Apr 302022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Sheffield Wednesday 4
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON WON DRAWN WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST

George Hirst’s early strike was not enough to prevent Pompey from ending the season with defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

The striker had silenced the home crowd by firing home against his former club, putting their play-off spot in jeopardy.

But that extra momentum proved enough, as Lee Gregory, Saido Berahino and Jordan Storey all struck before the break.

George Byers then nodded home in the closing stages to ensure the Owls would finish in League One’s top six.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that fought from behind to beat Wigan earlier in the week, although teenage defender Liam Vincent was elevated to the bench.

Byers started for the home side, while fellow former Fratton loanee Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was named among their substitutes.

The visitors got off to a flying start and broke the deadlock in just the fourth minute to stun their opponents.

HIRST – who began his career with the Owls – had been roundly booed by the home support, but he was the man who got the goal.

The striker slotted the ball home after Ronan Curtis had raced onto a Connor Ogilvie pass and delivered the ball into the mixer.

But Wednesday soon picked things up and Gavin Bazunu had to be alert to deal with an under-hit Clark Robertson back-pass before Berahino could capitalise.

The keeper could do nothing to prevent the equaliser, however, as Gregory neatly diverted Marvin Johnson’s pass into the bottom corner.

And they kept pushing forward, with Bazunu beating away an angled Gregory strike and then acrobatically turning Barry Bannan’s effort over the bar.

The hosts eventually made their pressure count, though, and Berahino forced the ball home after a corner had bounced dangerously around the box.

It soon got even worse for the Blues, as Byers cut in from the right and squared for Storey to convert before the break.


Half Time

Sheffield Wednesday 3

Portsmouth 1


The second half did not begin in the same explosive manner as the first, although a series of fouls gave both sides free kicks in dangerous areas.

One was earned by Curtis on the left, but the delivery from Michael Jacobs was flicked onto the roof of the net by Marcus Harness.

Hirst was then quickly surrounded by a sea of defenders after good link-up play between Harness and Hayden Carter had provided an opening for the striker.

Bazunu came to the rescue at the other end, denying Byers after he had been picked out inside the area by Johnson.

There were certainly not an abundance of clear-cut openings to excite the large crowd, though, as the contest began to drift along.

Cowley tried to liven things up with a substitution and Jacobs made way for Tuesday night’s goal hero Aiden O’Brien.

It almost had the desired impact, with the forward flicking the ball against the outside of the post following great work on the left by Curtis.

But the Owls then almost scored themselves, with Gregory lifting a shot over Bazunu and onto the roof of the net.

It was certainly livening up and when Sean Raggett met a Harness corner, his header was tipped against the crossbar by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Pompey were certainly not giving up the chase and it took another fine stop from the home keeper to keep out a fierce Hirst drive on 79 minutes.

But Bazunu had to show his athleticism once more to turn a fierce drive from substitute Callum Paterson over the bar.

Sheffield Wednesday did wrap things up from the resulting corner, however, as Byers nodded home from a Josh Windass delivery.

Jay Mingi came off the bench and had a chance to grab a stoppage-time consolation that would have seen the Blues finish ninth instead of 10th, but could not keep his shot down from a Hirst cut-back.

Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2): Peacock-Farrell; Storey, Hutchinson, Palmer; Hunt, Byers, Luongo, Bannan (c) (Paterson 83), Johnson; Berahino (Windass 76), Gregory (Dele-Bashiru 88)
Goals: Gregory 17, Berahino 36, Storey 40, Byers 86
Booked: Gregoy, Paterson, Byers
Subs not used: Wildsmith, Gibson, Dunkley, Mendez-Laing

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Morrell, Thompson (Mingi 88); Harness, Jacobs (O’Brien 64), Curtis; Hirst
Goals: Hirst 6
Booked: Morrell
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Vincent, Williams, Walker

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 33,394 (2,558 Pompey fans)

Apr 152022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Lincoln City 2


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON

Ronan Curtis came off the bench to hit the winner in an eventful Good Friday contest with Lincoln at Fratton Park.

George Hirst opened the scoring from the penalty spot early in the first half and the hosts appeared to be cruising when Michael Jacobs curled home a fine free-kick.

But Ted Bishop immediately reduced the Imps’ deficit and Ben House then equalised with his first touch.

It was fellow substitute Curtis who had the final say, though, after ensuring he was in the right place to deal with a loose ball.

Danny Cowley made one change from the side that eased to victory over Rotherham earlier in the week.

Aiden O’Brien was restored to the starting line-up, with fellow Republic of Ireland international Curtis dropping to the bench.

There was a familiar face in Michael Appleton’s opposition team, with John Marquis involved after completing a January switch to the Imps.

It was the visitors who made the faster start in the warm south coast sunshine and Lewis Fiorini wasted a glorious chance in the opening seconds.

He received a cut-back from Liam Cullen in acres of space on the edge of the box, only to blaze over the bar.

The opening was lively and when O’Brien sent the ball into the mixer, Jacobs and Marcus Harness saw efforts blocked in quick succession.

A spell of pressure from Lincoln then resulted in an angled Marquis drive that was comfortably dealt with by Gavin Bazunu.

Pompey were soon dealt a blow when Joe Morrell went down injured for the second time in the space of a few minutes.

The midfielder was unable to continue after receiving treatment and limped off the pitch to be replaced by Ryan Tunnicliffe.

A nice bit of passing play from the Blues involving Sean Raggett and Jacobs almost provided an opening, but the angle was just too tight for O’Brien.

But the action soon began to lull and the rest of the first half had a distinct ‘end of season’ flavour to it.

The Imps did try to finish with a bit of a flourish and Fiorini tried to catch Bazunu off his line, with a shot that flew not too far over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Lincoln City 0


Pompey might have hit a lull towards the end of the first half, but they certainly came charging out of the blocks following the restart.

There was a great chance to score after just a few seconds, but Hirst could not keep his header down from a fine Connor Ogilvie cross.

However, the Blues did break the deadlock on 50 minutes after Cullen was penalised for a clumsy challenge on Jacobs inside the box.

Referee Trevor Kettle pointed straight to the spot and although Jordan Wright went the right way, the penalty from HIRST went under his dive and into the net.

The hosts then went from cursing their failure to double the lead to being relieved they still had one in quick succession.

Louis Thompson did well to steal possession and leave O’Brien with just the keeper to beat, but Wright was equal to his powerful effort.

Lincoln broke straight down the other end and Fiorini sent Cullen racing through on goal, only for Bazunu to come to the rescue with a smart save.

The game began to slow again after the frantic period, but it was given a shot in the arm with two goals just a few minutes apart.

Pompey looked to have wrapped things up when JACOBS curled home a fine 25-yard free-kick that he had won himself.

But the Imps were soon back in the contest, as Bishop was given far too much time to bring the ball under control inside the area before slotting into the net.

Thompson then required treatment on the pitch and was brought off to be replaced by Shaun Williams.

The Blues looked to restore their two-goal advantage and Hirst turned a low Ogilvie centre narrowly past the post.

Cowley made his final switch on 76 minutes, with Curtis adding some fresh attacking energy in place of O’Brien.

Lincoln also made a change, bringing off Marquis for House, who promptly scored just a few seconds later.

The striker slid in to bundle the ball over the line after a Jamie Robson cross had been flicked on by Cullen.

But the Blues were soon back in front after patiently passing the ball around the Imps half in search of an opening.

Raggett eventually found one and surged forward before hitting a low shot that Wright could not keep hold of.

CURTIS picked the ball up and calmly took it past the prostrate keeper before slotting into an empty net.

Lincoln applied late pressure in search of another leveller and the display of eight additional minutes certainly gave them hope.

But the Blues managed to see out the closing stages without too much concern and Hirst might have settled any nerves, only to get the ball caught under his feet inside the area.

It mattered not, though, as they had already done enough to secure the win and continue their fine Fratton form.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Morrell (Tunnicliffe 11), Thompson (Williams 71); Harness, O’Brien (Curtis 76), Jacobs; Hirst
Goals: Hirst 50 (pen), Jacobs 68, Curtis 82
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Mingi, Walker

Lincoln (4-3-3): Wright; Norton-Cuffy, Jackson, Poole, Robson; Bishop (Sanders 83), McGrandles (c), Fiorini; Cullen, Marquis (House 77), Scully
Goals: Bishop 70, House 78
Booked: Jackson
Subs not used: Sørensen, Adelakun, Hopper

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 15,175 (811 away fans)

Apr 122022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Rotherham United 0


FORM GUIDE

WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN

Pompey roared back to winning ways in some style by dismantling title-chasing Rotherham at Fratton Park.

The game exploded into life after a slow start when Clark Robertson headed home against his former employers.

And the Blues were in fine form after the break, with another ex-Miller, George Hirst, setting up one goal for Marcus Harness before finding the net himself.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that were beaten on the road at Cheltenham at the weekend.

Hirst, Michael Jacobs, Joe Morrell, Louis Thompson and skipper Robertson all returned to the starting line-up.

It meant that Tyler Walker, Aiden O’Brien, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Shaun Williams and Mahlon Romeo dropped to the bench.

Former Pompey players Michael Smith and Joe Mattock were both named in the visitors’ team, who had Richie Barker among their coaching staff.

There were little of note in the opening exchanges besides a flurry of bookings, with both sides ending the first half with two yellow cards each.

In fact, there were 20 minutes on the clock before either side seriously threatened to break the deadlock.

It was the hosts who were first to go close, though, after Jacobs showed a neat piece of skill to take out three defenders.

He then found Ronan Curtis, who cut the ball back for Harness and his effort was kept out at point-blank range by Viktor Johansson.

Rotherham had a few bright moments at the other end of the pitch, without being able to properly test Gavin Bazunu.

And it was the Blues that broke the deadlock on 35 minutes, as ROBERTSON haunted his former club by rising to meet Jacobs’ free-kick and guide a header into the net.

Morrell’s pass then sent Hirst racing away late in the half and the striker did well to hold off a couple of challenges before dragging a shot wide.

The Millers had not shown much attacking flair, although a dipping Chiedozie Ogbene effort just before the break landed on the roof of the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Rotherham United 0


Robertson needed to show his capabilities at the other end of the pitch when the action restarted and did well to prevent Smith getting a shot away.

There were then a couple of dangerous attacks for the Blues, but one good move ended with the otherwise impressive Hirst getting his attempt all wrong.

The Millers were trying to find a way back into the contest and Mattock glanced a header wide after meeting Dan Barlaser’s free-kick.

But the Blues soon came close to hitting their opponents on the break and Hirst could not quite get on the end of a Jacobs delivery.

And they did double their advantage just before the hour mark, courtesy of some superb play from Hirst.

The striker raced into space to collect a Bazunu throw before surging forward and holding off two challenges, then sending in a brilliant low ball for HARNESS to slot home.

They might have gone further ahead when a Jacobs corner was only partially cleared, but a thunderbolt from Hayden Carter was just about turned behind by Johansson.

It was only a brief respite for the beleaguered Millers, however, with Pompey soon finding a third goal.

Morrell lifted a pass into the box and Sean Raggett beat Johansson to the ball, nodding it back for HIRST to neatly hook home.

A first substitution soon followed for the hosts, with Friday’s contest perhaps in the mind of Cowley as Jacobs was swapped with O’Brien.

Harness and Thompson also made way to warm applause soon after, as Romeo and Williams were handed opportunities to impress.

The first of those newcomers was soon in the action, although not in the way he intended, with an accidental shove on David Rock sending the official tumbling to the turf.

Pompey were seeing out the closing stages with relative ease and Bazunu made sure of the clean sheet by clawing away a late Barlaser free-kick.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Morrell, Thompson (Williams 76); Harness (Romeo 75), Curtis, Jacobs (O’Brien 69); Hirst
Goals: Robertson 35, Harness 59, Hirst 65
Booked: Robertson, Jacobs
Subs not used: Webber, Mingi, Tunnicliffe, Walker

Rotherham (3-1-4-2): Johansson; Ihiekwe, Wood (c), Mattock; Barlaser; Ogbene, Lindsay, Wiles (Rathbone 46), Osei-Tutu (Miller 84); Smith, Kayode (Ladapo 57)
Booked: Lindsay, Barlaser, Mattock
Subs not used: Chapman, Harding, Ferguson, Edmonds-Green

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 14,154 (301 away fans)

Mar 082022
 

Portsmouth FC


A League 1
Crewe Alexandra 1
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST

Pompey maintained their late play-off charge with a comfortable victory at beleaguered strugglers Crewe.

The game had been postponed just over a couple of weeks earlier due to some heavy rain in Cheshire.

But the Blues ensured the rearranged contest was no damp squib, with George Hirst’s early header releasing the floodgates.

Tyler Walker soon opened his account for the club and there were plenty more opportunities to score before Hirst wrapped things up after the break.

The Railwaymen kept battling away, but Chris Long’s late strike proved no more than a consolation for League One’s bottom side.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that thrashed Accrington on home soil at the weekend.

Ronan Curtis returned from a two-match suspension, while there were also starts for Joe Morrell and Walker.

Marcus Harness missed out as he begins his own ban following a red card against Stanley, while Ryan Tunnicliffe and Aiden O’Brien both dropped to the bench.

Pompey were unsurprisingly playing with plenty of confidence as they looked to extend their fine run of recent form.

And there were not even three minutes on the clock when they broke the deadlock after Morrell had stolen the ball from Regan Griffiths in the middle of the pitch.

He worked the ball to Curtis, who in turn found Connor Ogilvie on the left and his cross was firmly headed home by the leaping HIRST.

They had an excellent chance to double their lead following a clever free-kick routine that saw Ogilvie leap over the ball before Curtis hit a shot.

His low effort could only be parried out by Dave Richards, but the keeper recovered quickly to deny Walker from the rebound.

The striker was then teed-up by Morrell, spun sharply in the area and saw his effort deflected past the post.

But WALKER did have his first Blues goal on 31 minutes, following up to slot home after Sean Raggett had taken advantage of some sloppy defending to fire in a shot that was saved.

The game began to get bogged down by a series of niggly challenges that halted any rhythm built up by either side.

It was the visitors who finished the half on top, though, and they had a couple of opportunities to extend their advantage further in stoppage-time.

Curtis was first up, holding off the challenge of Dan Agyei and cutting inside before drilling the ball narrowly past the post.

Some patient build-up play then led to Ogilvie whipping in a cross and Hirst played a pass through to Louis Thompson, who could not beat Richards from an acute angle.


Half Time

Crewe Alexandra 0

Portsmouth 2


Pompey’s pressing caused more problems when the action restarted and Mahlon Romeo stole possession.

Hirst then played the ball to Walker, but the striker could not quite keep his shot low enough to test Richards.

They were also showing plenty of determination at the other end, with Ogilvie flinging himself in the path of two Agyei efforts in quick succession.

It was only Richards preventing Crewe from falling further behind as the second half progressed, with the keeper making a couple of superb stops.

The first came when Ogilvie brilliantly brought down a Curtis free-kick and hit a volleyed effort that appeared destined for the neat.

Then, shortly afterwards, Richards did well to repel a neat Walker back-flick from a low Ogilvie delivery.

It seemed like only a matter of time before the Blues scored again – and a third did arrive on 66 minutes.

Just seconds after seeing a shot saved from Richards, HIRST met an Ogilvie cross with a downwards header that bounced up and into the roof of the net.

Cowley began to turn his attention towards the weekend, with Thompson and Hirst withdrawn for Tunnicliffe and O’Brien.

Crewe almost grabbed a late lifeline, but a back-pedalling Gavin Bazunu managed to tip over a Zac Williams curler.

They went even closer to scoring when a corner led to a spot of pinball in the Blues box and Connor O’Riordan stabbed the ball against the crossbar.

And Long denied the visitors a clean sheet in stoppage-time, when he managed to sneak a shot inside Bauznu’s near post.

Crewe (3-4-1-2): Richards; Johnson (Williams 46), O’Riordan, Offord; Agyei (Ainley 67), Murphy (c), Griffiths (Harper 46), Lundstram; Lowery; Long, Porter
Goals: Long 90+1
Booked: Porter
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Finney, Sambou, Salisbury

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter (Hume 78), Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo, Morrell, Thompson (Tunnicliffe 68), Ogilvie; Curtis; Hirst (O’Brien 71), Walker
Goals: Hirst 3, 66, Walker 31
Booked: Thompson, Carter
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Jewitt-White, Mingi

Referee: Andrew Kitchen

Attendance: 4,307 (1,050 Pompey fans)

Mar 052022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 4
Accrington Stanley 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST DRAWN

Pompey maintained their run of fine form by thrashing Accrington at Fratton Park – despite playing much of the contest with just 10 men.

George Hirst had provided an early lead, but the afternoon threatened to unravel when Marcus Harness was dismissed midway through the first half.

Instead, however, the Blues merely stepped up their performance and Sean Raggett’s header gave them a healthy advantage at the break.

Stanley tried their best to battle back, but further goals from Hirst and the impressive Ryan Tunnicliffe wrapped up a comfortable victory.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that fought from behind to beat Oxford on home soil earlier in the week.

Tunnicliffe and skipper Clark Robertson both returned to the starting line-up, as Joe Morrell and Denver Hume dropped to the bench.

The visitors almost enjoyed a perfect start, as a long-range effort from Josh Woods dipped narrowly over the crossbar.

A corner routine then saw Tunnicliffe send in a fine delivery, but Accrington had too many bodies back for a shot to get through to test Toby Savin.

But the breakthrough did arrive for the Blues on 16 minutes after a quick counter from a Stanley corner.

Mahlon Romeo combined well with Harness on the right and cut the ball back for HIRST to divert into the bottom corner.

It quickly went from ecstasy to agony for the Fratton faithful, though, as they were reduced to 10 men.

Harness made a reckless two-footed challenge from behind on Ross Sykes and referee Carl Brook immediately reached for his back pocket to show a red card.

Pompey were still looking to attack despite that setback and it took a fine sliding challenge from Michael Nottingham to prevent Hirst getting a shot away.

But a second goal did arrive from the resulting corner, as RAGGETT rose above Sykes to emphatically convert a Tunnicliffe cross.

Accrington tried their best to get back into the contest, but the hosts were defending resolutely, with one fine interception from Hayden Carter drawing warm applause.

There were a couple of nervy moments late in the half, however, and Gavin Bazunu twice had to come to the rescue.

He got down quickly to deal with a low Woods drive and then made an even better stop to deny Rosaire Longelo, who had been left in far too much space from a corner.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Accrington Stanley 0


The home side were fuming soon after the restart, when Harry Pell – who had been brought off the bench – scythed down Louis Thompson.

He was only shown a yellow card for the challenge, with Pompey players understandably pointing out the official’s earlier punishment for Harness.

The boos turned to cheers on 56 minutes, though, as the hosts extended their advantage even further.

It was similar to the second goal, with HIRST this time the man to barge past Sykes and emphatically convert a Tunnicliffe corner.

Pompey’s set-pieces were causing plenty of problems and another Tunnicliffe flag-kick was unconvincingly palmed away by Savin.

Accrington were trying to cause threats of their own and Pell’s looping header had to be tipped over by Bazunu.

They went even closer from the resulting corner, as Sykes’ effort was blocked and the ball pinged around the box before being fired wide.

But, incredibly, it was the Blues who scored again on 69 minutes and it was all down to some great play from Aiden O’Brien.

He picked up the ball inside his own half and ran up the pitch, bursting between Sykes and Ethan Hamilton before cutting back for TUNNICLIFFE to fire home.

Cowley used his bench to bring some fresh legs on, as Thompson and Hirst made way for Morrell and Tyler Walker.

And there was even time for Jay Mingi to come on for his debut in place of O’Brien, who has already become a fans’ favourite on the south coast.

Accrington saw plenty of the ball during the closing stages, but the Blues remained resolute to add a clean sheet to their three points.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Thompson (Morrell 72), Ogilvie; Harness; O’Brien (Mingi 78), Hirst (Walker 73)
Goals: Hirst 16, 56, Raggett 28, Tunnicliffe 69
Sent off: Harness
Booked: Robertson, Romeo
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Hume, Jewitt-White

Accrington (3-4-1-2): Savin; Sykes, Nottingham, Amankwah (Longelo 34); Rodgers (Leigh 52), Conneely (c) (Pell 46), Butcher, McConville; Hamilton; Woods, Bishop
Booked: Pell, Nottingham
Subs not used: Isherwood, Rich-Baghuelou, Morgan, Adedoyin

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 15,091 (144 away fans)

Mar 012022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Oxford United 2


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST DRAWN LOST

Pompey increased their unbeaten run to five games by seeing off Oxford in a compelling contest at a damp Fratton Park.

They fell behind to an early Marcus Browne strike, only for Sean Raggett and George Hirst to both net just before the interval.

A stunning Hayden Carter strike left them cruising after the break, only for Luke McNally’s late goal to ensure a fingernail-chewing finale.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that dramatically drew with Fleetwood at the weekend.

Aiden O’Brien was rewarded for his last-gasp leveller from the bench by coming into the starting line-up.

And the forward was joined in the team by Connor Ogilvie, Mahlon Romeo, Louis Thompson and Hirst.

Clark Robertson, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Tyler Walker all dropped to the bench, while Reeco Hackett missed out through injury and Ronan Curtis began a two-match ban.

There were familiar faces in the opposition ranks, as Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon both started, with Simon Eastwood named on the Oxford bench.

For the second time in the matter of days, Pompey were caught napping in the early stages and found themselves behind.

Nathan Holland slipped a pass through to Browne, who showed some neat footwork before angling home a fierce shot.

The hosts tried to hit back and began to dominate possession, without making a breakthrough in the final third.

And the Blues were growing increasingly frustrated at the amount of time their opponents were taking over every set-piece.

They kept persevering, although it looked like the interval would arrive without Jack Stevens having to make a meaningful touch between the sticks.

But Pompey found themselves level late in the first half after Denver Hume played the ball across the edge of the box.

It was collected by Joe Morrell and he lifted a cross into the centre, where RAGGETT rose to power home a fine header.

And it got even better in stoppage-time, as HIRST timed his run perfectly to collect a Marcus Harness pass and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Oxford United 1


The visitors felt they should have had a penalty shortly after the restart, as Matty Taylor went down under Thompson’s challenge, but their appeals received short shrift from referee Sam Allison.

Pompey took some time to find their feet again, but extended their lead thanks to a superb strike on 58 minutes.

Oxford could only clear the ball as far as CARTER, who saw plenty of space in front of him to take a couple of touches before firing home an unstoppable 25-yard strike.

The lead was now comfortable, but the points were certainly not guaranteed and Gavin Bazunu got down sharply to his left when Sam Long hooked the ball towards the bottom corner.

Cowley made a switch to add some fresh defensive legs on 73 minutes, as Hume made way for Robertson.

And they almost wrapped things up moments later, when Hirst got on the end of O’Brien’s cross with a firm header that Stevens somehow kept out from point-blank range.

Another change immediately followed, with Harness withdrawn and Tunnicliffe handed an opportunity to impress in the closing stages.

It was looking like being a comfortable conclusion to the evening, but Oxford threw a spanner in the works.

With just under 10 minutes remaining, Sam Baldock cut the ball back for McNally to fire home and ensure a nervy conclusion.

But, backed by a noisy Fratton faithful, the Blues managed to see out the closing stages to put another three points on the board.

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Thompson, Hume (Robertson 73); Harness (Tunnicliffe 75), Hirst (Walker 84), O’Brien
Goals: Raggett 42, Hirst 45+2, Carter 58
Booked: Carter
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Jewitt-White, Mingi

Oxford (3-4-1-2): Stevens; McNally, Long, Brown; Williams, Kane, Brannagan (c), Seddon (Whyte 64); Holland (Forde 82); Browne (Baldock 64), Taylor
Goals: Browne 3, McNally 81
Booked: Long
Subs not used: Eastwood, Mousinho, McGuane, Henry

Referee: Sam Allison

Attendance: 15,113 (1,370 away fans)

Feb 122022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 4
Doncaster Rovers 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST LOST LOST DRAWN LOST LOST WON DRAWN

Pompey produced a ruthless second half display to blow away bottom-of-the-table Doncaster at Fratton Park.

The opening 45 minutes were distinctly forgettable, but it was a completely different story after the interval.

A firm header from Reeco Hackett opened the scoring and the lead was soon doubled by George Hirst.

Aiden O’Brien then came off the bench for his home debut and instantly found the net to leave Rovers deflated.

But there was still time for the superb Sean Raggett to head home deep into stoppage-time to double his tally for the week.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that saw off Burton, also on home soil, earlier in the week.

Marcus Harness returned in an unfamiliar wing-back role on the right, while Hackett occupied the opposite flag.

Skipper Clark Robertson came into the back three, as Connor Ogilvie, Mahlon Romeo and Denver Hume all dropped to the bench.

The contest took a while to liven up and half-chances were the order of the day for much of the first period.

Michael Jacobs was crowded out as he tried to get a shot away, while Josh Martin’s free-kick at the other end somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

The visitors were first to seriously threaten, courtesy of a Reo Griffiths effort that was gathered by Gavin Bazunu at the second attempt.

Louis Thompson then released Harness on the right and his low centre flew agonisngly behind three of his team-mates in the box.

But Rovers almost broke the deadlock on 26 minutes and it took an excellent Raggett clearance to deny them.

Matt Smith combined well with Tommy Rowe to tee-up Joe Dodoo, whose close-range shot was heading for the net until the Pompey defender managed to get it clear.

Jonathan Mitchell then made a couple of regulation saves to deny first Hirst and soon after the in-form Jacobs.

There was a moment of controversy just before the break when Ronan Curtis went down in the box under pressure from a couple of defenders, but referee Tom Reeves ignored his appeals.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Doncaster Rovers 0


Hackett swung in a great delivery shortly after the restart, with Joseph Olowu doing just enough to put off Hirst and stop the striker making a connection.

Raggett was then called upon to make another brave block inside the area, this time from Martin’s shot.

But it was the Blues who finally broke the deadlock on 56 minutes, when Harness swung in an excellent cross from the right.

Hirst was unable to get on the end of it, but HACKETT got above Kyle Knoyle at the back post to find the net with a bullet header.

And things got even better for the hosts just past the hour mark after Ben Jackson nodded the ball straight into the path of HIRST.

The striker superbly brought the ball under control and raced clear before squeezing a shot past Mitchell.

Cowley freshened things up with a substitution soon after, as Tyler Walker made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe.

With the pressure eased, Pompey started to play some neat passing football and a Jacobs curler was held by Mitchell following Tunnicliffe’s exquisite flick.

The hosts were looking to wrap things up and Mitchell just about managed to prevent Harness from finding the net from an acute angle.

January arrival O’Brien was handed a run out for the final 10 minutes, as Jacobs made way to warm applause.

And O’BRIEN marked his Fratton bow by putting the result beyond doubt just a few seconds later, beating Knoyle to bundle Curtis’ low centre over the line.

Cowley’s final switch saw the livewire Thompson make way for Ogilvie, but still the Blues looked to attack.

It took the fingertips to Mitchell to stop them scoring again, as he turned behind a long-range Curtis free-kick.

Doncaster looked like all their energy had been sapped clear and the Blues controlled the closing stages.

And they put the cherry on the cake right at the death, as a fine free-kick into the box by Hackett was firmly nodded home by RAGGETT.

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Harness, Thompson (Ogilvie 83), Jacobs (O’Brien 80), Hackett; Curtis, Harness, Walker (Tunnicliffe 67)
Goals: Hackett 56, Hirst 63, O’Brien 81, Raggett 90+5
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Jewitt-White, Hume

Doncaster (4-1-4-1): Mitchell; Knoyle, Younger, Olowu, Jackson (Agard 70); Gardner; Griffiths, Smith, Rowe (c), Martin (Barlow 78); Dodoo (Odubeko 60)
Subs not used: Jones, Williams, Seaman, Clayton

Referee: Tom Reeves

Attendance: 14,767 (295 away fans)

Jan 152022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 1
MK Dons 2


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON DRAWN LOST WON WON WON

Pompey’s long-awaited return to Fratton Park proved to be an underwhelming affair, as MK Dons left the south coast with all three points.

The hosts made a promising start, but their opponents were more clinical, with Mo Eisa and Theo Corbeanu both netting before the break.

George Hirst reduced the deficit after the interval and although the Blues applied plenty of pressure, they could not find a leveller.

Danny Cowley stuck with the same side that drew at Cambridge in the last league outing earlier in the month.

That meant new signing Hayden Carter had to be content with a place on the bench, where he was joined by fit-again skipper Clark Robertson.

There was a bizarre start to proceedings, as Pompey took a knee while their opponents kicked-off, with referee Scott Oldham allowing them to continue.

But the Blues soon settled into a rhythm and looked in almost complete control during the opening stages.

They should have broken the deadlock when Joe Morrell lifted a deep cross into the box and Sean Raggett nodded it down for Connor Ogilvie, who cleared the bar from just six yards out.

Ronan Curtis then tried his luck from 20 yards, but did not quite hit it cleanly enough, allowing Jamie Cumming to get down and make a save.

There were further half-chances for Hirst and Curtis, as the hosts continued to dominate proceedings.

But the Dons broke the deadlock against the run of play on 20 minutes, as Matt O’Riley stole the ball in midfield and found Eisa, who neatly slotted the ball past Gavin Bazunu.

That lifted the visitors and deflated Pompey, who found themselves on the back foot and struggling to keep hold of possession.

Marcus Harness was proving a bright spark, though, and after skipping past a couple of challenges, his effort crept just past the post.

They had another decent opportunity when Kieron Freeman won the ball and found Harness, who did well to shake off his marker.

He played the ball to Curtis, but a poor first touch took the forward wider than he wanted and the eventual shot was turned over by Cumming.

It was MK Dons who ended the half on top, however, and Bazunu smothered an attempt from Scott Twine.

And they had a second goal just before the break after Freeman won a tackle, only for the ball to run through for Twine.

His strike was blocked by Ogilvie, but Corbeanu was following up and lashed home in fine style to leave the Blues with a mountain to climb.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

MK Dons 2


The hosts searched for a lifeline once the action restarted, although Cumming was trying to use up as much time as possible with his lengthy goal-kicks.

And when Harness did whip a teasing delivery towards the back post, there was nobody there attacking it.

Pompey were certainly enjoying a lot of possession, but could not quite find that all-important spark around the penalty box.

They had an opening when Ogilvie did well to keep the ball in play and send it into the mixer, where an onrushing Hirst was inches away from making contact.

The visitors were still looking dangerous on the break, though, and Bazunu had to beat away Corbeanu’s strike.

And the Blues then reduced their deficit on the hour mark, as Freeman picked out HIRST in the box, with the striker guiding the ball into the bottom corner.

Cowley made a change shortly afterwards, with Louis Thompson replacing Shaun Williams in the engine room.

The midfielder soon had a chance to draw Pompey level after racing into the box, but a wild finish saw the ball sail wide.

MK Dons then had a couple of opportunities of their own, with Raggett and Thompson combining to muscle Corbeanu off the ball inside the area.

And Daniel Harvie soon hit a ferocious 25-yard effort that left Bauznu’s crossbar rattling for some time.

Cowley made a switch up front to try to inject some more impetus into proceedings, with Hirst making way for John Marquis.

And Michael Jacobs then came on for Freeman to throw an extra player into the forward line for the closing stages.

It was Ogilvie who came close to scoring on 89 minutes, however, meeting a Curtis cross and seeing his header palmed behind by Cumming.

Pompey were committing plenty of men up the pitch and Bazunu had to deny Twine and Hiram Boateng in quick succession.

The keeper then went up to try to attack a free-kick in stoppage-time, but it came to nothing, while Marquis was flagged offside when he did prod the ball into the net.

But time ultimately ran out for the hosts and the Fratton faithful’s homecoming ended in disappointment.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman (Jacobs 82), Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Williams (Thompson 63), Hackett; Harness; Hirst (Marquis 73), Curtis
Goals: Hirst 60
Booked: Hirst, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Robertson, Carter, Brown

MK Dons (3-4-1-2): Cumming; Kioso, O’Hora, Lewington (c); Watson (Baldwin 74), O’Riley, Robson, Harvie; Twine; Corbeanu (Parrott 84), Eisa (Boateng 69)
Goals: Eisa 20, Corbeanu 45
Booked: Robson, Harvie
Subs not used: Ravizzoli, McEachran, Ilunga

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 14,958 (494 away fans)

Jan 072022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A EFL Trophy
Exeter City 2
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN WON DRAWN LOST WON WON WON WON WON

Ronan Curtis came off the bench to score two late goals and secure a dramatic Papa John’s Trophy victory for Pompey at Exeter.

The visitors were heading out of the competition before the Republic of Ireland international’s late heroics.

George Hirst had nodded them into an early lead in Devon, only for Matt Jay to hit an immediate leveller.

The Blues then failed to make the most of their first half dominance and were made to pay when Archie Collins struck for the Grecians after the break.

But Curtis headed home with time running out and appeared to have secured a penalty shoot-out, only to then find the net again in stoppage-time.

Pompey will now look to make it through to the quarter-finals when they head to Cambridge on Tuesday night.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that drew at the Abbey Stadium in the league at the start of the week.

John Marquis was handed a starting berth up front, while Lee Brown – who wore the captain’s armband – Alex Bass and Miguel Azeez all returned.

Curtis and Reeco Hackett both dropped to the bench, while Gavin Bazunu and Shaun Williams were not included in the squad.

Also named among the substitutes were teenage keeper Toby Steward and his academy team-mate Harry Jewitt-White.

The contest certainly got off to a lively start and the visitors took an early lead when Marcus Harness lifted the ball towards the back post and HIRST rose highest to head into the bottom corner.

But their advantage lasted just 68 seconds, as Exeter went straight up the pitch to level from kick-off.

Jay picked up the ball and found it all too easy to shake off a couple of challenges before expertly guiding a shot past Bass.

From that point on, though, it was pretty much one-way traffic, as the Blues were totally dominant in possession.

But the struggle was to make the most of it and a number of key openings were wasted in the search for a second goal.

Pompey’s high-pressing game was causing plenty of problems and there were a few occasions when possession was stolen and the situation not capitalised on.

The lead should have been retaken when Harness released Marquis down the left and the striker saw his shot blocked.

Hirst tried to convert the loose ball, but was left swiping at thin air, as the Grecians breathed a sigh of relief.

The striker soon had another opportunity after being fed by Kieron Freeman following a patient spell of passing, spinning neatly and seeing his attempt deflected just past the post.

And he twice tried to get on the end of Brown deliveries in quick succession, but could not make a firm contact on each occasion.

Pompey maintained a constant vigil in their hosts’ half as the seconds ticked down, with Exeter defending resolutely to keep them at bay.


Half Time

Exeter City 1

Portsmouth 1


It was the home side who were first to threaten when the action restarted, but Bass was equal to Jay’s shot after Owura Edwards had teed the ball up perfectly for his team-mate.

And they had another decent chance moments later, with Josh Key’s teasing cross somehow evading everyone as it made its way across the Blues box.

Pompey started to settle again and looked to impose themselves, although Azeez’s pass for Marquis in the area ricocheted off the striker and landed clear.

Cowley then introduced a raft of fresh legs by making a quartet of substitutions just past the hour mark.

Curtis, Hackett, Michael Jacobs and the fit-again Louis Thompson all came on, as Marquis, Hirst, Harness and Azeez made way.

Exeter were still looking more threatening than before the break, though, and Connor Ogilvie got in the way of Key’s effort before Bass beat Jay to Jake Caprice’s cross.

And they did take the lead on 76 minutes, as Key got forward and laid the ball off for Collins, whose shot deflected off Freeman to sneak into the net.

The home side tried to see out the closing stages and were doing a good job of protecting their slender lead.

There was a late opportunity for Pompey, but Cameron Dawson dealt with Hackett’s header after Joe Morrell had lifted the ball into the mixer.

Jewitt-White injected some youthful vigour into the Blues for the final few minutes, but it was a more experienced player who drew them level.

Jacobs swung in a free-kick from the right and CURTIS timed his leap perfectly to head the ball past Dawson.

He might have had another just a few moments later, but Hackett’s cross was just too high for him to head on target.

CURTIS did grab the winner deep into stoppage-time, though, firing into the net after Hackett had raced across goal and found the forward.

Exeter (3-4-3): Dawson; Sweeney (Kite 46), Stubbs, Diabate; Key, Collins, Taylor (Dieng 55), Caprice; Seymour (Brown 55), Jay (c) (Coley 79), Edwards (Amond 71)
Goals: Jay 6, Collins 76
Subs not used: Brown, Ray

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bass; Freeman, Raggett, Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell (Jewitt-White 88), Azeez (Thompson 63), Brown (c); Harness (Jacobs 63); Marquis (Curtis 63), Hirst (Hackett 63)
Goals: Hirst 5, Curtis 89, 90+3
Booked: Morrell, Raggett, Curtis
Subs not used: Steward, Downing

Referee: Paul Howard

Attendance: 2,146 (507 Pompey fans)

Nov 232021
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Lincoln City 0
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON WON WON DRAWN WON DRAWN LOST LOST

Pompey made it five wins in succession with an impressive performance against Lincoln at Sincil Bank.

They were in charge for most of the contest, but had to wait until the closing stages of the first half before Marcus Harness increased his goal tally.

And they were rewarded for their overall play after the break, with George Hirst doubling the lead and Reeco Hackett wrapping things up at the death.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that dramatically beat AFC Wimbledon on home soil at the weekend.

Kieron Freeman came in for the suspended Lee Brown, but started in the centre of defence, with the Blues switching to a 3-4-1-2 system.

There were also starts for Hackett – as a left-sided wing-back – and Joe Morrell, as Michael Jacobs and Louis Thompson dropped to the bench.

With the absence of Clark Robertson and Brown, former Imps hero Sean Raggett was handed the captain’s armband.

Pompey dominated the first half and created a number of promising openings, but were often let down by the final ball.

An early Shaun Williams corner was turned wide by Raggett, while a deflected Ronan Curtis effort was diverted behind by Josh Griffiths.

And the Imps keeper was called into action again from the resulting corner, which was fired towards goal by Connor Ogilvie.

Curtis miscued another shot narrowly past the post and Ogilvie then saw his goal-bound drive cleared from the line by Lewis Montsma.

The momentum faded after that, although the Blues were still looking the stronger team, with Williams and Morrell – the latter facing his former club – dominating in midfield.

They received a blow when Raggett was – rather harshly – booked for a foul in the middle of the pitch on 28 minutes.

It was the defender’s fifth yellow card of the season and, just before an amnesty kicks in, means he will be suspended for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.

There had not been too much trouble at the other end, although the home support wanted a penalty when Hackett eased Lasse Sorensen off the ball inside the area.

The breakthrough almost came in stoppage-time, as Hirst charged his way up the pitch and past a couple of challenges before forcing a save from Griffiths.

But there was still time for Pompey to take the lead before the break – and there was no surprise to see who scored.

Mahlon Romeo found Hirst in the box and although he was denied, the loose ball ran for HARNESS to fire home in a fourth successive appearance.


Half Time

Lincoln CIty 0

Portsmouth 1


An early opportunity for Harness was stabbed wide, as the Blues looked to build on their lead once the action restarted.

And they went a lot closer to finding a second goal following some good work from Curtis along the edge of the box.

He eventually picked out Romeo on the right and the wing-back’s low effort struck the inside of the post and bounced back out.

But the Imps began to pick up the pace and former Fratton loanee Chris Maguire curled a shot narrowly over after cutting inside from the left.

Just as they were starting to get into the ascendency, however, the visitors doubled their lead – much to the delight of the noisy travelling army.

Harness slipped a neat pass through to Curtis, who unselfishly squared the ball for HIRST to slide home his first league goal for the club.

Lincoln tried to find a path back into the contest, but Gavin Bazunu did well to deny Hakeeb Adelakun from point-blank range.

Cowley then freshened things up with a couple of changes in quick succession, as Jacobs came on for Hirst before Thompson replaced Morrell.

And a third substitution followed on 80 minutes, with Harness making way for the fit-again Ellis Harrison.

Pompey appeared to be coasting towards the final whistle, but there was further reason to celebrate towards the end.

Harrison was brought down on the edge of the box and although the free-kick from HACKETT hit the wall, he was first to the loose ball to slam it into the net.

Lincoln (4-1-4-1): Griffiths; Poole, Montsma, Eyoma, Robson; McGrandles (c); Bishop (Nlundulu 58), Sorensen (Adelakun 68), Maguire, Fiorini; Draper (Sanders 86)
Booked: Montsma, Maguire
Subs not used: Long, Jackson, Roughan, Gallagher

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell (Thompson 76), Williams, Hackett; Harness (Harrison 80); Curtis, Hirst (Jacobs 73)
Goals: Harness 45+3, Hirst 66, Hackett 89
Booked: Raggett, Morrell
Subs not used: Bass, Vincent, Azeez, Gassan

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 8,533 (746 Pompey fans)

Nov 092021
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 3
Crystal Palace U21 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON DRAWN WON DRAWN LOST LOST LOST WON LOST

Pompey snuck into the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy after comfortably beating Crystal Palace’s under-21 side at Fratton Park.

Miguel Azeez, Gassan Ahadme and George Hirst all opened their accounts for the club – the latter in stoppage-time – in a performance that was full of attacking verve.

And with AFC Wimbledon narrowly beaten at Sutton, it opened the door for the Blues to overhaul the former side on goals scored to finish second in the standings.

Danny Cowley made eight changes from the side that beat Harrow to progress in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Sean Raggett was handed the captain’s armband, while Connor Ogilvie and Azeez also remained in the line-up.

Academy teenagers Adam Payce and Harvey Hughes were both handed senior debuts, while several more members of the under-18 side filled the bench.

Alex Bass returned between the sticks, with Kieron Freeman, Louis Thompson, Michael Jacobs, Gassan and George Hirst also started.

The young Eagles were first to threaten when John-Kymani Gordon wriggled his way into space and saw a shot deflected against the outside of the post.

But the Blues soon began to dominate proceedings and had a great chance to break the deadlock on 14 minutes.

Hughes’ clearance was flicked on by Gassan and Hirst raced away, taking a great touch to beat his man, but then getting the shot with the outside of his boot all wrong.

It then almost became a dream debut for Hughes, with the left-back hitting a low drive that Owen Goodman turned around the post.

The chances continued to come and Hirst was so close to opening his Pompey account after Gassan’s initial effort had been blocked.

He hit a low shot that appeared destined for the net, but Goodman got down to his right to make a superb save.

And the opening goal did finally arrive on 32 minutes, as Hirst and Gassan combined to find AZEEZ, with the Arsenal loanee calmly finding the net.

The lead was almost doubled soon after, with Thompson surging forward and laying the ball off for Jacobs, with the winger’s effort smothered by Goodman.

But Palace thought they had levelled after stealing possession and working the ball through to Rob Street.

The striker neatly curled his shot into the net and celebrated in front of the Fratton End, only to be cut short by an offside flag.

And the hosts had the final say of the first half, as Jacobs hit a fine shot that bent agonisingly past the upright.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Crystal Palace U21 0


Cowley made a change at the break, with academy midfielder Harry Jewitt-White replacing Thompson in the centre of the park.

Hirst’s hunt for a goal took him close again, as the striker showed neat footwork after collecting a Jacobs pass and sent a low shot inches past the post.

And the advantage was doubled on 54 minutes, when a fine right-sided cross from Freeman was smartly headed home by GASSAN.

Pompey continued to push forward in search of more goals and Hirst had an effort blocked, with the Eagles forced into some desperate defending.

The striker just did not have luck on his side and Goodman just about managed to scoop his header – from a Jacobs corner – off the line.

With AFC Wimbledon narrowly losing at Sutton, the Blues still required one more goal to reach the knockout stages.

They had to be alert at the other end, although Bass was not overly troubled by a low drive from David Omilabu.

Palace then went closer to getting on the scoresheet, as a Malachi Boateng thunderbolt cannoned against the post.

Pompey were still hunting for a goal of their own, though, and Hirst’s ambitious 35-yard strike flew straight at Goodman following a fine pass from Jewitt-White.

Another youngster was then introduced from the bench for the closing stages, with Payce making way for Alfie Bridgman.

Hirst went close again in stoppage-time, but his shot took a wicked deflection and sneaked just past the post.

But he did finally get the goal his overall performance deserved from the resulting corner that was taken by Azeez.

His delivery was helped on by Gassan and HIRST was able to bundle the ball home and celebrate in front of the Fratton End.

There was then a wait to see if Sutton would hold onto their lead over AFC Wimbledon before Pompey’s place in the knockout stages was confirmed.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Freeman, Raggett (c), Ogilvie, Hughes; Thompson (Jewitt-White 46), Azeez; Payce (Bridgman 88), Gassan (Kaba 90+5), Jacobs; Hirst
Goals: Azeez 32, Gassan 54, Hirst 90+2
Subs not used: Steward, Setters, Howell, Gifford

Crystal Palace U21 (4-1-4-1): Goodman; D.Boateng, Quick, Rich-Baghuelou, Watson (Imray 76); M.Boateng (c); Omilabu, Kirby (Mooney 76), Roles (Taylor 57), Gordon; Street
Subs not used: Izquierdo, Thiselton, Sheridan, Cadogan

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 1,660 (171 away fans)

Aug 032021
 

Portsmouth FC Transfers Career Stats


George Hirst

(Loan : Leicester City – Portsmouth)

Pompey have signed George Hirst on a season-long loan deal from Premier League side Leicester.

The 22-year-old forward has represented England up to under-20 level and was part of the side that won the Toulon Tournament in 2017, being named in the competition’s ‘Best XI’.

Hirst progressed through the ranks at Sheffield Wednesday – where father David made more than 350 appearances – before joining Belgian side Leuven in the summer of 2018.

He moved to Leicester a year later and has featured twice for them in the Premier League, coming off the bench in games at Tottenham and Manchester United.

Hirst spent the whole of last season on loan at Championship side Rotherham, where he made 32 appearances.