Jan 082019
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Southend United 0    2 Portsmouth

A youthful Pompey side eased past Southend at Roots Hall to reach the last eight of the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time.

They went ahead through Louis Dennis almost immediately from kick-off and never looked like relinquishing that lead.

Gareth Evans then wrapped things up on the stroke of half-time before a turgid second period that did little to excite the small Essex crowd.

Kenny Jackett made 10 changes from the side that secured a dramatic FA Cup victory at Norwich at the weekend.

Evans – who wore the captain’s armband – was the only man to keep his place, although substitute goalscorer Andre Green also featured.

Dan Smith was handed a debut at right-back, with fellow teenagers Matt Casey and Bradley Lethbridge also given an opportunity to impress.

Christian Burgess, Brandon Haunstrup and David Wheeler added first team experience to a young side, with Dennis, Adam May and Alex Bass making up the starting 11.

The hosts – by contrast – were fielding a much more experienced side and yet found themselves behind with just 93 seconds on the clock.

Wheeler played the ball to Smith on the right and his smart delivery into the box was nodded into the net by DENNIS to open his Blues account.

Pompey looked the more dominant outfit throughout the first half and a free-kick from Evans was unconvincingly punched behind by Ted Smith.

May screwed a shot wide of the post after being teed-up by Lethbridge, who then fired a fierce effort narrowly over the bar.

It looked like the lead would be doubled on 28 minutes when Wheeler raced on to Green’s threaded pass, but the winger slotted inches past the post.

Southend had done little to threaten the visitors’ goal, although a short free-kick routine almost saw them level.

The ball was played to former Fratton triallist Theo Robinson and his low delivery somehow evaded both Harry Bunn and Taylor Moore as they slid in at the far post.

Pompey immediately went up the other end to create an opening of their own, as Burgess met an Evans corner and saw his header cleared from the line by a well-placed Robinson.

But they did score again in stoppage-time when Dennis showed neat footwork to tee-up EVANS, who lashed the ball past a helpless Smith.


Half Time

Southend Uited 0

Portsmouth 2


Jackett made a change at the start of the second half, with academy midfielder Freddie Read replacing Green.

And Evans almost got the half off to the perfect start, curling a free-kick past Smith’s grasp and just wide of the upright.

Leon Maloney then became the second Blues player to make his debut, with the youth team forward coming on for Lethbridge.

It was still the visitors looking more likely to add to the scoring and May fired over when Casey sent Evans’ free-kick back into the centre.

The traffic was not totally heading in one direction, however, and Burgess had to block a Stephen McLaughlin shot following a spell of Shrimpers pressure.

But, in truth, neither side was doing much to raise the tempo as the minutes ticked down with very little in the way of noteworthy incidents.

Southend did win a series of corners towards the end of the contest, but it was proving to be a comfortable evening for Bass between sticks

A long-range volley from Read was not too far off target, but Pompey had already done comfortably enough to ensure their name would be in Thursday evening’s quarter-final draw.

Southend (4-2-3-1): Smith; Bwomono, White, Moore (Hutchinson 60), Hendrie; Hyam, Yearwood (c); Kightly (Dieng 46), Cox (McLaughlin 46), Bunn; Robinson
Subs not used: Bishop, Turner, Mantom, Klass

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Smith, Casey, Burgess, Haunstrup; Evans (c), May; Wheeler, Dennis, Green (Read 46); Lethbridge (Maloney 54)
Goals: Dennis 2, Evans 45+1
Subs not used: Durin, Mnoga, Clarke, Hancott, Lowe

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 1,649 (189 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 222018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 3    1 Sunderland

Pompey ensured it would be a very Merry Christmas by seeing off Sunderland in a pulsating encounter on the south coast.

There was plenty of energy, but little goalmouth action before the break – but that certainly changed after it.

Gareth Evans opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Glenn Loovens had been sent off for a foul on Oli Hawkins.

Ronan Curtis soon doubled the advantage, although Luke O’Nien reduced the deficit in front of the biggest crowd Fratton Park had seen for seven years.

Nerves were quickly calmed, however, as Ben Thompson added another for the Blues, who continued to attack right up until the final whistle.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that had battled for a point up at Barnsley the previous week.

However, David Wheeler had sufficiently recovered from a hamstring injury to take his place among the substitutes.

The atmosphere inside a packed Fratton Park was crackling before a ball had been kicked and continued to impress throughout the contest.

But while the action on the pitch was often played at a hectic pace, there were not many clear-cut chances to excite the sell-out crowd during the first half.

Ronan Curtis was a threat for the hosts and Jon McLaughlin came tearing from his line to deny the Republic of Ireland international a shot.

A shot for O’Nien then hit Nathan Thompson right in the face, with the right-back looking dazed, but able to continue.

Pompey put some dangerous balls into the mixer, but the Sunderland defence looked solid and headed everything clear.

Hawkins thought he should have been awarded a penalty midway through the half after having his shirt tugged by O’Nien, although referee Peter Bankes disagreed.

There were plenty of firm challenges going in, with Lee Brown and Lee Cattermole both receiving a talking to following one clash.

Hawkins was booked by Bankes for a foul on Loovens, with Curtis and O’Nien also getting a ticking off.

Duncan Watmore did well down the Pompey right on 36 minutes, only to see his cross deflected into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

And the Black Cats had the best chance of the half just before the break, with Watmore squaring for Lynden Gooch, whose shot was saved by the legs of MacGillivray.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 0


It had been entertaining fare before the break, but the action moved up a few gears immediately after the restart.

A brilliant ball from Curtis was latched on to by Hawkins, who charged into the box and was unceremoniously hauled down by Loovens.

Bankes immediately pointed to the spot and life soon got worse for the Sunderland defender, who was shown a red card.

It was EVANS who stepped up to take the penalty, with the skipper slamming the ball right into the top corner.

And it soon got even better for the league leaders after CURTIS collected a header from the hard-working Hawkins.

It looked like crossing for the well-placed Jamal Lowe was the better option, but instead he drove the ball into the net from a tight angle.

But the action was not going to let-up and Sunderland reduced their deficit when O’Nien turned home a cross from Max Power.

It was soon the Blues back on the attack and an effort from Evans was deflected narrowly past the post.

The respite was a brief one for the visitors, however, as they fell further behind from the resulting corner.

McLaughlin did well to keep out a firm Hawkins header, but Sunderland could not get the ball clear and Ben THOMPSON’s drive was deflected into the roof of the net.

The opportunities kept coming at both ends, with another attempt from the on-loan Millwall midfielder going wide, while Gooch blazed over for the Black Cats.

MacGillivray then took a heavy touch from Brown’s back-pass, but recovered well to deny Gooch.

Hawkins almost capped his impressive display with a goal on 73 minutes, sending his header from a Curtis cross inches past the post.

He received a standing ovation when being replaced by Brett Pitman soon after, with Evans having already been withdrawn for Ben Close.

And the two substitutes combined to put the ball in the net late on, only for Pitman to be flagged offside.

Pompey looked likely to add to the scoring in the closing stages and Close had a shot saved by McLaughlin.

But the crowd did not seem to mind settling for just the 3-1 win, as they exited the ground full of festive glee.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, B.Thompson; Lowe, Evans (c) (Close 72), Curtis (Green 87); Hawkins (Pitman 81)
Goals: Evans 48 (pen), Curtis 53, B.Thompson 63
Booked: Hawkins, Curtis, N.Thompson
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Burgess, Wheeler

Sunderland (4-1-2-1-2): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Loovens, Baldwin, James; Cattermole; Honeyman (c) (Maguire 58), Power; McGeady (Sinclair 78); Gooch, Watmore (Ozturk 49)
Goals: O’Nien 57
Sent off: Loovens
Booked: Honeyman
Subs not used: Ruiter, Oviedo, McGeouch, Maja

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 19,402 (2,637 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 152018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Barnsley 1    1 Portsmouth

Pompey will definitely be top of the League One table at Christmas after securing a 1-1 draw against fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley at Oakwell.

But they might have been celebrating an even greater haul, as Gareth Evans drilled them into the lead just before the break.

Amidst a freezing downpour, however, Cauley Woodrow levelled in the second half and the Blues were forced to hold on at the end.

A stalemate was probably not the biggest surprise, with the hosts boasting an unbeaten home league record and the visitors having not been beaten on the road.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that were beaten by Charlton on home soil earlier in the week.

But with Luke McGee suffering from a hand injury, Alex Bass was recalled from a loan spell at Torquay to sit on the bench.

It was not exactly the right day for a neat, passing game of football, with freezing rain falling from the South Yorkshire sky throughout.

That did not seem to dampen the entertainment on offer, however, as the game was often played at a frantic pace.

It was the hosts who looked on top for much of the first half, although they were let down by some poor finishing.

Pompey actually had the first opening, but Ronan Curtis took a heavy touch from Jamal Lowe’s threaded pass, allowing Adam Davies to come from his line and claim.

Craig MacGillivray was the busier of the two keepers, however, and he had his palms stung by Woodrow.

Meanwhile, some vital tracking back from Evans and Lowe denied Cameron McGeehan and George Moncur respectively.

MacGillivray was called into action again midway through the first half, palming over a fierce drive from Woodrow.

The keeper also kept out an angled Moncur shot, while an effort from McGeehan was then diverted off target.

There was a brief interruption soon after, as one of the floodlights failed, but after consulting with both managers, referee Jon Moss decided it was fine to continue.

Pompey threatened on 33 minutes when Lee Brown whipped in a dangerous cross that Lowe volleyed wide.

Kieffer Moore fired wastefully wide at the other end, while some more good defending from Lowe stopped Brad Potts’ surge.

It was Barnsley on top as the interval approached, but the Blues were able to break the deadlock on 43 minutes.

Alex Mowatt tried to clear the ball, only to send it straight into the path of EVANS, who hit a crisp left-footed shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.


Half Time

Barnsley 0

Portsmouth 1


Both sides were struggling to keep hold of possession once the action restarted, no doubt hindered by the wet and windy conditions.

Long-range efforts from Jacob Brown and Potts went over the bar, as Barnsley went in search of a leveller.

The home crowd were growing frustrated and were appealing to Moss for some soft penalties, with each turned down by the official.

But their mood improved just after the hour mark, as Potts sent in a low cross that Woodrow neatly turned home at the near post.

Barnsley moved up a few gears after that, only for the Blues to then create an opening on the counter-attack.

Ben Thompson collected the ball in the centre and fed Oli Hawkins, whose low drive was kept out by the boot of Davies.

Curtis thought he should have been awarded a penalty after going down in the box, but Moss thought he fell too easily and brandished a yellow card.

The Republic of Ireland international was withdrawn moments later, with Anton Walkes coming on and Nathan Thompson joining Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough in a back three.

It was still the Tykes looking more of a threat as the game entered its closing stages and Tom Naylor bravely threw himself in front of a thunderous Woodrow effort.

And they almost snatched a late winner, with Moore collecting a pass from Lloyd Isgrove, turning and sending a low shot inches past the post.

Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies (c); Cavare (Brown 46), Jackson, Pinnock, Pinillos; Potts (Thiam 80), Mowatt, McGeehan, Moncur (Isgrove 63); Moore, Woodrow
Goals: Woodrow 61
Booked: McGeehan, Woodrow
Subs not used: Greatorex, Lindsay, Bahre, Adeboyejo

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, B.Thompson; Lowe, Evans (c), Curtis (Walkes 75); Hawkins
Goals: Evans 43
Booked: Naylor, Curtis, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Close, Donohue, Green, Pitman

Referee: Jon Moss

Attendance: 12,441 (1,674 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 242018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Scunthorpe
United
1    2 Portsmouth

Pompey continued their fine form on the road with a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe, despite a tense conclusion to the contest.

They appeared to be cruising to three points at Glanford Park, with goals from Tom Naylor and Gareth Evans giving them a comfortable interval lead.

But Evans missed a great chance to extend the advantage further after the break and Lee Novak immediately reduced The Iron’s deficit.

The hosts applied some under intense pressure in the closing stages, but the Blues held on to secure more away-day joy for the travelling support.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that comfortably progressed in the FA Cup at Maidenhead a fortnight ago.

It mean that the in-form Oli Hawkins continued to lead the line, having netted five goals in his previous six appearances.

Brett Pitman recovered from a slight knee problem to take his place on the bench, but there was no room for the fit-again Andre Green.

Pompey looked in control for much of the first half and dominated possession, with plenty of the action taking place in and around the opposition area.

There were not too many clear-cut chances at either end of the pitch, although some dangerous deliveries from Jamal Lowe were just out of reach for his team-mates.

Nathan Thompson made a timely block to deny Andy Dales at the other end, while Funso Ojo injured himself as he blazed wildly over and had to be replaced.

A corner from Evans was glanced agonisingly past the post by Matt Clarke and Hawkins then had appeals for a penalty turned down following an apparent push by Cameron Burgess.

Scunthorpe’s best opening came when George Thomas’ corner was nodded narrowly over the bar by Matthew Lund.

Evans almost caught out Jak Alnwick with a set-piece of his own that came close to dipping under the bar before the keeper turned it over.

But the next corner did lead to a goal on 34 minutes, as Jack Whatmough turned Ronan Curtis’ cross back into the centre, where NAYLOR was left in space to hook home.

Pompey were in control by this point and it came as no surprise when they doubled their lead soon after.

Nathan Thompson fed EVANS and the skipper showed neat footwork in the box before lofting a fine shot past Alnwick.

The only sour note for the visitors before the break came when Hawkins was booked following an aerial challenge.


Half Time

Scunthorpe United 0

Portsmouth 2


The Blues picked up where they left off following the interval and Lee Brown’s free-kick was not too far over the bar after Hawkins had been fouled.

Scunthorpe started to enjoy more of the ball as the second half progressed, although it was still their opponents looking more dangerous.

And Evans should really have wrapped things up on 58 minutes, somehow firing wide from just a few yards out after being picked out by Naylor.

The Iron made Pompey pay for that miss just moments later, with Novak arrowing the ball into the net after Craig MacGillivray had pushed clear Thomas’ cross.

More goals were looking possible at both ends by this point and it was the visitors’ time to go close on 66 minutes.

Alnwick failed to hold a low cross from Lowe under pressure from Evans, but dived on the loose ball before Curtis could capitalise.

There were hearts in mouths at the opposite side of the pitch, with a mad scramble in the Blues box before Whatmough eventually hacked clear.

And another spell of sustained Iron pressure finished with Thomas curling a shot past MacGillivray’s grasp, but also the post.

Jackett was forced to make a change on 79 minutes, with Evans limping off to be replaced by Christian Burgess and a switch to three at the back.

It was proving to be a nervy finale and a free-kick from Thomas somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play, although referee Martin Coy spotted a slight Pompey touch.

But the Blues managed to see out five minutes of stoppage-time, much to the delight of the 913 fans who had travelled up from the south coast,

Scunthorpe (4-1-4-1): Alnwick; McArdle (c), Goode, Burgess, Borthwick-Jackson (Butroid 46); Horsfield (Humphrys 75); Lund, Ojo (Ugbo 13), Thomas, Dales; Novak
Goals: Novak 60
Booked: Goode, Lund, Novak, McArdle
Subs not used: Flatt, Ben El-Mhanni, Morris, Wootton

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Naylor; Lowe (Wheeler 84), Evans (c) (Burgess 79), Curtis; Hawkins
Goals: Naylor 34, Evans 40
Booked: Hawkins, Curtis
Subs not used: McGee, Walkes, Haunstrup, Close, Pitman

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 4,365 (913 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 132018
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 3    2 Tottenham
Hotspur U21

Pompey fought from behind to beat Tottenham’s under-21 side and secure top spot in Southern Group A of the Checkatrade Trophy.

Phoenix Patterson had given the visitors the lead against the run of play in a first half that could best be described as flat.

But the Blues were much improved after the interval and Andre Green opened his account for the club to get them back on level terms.

There was only going to be one winner from that point, with substitutes Gareth Evans and Oli Hawkins completing the job before Harvey White grabbed a late consolation.

Kenny Jackett changed his entire starting 11 following Saturday’s comfortable FA Cup victory at Maidenhead.

Bradley Lethbridge was handed his debut up front, while fellow academy player Haji Mnoga – who appeared in the previous Checkatrade Trophy game at Crawley – had another chance to impress.

There were also starts for on-loan wingers Green – back from a knee injury – and David Wheeler, with Louis Dennis completing the forward line.

With it being Pompey’s nearest match to Armistice Day, the club commemorated the occasion before kick-off.

Wreaths were laid by both captains and a video of D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode of Remembrance was played on the big screen.

The sides – with the hosts having poppies embroidered into their shirts – then lined-up for a minute’s silence, accompanied by the Last Post.

There was not much to excite a smaller than usual crowd in the first half, although the hosts were largely in control.

They did not do much to threaten Alfie Whiteman, however, with the keeper making a comfortable save to deny Green.

And Tottenham broke the deadlock against the run of play on 20 minutes, as Patterson latched on to a through ball and bore down on goal.

Luke McGee was quickly off his line to make the save, but the loose ball was collected by the winger, who slotted home.

Lethbridge was causing a nuisance, although after doing well to bundle his way into the box, he was eventually crowded out.

Dennis also had an effort blocked, while Ben Close fired narrowly over after winning the ball on the edge of the box.

There was little threat at the other end of the pitch and when Kazaiah Sterling broke clear, skipper Christian Burgess was quickly across to make a perfectly-timed sliding challenge.

The hosts perked up a bit towards the end of the half and Wheeler glanced a corner inches past the post, while an inventive Burgess header drew a save from Whiteman.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Tottenham U21 1


The action had dragged before the interval, but it soon livened up after it, with a series of chances arriving at both ends of the pitch.

Anton Walkes – playing against his former club – was first to try his luck, with a low effort that took a slight deflection to divert it just off target.

But an equaliser did arrive moments later, as a corner from Dennis was nodded on by Burgess and GREEN forced the ball home at the far post.

Tottenham came close to an instant reply, though, with McGee getting down well to tip Patterson’s shot around the post.

And a breathless period of play was completed by Close seeing his deflected effort held by Whiteman.

Pompey were seeing more of the ball, but it still took another superb challenge by Burgess inside the box to stop Sterling getting a shot away.

Jackett made all three of his substitutions on 65 minutes, with Green, Lethbridge and Mnoga replaced by Evans, Hawkins and Matt Clarke.

And EVANS’ first contribution was to fire the Blues into the lead, smashing a free-kick through the wall after Dennis had been fouled on the edge of the box.

The game slowed slightly after that, although it was still the hosts who were well on top as the action neared a conclusion.

They made sure of the victory on 81 minutes, with Wheeler getting free down the right and cutting the ball back for HAWKINS to prod home from close range.

White did pull one back with a fine free-kick after Danny Rose had committed a foul, although Tottenham were unable to find a leveller.

The visitors could, however, console themselves with the fact that Crawley’s defeat to Gillingham means they join the Blues in the knockout stages.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Mnoga (Clarke 65), Burgess (c), Walkes, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Wheeler, Dennis, Green (Evans 65); Lethbridge (Hawkins 65)
Goals: Green 50, Evans 69, Hawkins 81
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, B.Thompson, Smith

Tottenham U21 (4-2-3-1): Whiteman; Lyons-Foster, Tanganga, Marsh (c), Brown; Bowden (Shashoua 89), White; Oakley-Boothe (Parrott 86), Duncan (Richards 75), Patterson; Sterling
Goals: Patterson 20, White 90
Subs not used: Glover, Markanday

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 3,138 (125 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 032018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Bradford City 0    1 Portsmouth

Gareth Evans netted against his former club as Pompey continued their imperious away form by beating Bradford.

It was the only goal of a ‘bottom v top’ encounter that provided plenty of scoring chances for both teams.

But the struggling Bantams were dealt a blow when Adam Chicksen was dismissed late on, while Hope Akpan missed a great chance to snatch a point at the death.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Accrington the previous week.

Jack Whatmough replaced Christian Burgess in the centre of defence, while Anton Walkes came in for the suspended Nathan Thompson on the right.

And Tom Naylor made an immediate return having served his own ban, with Ben Close dropping to the bench.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off, remembering both those who have served their country and also the victims of the Leicester helicopter tragedy.

It was Bradford who were quickest out of the traps and Craig MacGillivray had his palms stung by Lewis O’Brien in the early stages.

A David Ball free-kick then led to some pinball in the visitors’ box after Ben Thompson had sliced his clearance.

Pompey soon settled into their stride, however, and began to dominate possession as the first half progressed.

They broke the deadlock with a neat move on 12 minutes, starting when Jamal Lowe shrugged off a challenge and surged forward.

He picked out Ronan Curtis and the winger cut the ball back for a grateful EVANS to lash into the net from six yards out.

Tom Naylor then nodded an Evans corner past the post, while Lee Brown fired ambitiously over from long-range as the Blues looked to strengthen their advantage.

The scores might have been level midway through the half, however, with Whatmough forced to make an excellent sliding challenge inside the box to deny George Miller.

There were opportunities at both ends of the pitch and Oli Hawkins sent a shot down and narrowly over when Evans’ free-kick had been nodded on by Naylor.

Bradford then came close to scoring with a set-piece of their own, with a Josh Wright delivery eventually gathered by MacGillivray.

The action soon switched and when Thompson’s fierce drive deflected off Wright, Richard O’Donnell had to get down low to his left to make the save.

MacGillivray then did well to keep out Miller’s fierce effort before claiming the ball after it had been sent back into the box.

Referee Geoff Eltringham waved away half-hearted appeals for a penalty following O’Brien’s tumble in the box.

And former Pompey loanee Eoin Doyle then rolled a shot comfortably into MacGillivray’s arms, when he really should have done more to test the keeper.


Half Time

Bradford City 0

Portsmouth 1


The visitors did not seem content to merely sit on their narrow lead once the action resumed after the interval.

Thompson’s intended cut-back for Evans was intercepted by Akpan, while Lowe could not quite get on the end of Curtis’ teasing cross.

Ryan McGowan received a booking for halting one of Matt Clarke’s famous surging runs up the pitch on 53 minutes.

And while the resulting free-kick came to nothing, a looping header from Curtis moments later had to be grabbed by a back-pedalling O’Donnell.

But Bradford missed a decent chance to get back on level terms on the hour mark, as skipper Anthony O’Connor headed O’Brien’s fine cross straight into the arms of MacGillivray.

The hosts were certainly not looking like a side struggling at the bottom and it took a fine tackle from Whatmough to halt another attack.

It grew more tense as the minutes ticked away and the Bantams sensed they could get something from the contest.

Pompey were still looking a real threat on the break, though, with Lowe and Curtis continuing to prove a menace.

Evans was withdrawn for Close on 76 minutes, as Jackett opted to add some fresh legs to his midfield.

Chances had started to dry up, although Chicksen flashed a dangerous delivery across the face of goal that somehow evaded everyone.

But the Bradford left-back soon had to troop off to the dressing room. Having been booked earlier for a foul on Lowe, he brought down the same player to earn a red card.

It looked like the Blues would just see things out, but their opponents almost grabbed a stoppage-time leveller.

Substitute Sherwin Seedorf – a distant relative of Dutch superstar Clarence – sent the ball through to Akpan, but he lifted his shot over the bar.

Bradford (4-4-2): O’Donnell; McGowan, O’Connor (c), Knight-Percival, Chicksen; Ball, Akpan, Wright (Payne 65), O’Brien; Miller (Seedorf 88), Doyle (Bruenker 80)
Sent off: Chicksen (two yellow cards)
Booked: McGowan
Subs not used: Sykes-Kenworthy, Wood, Isherwood, Goldthorp

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c) (Close 76), Curtis (Wheeler 87); Hawkins
Goals: Evans 12
Booked: Whatmough
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Haunstrup, Mason, Pitman

Referee: Geoff Eltringham

Attendance: 16,393 (1,289 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Oct 132018
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

AFC Wimbledon 1    2 Portsmouth

Tom Naylor and Gareth Evans were on target as Pompey secured a deserved victory at AFC Wimbledon.

But they were forced to endure a nervy conclusion after a fine James Hanson strike reduced the Dons’ deficit.

Up until that point it had been a dominant afternoon for the visitors, with Naylor’s header opening his account for the club.

Evans doubled the advantage before the break and the Blues had several more chances to extend the lead further.

But Hanson pulled one back for Wimbledon and a tense finale ensued before the final whistle was blown.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten by Gillingham in the last league fixture.

Dion Donohue was rewarded for his winning Checkatrade Trophy goal earlier in the week, while there were also returns for Ben Thompson in midfield and Oli Hawkins up front.

Brett Pitman and Ben Close both dropped to the bench, with Ronan Curtis absent on international duty.

There were a couple of familiar faces on the Wimbledon flanks, with former Pompey players Jake Jervis and Andy Barcham both starting.

The first half was a breathless affair, with the visitors in almost total control from first whistle until last.

AFC Wimbledon were indebted to Joe McDonnell in the opening stages, with the keeper saving Naylor’s header with his legs following a corner from Donohue.

He then raced off his line to deny Evans after the stand-in skipper had raced on to a great pass from Nathan Thompson.

It was an unseasonably warm afternoon in south-west London, but conditions proved difficult when the breeze picked up.

Craig MacGillivray was relatively untroubled, although he was called into action to keep out a deflected Tom Soares free-kick.

A rare spell of prolonged Dons pressure then ended with the stopper keeping out a low attempt from Jervis.

But it was Pompey on top and they deservedly broke the deadlock on 24 minutes – much to the delight of the lucky ballot winners packed into the away end.

Another fine corner from Donohue was met by NAYLOR, whose header deflected off Liam Trotter and managed to cross the line.

They kept pouring forward and Hawkins nodded narrowly wide from a Lee Brown cross, while Deji Oshilaja did well to dispossess the lively Jamal Lowe in the box.

But the advantage was doubled on 31 minutes, as Brown sent a low delivery across the face of goal and EVANS raced in at the far post to arrow a shot home.

The wind almost caught out MacGillivray at the other end, with Jervis’ cross catching a gust and landing on the roof of the net.

Still the Blues kept up their attacking intent, however, and a long-range effort from Naylor was just about pushed wide by McDonnell.

A vital block from Oshilaja then came to Wimbledon’s rescue after Lowe had bamboozled the back-line and picked out Hawkins.

The only down side for the visitors was a couple of bookings they collected from referee Lee Probert just before the interval.

Donohue was penalised for an alleged dive in the box, with Jack Whatmough booked for a late challenge on Joe Pigott.


Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 0

Portsmouth 2


Such had been Pompey’s dominance, that opposition manager Neal Ardley made all three of his substitutions at the break.

Tennai Watson, Barcham and Pigott were all hauled off, with Will Nightingale, Anthony Hartigan and Hanson replacing them.

The three newcomers were out there on their own for a while, however, with the rest of the home side taking an age to take to the pitch.

It was the Blues that were first to threaten after Soares had been booked for a swipe at Nathan Thompson.

Whatmough’s free-kick was nodded on by Hawkins for Lowe, who tried a cheeky back-heel that McDonnell got down to keep out.

The traffic was continuing to head in the same direction and a couple of corners almost led to more goals.

When the first of them was only partially cleared, a thunderbolt from Donohue flew narrowly off target.

He took the second himself and it was met by the head of Matt Clarke, with a well-placed Jervis clearing from the line.

But Wimbledon suddenly found themselves back in the game with a goal of their own just past the hour mark.

It was slightly unfortunate for the visitors, with Evans mis-cueing his clearance and Hanson capitalising with a fine finish that curled around MacGillivray’s dive and into the net.

The Dons might have had another soon after, but Jervis could only head the ball straight to the keeper after meeting Oshilaja’s cross.

A corner from Evans was nodded inches wide by Clarke, as Pompey tried to restore their grip on the contest.

Jackett made his first switch on 74 minutes, with Donohue the man to make way for Ben Close in midfield.

Wimbledon were playing with much more belief by this point, though, with Whatmough and Clarke both making blocks to deny Kwesi Appiah.

A second Blues change occurred soon after, with Hawkins being replaced by Pitman in the lone striking role.

The visitors were more content to use up time as the seconds ticked down, before the Pompey fans could finally celebrate another victory.

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): McDonnell; Watson (Nightingale 46), Oshilaja (c), McDonald, Purrington; Jervis, Trotter, Soares, Barcham (Hartigan 46); Appiah, Pigott (Hanson 46)
Goals: Hanson 63
Booked: Soares
Subs not used: King, Sibbick, Egan, Pinnock

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, B.Thompson; Evans (c) (Walkes 89), Lowe, Donohue (Close 74); Hawkins (Pitman 80)
Goals: Naylor 24, Evans 31
Booked: Donohue, Whatmough
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Dennis, Mason

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 4,569 (769 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Sep 222018
 

Match Report

League One

Portsmouth 2    2 Wycombe
Wanderers

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.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

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)

Portsmouth FC

Aug 212018
 

Match Report

League One


Bristol Rovers 1    2 Portsmouth

A late goal from Ronan Curtis ensured Pompey continued their impressive start to the season with victory over Bristol Rovers.

Gareth Evans netted for the second game in succession to give them an interval lead at the Memorial Stadium.

But Chris Lines then levelled from the penalty spot and was sent off in the space of three second half minutes.

It looked like the spoils would be shared, only for Curtis to scramble a shot home late on and secure another three-point haul for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Oxford in such impressive fashion at the weekend.

There was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, with Kyle Bennett starting against his former club.

The game began in a cagey fashion, as both sides were limited to long-range efforts that failed to find the target.

Tom Naylor, Ben Thompson and Evans had their radars off for the visitors, while it was Ed Upson and Bennett for Rovers.

But Liam Sercombe really should have done better when Bennett’s cross found him unmarked in the box and he screwed over the bar.

Matt Clarke then did well to hook the ball to safety and prevent Stefan Payne from getting a shot away.

Those opportunities came during a spell of pressure for the hosts, but instead it was the Blues that broke the deadlock on 32 minutes.

A long ball up the pitch was flicked on first by Oli Hawkins and then Curtis, with EVANS collecting it and lashing home a rocket of a shot.

Rovers came close to levelling before the break, with MacGillivray getting down to his right to push clear a low Sercombe drive.

Anton Walkes was also called into action to block efforts from Ollie Clarke and Upson, ensuring Pompey went in ahead at the break.


Half Time

Bristol Rovers 0

Portsmouth 1


It was Pompey who threatened first following the interval, but when Jamal Lowe’s cross was headed clear, Naylor was unable to keep his shot down.

There was then a break in play while Clarke received treatment for a cut above his eye and the Blues defender returned to the pitch with a bandaged head.

Rovers then had a great chance to equalise when MacGillivray palmed clear a curler from Tom Nichols, but Sercombe could only send the loose ball into the side netting.

Rovers were on top and after having penalty appeals turned down when Sercombe’s shot hit Thompson, an effort from Nichols had to be blocked by Clarke.

Pompey saw that nervy period out, however, and began to look more of a threat at the other end of the pitch.

Evans came close to his second goal of the evening after a surging run across the edge of the box, but drilled narrowly wide with his left foot.

But then came a couple of moments of controversy, as Rovers sub Lines scored from the spot before being sent off.

It was his corner that referee Graham Salisbury decided Curtis had deliberately handled, with the midfielder just about squeezing his penalty past MacGillivray’s outstretched arm and into the bottom corner.

Brett Pitman was immediately introduced from the bench and was caught by the studs of Lines, whose reckless challenge earned him a red card.

It was a hectic ending, with goals looking likely to go in at either end of the pitch, perhaps thanks to some tiring limbs.

But it was the Blues celebrating on 87 minutes, when CURTIS capitalised on Pitman’s flick from a Thompson pass and just about managed to force a shot over the line.

The visitors were then indebted to MacGillivray, who made a stunning save to deny Bennett, while Pitman cleared off the line from the resulting corner.

Bristol Rovers (4-4-2): Smith; Leadbitter, Lockyer (c), Craig, J.Clarke; Bennett, Upson (Lines 69), O.Clarke, Sercombe; Payne (Jakubiak 69), Nichols (Rodman 79)
Goals: Lines 76 (pen)
Sent off: Lines
Booked: J.Clarke
Subs not used: Andre Jr, Broadbent, Mensah Jr, Reilly

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Evans (c), Naylor; Lowe, Hawkins (Pitman 77), Curtis (Haunstrup 90)
Goals: Evans 32, Curtis 87
Booked: B.Thompson
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Close, Wheeler, Chaplin

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 9,073 (1,137 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Aug 182018
 

Match Report

League One


Portsmouth 4    1 Oxford United

Pompey continued their 100 per cent start to the league season with a convincing victory over Oxford at Fratton Park.

They dominated the contest, but it looked like a frustrating afternoon might be in store when Gareth Evans saw his penalty saved.

The Blues were more clinical after the interval, however, and Evans redeemed himself, while a Rob Dickie own-goal and Jamal Lowe effort gave the scoreline a more realistic gloss.

United staged a late rally and twice the struck the woodwork before Jack Whatmough found his own net.

But the visitors – who are without a league point – were unable to stage an unlikely comeback and Lowe wrapped things up impressively in stoppage-time.

Kenny Jackett made six changes from the side that exited the Carabao Cup on home soil earlier in the week.

Ben Thompson was handed an immediate debut in the centre of midfield, having finalised a loan switch from Millwall the previous day.

There were also starts for Craig MacGillivray, Whatmough, Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis and Oli Hawkins.

Luke McGee, Christian Burgess, Brandon Haunstrup, Ben Close, David Wheeler and Brett Pitman were the men to make way, with all of them dropping to the bench.

Pompey had not been overly convincing in their opening day home victory over Luton, but they completely controlled the first half against Oxford.

The contest was slow to get going, but it was the hosts who dominated in terms of both possession and chances.

Tony McMahon had to clear Tom Naylor’s header behind, while Curtis was unable to keep his effort down from a Lowe centre.

Hawkins was proving a constant nuisance, but could not find the target after Whatmough’s long clearance picked him out.

It was a lively display from Thompson in the centre of the pitch and he certainly endeared himself to the Fratton faithful with a crunching – yet fair – challenge on Marcus Browne.

And the host should have broken the deadlock when Hawkins stole possession from Jamie Hanson, only to then be scythed down by the Oxford midfielder.

Referee Lee Swabey immediately pointed to the spot, but Evans’ tame effort was comfortably dealt with Jonathan Mitchell.

The ball stayed in play, though, and when it was worked to Thompson outside the box, his drilled effort fizzed just past the post.

Pompey were totally on top and had another great opportunity, as Hawkins flicked on Thompson’s pass, but Naylor swiped at thin air from just a few yards out.

Evans had another chance after collecting the ball from Lowe, but could not force his shot through a sea of yellow-shirted bodies.

United were racking up the bookings, with Hanson, Cameron Brannagan and Shandon Baptiste all cautioned.

But there was a Fratton first when their coach Shaun Derry – formerly of the Blues – argued with the fourth official and – under new FA rules – was also shown a yellow card.

There was one more chance for the hosts just before the break, but Hawkins was unable to connect with Thompson’s low cross at the near post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Oxford United 0


Pompey had not made the most of their dominance in the first half, but roared into the lead just after the interval.

Hawkins was unable to turn in Lowe’s delivery, but instead managed to lay the ball off for EVANS to steer home.

Naylor then clashed with Brannagan and both players required treatment, with the Blues midfielder returning to the pitch sporting a bandaged head.

It was still pretty much one-way traffic and the lead was deservedly doubled on 56 minutes – albeit in fortuitous circumstances.

Lowe caused more problems on the right and tried to pick out Evans in the box, only for DICKIE to get there first and turn the ball into his own net.

Oxford made a triple substitution just past the hour mark in a desperate attempt to find a route back into the contest.

Instead they found themselves further behind, as Pompey continued to torment their under-siege opponents.

A corner from Evans was helped on by Clarke and turned towards goal by Hawkins, with LOWE sticking out a boot to flick the ball past Mitchell.

The visitors finally came to life in the closing stages and Brannagan forced a decent save from MacGillivray.

Oxford then hit the post twice in quick succession, with James Henry and Jon Obika both denied in a lively conclusion.

Their hopes were raised when Whatmough inadvertently sliced McMahon’s cross into his own net, but that was as good as it got.

Instead it was Pompey who had the final say, as LOWE surged forward and curled home an exquisite finish to complete the rout.

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Evans (c), B.Thompson; Lowe, Hawkins, Curtis (Wheeler 80)
Goals: Evans 48, Dickie 56 (og), Lowe 65, 90+2
Booked: B.Thompson
Subs not used: McGee, Burgess, Haunstrup, Close, Chaplin, Pitman

Oxford (4-2-3-1): Mitchell; McMahon, Dickie, Nelson (c), Garbutt (Ruffels 61); Hanson, Brannagan; Mackie, Baptiste (Henry 61), Browne; Smith (Obika 61)
Goals: Whatmough 89 (og)
Booked: Brannagan, Hanson, Baptiste
Subs not used: Shearer, Norman, Mousinho, Whyte

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,093 (1,312 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jul 142018
 

Match Report

Friendly


Stevenage 3    2 Portsmouth

Pompey suffered their first pre-season defeat, despite Gareth Evans giving them the lead at Stevenage.

The winger steered home a neat finish midway through the first half, only for Ben Kennedy’s strike to ensure the scores were level at the break.

Susbtitute Andronicos Georgiou then added a brace to secure victory for the League Two outfit, despite a late consolation from Conor Chaplin.

Kenny Jackett had made extensive substitutions in the middle of the previous friendlies against Cork and the Hawks, but was more conservative with his changes at Broadhall Way.

Boro started brightly and almost took the lead when Joel Byrom’s free-kick was met by Kennedy, but Craig MacGillivray came to the rescue with a fine save.

Nathan Thompson then prevented Scott Cuthbert from converting the loose ball, while MacGillivray denied one of the hosts’ two first half trialists from the resulting corner.

But the Blues soon began to dominate and after Evans had sent one effort high and wide, Adam May’s 20-yard drive drew a decent stop from Paul Farman.

Then, following great work down the right from the lively Jamal Lowe, Brett Pitman had a shot blocked by Cuthbert.

Ronan Curtis was next to go close for the visitors, but he was unable to beat Farman after collecting a raking pass from Tom Naylor.

The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes, however, as Thompson slipped the ball through to EVANS, who neatly bent it into the net.

But Stevenage fought back and Kennedy was proving to be a constant menace with some probing runs forward.

He had already seen one attempt fizz agonisingly past the post before finding a leveller on 30 minutes.

The attacking midfielder was able to get away from Matt Clarke and then slam home a shot that left MacGillivray with no chance.

Pompey almost retook their lead, as Curtis ran along the edge of the box before curling in a shot that Farman did well to push away.

They kept plugging away as the interval approached, but neither Pitman or Lowe were able to make the most of promising openings.


Half Time

Stevenage 1

Portsmouth 1


Pompey emerged unchanged for the second half, while their opponents switched the entire 11 – with the introduction of five more trialists.

It was the visitors who were fastest out of the blocks, although a cleanly-struck Evans effort was comfortably kept out.

But Boro turned the contest on its head, as they took the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances just before the hour mark.

Emmanuel Sonupe teed-up Georgiou and his shot took a wicked deflection off Naylor to wrong-foot MacGillivray and land in the net.

Jackett then made four substitutions, as Christian Burgess, Danny Rose, Chaplin and Oli Hawkins all entered the pitch.

The latter had a decent chance to draw Pompey level, but was unable to divert his header on target after meeting a pin-point cross from Lee Brown.

Stevenage, meanwhile, were attacking with pace and MacGillivray used his legs to keep out a Sonupe shot.

It was only a brief reprieve, however, as just seconds later, Sonupe’s delivery was emphatically finished by Georgiou at close range.

The game started to drift towards its conclusion after that, although Curtis was still proving a lively presence.

He did well to win back possession on the byline on 80 minutes, but could not force the ball home from an acute angle.

The summer signing also narrowly cleared the crossbar from long-range in the closing stages, as the Blues finished with a flourish.

But it was CHAPLIN who netted a consolation in the final seconds, controlling Curtis’ pass and slotting into the net.

Stevenage (4-1-2-1-2): Farman (Trialist 46); Vancooten (Fraser 46), Cuthbert (Trialist 46), Trialist (Wilkinson 46), Hunt (Trialist 46); Byrom (Trialist 46); Timlin (Sonupe 46), McKee (Trialist 46); Kennedy (Iontton 46); Trialist (Georgiou 46), Revell (c) (White 46)
Goals: Kennedy 30, Georgiou 57, 70
Subs not used: Martin, O’Donnell, Smith

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Whatmough (Burgess 62), Clarke, Brown; Naylor (Haunstrup 84), May (Rose 62); Evans (Chaplin 62), Lowe, Curtis; Pitman (c) (Hawkins 62)
Goals: Evans 20, Chaplin 89
Subs not used: McGee, Casey, Dennis, Smith


Portsmouth FC

Mar 312018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Walsall    0

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Gareth Evans found the target as a dominant Pompey won at Walsall to keep alive their play-off hopes.

The Blues took charge following a scrappy first half, although it seemed as though they would not be able to find a way past the struggling Saddlers.

But their patience was rewarded 11 minutes of time when Evans stroked home to seal a third successive victory.

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

Evans returned to the starting line-up in place of Connor Ronan, while the fit-again pair of Stuart O’Keefe and Oli Hawkins were both named on the bench.

There was a slight reshuffle, however, as Nathan Thompson switched to right-back, with Anton Walkes handed the holding midfield role.

With every other League One match played the previous day, there was no-one else to take the attention away from Pompey and Walsall.

Unfortunately, the first half failed to make the most of the spotlight, with no clear-cut opportunities arriving at either end of the pitch.

There were half-chances peppered throughout, though, with most of them falling the way of the visitors.

Jamal Lowe saw an early effort blocked, while Dion Donohue and Luke McGee both acted quickly to beat opposition players to the ball.

Brett Pitman did well to get a shot away after a Naismith flick, although there was not enough pace behind it to trouble Liam Roberts in the Saddlers goal.

Arguably the best Blues chance arrived on 12 minutes when Ben Close made a clean connection with Evans’ delivery, only to send the ball straight at Roberts.

A couple more Pompey chances went off target as the half progressed, as Jack Whatmough was unable to make the most of space afforded to him at the far post.

Pitman then met another Evans cross with a deft header – although it was slightly too deft and the ball flashed past the post.

Close also fired into the side netting, while Kieron Morris dragged wide in a rare opening at the other end.

But the biggest reaction from the stands came when Nicky Devlin was booked for a foul on Naismith, with some irate home supporters believing it was a soft decision.


Half Time

Walsall 0

Portsmouth 0


It was Pompey who looked the more attack-minded side once the second half resumed and they launched several quick forays forward.

One of them led to a chance for Donohue, whose thunderous effort from the left side of the box narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Naismith – still getting booed for having the temerity to be fouled earlier – was next to go close and his shot took a slight deflection to divert the ball wide.

It was the visitors on top and Roberts had to grab Pitman’s looping header underneath his own bar after the skipper had met Close’s cross.

The lively Naismith was then afforded space to surge forward on 65 minutes and drive the ball just wide.

He then turned provider, sending in a teasing low cross that a lunging Pitman was agonisingly unable to reach at the far post.

But Walsall appeared to have weathered the storm and soon had their own chance to break the deadlock.

Luke Leahy sent in a teasing delivery from wide on the left and Amadou Bakayoko came charging in to meet it, but could not keep his shot down.

But the Blues almost scored themselves when Jamal Lowe was brought down and Pitman’s free-kick had to be turned over by Roberts.

A goal did arrive on 79 minutes, however, as the visitors finally made their second half dominance count.

Lowe laid the ball into the path of EVANS on the edge of the box and he hit a sweet first-time shot past Roberts’ grasp and into the net.

Walsall tried to find a way back into the contest, but the Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure a fine opening to their Easter double-bill.

Walsall (4-2-3-1): Roberts; Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy; Cuvelier (Dobson 72), Chambers (c); Morris, Oztumer (Shaibu 84), Ngoy (Kouhyar 67); Bakayoko
Booked: Devlin, Bakayoko, Guthrie, Morris
Subs not used: Gillespie, Roberts, Kinsella, Flanagan

Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Walkes; Lowe, Evans, Close (Ronan 77), Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Evans 79
Booked: Donohue, Walkes
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, O’Keefe, Kennedy, Hawkins

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 5,159 (1,458 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC