Mar 272021
 


A League 1
Shrewsbury Town 1
Portsmouth 2


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)35 %

WON WON LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST

Pompey climbed back into the play-off places after securing a deserved League One victory at Shrewsbury – despite playing a quarter of the contest with just 10 men.

They controlled possession, with goals from Marcus Harness and John Marqus securing a commanding lead at the break.

But Nathanael Ogbeta reduced the hosts’ deficit early in the second half and the Shrews were then given an extra boost.

Marquis was shown a controversial red card for a challenge on Harry Chapman, but the Blues saw the game out with relative ease to ensure the points would be heading back to the south coast.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that beat Ipswich on home soil in his first game in charge the previous week.

There were returns from injury for Marquis and Callum Johnson, while Michael Jacobs and Ben Close also started.

James Bolton and Andy Cannon dropped to the bench, with the injured Jordy Hiwula missing out completely and Ronan Curtis away on international duty.

Former Pompey striker Curtis Main was in the hosts’ line-up, although manager Steve Cotterill was still missing from the dug-out, as he continues his recovery from a Covid-enforced stay in hospital.

In a slow opening to proceedings it was the Shrews who were first to threaten, with Dan Udoh spinning on the edge of the box and firing in a low show that was saved by Craig MacGillivray.

But the Blues soon settled and began to dominate possession, while asking questions of their opponents’ back three.

Close lifted a pass into the mixer, where Ryan Williams rose to deftly flick the ball inches past the post.

Tom Naylor then tried to glance home a corner from Jacobs, but could not get enough on his header to guide it on target.

And the deadlock was broken on 25 minutes after Johnson had played a neat one-two with Williams down the right.

He then laid the ball off for HARNESS, who neatly bent the ball into the side of the net to make the pressure count.

They almost had a second when the ball pinged dangerously around the Shrewsbury box, but Harry Burgoyne denied Williams from point-blank range.

The Blues were on top, though, and unsurprisingly doubled their advantage on 36 minutes, with the impressive Close involved.

He lifted a pass towards Lee Brown at the far post and the left-back sent the ball across the face of goal, with MARQUIS on hand to find the net from a yard out.

Even when the hosts were able to get into Pompey’s area in stoppage-time, Naylor was back to dispossess Ogbeta.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 2


The visitors appeared to be cruising, but conceded a soft goal soon after the restart to allow their opponents back into the contest.

Ogbeta collected the ball on the left and was given far too much space to race towards the edge of the box and stroke a shot into the bottom corner.

Pompey tried to hit back and a dangerous Harness delivery was turned behind, while Marquis was tackled before he could get a strike away.

Harness then cut the ball back from the right and there was another spot of pinball before the hosts was able to clear.

Shrewsbury then threatened at the other end, although Main flicked a Chapman cross straight into MacGillivray’s arms.

But Pompey were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half, with Marquis the man to be sent off.

He slid in on Chapman and appeared to win the ball, but also caught the Shrews substitute and referee Benjamin Speedie deemed it dangerous enough to issue a red card.

Cowley made a change shortly afterwards, with Jacobs making way for Cannon to shore up the midfield.

And the lively Close was then replaced by former Shrews defender Charlie Daniels for the closing stages.

Pompey were not being put under too much pressure from their hosts as they attempted to see the contest out.

A display of seven additional minutes might have caused nerves to rise among the visiting ranks, but they held on to celebrate another vital victory.

Shrewsbury (3-4-1-2): Burgoyne; Pennington (Pyke 82), Ebanks-Landell (c), Williams; Sears (Chapman 46), Davis, Vela, Ogbeta; Goss (Whalley 69); Udoh (Edwards 69), Main
Goals: Ogbeta 52
Subs not used: Bevan, Bloxham, Caton

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Close (Daniels 84); Harness, Williams (Nicolaisen 90+5), Jacobs (Cannon 75); Marquis
Goals: Harness 25, Marquis 36
Sent off: Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Bolton, Byers, White

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Mar 022021
 


A League 1
Doncaster Rovers 2
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE (All competitions)40 %

LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN WON LOST LOST

Pompey dropped a place to fifth in the League One standings after losing to fellow promotion hopefuls Doncaster, despite a late rally at the Keepmoat Stadium.

An early goal from Reece James was all that separated the sides at the break and the Blues looked much more of a threat in the second half.

But they were unable to take their chances and a finish from Rovers substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie seemingly ended their hopes.

John Marquis reduced the deficit deep into stoppage-time, however, and the visitors almost managed to force home an equaliser with the last kick of the ball.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Gillingham on home soil at the weekend.

Jack Whatmough and Charlie Daniels both returned to the starting line-up, as Andy Cannon and Lee Brown dropped to the bench.

It led to a switch to a 3-4-1-2 system, with Marcus Harness floating just behind the front two of Ellis Harrison and Ronan Curtis.

There was a familiar face in the opposition team, with former Pompey loanee Omar Bogle leading the attack.

It was almost a dream start for the visitors, who came close to taking the lead with just 15 seconds on the clock.

They stole possession from the kick-off and a cross from Harrison was brought down by Curtis, who turned in the box and fired a shot inches past the post.

Doncaster hit back almost immediately and Brad Halliday angled the ball narrowly wide following good work from the evergreen James Coppinger.

And the hosts did forge ahead on 12 minutes, when Haji Mnoga was unable to cut out John Bostock’s pass and James raced through to score.

It was certainly a lively opening – a bit too much for referee Ross Joyce, who showed yellow cards to Jon Taylor and Harness for late challenges.

Jack Whatmough had an opportunity to level when Daniels’ deep free-kick was nodded down, but could not keep his effort down.

Pompey thought they should have won a penalty midway through the first half after Mnoga received the ball back from Harness and went down in the box under Tom Anderson’s challenge.

The Rovers skipper certainly looked relieved when Joyce shook his head to dismiss the teenager’s appeals.

They were forced to make a change soon after, with Taylor getting injured by a crunching – yet fair – challenge from Sean Raggett.

Bostock tried to double the home team’s advantage with an ambitious strike from 35 yards that was well held by Craig MacGillivray.

But the Blues finished the half with a flourish, with an attempt from Harness deflected wide before a Harrison header was claimed by keeper Louis Jones.

And Harrison was inches away from connecting with a fine Curtis delivery in stoppage-time, only for an apparent flick by Anderson to deny him.


Half Time

Doncaster Rovers 1

Portsmouth 0


Jackett made a double switch at the interval, with Mnoga and Curtis taken off and replaced by Cannon and Marquis.

It meant a more traditional 4-4-2 formation for the Blues, albeit with Whatmough filling in at right-back.

The latter soon received a fine return pass from Harvey White, but his low ball into the centre was intercepted and cleared by Bostock.

White was looking much more assured and a stinging drive from the edge of the area just cleared the angle of post and bar.

Marquis then thought he got a push as he tried to reach a teasing low Whatmough cross, but Joyce disagreed.

And the striker soon bundled ball and keeper into the net after Rasmus Nicolaisen had nodded Daniels’ free-kick towards the target, with a foul awarded against the striker.

Pompey continued to knock at the door and the hosts were relieved to see the ball land safe when Joe Wright and Jones made a mess of dealing with White’s cross.

Instead it was the visitors who scored against the run of play on 70 minutes, courtesy of a fine finish from Okenabirhie, who somehow forced a shot home from the tightest of angles.

Brown immediately replaced Daniels, but it was a cross from Harness that was agonisingly out of reach for Marquis just moments later.

Jordy Hiwula was the latest player introduced, coming on for Harrison to offer some fresh legs to the attacking line.

It was clearly not Pompey’s night, however, and the was best summed up in the closing stages when an on target Cannon strike was deflected wide by team-mate White.

But they did have something to show for their efforts in the fourth minute of added time, as MARQUIS met Harness’ cross, spun sharply and neatly found the net.

And they almost grabbed an unlikely leveller with the last kick off the ball, but White could not quite force the ball home in a packed box.

Doncaster (4-2-3-1): Jones; Halliday, Wright, Anderson (c), James; Bostock (Robertson 64), Smith; Taylor (Okenabirhie 28), Coppinger (Richards 76), Sims (Lokilo 64); Bogle
Goals: James 12, Okenabirhie 70
Booked: Taylor, Smith
Subs not used: Balcombe, John, Greaves

Pompey (3-4-1-2): MacGillivray; Whatmough, Raggett, Nicolaisen; Mnoga (Marquis 46), Naylor (c), White, Daniels (Brown 70); Harness; Curtis (Cannon 46), Harrison (Hiwula 76)
Goals: Marquis 90+4
Booked: Harness, Nicolaisen, Marquis
Subs not used: Ward, Byers, Williams

Referee: Ross Joyce

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Feb 162021
 


LOST (A) League 1
Bristol Rovers 3
Portsmouth 1


Pompey slipped to just a second league defeat of the season on the road, with a poor performance costing them at struggling Bristol Rovers.

Another good away result seemed to be on the cards when John Marquis slotted the visitors into the lead during the first half.

But they were undone by some sloppy play, with ex-Hawks striker Jonah Ayunga scoring a brace to turn the contest around by the interval.

The Blues tried to hit back once the action restarted, only for a Luke Leahy penalty to increase the Pirates’ advantage.

Substitute Marcus Harness hit the post late on, but unlike against Plymouth earlier this month, there was to be no late comeback, with a Marquis spot-kick saved at the death.

Kenny Jackett – watching the action remotely – made one change from the side that beat Swindon on home soil the previous week.

On-loan Swansea midfielder George Byers was handed his first start for the club in a 4-3-3 system, as Harness dropped to the bench.

A couple of set-pieces caused problems for the hosts in the opening stages, although Sean Raggett was unable to turn Ronan Curtis deliveries on target.

And Luke McCormick went close to breaking the deadlock at the other end, with Craig MacGillivray getting down well to keep out the midfielder’s effort and then dive on the loose ball.

There was another opportunity for the Pirates when Brandon Hanlon found space to meet Leahy’s delivery, only to guide his header into the keeper’s arms.

Pompey almost scored midway through the first half, although it would have been a controversial goal.

Referee Christopher Sarginson got in Rovers’ way when the visitors launched a quick counter-attack and Byers slipped a neat pass through to Curtis.

He crossed the ball into the box from the right, with Marquis heading the ball into the turf before it bounced up, struck the post and was hacked from the line by Alfie Kilgour.

But the Blues were ahead just a few moments later, with another intelligent Byers pass finding Williams, who cut back for MARQUIS to slide home.

Bristol Rovers did not take long to level, however, as Leahy’s header forward bypassed James Bolton and Ayunga managed to see off Raggett before rifling into the net.

It was back and forth and Marquis might have had his second of the night, but could not quite bring Byers’ pass under control, allowing Joe Day to come off his line and halt the threat.

Instead it was the hosts who ensured an interval lead, as Leahy’s deep cross was flicked on and Ayunga was left in space to bring the ball under control, then fire it past MacGillivray.


Half Time

Bristol Rovers 2

Portsmouth 1


Pompey made a triple change at the break, with Harness, Rasmus Nicolaisen and Lee Brown – the latter appearing against his former club – replacing Curtis, Bolton and Charlie Daniels.

And Danish defender Nicolaisen immediately made an impact with a couple of crunching, yet fair, challenges.

The impressive Byers then tried his luck from the edge of the box, although this time dragged his effort wide.

Pompey were trying to get forward, but were just lacking that important final ball and when Brown did send a dangerous delivery across the goal, there was nobody there to capitalise.

Harness was able to dig out a shot on the hour mark and his long-range attempt fizzed not too far wide of the post.

Another change followed on 65 minutes, with former Bristol Rovers striker Ellis Harrison on to replace Andy Cannon.

But Pompey were undone by some more sloppy play when Raggett lost the ball to Leahy inside the area and fouled the wing-back as he tried to win it back.

The defender was booked and Leahy stepped up to take the penalty, calmly sending MacGillivray the wrong way.

There were appeals at the other end when a Harness shot was blocked by George Williams and the visitors were adamant it struck his hand, although Sarginson did not agree.

Pompey threw plenty of men forward and forced their opponents to defend deep, with seven minutes of stoppage-time providing some hope.

But it was not their night and when Nicolaisen won possession and beat two players before laying the ball off for Harness, his low strike came back off the post.

Marquis had the chance to reduce the deficit right at the death when he was shoved over inside the area by Kilgour.

But a miserable night was capped when his penalty was saved by Day, low down to the keeper’s right.

Bristol Rovers (3-4-1-2): Day; Baldwin, Kilgour, Harries; Williams, McCormick (Upson 81), Grant, Leahy (c); Nicholson; Ayunga (Daly 85), Hanlan
Goals: Ayunga 34, 44, Leahy 70 (pen)
Booked: McCormick, Williams
Subs not used: van Stappershoef, Hare, Westbrooke, Rodman, Oztumer

Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Johnson, Bolton (Nicolaisen 46), Raggett, Daniels (Brown 46); Byers, Naylor (c), Cannon (Harrison 65); Williams (White 80), Marquis, Curtis (Harness 46)
Goals: Marquis 26
Booked: Johnson, Raggett
Subs not used: Ward, Hiwula

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Jan 192021
 


WON (H) League 1
Portsmouth 4
AFC Wimbledon 0

Pompey moved to within a point of the League One summit following a comfortable victory over struggling AFC Wimbledon.

It was the first Fratton fixture in more than a month and the hosts brushed off the wet conditions to seal another valuable three points in the battle for promotion.

The damage was done in the opening 45 minutes, with leading marksman John Marquis breaking the deadlock with a close-range finish.

Ryan Williams then doubled the lead in impressive fashion, while Sean Raggett headed home a third goal before the interval.

And Ben Close came off the bench to complete an enjoyable evening for the Blues with a neat effort late on.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that had secured victory at Fleetwood a few days earlier.

It meant that new loan signing Harvey White had to be content with a place on the bench, where he was joined by Ronan Curtis, who had completed his self-isolation period.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of former Pompey midfielder Bobby Kellard, who passed away earlier in the month at the age of 77.

The game took a while to get going, with neither side helped by the heavy rain that was swirling around the ground.

It was the hosts who had the first decent chance on 15 minutes, with Sam Walker getting down to parry clear a bending Andy Cannon effort.

Craig MacGillivray was not being troubled at the other end, although a corner caused a few concerns before it was prodded wide in a packed area.

Pompey were showcasing some neat build-up play – despite the tough conditions – without finding an end product.

But that arrived on 28 minutes when Michael Jacobs slipped a pass across to Callum Johnson, who sent the ball in from the right.

It was met by a glancing Williams header that was heading for the far corner, with MARQUIS nipping in at the back post to force the ball home.

Jack Whatmough might have doubled the lead with a bullet header from a Marcus Harness cross, but the ball was directed straight at Walker.

The Blues did have a second goal soon after, though, as Marquis laid the ball off for WILLIAMS, who took a couple of touches before curling a fine left-footed strike into the net from the edge of the area.

And there was time for a third just before the interval, when Jacobs sent a dangerous free-kick into the mixer.

It was attacked by both Whatmough and RAGGETT, but the latter got there first to firmly head the ball home.


Half Time

Portsmouth 3

AFC Wimbledon 0


The visitors started the second half brightly and Ryan Longman’s shot was blocked by Raggett, while a dangerous corner also had to be negotiated.

And they almost reduced their deficit when Jack Rudoni rose to meet a fine Luke O’Neill cross, only to guide his header past the post.

It was soon Pompey’s turn to threaten following some good play from Marquis, who slipped a pass across to Harness, although Williams was not able to flick home the winger’s delivery.

A teasing Lee Brown corner was then not properly deal with and Marquis tried to scoop the ball into the net, but could not find the target.

Jackett made a switch just past the hour mark, with the lively Jacobs withdrawn and replaced on the left by Curtis.

Pompey were cruising, but a deflected cross from Nesta Guinness-Walker – the great-grandson of Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Alec Guinness – had to be scrambled around the post by MacGillivray.

A further double change followed, with White coming on for his debut alongside Ellis Harrison, as Cannon and Marquis made way.

The newcomer soon made a good sliding challenge that would have drawn warm applause from the Fratton faithful, had any of them been inside the ground.

Pompey then saw off a spell of Dons pressure and Harrison had two chances to extend the advantage in quick succession.

A drilled effort was parried away by Walker, while he then headed a Curtis cross down and the ball bounced over.

But it was left for substitute CLOSE to wrap things up, racing onto Curtis’ pass and neatly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Pompey (4-4-1-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Harness, Naylor (c), Cannon (White 70), Jacobs (Curtis 64); Williams (Close 83); Marquis (Harrison 70)
Goals: Marquis 28, Williams 36, Raggett 44, Close 89
Subs not used: Turnbull, Nicolaisen, Hiwula

AFC Wimbledon (3-5-2): Walker; O’Neill (Kalambayi 64), Nightingale (c), Czoka; Alexander, Rudoni, Woodyard, Reilly, Guinness-Walker; Pigott, Longman (Robinson 78)
Subs not used: Tzanev, McLoughlin, Oksanen, Hartigan, Chislett

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Jan 162021
 


WON (A) League 1
Fleetwood Town 0
Portsmouth 1


John Marquis found the target as Pompey won at Fleetwood on their long-awaited return to League One action.

It was certainly not the most fluent performance of the season so far, but the striker’s header proved enough to secure all three points.

Their opponents saw plenty of the ball – particularly after the break – without asking any serious questions of Craig MacGillivray.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that visited Bristol City in the FA Cup the previous week.

Jack Whatmough came off the bench in that game, but started against Fleetwood, as Rasmus Nicolaisen dropped to the bench.

Both sides took a while to find their radar, perhaps still a bit rusty having not previously contested a league match in 2021.

But the visitors went ahead with the game’s first proper chance on 16 minutes, as Ryan Williams swung in a fine cross from the right.

It was a difficult delivery to deal with and MARQUIS took advantage, diving forward to head the ball home.

Fleetwood might have grabbed an immediate leveller, but Callum Camps could not beat MacGillivray after Paddy Madden had slipped a neat pass into the box.

Pompey were the side on top, though, and enjoyed a period of possession, without being able to test Joe Hilton between the sticks.

But their opponents gradually started to find their feet and the Blues had to deal with a number of set-pieces sent into the mixer.

They tried to capitalise on a loose ball and Andy Cannon intercepted it and drove forward before finding Williams, whose shot was blocked.

Callum Connolly should have done better at the other end soon after, unable to guide Kyle Vassell’s cross on target.

Pompey were struggling to carve open any more meaningful openings and Marquis could not make firm contact as he tried to glance home a Williams centre.

Cannon and Williams did combine well again before the break, though, and the latter saw another shot blocked by the stretching Camps.

It was the Cod Army who finished the half on top, although Vassell sent two headers off target, while a Josh Morris free-kick was easily dealt with by MacGillivray.


Half Time

Fleetwood Town 0

Portsmouth 1


The home side were showing more attacking intent immediately following the restart, with plenty of possession in and around the Pompey area.

But it was the Blues who had a chance to extend their lead when Michael Jacobs collected a Marquis pass and fired straight at Hilton.

The keeper then took a poor touch and Williams tried to take advantage, laying the ball off for Marquis, who could not keep his effort down.

It was still an incredibly tight and scrappy encounter, however, with neither side able to find any attacking fluency.

Fleetwood were certainly seeing more of the ball, but some stubborn defending was keeping MacGillivray well protected.

Tom Naylor also flung himself in the path of one fierce strike to ensure the keeper was not called into action.

Pompey were still posing a threat on the counter, though, and Charlie Mulgrew did well to recover after an initial failure to clear had given the ball to Marquis.

The visitors were still holding firm at the other end and when the ball fell to Camps following a spot of pinball, his shot found a path through to MacGillivray.

A Shayden Morris header was also dealt with by the keeper, as the Blues saw out the closing stages to secure all three points.

Fleetwood (4-2-3-1): Hilton; Connolly, Hill, Mulgrew, Rydel; Whelan (Rossiter 72), Coutts (c); Vassell, Camps, J.Morris (S.Morris 79); Madden
Subs not used: Holgate, Duffy, Finley, Matete, Saunders

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Harness, Naylor (c), Cannon, Jacobs; Marquis, Williams
Goals: Marquis 16
Booked: Whatmough
Subs not used: Turnbull, Mnoga, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Close, Hiwula, Harrison

Referee: James Bell

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Nov 212020
 


WON (H) League 1
Portsmouth 4
Crewe Alexandra 1


Pompey climbed up to fourth in the League One table after enjoying an ultimately comfortable victory over Crewe at Fratton Park.

The visitors saw the majority of the ball, but it was the Blues who were deadly in front of goal to secure the points.

Ronan Curtis bagged a brace before the break, with his second strike the result of some terrible defending.

Tom Naylor scored his third goal in as many appearances early in the second half and the prolific John Marquis was also on target before Oli Finney grabbed a late consolation from the spot.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew at Plymouth in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday night.

Haji Mnoga came in for his full league debut, while Curtis returned from Republic of Ireland international duty.

There were also starts for Jack Whatmough and Ellis Harrison, as Callum Johnson, Rasmus Nicolaisen and Ben Close dropped to the bench, with Ryan Williams missing out through injury.

It was the visitors who dominated possession in the first half, but Pompey were more assured at the back and more clinical at the other end.

Craig MacGillivray – making his 100th appearance for the club – was called into action in the early stages, making a fine stop to deny Finney.

Skipper Naylor then made a well-timed challenge inside the area to stop Tom Lowery getting a shot away.

The Blues had not really threatened at the other end, but were celebrating taking the lead on 15 minutes.

CURTIS swapped passes with Marquis and scuffed his shot, but that took the ball past the grasp of Will Jääskeläinen and into the bottom corner of the net.

Crewe will wonder how they were not level just moments later after Harry Pickering cut back for Finney.

His goal-bound effort was blocked by Sean Raggett and MacGillivray somehow prevented Daniel Powell from converting the loose ball.

A fine John Marquis back-heel then started a quick counter and the striker received a pass back via Curtis and Marcus Harness, but fired wide.

Offrande Zanzala went close at the other end, with his header from a Lowery free-kick deflected behind off Jack Whatmough.

And Pompey were then gifted a second goal by their opponents late in the first half, as Crewe tried to play the ball across their defence.

Omar Beckles took a poor touch and Curtis took advantage to burst clear, being fouled first by the defender and then Jääskeläinen.

But referee James Oldham played the advantage and CURTIS was able to poke the ball over the line, despite the best efforts of Luke Offord to clear.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Crewe Alexandra 0


Jackett made a double switch at the break and replaced both his full-backs, as Mnoga and Cam Pring made way for Johnson and Lee Brown.

And the hosts almost add a third goal soon after the restart, with Sean Raggett’s header cleared from the line by Finney and Perry Ng then getting the ball to safety.

But they did extend their advantage on 50 minutes, as Harness’ cross was only cleared as far as NAYLOR, who guided the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The Blues were well on top now and Curtis started a quick counter-attack, with Harrison sliding a pass across the box and Marquis’ cushioned effort rolling agonisingly past the post.

So it came as no surprise that a fourth goal arrived before the hour mark, although the hosts did get the rub of the green.

Crewe were – rightly – arguing that a throw should have been awarded in their favour, but a quick-thinking Harrison took it quickly and found Curtis.

He cut inside and drew a smart stop from Jääskeläinen, with Marquis hammering the loose ball against the crossbar.

But it bounced straight back towards League One’s top scorer and MARQUIS made no mistake with his header.

Crewe kept battling and MacGillivray did well to tip over Olly Lancashire’s header, not realising the defender had been flagged offside.

They brought Callum Ainley off the bench and he almost reduced the deficit, courtesy of a fierce effort that rattled the post.

Both sides were still looking to get forward when possible, although Harness and Harrison were given deserved rests for the closing stages, as Bryn Morris and Jordy Hiwula entered the fray.

Ainley sent a shot flashing narrowly wide in stoppage-time and Crewe did manage to score a late consolation.

Brown was rather harshly penalised when the ball struck his arm from point-blank range and Finney converted from the spot.

It meant the hosts were unable to add a clean sheet to their three-point haul, but it was still a convincing win for Pompey.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Mnoga (Johnson 46), Whatmough, Raggett, Pring (Brown 46); Harness (Morris 82), Naylor (c), Cannon, Curtis; Marquis, Harrison (Hiwula 87)
Goals: Curtis 15, 40, Naylor 50, Marquis 56
Booked: Cannon, Harrison
Subs not used: Bass, Nicolaisen, Close

Crewe (4-1-4-1): Jääskeläinen; Ng (c), Beckles (Lancashire 46), Offord, Pickering; Wintle (Ainley 66); Powell (Dale 59), Lowery (Murphy 59), Finney, Kirk; Zanzala (Griffiths 90)
Goals: Finney 90+4 (pen)
Booked: Ng
Subs not used: Richards, Johnson

Referee: James Oldham

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21

Nov 162020
 

League 1




Pompey were denied third spot in the League One standings after being held to a draw at Plymouth.

They were poor in the first half and an unfortunate own-goal from Sean Raggett meant they were trailing at the break.

But they completely turned things around in the space of three minutes following the restart, courtesy of John Marquis’ penalty and a fine Tom Naylor finish.

The Blues were unable to become the first side to leave Devon with all three points, however, as Jerome Opoku hit an Argyle equaliser.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that had beaten Ipswich in the FA Cup nine days earlier.

Ben Close – who scored in Pompey’s last trip to Home Park – came in for Ronan Curtis, who was away on Republic of Ireland international duty.

Andy Cannon, Naylor and Raggett had all been doubts ahead of kick-off, but the trio were passed fit to feature.

There was also a welcome return to the bench for Jack Whatmough, who had been missing since the end of October with a hamstring injury.

It was battle between the sides with best home and away records in League One respectively, but the men from Devon made the brighter start.

Ryan Hardie raced onto a pass from Kell Watts and was able to beat Craig MacGillivray to the ball, only for the keeper to recover well and deny the striker.

Watts then did well at the other end to prevent dangerous deliveries from Ryan Williams and Callum Johnson reaching their intended targets.

But Plymouth broke the deadlock on 11 minutes, with Raggett the unfortunate man to be credited with the goal.

The defender had to try to stop Hardie converting Frank Nouble’s pass and could only tun the ball into his own net.

Pompey were seeing plenty of possession and getting into some dangerous areas, although a final key pass or shot proved elusive.

One good example was when Cannon showed some neat footwork to beat Panutche Camara and play a one-two with Marquis, but could not force his way past the last defender.

A sloppy pass from Rasmus Nicolaisen then allowed Camera to find Nouble, who found space and forced a fine stop from MacGillivray.

The Blues continued to push forward and try to find a route through the Arglye back-line, but Michael Cooper was not being forced into action.

Their best opening came in stoppage-time, with Williams not quite able to bring Cam Pring’s cross under control and seeing the ball bounce off him and fly wide.


Half Time

Plymouth Argyle 1

Portsmouth 0


Jackett made a double switch at the break, with Whatmough and Ellis Harrison on to replace Nicolaisen and Close.

But it was Plymouth who were first to threaten following the restart and they will be left wondering quite how the ball stayed out of the net.

MacGillivray got down to parry away Danny Mayor’s attempt and it seemed certain that Hardie would convert the loose ball, only for Pring to make a brilliant block.

Harrison then dived forward to try to meet Harness’ delivery from the right, but could not quite make contact.

And when the substitute was fouled by Tyrese Fornah, a Marquis free-kick cannoned back off the wall and the same players follow-up flashed past the post.

Then, when Williams’ cross was only partially cleared, a fierce Naylor strike had to be tipped over by Cooper.

But the Blues were level just past the hour mark when Watts battled with Whatmough to reach a cross and the ball struck his outstretched arm.

Referee Charles Breakspear had no choice but to point to the spot and MARQUIS confidently converted the penalty.

And the game was flipped on its head a few moments later when the Pilgrims defence failed to deal with Cannon’s cross.

The ball found NAYLOR on the edge of the box and the skipper expertly drilled it right into the bottom corner.

But it was then Plymouth’s turn to hit back on 78 minutes when they won a free-kick wide on the left.

MacGillivray was unable to claim George Cooper’s delivery, allowing Dom Telford to nod the ball back and leave Opoku with a simple finish.

With the game so delicately poised it was little surprise that tempers became frayed and both Naylor and Ben Reeves were booked for a spot of mutual shoving.

A knock from Williams then saw Haji Mnoga brought on for the final few minutes, which passed by without either side able to find a winner.

Plymouth (3-5-2): M.Cooper; Aimson, Opoku, Watts; Edwards (c), Camara (Reeves 84), Fornah (Grant 67), Mayor, G.Cooper; Nouble, Hardie (Telford 63)
Goals: Raggett 11 (og), Opoku 78
Booked: Opoku, Reeves
Subs not used: McCormick, Wootton, Canavan, Abraham

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Raggett, Nicolaisen (Whatmough 46), Pring; Naylor (c), Close (Harrison 46); Harness, Williams (Mnoga 90), Cannon; Marquis
Goals: Marquis 63 (pen), Naylor 65
Booked: Marquis, Cannon, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Morris, Hiwula

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Portsmouth FC

Nov 032020
 

League 1




John Marquis bagged a brace to ensure Pompey maintained their excellent away record with a convincing win at Lincoln.

The striker was teed-up by Marcus Harness in the fifth minute of each half to give the visitors a commanding lead.

There were a hatful of chances for the Blues to extend their advantage and Ronan Curtis duly took one of them before Tom Hopper grabbed an Imps consolation.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten on home soil by Charlton at the weekend.

It was an enforced one, as Jack Whatmough’s hamstring injury presented Rasmus Nicolaisen with a first League One start.

But the Blues boss was forced to make a further switch when Lee Brown also hurt his hamstring in the warm-up.

Cam Pring was elevated from the bench to the left-back berth, with Alfie Stanley taking his spot among the substitutes.

But the late alteration did not seem to affect the visitors, who got the contest of to a blistering opening.

Harness slipped a neat pass through to Ryan Williams, whose low drive was saved by Imps keeper Alex Palmer on four minutes.

And the duo were involved again when the deadlock was broken in Pompey’s favour just a few moments later.

They combined to find MARQUIS in the box, with the striker cutting onto his right foot and curling home a sumptuous finish.

In truth, though, there were not abundance of clear-cut opportunities at either end of the pitch in the first half.

The Blues were showcasing some patient passing build-up play, but a final killer ball was lacking as they went in search of a second goal.

Lincoln grew into the contest and when Craig MacGillivray could only punch away a corner, Tom Naylor threw himself into the path of Sean Roughan’s shot.

Robbie Gotts then tried a long-range curling effort that flew safely into the hands of the Blues keeper.

Nicolaisen was proving a composed presence in the back-line and made one fine sliding challenge to dispossess Brennan Johnson.

Pompey picked up the pace as the interval drew close, but when Williams cut the ball back for Naylor, the skipper’s strike was bravely blocked by Adam Jackson.


Half Time

Lincoln City 0

Portsmouth 1


The visitors were quickly out of the traps when the action resumed and Curtis hit a 25-yard effort that dipped not too far over the bar.

And the lead was soon doubled when Harness curled a superb delivery into the box and Palmer could not get enough of a hand on MARQUIS’ header to stop it finding the net.

Things might have got even better for the Blues, but Williams was unable to beat Palmer from an acute angle.

The chances kept coming and the Australian winger stooped to meet Callum Johnson’s cross, but glanced his header wide.

Pring then cut the ball back for Harness, whose fierce drilled effort was deflected narrowly past the post.

Pompey were rampant and looking dangerous with every attack, as Williams collected a threaded Curtis pass and rounded Palmer.

He then fired the ball across the face of goal, where Marquis – sensing a hat-trick – dived in, but could not quite make contact.

But a third goal did arrive just past the hour mark, with CURTIS on hand to drill home when Palmer saved Williams’ initial effort.

That failed to dampen their attacking enthusiasm, though, and Palmer had to be at his best to keep out a header from the lively Williams.

But Lincoln had a lifeline on 73 minutes when Hopper headed in a Harry Anderson delivery from a few yards out.

Jackett soon decided to make a substitution, shoring up Pompey’s midfield by replacing Curtis with Ben Close.

The visitors were still posing a threat and when the newcomer chested the ball down, Williams’ effort was deflected narrowly wide.

Jackett was able to use all his changes as the minutes ticked down, with Bryn Morris and Haji Mnoga both getting time on the pitch – the latter making his league debut.

And Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease, as they continued to enjoy life on the road.

Lincoln (4-3-3): Palmer; Gotts (Anderson 63), Eyoma, Jackson, Roughan; Jones (Archibald 82), Grant, McGrandles; Scully, Hopper, Johnson
Goals: Hopper 73
Booked: Grant
Subs not used: Ross, Melbourne, Elbouzedi, Edun, Howarth

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Raggett, Nicolaisen, Pring; Naylor (c) (Morris 81), Cannon; Harness (Mnoga 89), Williams, Curtis (Close 75); Marquis
Goals: Marquis 5, 50, Curtis 61
Booked: Curtis, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Pring, Hiwula, Harrison

Referee: Carl Brook

Portsmouth FC

Oct 272020
 

League 1




Pompey showed they can perform at home as well as on the road by dismantling Northampton at Fratton Park.

John Marquis continued his fine run of goalscoring form by breaking the deadlock late in the first half.

And the Blues survived a scare immediately after the interval to double their advantage through the same player.

Ronan Curtis – recalled to the side – then raced clear to curl home a third goal and end the match as a contest.

But there was still time for Marcus Harness to head home his seventh of the season in the closing stages.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that impressively dismantled Sunderland at the weekend.

Michael Jacobs injured his knee at the Stadium of Light, so Republic of Ireland international Curtis replaced him wide on the left.

The game began at a frantic pace, with the action constantly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.

But both sides were lacking that all-important killer pass, with attacking moves often breaking down in the final third.

Northampton should have broken the deadlock on 16 minutes after some great work by Ryan Watson.

But after skipping past a couple of challenges with graceful ease, the forward undid his good work by screwing horribly wide.

Pompey then had their first decent opportunity, breaking quickly through Andy Cannon, Harness and Curtis, with Marquis’ angled effort deflected behind.

Neither keeper was being given too much to keep them warm on a chilly south coast evening, though.

But when Jonathan Mitchell was called into action on 39 minutes, he could not prevent the hosts taking the lead.

The stopper was only able to parry Ryan Williams’ low curling effort straight out in front of him, with the ball hitting MARQUIS and taking a slight deflection off Cian Bolger on its way into the net.

And the advantage was almost doubled just a few moments later, with Marquis not getting enough on his shot after being played through by the dangerous Harness.

Pompey were definitely finishing the half on top and when Cannon tried to launch a break, he was pulled back by scruff of the neck by Bolger.

It was as blatant a foul as you could possible see, with referee Trevor Kettle brandishing his first yellow card of the evening.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Northampton Town 0


The second half was not even two minutes old when the Cobblers were handed an excellent chance to level.

A heavy touch from Sean Raggett let in Sam Hoskins and the visitors felt he was fouled by the defender.

But the ball ran free for Ricky Korboa and when his shot was beaten away by Craig MacGillivray, the follow-up from Watson had to be headed away by a well-placed Jack Whatmough.

And Pompey made them pay for their profligacy by scoring twice in quick succession to gain a commanding lead.

Callum Johnson got free down the right and picked out Curtis, whose header was finely saved by Mitchell, only for MARQUIS to bundle the ball over the line.

It soon got even better for the Blues, as CURTIS was given time to advance forward and bend a shot into the bottom corner.

The visitors tried to hit back and a free-kick from debutant Alan Sheehan was brilliantly repelled by an athletic MacGillivray stop.

Both sides looked capable of adding to the scoring, although the action did calm down a bit as the half progressed.

Pompey looked to shore things up, with Harness going out to the right and Williams tucking in behind Marquis.

And the lively Harness was next to go close, cutting in from the flank and dragging narrowly past the post.

But HARNESS did have the goal his performance deserved late on, stooping to nod into the net when Cannon lifted the ball into the centre from the by-line.

Sam Hoskins sent a shot dipping over the bar as Northampton sought a consolation, but the Blues were able to add a clean sheet to their fine attacking display.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Williams (Morris 90+2), Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 90), Curtis; Marquis, Harness
Goals: Marquis 39, 47, Curtis 50, Harness 83
Booked: Williams, Harness
Subs not used: Bass, Mnoga, Nicolaisen, Pring, Hiwula

Northampton (3-4-3): Mitchell; Bolger (c), Sheehan (Martin 78), Horsfall; Hoskins, Sowerby, Missilou (Rose 58), Harriman; Watson, Smith, Korboa (Chukwuemeka 66)
Booked: Bolger
Subs not used: Arnold, Racic, Adams, Marshall

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Portsmouth FC

Oct 242020
 

League 1




Pompey continued their impressive record on the road by inflicting a first League One defeat of the season on Sunderland.

Marcus Harness’ opener was soon cancelled out by Charlie Wyke, but John Marquis restored the lead midway through the first half.

And it was Marquis who wrapped the points up from the spot on Wearside after Luke O’Nien had been sent off for a foul on Ryan Williams.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that eased to victory at Gillingham earlier in the week, with new signing Jordy Hiwula named among the substitutes.

And Pompey got off to a blistering start, looking threatening in the opening stages and deservedly breaking the deadlock on seven minutes.

Williams collected Callum Johnson’s throw and his pass was wisely left by Marquis for Michael Jacobs.

The summer signing fed the ball to HARNESS, who neatly slotted home his second goal in as many games at the Stadium of Light.

But the celebrations were soon cut short, as Denver Hume cut the ball back for Wyke to drill in an immediate equaliser.

The visitors were still looking dangerous going forward, though, and twice came close to restoring their lead from free-kicks.

They were both taken by Jacobs, with the first being met by a firm header from Sean Raggett that forced Lee Burge to make a fine save.

And the second was a shot that was thundering towards the roof of the net before the Black Cats keeper tipped it over.

A foul from Williams then led to some pushing and shoving on the sidelines, resulting in a yellow card for the winger.

But the Blues were back in front on 25 minutes after Harness had intercepted a loose Grant Leadbitter pass.

He threaded the ball through to MARQUIS, who calmly angled a shot right into the bottom corner of the net.

Some more dangerous deliveries from Harness and Lee Brown caused problems in the Sunderland area.

A quick break then saw Brown find Harness on the left and he cut inside before bending an effort off target.


Half Time

Sunderland 1

Portsmouth 2


Pompey had impressed before the break, but looked nervy at the back once the action restarted following the interval.

They struggled to deal with a couple of balls into the box, while a Hume cross was then glanced wide by Wyke.

And the visitors were dealt a blow when Jacobs was forced off injured 10 minutes into the second half.

He had initially tried to continue after receiving some treatment on the pitch, but eventually trudged off to be replaced by Ronan Curtis.

The Blues had not really threatened to add to their lead, although Williams saw a shot blocked following good work between Brown and Andy Cannon.

And the winger’s quick break up the pitch was then crudely ended by O’Nien, earning the defender a booking.

Harness soon skipped past a couple of challenges and found Brown, but the was a defender immediately on the left-back to deny him a shot.

At the other end, Tom Naylor and Cannon were unable to stop Hume’s mazy run, only for Raggett to prove an unbeatable obstacle.

Some patient build-up play from Pompey then resulted in Marquis converting a pin-point Callum Johnson delivery, only for the striker’s joy to be cut short by an offside flag.

But they were given a chance to wrap up the points when Williams burst into the box and was brought down by O’Nien.

Referee Robert Lewis pointed straight to the spot and showed the perpetrator his second yellow card of the afternoon, followed by a red.

MARQUIS stepped up to take the penalty, coolly sending Burge the wrong way to double his personal tally for the day.

And it almost got even better, with Harness’ effort beaten away by Burge, who then stopped Marquis from forcing home late on.

Sunderland (3-5-2): Burge; Willis, Wright, O’Nien; Gooch, Scowen (Grigg 70), Leadbitter (Graham 82), Power (c), Hume; Maguire, Wyke
Goals: Wyke 10
Sent off: O’Nien (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Matthews, McLaughlin, Flanagan, Dobson, O’Brien

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Williams, Naylor (c), Cannon, Jacobs (Curtis 55); Harness (Nicolaisen 89), Marquis
Goals: Harness 7, Marquis 25, 85 (pen)
Booked: Williams, Johnson
Subs not used: Bass, Pring, Morris, Close, Hiwula

Referee: Robert Lewis

Portsmouth FC

Oct 202020
 

League 1




Pompey roared back to winning ways in style with a comfortable – and confident – success against Gillingham at Priestfield.

Both goals arrived in the space of a few first half minutes, with John Marquis stroking home the opener.

And Michael Jacobs then finished off a flowing counter-attack to score his first goal since his summer arrival.

The margin of victory might have been even greater had it not been for the woodwork and some fine Jack Bonham saves.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten by Doncaster on home soil at the weekend.

Marquis came in for the injured Ellis Harrison, partnering Marcus Harness up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

Meanwhile, Ronan Curtis and Ben Close dropped to the bench to make way for Jacobs and Ryan Williams.

With Pompey one striker light, third year scholar Alfie Stanley was handed a place among the substitutes.

Both sides looked to get forward in the opening stages – perhaps inspired by the artificial crowd noise being pumped out over the public address system.

Gillingham had a couple of dangerous free-kicks, with Tom O’Connor sending one past the post and Jacob Mellis firing the other into the arms of Craig MacGillivray.

But the hosts were left stunned by a couple of impressive goals in quick succession from their clinical opponents.

The first saw Williams send a neat back-heel into the path of MARQUIS, who ran along the edge of the box before passing the ball neatly into the net.

And the advantage was soon doubled, courtesy of a lightning quick breakaway from the visitors that caught the Gills flat-footed.

Marquis held the ball up well before laying it off for Harness, who immediately played a perfect cross-field pass.

JACOBS was the recipient and he raced through on goal, holding off a challenge before firing home to open his Blues account.

Gillingham tried to hit back and Jordan Graham’s free-kick from the left was nodded narrowly over by Vadaine Oliver.

Graham then had a chance of his own, but could not quite keep his effort down after doing well to find space in the box.

But Pompey almost found a third goal just before the break, with Tom Naylor stooping to meet Williams’ cross and glancing a header against the post.


Half Time

Gillingham 0

Portsmouth 2


And the visitors went close again soon after the restart, when Jacobs cut inside from the left and drew a save from Bonham with his angled drive.

The ball then ran kindly for Williams, only for Declan Drysdale to dive in front of the Australian’s strike and divert it behind.

Callum Johnson and Harness soon combined well down the right, with the latter’s cut-back fired over by Jacobs.

Gillingham needed an inspiration and brought on John Akinde, who had a goalless spell at Fratton Park in 2013.

And they tried to take advantage of a cheap turnover on 58 minutes, with O’Connor’s shot deflected behind by Naylor.

There was another hairy moment a few minutes later, with Lee Brown trying to nod the ball back to MacGillivray and instead sending it inches past his own post.

But the Blues had a great opportunity to wrap things up when Williams lifted a fine delivery into the centre, where Marquis rose and headed off target.

Harness then raced onto a long ball over the head of Christian Maghoma and took a brilliant touch to send him through on goal, only for Bonham to make a key save with his feet.

Jackett freshened things up with a double substitution on 74 minutes, as Close and Curtis replaced Andy Cannon and Harness.

And Curtis immediately showcased some tricky footwork to get into the box, where a spot of pinball ensued before the visitors conceded a foul as they tried to force the ball into the net.

Gillingham came close to setting up a nervy finale, but MacGillivray saved Josh Eccles’ firmly-struk effort and Johnson mopped up the danger.

And Pompey also dealt with some dangerous deliveries into the box to see out the final few moments and seal all three points.

Gillingham (4-2-3-1): Bonham; Jackson (c), Maghoma, Drysdale, Ogilvie; Eccles, O’Connor; Samuel (Akinde 55), Mellis, Graham; Oliver (MacDonald 85)
Booked: Graham
Subs not used: Walsh, Tucker, McKenzie, Robertson, Coyle

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Williams, Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 74), Jacobs (Pring 90+2); Harness (Curtis 74), Marquis
Goals: Marquis 14, Jacobs 17
Booked: Johnson, Marquis
Subs not used: Bass, Nicolaisen, Morris, Stanley

Referee: David Rock

Portsmouth FC

Oct 062020
 

ELF Trophy




Pompey eased to a comfortable victory at Southend to book their place in the EFL Trophy knockout stages with a game to spare.

John Marquis opened the scoring from the penalty spot, while Ronan Curtis added a goal in each half to secure all three points.

It means that next month’s Fratton contest against West Ham’s youngsters will merely decide who claims top spot in Southern Group A.

Kenny Jackett made 10 changes from the side that had beaten Burton in League One at the weekend.

Ryan Williams was the only player to keep his place in the starting line-up, with Rasmus Nicolaisen handed his debut at the heart of a three-man defence.

Alex Bass returned between the sticks, while Ben Close was handed the captain’s armband in Tom Naylor’s absence.

The other men handed a chance to impress were Haji Mnoga, James Bolton, Paul Downing, Cam Pring, Andy Cannon, Curtis and Marquis.

Despite all the alterations, the visitors looked bright from the beginning and created several early opportunities.

Williams dragged a shot narrowly wide from an acute angle, while Nicolaisen could not keep the ball down when he met Pring’s corner.

The former had another chance following a quick Blues break up the pitch, but was this time denied by Shrimpers stopper Mark Oxley.

And Pompey did break the deadlock midway through the first half following a clear foul on Mnoga by Tom Clifford.

Referee Paul Howard pointed straight to the spot and MARQUIS stepped up to calmly send Oxley the wrong way from 12 yards.

Southend had barely threatened, although Timothee Dieng should have done better than send his close-range header straight at Bass.

Matt Rush was then booked for a late challenge on Bass when the two raced to reach a loose ball first.

Oxley came to the rescue once more on 37 minutes, denying Marquis with his legs after Williams had stolen possession and slipped a pass across to the striker.

But he could do nothing to prevent the hosts falling further behind moments later, with a 25-yard CURTIS strike taking a wicked deflection off Richard Taylor to deceive the keeper.

There were more chances before the break, although Mnoga blazed one over the bar, while a rocket from Curtis flew just too high in stoppage-time.


Half Time

Southend United 0

Portsmouth 2


Pompey began where they had left off following the restart and Curtis hit a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

The visitors were then forced into a change when Lewis Gard went down injured and had to be stretchered from the pitch.

With the Blues coasting, however, the action was undoubtedly less intense and Bass was largely enjoying a watching brief.

There was a dangerous attack launched by Terrell Egbri, only for a perfectly-timed Mnoga challenge to stop him in his path.

Nicolaisen livened things up just past the hour by meeting Cannon’s corner with a firm header, but Oxley made a super stop to deny the Dane a debut goal.

Bass then appeared to tip over a header from Harry Kyprianou, although Howard infuriated the home side by failing to award a corner.

The visitors were still looking more likely to add to the scoring, however, and they duly wrapped things up on 77 minutes.

It was a fine solo effort from CURTIS, who was afforded space to surge forward before depositing a long-range strike into the bottom corner of Oxley’s net.

That was his last piece of meaningful action, as – perhaps with Saturday in mind – he was soon replaced by Callum Johnson.

And the closing stages passed by without much incident, as Pompey’s fine record in the EFL Trophy continued.

Southend (4-4-2): Oxley (c); Hobson, Dieng (K.Coker 46), Taylor, Clifford; Egbri, Gard (O.Coker 52), Phillips, Kyprianou; Acquah (Nathaniel-George 74), Rush
Booked: Rush, Taylor
Sub not used: Seaden

Pompey (3-4-3): Bass; Bolton, Dowing, Nicolaisen; Mnoga, Close (c), Cannon, Pring; Williams (Morris 88), Marquis, Curtis (Johnson 80)
Goals: Marquis 21 (pen), Curtis 40, 77
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Raggett, Jacobs, Harness, Harrison

Referee: Paul Howard

Portsmouth FC

Aug 292020
 


WON (A) Carabao Cup 1
Stevenage 3   
Portsmouth 3 (p)


Craig MacGillivray was the penalty hero for Pompey, as they fought from behind to win at Stevenage and reach the second round of the Carabao Cup.

Elliot List and Charlie Carter took advantage of some extremely sloppy defending to give Stevenage a commanding lead in the opening 10 minutes.

Ronan Curtis reduced the deficit, but again Pompey were their own worst enemy to allow Scott Cuthbert to score.

But Gareth Evans converted from the spot on the stroke of half-time and, in a much-improved display following the interval, John Marquis emphatically levelled.

The tie went to a penalty shoot-out and substitute MacGillivray saved three of the hosts’ four efforts to ensure the Blues progressed.

Kenny Jackett named a strong squad for the opening game of the 2020/21 campaign, with skipper Tom Naylor returning to the side following his play-off absence.

There was room on the bench for a couple of talented youngsters, though, with teenagers Haji Mnoga and Alfie Stanley both included.

The players and coaching staff from both sides – as well as the officials – all took the knee before kick-off in a show of support for the fight against racism.

It did not feel like August at an eerily quiet Broadhall Way, with the rain falling and temperature unseasonably low.

And Pompey were certainly caught cold in the opening stages, with two pieces of dreadful defending gifting their opponents goals.

Sean Raggett was caught out by a Luke Prosser pass on nine minutes, allowing a gleeful List to nip in and slot home.

And it got worse just a few seconds later following a dreadful mix-up between Paul Downing and Alex Bass.

But there were still several chances for the visitors to get the ball clear before it ricocheted into the path of Carter to score.

Pompey almost grabbed an immediate lifeline when Evans delivered a cross from the right, only for Jamie Cumming to make two fine saves in quick succession to deny Marquis and Curtis.

But the deficit was reduced midway through the first half, as Raggett and Lee Brown combined well down the left.

The latter slipped a pass across to CURTIS, who cut onto his right foot and curled a precise shot into the net.

With the ground closed for supporters from both sides, there was still the familiar sound of a cowbell outside the ground.

Even that was failing to lift the Blues, though, who continued to lack much cohesion in their forward play.

And they were still looking nervy at the back, with another defensive error restoring Boro’s two-goal advantage.

Bass punched a corner straight up into the air and an almighty scramble followed before the ball landed for Cuthbert to poke over the line.

Pompey tried to fight back and Raggett was at least showing desire, with a crunching – yet fair – challenge on List.

Evans perhaps showed a bit too much just before the break, though, and his foul on Carter was punished with a yellow card.

But the same player pulled one back for the Blues from the penalty spot right at the end of the first half.

Ben Coker was punished for handling Marquis’ shot in the box following some tricky play from Marcus Harness.

It was the reliable EVANS who was entrusted with converting from 12 yards and he calmly sent Cumming the wrong way.


Half Time

Stevenage 3

Portsmouth 2


There was probably no surprise that Jackett decided to make a change at the back during the break and it was Bass who was withdrawn for MacGillivray.

His first piece of action was to watch on nervously as Carter’s effort was dragged narrowly past the post.

But the Blues were a lot brighter and they found themselves impressively back on level terms on 51 minutes.

Curtis delivered a first-time pass to MARQUIS, who raced onto the ball and hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net.

Pompey looked like a different team, as they started to dictate the tempo of the game and get forward down the left.

And when Harness collected Evans’ pass and lifted a cross into the area, Curtis met the ball with a volley that was well saved by the busy Cumming.

Bryn Morris was unable to test the keeper soon after, blazing high over the bar after an initial Curtis effort was blocked.

Jackett brought on some fresh attacking legs on 76 minutes, with Andy Cannon and Ryan Williams replacing Evans and Harness.

And when Cannon was brought down on the edge of the box, it almost led to the Blues taking the lead for the first time.

Brown played a clever free-kick through to Curtis, whose angled drive was pushed against the post by Cumming.

Penalties were looming, but Danny Newton came close to a stoppage-time winner for the hosts, bursting into the box and forcing MacGillivray into action at the keeper’s near post.

Full Time: Stevenage 3 Pompey 3

Both sides scored their first penalties, with Inih Effiong on target for Stevenage and Marquis quickly levelling.

But then MacGillivray took control and made three fine saves to deny Newton, Elliot Osborne and Coker.

The last of those sealed a 3-1 shoot-out triumph after Curtis and Brown had both converted their spot-kicks in style.

Stevenage (4-3-3): Cumming; James-Wildin, Cuthbert (c), Prosser, Coker; Osborne, Vincelot (Newton 64), Carter; List (Hutton 79), Effiong, Marsh (Akinwande 53)
Goals: List 9, Carter 10, Cuthbert 29
Subs not used: Johnson, Smith, Marshall, Dinanga

Pompey (4-3-3): Bass (MacGillivray 46); Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Evans (Cannon 76), Naylor (c), Morris; Harness (Williams 76), Marquis, Curtis
Goals: Curtis 21, Evans (pen) 45+2, Marquis 51
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Mnoga, Whatmough, Close, Stanley

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Portsmouth FC Season 20/21