the game.
It was still Pompey looking more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Stevens was not quite able to beat Blackman from an acute angle following a flowing passing move.
Ultimately, there were to be no more goals, but that mattered not as the Blues saw the rest of the game out to move up to second in the table.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 88), Lalkovic (Naismith 46); Main (Chaplin 25)
Goals: Burgess 34, Roberts 43 (pen), Chaplin 45+3, Baker 53
Booked: Roberts, Baker, T.Davies
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Smith
Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Blackman; Jombati (Akinfenwa 80), Stewart, Pierre, Harriman; Rowe (McGinn 86); Thompson, Bloomfield, Gape, Wood; Hayes (c) (Southwell 80)
Goals: Hayes 10, 45
Booked: Pierre, Jombati, Thompson, Gape, Rowe, Blackman, Stewart
Subs not used: Richardson, De Havilland, Kashket, Freeman
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 16,262 (489 away fans)
Doyle, Burgess, Evans and Bennett on target for Blues
Pompey fought from behind to beat Dagenham and charge right back into the automatic promotion race.
It looked like being a miserable afternoon in the capital when Ashley Hemmings’ goal ensured the hosts would go in ahead at the break.
But the mood improved in the second half, with Michael Doyle volleying in the equaliser before Christian Burgess headed the Blues into the lead.
Gareth Evans then came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet late on, with Kyle Bennett capping off a memorable 45 minutes of football.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat both Notts County and Carlisle at Fratton Park.
And there was plenty of anticipation among the 1,659 away fans who had made the journey up from the south coast.
But there was not much to excite them in a drab opening to the contest, with neither side looking particularly threatening.
The visitors had a couple of half chances and Daggers keeper Mark Cousins was forced to race from his line to stop Gary Roberts racing onto Adam McGurk’s hooked pass.
Bennett was then neatly released by Enda Stevens down the left, bursting into the box and seeing a shot blocked.
Their best opening arrived on 23 minutes, however, when the hosts failed to deal with a Ben Davies free-kick.
Bennett picked the ball up and floated a cross to the far post, where it was headed clear by Oliver Muldoon, only for Danny Hollands to send a 25-yard volley flying narrowly over the bar.
But that only seemed to spark Dagenham into life and finally create some chances of their own.
Paul Jones did well to deny Matty Cash from point-blank range after the ball had flown through a sea of bodies.
But he could not prevent League Two’s basement side from breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes.
Justin Hoyte’s free-kick was headed on by Christian Doidge for Hemmings, whose acrobatic over-head effort looped over the keeper and into the net.
Dagenham should really have doubled the advantage moments later, but an unmarked Hoyte headed Josh Passley’s cross over.
Pompey were struggling to find any fluency in their forward play, although Michael Smith did hammer a shot narrowly wide just before the break.
Dagenham & Redbridge 1
The visitors had an early chance to draw level when former Blues loanee Passley was penalised for a handball.
Roberts sent a decent delivery into the box, but Matt Clarke could only head it over as he arrived at the far post.
Pompey were unsurprisingly now playing with a lot more urgency and one quick break ended in Davies’ cross having to be cleared behind by Clevid Dikamona.
And the travelling support finally had something to cheer as their side drew level with a fine goal just before the hour mark.
Roberts collected a long ball down the left from Stevens and pinged in a cross that DOYLE met with a fine low volley from just inside the box.
Pompey were not done there, however, and soon heaped more pressure on their shell-shocked opponents.
Bennett was next to threaten after being fed by Smith, but his effort caught a deflection and bobbled wide.
There was an almighty scramble from the resulting corner that ended with Davies sending in a fierce cross that nobody could connect with.
But Dagenham soon caused some concern at the other end, with Stevens forced to hack clear a corner from the line and Oliver Muldoon’s follow-up then held by Jones.
The mood of the Blues support soon switched from concern to joy, however, as the visitors took the lead on 68 minutes.
Davies was fouled wide on the right and Bennett’s free-kick was met by BURGESS, who glanced home a fine header.
Cook made his first switch with 10 minutes remaining, as Evans added some fresh legs to the attack by replacing McGurk.
And it was EVANS who secured the victory when he stole in to head home Bennett’s free-kick from close range.
But there was still time for the result to become even more emphatic as BENNETT deservedly got a goal of his own, jinking into the box before slamming a shot past Cousins.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-1-4-1): Cousins; Hoyte, Hyam, Dikamona, Widdowson; Muldoon (Cureton 69); Passley (Hawkins 75), Labadie (c), Cash (Boucaud 75), Hemmings; Doidge
Goals: Hemmings 34
Booked: Passley, Doidge, Hoyte
Subs not used: Moore, Pennell, Chambers, McClure
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 80), Roberts (McNulty 89), Bennett (Naismith 89); Smith
Goals: Doyle 59, Burgess 68, Evans 85, Bennett 88
Booked: Doyle, Smith, Clarke
Subs not used: Murphy, Webster, Close, Chaplin
Referee: Lee Collins
Attendance: 3,122 (1,659 Pompey fans)