Apr 132019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 4 1 Rochdale

Pompey breathed new life into the League One promotion race with a convincing 4-1 victory over struggling Rochdale.

And with rivals Sunderland losing to Coventry in a nine-goal thriller, it means the sides – along with Barnsley – bunched even tighter in the table.

Oli Hawkins headed the opener at a packed Fratton Park, with Brett Pitman adding a penalty just before the break.

Aaron Wilbraham raised hopes of a Dale comeback early in the second half, but Evans came off the bench to calm fears before Jamal Lowe wrapped up a sixth successive win.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Wycombe seven days earlier.

A fully-fit Ronan Curtis replaced Evans wide on the left, while Louis Dennis’ goal for the reserves earlier in the week saw him named among the substitutes.

The hosts started brightly in the spring sunshine and looked to get at their opponents right from the off.

Lowe was unable to force the ball home from a tight angle, while a cross from Curtis was just too high for Hawkins.

But as the sun went behind the clouds, Pompey also faded slightly and when Craig MacGillivray failed to hold a Callum Camps corner, Tom Naylor was forced to hack clear.

Matt Done then sent a dangerous delivery into the mixer, although a well-placed Ian Henderson headed it wide.

The Blues soon picked things up, however, and Hawkins should have done better than divert Lee Brown’s free-kick into the arms of a grateful Josh Lillis.

But HAWKINS did find the target midway through the first half, arriving at the near post to firmly head home Lowe’s cross.

Lowe might have doubled the advantage moments later, only for Lillis to come racing from his line to make the save.

Rochdale then had an opportunity of his own, when Wilbraham beat MacGillivray to a Christian Burgess pass, but could not beat the keeper.

It was the Blues looking the more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Hawkins nodded narrowly over after meeting Brown’s delivery.

He then saw another header saved by Lillis, while Ben Close had an attempt blocked as the hosts continued to apply pressure.

And it paid off just before the break when Nathan Thompson collected Lowe’s threaded pass and was crudely brought down in the box by Ethan Ebanks-Landell.

Referee Lee Swabey had no choice but to point to the spot and PITMAN calmly sent Lillis the wrong way to give Pompey a commanding interval lead.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rochdale 0


The visitors looked brighter immediately following the restart, although Jim McNulty’s header was never going to prove much of a test for MacGillivray.

But Pompey were still looking dangerous going forward themselves and were causing plenty of problems for Dale to deal with.

One attack actually led to a goal for the opposition, however, with a quick break up the pitch ending with Done squaring for Wilbraham to slot into the net.

Pompey immediately looked to hit back and a long-range curling effort from Pitman was pushed behind by Lilllis.

The resulting corner almost provided a goal, with Burgess nodding it into the mixer and – in a sea of bodies – the ball eventually being hacked clear.

Jackett soon made a substitution, with Curtis – who had been quiet on the left – making way for Evans.

And it was EVANS who restored the two-goal lead just past the hour mark, nodding home from a few yards out after Lowe had lifted the ball into the centre.

Pompey were searching for a more convincing scoreline and a Brown cross was just out of reach for Lowe, while a rushed Hawkins effort was comfortable for Lillis.

They were starting to sit a bit too deep in the closing stages, though, and Jackett tried to add fresh impetus by replacing Hawkins with Omar Bogle.

But it was a Rochdale sub who had a chance to score moments later, although Bradden Inman slipped as he got his shot away and MacGillivray saved low to his left.

And Pompey immediately wrapped things up at the other end, as LOWE collected Matt Clarke’s long pass, held off one challenge and got past Lillis before firing the ball into the net.

Jackett’s final change saw Bryn Morris come on for Pitman, although it was fellow substitute Bogle whose effort had to be clawed away by Lillis.

Brown should have given the scoreline an added gloss late on, but glanced Lowe’s delivery wide with the goal gaping.

It mattered not, however, as Pompey had comfortably done enough to extend their winning run and move to within two points of second place.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Morris 82), Curtis (Evans 57); Hawkins (Bogle 76)
Goals: Hawkins 21, Pitman 45+1 (pen), Evans 62, Lowe 79
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Dennis

Rochdale (4-2-3-1): Lillis; McLaughlin, Ebanks-Landell, McNulty, Bunney (MJ Williams 67); Camps, Hamilton; Done (Inman 75), Henderson (c), Rathbone (Clough 80); Wilbraham
Goals: Wilbraham 54
Booked: Wilbraham, Ebanks-Landell, Bunney
Subs not used: Wade, Keohane, Dooley, Andrew

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,197 (188 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Apr 062019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Wycombe Wanderers 2 3 Portsmouth

There was no Wembley hangover for Pompey, as they kept themselves in the automatic promotion hunt with victory at Wycombe.

They dominated most of the contest, with Jamal Lowe’s early finish added to by a Brett Pitman goal just after the interval.

Marcus Bean controversially reduced the deficit for the Chairboys, only for a fine free-kick from Pitman to restore the Blues’ commanding advantage.

A super strike from Scott Kashket ensured a nervy end to proceedings, but the visitors held on to secure the points.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that beat Sunderland to lift the Checkatrade Trophy the previous week.

Oli Hawkins – who had struck the winning penalty in the shoot-out – was rewarded with a start, with Gareth Evans also returning, as Omar Bogle and Ronan Curtis dropped to the bench.

There were plenty of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Blues academy graduate Paris Cowan-Hall joining former Fratton loanees Ryan Allsop and Bean in the Wanderers team.

Pompey came racing out of the traps and won a series of early corners that kept the home defence on their toes.

The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession and territorial advantage, without being able to test Allsop between the sticks.

Pitman did well to race past Dominic Gape down the right and square for Lowe, who spun sharply and curled a shot over.

Another neat move saw Hawkins find Lowe with a cross-field pass and the winger laid the ball off for Pitman to fire just off target.

Allsop was then called into action for the first time, although was not overly troubled by a drilled effort from Lee Brown.

He could do nothing to stop Pompey from taking the lead on 18 minutes, however, as they finally made their pressure count.

A free-kick from Evans was not properly dealt with and when Matt Clarke lifted the ball back into the box, LOWE was there to drill it through a sea of bodies and into the net.

They did not sit back on their lead, though, and a shot from Ben Close was blocked after Tom Naylor had stolen possession.

Wycombe had offered little at the other end of the pitch, but had two great chances to level before the break.

The first opportunity came from a 25-yard free-kick after Alex Samuel had been fouled by Christian Burgess and Craig MacGillivray flung himself to the left to push behind Jason McCarthy’s attempt.

And the keeper made another fine save moments later, this time to keep out a fierce strike from Cowan-Hall.

But Pompey might have extended their advantage in stoppage-time, as Clarke teed-up Lowe for a curling shot that was well saved by Allsop.


Half Time

Wycombe Wanderers 0

Portsmouth 1


A second goal did arrive just 27 seconds after the restart, however, as Evans played a dangerous ball down the middle.

Anthony Stewart looked like he would deal with it, but PITMAN nipped in to steal the ball and confidently slot it home.

Rather then dent Wycombe’s confidence, though, it seemed to spark them into life and the hosts suddenly enjoyed a spell of pressure.

And they made the most of it by reducing the deficit through Bean’s close-range finish, although referee John Busby had a lengthy discussion with his assistant before allowing the goal to stand.

The Blues were adamant that the midfielder had been in an offside position, although the official seemed to think the ball had come off a white-shirted player.

It had been a frantic start to the second period and Pompey had a chance to restore their two-goal advantage when Evans was brought down by Stewart just outside the box.

PITMAN stepped up to take the free-kick and curled a fine effort past Allsop’s desperate grasp to spark more scenes of joy in the packed away end.

Both teams were looking capable of adding to the scoring as the action continued to switch from one end to the other.

Pitman’s pass was cleared before it could reach Clarke at the near post, while substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa headed over.

But it took another fine save from MacGillivray to deny the Chairboys on 72 minutes, with the keeper getting down to push clear Samuel’s shot.

Pitman received a standing ovation as he made way off the pitch, with Anton Walkes coming on for the closing stages.

It was the hosts cheering soon after, though, as Kashket reduced their deficit with a screaming shot from just inside that area that flew into the top corner.

Curtis then replaced Evans, as Jackett looked for his side to get back on track, although the Chairboys came close to a leveller when Samuel’s header flashed past the post.

Wycombe were given renewed hope when the fourth official displayed six minutes of time to be added on.

The hosts continued to try to pump the ball into the Blues box, but the visitors held firm to close the gap on second-placed Barnsley.

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, El-Abd (c), Stewart, Harriman; Gape; Cowan-Hall (Kashket 74), Bean (Akinfenwa 61), Bloomfield (Thompson 43), Freeman; Samuel
Goals: Bean 54, Kashket 82
Subs not used: Ma-Kalambay, Jombati, Jacobson, Owens

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 81), Evans (Curtis 84); Hawkins
Goals: Lowe 18, Pitman 46, 60
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Vaughan, Bogle

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 6,978 (1,810 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 312019
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy – Final

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 (5) 2 (4) Sunderland

Pompey won the Checkatrade Trophy on penalties following a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at a packed Wembley Stadium.

They were poor in the first half and an Aiden McGeady free-kick meant the Black Cats deservedly led at the interval.

But the Blues were rejuvenated following the restart and Nathan Thompson levelled to ensure an additional 30 minutes.

Jamal Lowe then struck to seemingly secure the win, only for McGeady to scramble the ball home at the death.

That meant a dreaded shoot-out, but Pompey scored all of their spot-kicks, meaning that Craig MacGillivray’s save from Lee Cattermole allowed Oli Hawkins to fire home the winner.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Shrewsbury in the league the previous week.

Ronan Curtis was fit enough to start after recovering from severing his finger, meaning that Gareth Evans dropped to the bench.

The teams emerged to a vociferous atmosphere created by a packed crowd at the national stadium.

Pompey’s contingent were whipped up by rousing pre-match speeches from former Fratton heroes David Norris and Hermann Hreidarsson.

But it was the Black Cats who made the brighter start, with Thompson forced to clear George Honeyman’s teasing cross behind.

Lee Brown then made a great challenge right in the corner to stop Lewis Morgan’s charge, as the side from the north-east looked threatening.

Lowe tried his best to cause problems at the other end, although a ball into the box flew straight into Jon McLaughlin’s grasp.

Sunderland were looking more likely to open the scoring and Matt Clarke threw himself in the path of McGeady’s strike.

Pompey’s best opportunity came when Omar Bogle was felled on the right and Brown swung the ball into the mixer.

Christian Burgess rose at the back post, but could not get enough power on his header to trouble McLaughlin.

An effort from Morgan was deflected behind by Brown, while a key Clarke challenge halted Will Grigg’s charge.

There was a rare shot for Pompey on 22 minutes, although Curtis’ effort was always swerving wide of the post.

Then, after Tom Naylor had conceded a free-kick, the midfielder had to nod behind Grant Leadbitter’s delivery.

Sunderland came close to breaking the deadlock soon after when the ball was only cleared as far as Morgan outside the box.

The winger hit a fierce volley that flew through a sea of bodies, but MacGillivray got down well to push the ball clear.

It was only a brief respite for the Blues, however, and they were undone after Thompson had conceded a foul.

McGeady was brought down and picked himself up to curl the ball home, albeit with the help of a deflection off Clarke’s shoulder.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 1


Pompey tried to hit back after the break and when Bogle met a corner from Brown, his header was cleared from the line.

It would not have counted, though, as referee Dean Whitestone had spotted a foul on Luke O’Nien in the build-up.

The Blues were looking a lot brighter and trying to use Lowe as an outlet, but were still lacking a final ball.

Jackett tried to shake things up on 56 minutes, with Curtis being brought off and replaced by Evans on the left.

And it was a long pass from the newcomer that almost provided an equaliser just past the hour mark.

The ball was nodded down by Lowe and Pitman took one touch before hitting a neat half-volley that struck the base of the post.

Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and when Sunderland failed to deal with another Evans delivery, Thompson was unable to find the target at the back post.

Lowe then had a great opportunity following good work from Pitman, but rolled his shot wastefully past the post.

Jackett made his second switch to the forward line on 69 minutes, as Bogle made way for Hawkins.

The striker was soon having his shirt tugged inside the area, although Whitestone did not think it was enough to warrant a penalty.

Evans then did well to hold off a challenge and burst forward, firing in a long-range strike that flashed past the post.

But Pompey did find themselves level on 82 minute – and the goal came from a very unlikely source.

THOMPSON had yet to score in 69 appearances, but certainly picked the right location to open his account, nodding home after Evans had collected the ball from Clarke and sent it into the box.

The Blues contingent of an EFL Trophy record crowd of 85,021 erupted as the players ran towards them in celebration.

It had been a dominant second half display, but Sunderland might have secured victory in stoppage-time when Denver Hume skipped through and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Full Time: Pompey 1 Sunderland 1

There were, unsurprisingly, a few tired legs on display at Wembley as the extra period of 30 minutes got started.

Pompey were still looking to get forward and Evans was tackled inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Brown.

Lowe then screwed a shot wide after Hawkins had laid the ball off, while an angled effort from Brown was comfortable for McLaughlin.

Following a brief break after the first set of 15 minutes, the Blues got straight back on the attack and Evans had a shot blocked after cutting in from the left.

Jackett was forced to make a change when Ben Close limped off and his replacement almost scored within seconds of coming on.

Anton Walkes received the ball on the edge of the box and his effort had to be clawed behind by McLaughlin.

But Pompey did go ahead on 114 minutes and it was a brilliant finish from LOWE, who collected a long Clarke pass and sent a glorious lob over McLaughlin and into the net.

The winger was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration, but it looked like being the decisive goal.

Sunderland had other ideas, however, and in the dying seconds McGeady scrambled home an equaliser, despite the best efforts of Clarke to clear from the line.

After Extra Time: Pompey 2 Sunderland 2

A penalty shoot-out is always a nervy occasion, but the Blues kept their nerve throughout, scoring all five of their spot-kicks.

Evans, Pitman, Brown and Lowe all tucked away their efforts, while Sunderland’s second from Cattermole was saved by MacGillivray.

It meant that Hawkins had the chance to win it for the Blues and he made no mistake, slotting the ball home to send the large travelling contingent home in joyous mood.

Pitman then led his side up the Wembley steps to collect the Checkatrade Trophy and send those fans wild with delight.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close (Walkes 113); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Evans 56); Bogle (Hawkins 69)
Goals: Thompson 82, Lowe 114
Booked: Curtis, Evans, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Vaughan

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, James (Hume 88); Leadbitter (Wyke 95), Cattermole; Morgan (Gooch 73), Honeyman (c), McGeady; Grigg (Power 77)
Goals: McGeady 38, 119
Booked: Baldwin, McGeady
Subs not used: Ruiter, Dunne, McGeouch

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 85,021

Portsmouth FC

Mar 232019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Shrewsbury Town 0 2 Portsmouth

Pompey’s run of good form continued as they won 2-0 at Shrewsbury to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.

The visitors improved following a slow start and took the lead through Ben Close just before the break.

There were chances to add to the scoring at both ends of the pitch in the second half, but a defensive mix-up allowed Brett Pitman to seal the points for the Blues.

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

Viv Solomon-Otabor’s calf injury meant that Gareth Evans returned to the starting line-up, with Jamal Lowe switching to the left.

It was the struggling hosts that made the brighter start and a low delivery from Fejiri Okenabirhie was just of reach for a stretching Shaun Whalley.

Steve Arnold had to tear from his line at the other end to stop Lowe racing onto a superb diagonal pass from Tom Naylor.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency, however, and a weak effort from Okenabirhie was comfortably dealt with by former Shrews stopper Craig MacGillivray.

The keeper had to do even better on 16 minutes, though, getting down quickly to push Whalley’s effort to safety.

Shrewsbury’s forward then had an effort that was heading for the net until Nathan Thompson’s deflection diverted the ball wide.

And it took a fine last-gasp challenge by Lee Brown inside the box to prevent Ollie Norburn getting a shot away.

Scott Golbourne’s free-kick was then flicked on for James Bolton, who sent a header looping onto the roof of the net.

But the Blues picked up as the half progressed and Arnold did well to deny Evans after the ball had been squared to him by Close.

It was Close who then sent a shot wide after playing a one-two with Omar Bogle, while Matt Clarke could not divert Brown’s corner on target at the near post.

Pompey did make their pressure count before the break, as Brown’s angled effort was parried away by Arnold and CLOSE drilled the ball home through a sea of bodies.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 1


The hosts tried to hit back following the restart and Christian Burgess dived in to divert Greg Docherty’s effort behind.

There were a few sighs of relief when the same player then went down inside the box following a challenge by Thompson.

Referee Ollie Yates blew his whistle, but the challenge had taken place just outside the area and Okenabirhie’s free-kick was dealt with.

Jackett made a switch on 55 minutes, with Bogle – who had angered the home faithful with a challenge on Golbourne that earned him a booking – replaced by Oli Hawkins.

And the newcomer almost doubled the visitors’ lead after meeting Brown’s low delivery, only for the ball to hit Omar Beckles and loop against the crossbar.

Hawkins had another great opportunity on 71 minutes when he connected with a cross from Brown, but Arnold made a great save down to his left to deny the striker.

Shrewsbury soon had a chance of their own after Whalley’s mazy run had been crudely brought to a halt by Burgess on the edge of the box.

Norburn cleverly kept his effort low and sent it through the wall, but an unsighted MacGillivray was able to fumble the ball away.

And Pompey soon went up the other end to give themselves a cushion – although the Shrews gave them a helping hand.

Arnold’s clearance cannoned against team-mate Beckles and Hawkins picked up the loose ball, squaring it for PITMAN to slot home.

Shrewsbury were soon dealt a further blow when Arnold was forced to limp off, with Jonathan Mitchell replacing him between the sticks.

Six minutes of stoppage-time meant that the hosts’ hopes of an unlikely comeback were raised, but Pompey comfortably saw out the closing stages to move up to third spot in the League One table.

Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Arnold (Mitchell 84); Williams, Waterfall, Beckles; Bolton (Campbell 72), Norburn (c), Grant (Laurent 77), Docherty, Golbourne; Whalley, Okenabirhie
Booked: Grant
Subs not used: Sadler, Edwards, Holloway, Payne

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (Walkes 89), Pitman (c), Lowe; Bogle (Hawkins 55)
Goals: Close 40, Pitman 79
Booked: Bogle, Naylor, Close, Burgess, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Isgrove, Vaughan

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 8,028 (1,172 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 162019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 2 0 Scunthorpe United

Pompey closed the gap on the automatic promotion places with a deserved 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe at a windy Fratton Park.

It was a dominant display from the Blues and there was a palpable sense of relief around the ground when Omar Bogle finally scored in the second half to make their dominance count.

Scunthorpe never looked like finding the net at the other end and the hosts made sure of the points thanks to a fine finish from Jamal Lowe late on.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that won at Walsall earlier in the week, with skipper Brett Pitman playing just behind Bogle.

But with James Vaughan having not recovered from a back injury, Lloyd Isgrove took his place on the bench.

It was a blustery afternoon on the south coast, with the conditions clearly making life difficult for both sides.

So it was perhaps understandable that the passing on show was wayward at best in the opening exchanges.

Lowe and Viv Solomon-Otabor were looking lively on the wings, however, and the former had an effort that sailed narrowly over.

It was pretty quiet at the other end of the pitch, although a tame effort from Tony McMahon flew comfortably into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

Bogle had a couple of shots blocked, but the first decent opening did not arrive until 26 minutes had been played.

Solomon-Otabor threaded a fine pass through to Lowe, who took the ball around Iron keeper Jak Alnwick, but – from a tight angle – could not force it past defender Harrison McGahey.

Pompey were enjoying plenty of possession and applying pressure on the visitors’ defence as the first half progressed.

And they almost broke the deadlock just before the interval after Solomon-Otabor’s delivery was only cleared as far as Bogle.

He managed to dig out a shot that Alnwick did well to save and when Pitman put the ball back into the centre, a stretching Lowe could not make a clean connection with the goal gaping.

Solomon-Otabor then slipped off the ball and required treatment on the pitch, but was okay to continue.

It was only a brief return to action for the loanee, though, who soon had to make way for Gareth Evans.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Scunthorpe united 0


The substitute had the first chance of the second half with a drilled effort from the edge of the box that was deflected past the post.

He then hit another 20-yard effort narrowly wide after the ball had been worked to him from a throw.

Clear-cut openings were proving to be at a premium, although Alnwick leapt out a bending Lee Brown attempt on the hour mark.

A longer-range strike from Tom Naylor then fizzed past the post, as the hosts continued to dominate without really going close to scoring.

Pompey were trying their best to raise the tempo – with the wind still swirling around the ground – and Brown was denied what would have been a soft penalty for an apparent push.

Alnwick did well to stop his side falling behind on 68 minutes, tearing off his line to bravely prevent Lowe from converting Evans’ ball into the box.

But the Blues finally made their pressure count moments later following a foul on Lowe by Rory McArdle.

Evans’ free-kick was flicked on for Close, but BOGLE took the ball and spun sharply before leaving Alnwick flat-footed with his finish.

The hosts tried to put the result beyond doubt and Brown’s cross was just too high for Pitman, while the left-back then saw a shot deflected behind.

Bogle received a warm reception as he made his way off the pitch to be replaced by Oli Hawkins for the final few minutes.

And the win was wrapped up on 87 minutes when LOWE collected the ball from the right, used his touch to make space and then lashed home a fine finish.

It meant that the Fratton faithful could relax for the closing stages, as Pompey comfortably saw the game out.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Donohue 89), Solomon-Otabor (Evans 45+2); Bogle (Hawkins 85)
Goals: Bogle 71, Lowe 87
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Isgrove

Scunthorpe (3-4-1-2): Alnwick; McGahey, McArdle (c), Burgess; McMahon (Hammill 74), Perch, Ojo, Pearce; Thomas (Lewis 78); Wootton (Olomola 76), Novak
Booked: Perch
Subs not used: Flatt, Butroid, Webster, Hallam

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 17,308 (198 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 122019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Walsall 2 3 Portsmouth

Pompey recorded their first League One win on the road in 2019, despite a late comeback by Walsall at the Bescot Stadium.

Brett Pitman opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Omar Bogle made sure it was a commanding lead at the break.

The hosts were much better in the second half, but Viv Solomon-Otabor swept home his first Blues goal.

The Saddlers did not give up, however, and Jon Guthrie converted two corners – the second right at the death – to restore some pride.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were beaten at Charlton at the weekend.

Skipper Pitman replaced Gareth Evans for his first start since the end of January, while Oli Hawkins made way for a fit-again Bogle up front.

And with Ronan Curtis suffering a freak injury on the morning of the game – getting his finger trapped in a door – Solomon-Otabor came in wide on the left.

Pompey made a bright start to the contest, although Bogle was unable to bend an early shot around Saddlers stopper Liam Roberts.

But they were temporarily down to 10 men when Matt Clarke reopened the wound in his head and started bleeding from the nose.

The medical team had to patch him up and with the defender requiring a change of outfit, he was stood without a shirt in cold conditions for a number of minutes.

It was during that time, however, that the visitors broke the deadlock, with Morgan Ferrier punished for a shove on Nathan Thompson inside the box.

Referee Trevor Kettle immediately whistled and PITMAN stepped up to send Roberts the wrong way from the spot.

Walsall were struggling to deal with the Blues’ attacks and just about forced the ball clear when Solomon-Otabor tried to convert a mis-hit effort from Jamal Lowe.

But the hosts soon had a chance to level when Ferrier raced on to a ball down the right and saw his shot saved by Craig MacGillivray.

And the keeper immediately provided the assist for Pompey’s second goal from a long punt up the pitch.

The ball reached BOGLE, whose shot appeared to be going over, only to dip on to the top of the post and bounce over the line.

Lowe thought he had added a third on 30 minutes after converting a quickly-taken Pitman free-kick, only for Kettle to decide Pompey had acted too soon.

Walsall failed to deal with the set-piece when it was played a second time and Tom Naylor’s strike was deflected behind.

Pitman then lifted a fine pass over the defence late in the half, although Lowe’s touch was slightly too heavy and Roberts was able to gather.


Half Time

Walsall 0

Portsmouth 2


The hosts had been second best throughout the first half, but had a chance to reduce their deficit seconds after the restart.

A long ball forward bounced awkwardly for Clarke and Josh Gordon was not quite able to send his header looping over MacGillivray.

Gordon’s teasing delivery from the left then had to be headed behind by Lee Brown, as Walsall started to provide much more of a threat.

They were pushing Pompey back for long periods, but the defence were holding firm to repel the red-shirted tide before MacGillivray could be tested.

Lowe won a corner to offer some respite, but Brown’s cross was headed wide by Bogle to let the Saddlers off the hook.

But the Blues did have a third goal on 68 minutes – and it meant that all three of the players Jackett brought into the team had scored.

Pitman was falling to the turf as he sent a pass through to Lowe, who unselfishly squared for SOLOMON-OTABOR to slot home and open his Pompey account.

Bogle was soon withdrawn by Jackett and had his name chanted by the travelling fans as he trudged off to be replaced by James Vaughan.

It looked like it was game over, but Walsall gave themselves some hope when Guthrie nodded in a corner from George Dobson.

Pompey appeared to be seeing the game out with relative ease, only for the Saddlers to grab another goal in stoppage-time.

Another corner was scrambled into the net by Guthrie, but there was not enough time for them to mount any more attacks and the Blues were able to celebrate a victory.

Walsall (4-1-4-1): Roberts; Devlin, Scarr, Guthrie, Leahy; Dobson (c); Ismail (Oteh 87), Kinsella, Edwards (Blackett-Taylor 70), Ferrier; Gordon
Goals: Guthrie 75, 90+4
Booked: Kinsella, Gordon, Ferrier
Subs not used: Dunn, Fitzwater, Norman, Laird, Osbourne

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 86), Solomon-Otabor; Bogle (Vaughan 74)
Goals: Pitman 13 (pen), Bogle 25, Solomon-Otabor 68
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Donohue, Evans, Hawkins

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 4,097 (598 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 092019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Charlton Athletic 2 1 Portsmouth

Pompey failed to extend the gap on promotion rivals Charlton after going down to a 2-1 defeat at The Valley.

The hosts went ahead through Joe Aribo just before the break, only for Ronan Curtis to hit back with an immediate equaliser.

But Lyle Taylor restored the Addicks’ advantage early in the second half and despite a late rally from the visitors, they held on for the victory.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that fired five goals past Bradford on home soil the previous week.

Nathan Thompson, Matt Clarke, Oli Hawkins and Ronan Curtis all went off injured last Saturday, but were passed fit to play.

Pompey started brightly and a dangerous delivery from Jamal Lowe was just out of reach for Curtis at the back post.

A cross-field pass from Clarke was soon nodded on first by Thompson and then Hawkins, but Lowe’s effort was blocked before it could trouble Dillon Phillips.

Charlton slowly started to take control of the contest, however, and looked lively without being able to test Craig MacGillivray.

When Thompson was dispossessed in the middle of the park, it took a fine challenge from Clarke to deny Jonny Williams.

And the hosts should have broken the deadlock on 20 minutes following a neat passing move wide on the left.

Williams played a quick one-two with Aribo and sent the ball into the centre to give Josh Cullen a simple close-range finish, only for his shot to hit the back of team-mate Igor Vetokele and fly clear.

Tom Naylor then diverted a Patrick Bauer effort past the post, while efforts from Taylor and Cullen were off target.

Clarke – who is normally so positive in possession – lost the ball to Krystian Bielik, although Taylor’s shot was comfortably kept out by MacGillivray.

But Charlton did make their pressure count late in the first half, as Aribo collected Cullen’s pass, turned sharply and drilled the ball home.

There was, however, still time for the Blues to level before the break, with CURTIS racing forward to convert Lee Brown’s corner with a thumping header.


Half Time

Charlton Athletic 1

Portsmouth 1


The Addicks made a strong start to the second half, although it was the visitors who had the ball in the net on 49 minutes.

Lowe’s shot was diverted into the net by Curtis from a few yards out, although a flag was immediately raised for offside.

Charlton did score soon after, however, to restore their lead after Clarke had attempted to clear Aribo’s cross.

But the ball ricocheted to the feet of substitute Ben Reeves and he squared it for Taylor to convert from close range.

Pompey made a positive reaction to falling behind again, although were unable to capitalise on dangerous deliveries from Lowe and Gareth Evans.

Jackett then made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Hawkins and Ben Close withdrawn for James Vaughan and Dion Donohue.

Pompey were trying to get the ball forward and persistence from Curtis and Vaughan forced Naby Sarr to make an error, but the defender recovered to scramble clear.

The Addicks then came close to extending their advantage, with MacGillivray getting down low to his right to keep out Bauer’s effort.

Donohue released Evans down the left with a fine pass on 73 minutes and the skipper tried to score from a tight angle, but instead fired wildly off target.

Brett Pitman replaced Evans soon after, as the club captain took up residence just behind fellow Vaughan in the forward line.

And he almost provided a leveller late on, with a fine ball into the box that was sent across the face of goal by Lowe and agonisingly out of reach for Curtis to convert.

A dipping long-range effort from Pitman was not too far over the bar, as the Blues started to look a real threat.

It was a vibrant end to the contest from the visitors, with Lowe and Pitman seeing shots blocked inside the box in quick succession.

But despite pushing Charlton back deep for the final stages, the hosts held on to close the gap on Pompey to two points.

Charlton (4-1-2-1-2): Phillips; Dijksteel, Bauer (c), Sarr, Purrington; Bielik (Reeves 46); Cullen, Aribo; Williams (Fosu 59); Vetokele (Pratley 84), Taylor
Goals: Aribo 41, Taylor 51
Subs not used: Maxwell, Solly, Lapslie, Parker

Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c) (Pitman 76), Close (Donohue 61), Curtis; Hawkins (Vaughan 61)
Goals: Curtis 45
Booked: Hawkins, Burgess, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 14,451 (3,097 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Mar 022019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 5   1 Bradford City

Pompey returned to winning ways in the league in some style, with a 5-1 rout of Bradford at Fratton Park.

Gareth Evans got the ball rolling from the penalty spot, while Tom Naylor ensured the interval lead was a comfortable one.

Hope Akpan did reduce the deficit for the struggling Bantams, only for Jamal Lowe to immediately restore the two-goal advantage.

Ben Close then ensured the scoreline received a gloss by adding a brace to cap a fine individual display.

The downside for the Blues were injuries suffered by Oli Hawkins, Ronan Curtis, Matt Clarke and Nathan Thompson – the latter two following a clash of heads.

Throw in a delay while a drone flew over the ground and it was certainly an eventful afternoon on the south coast.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Bury to reach the Checkatrade Trophy final earlier in the week.

Lowe came in for Viv Solomon-Otabor out wide, with Christian Burgess making a quicker than expected return from an ankle injury.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of Division Three title-winner Bobby Doyle, who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

The start of the first half was a disjointed affair, with neither goalkeeper being called into action during the early stages.

Hawkins did almost break the deadlock on six minutes, stooping to head against the post after Evans had lifted the ball into the mixer.

Close then swivelled neatly inside the box moments later, although failed to guide his shot on target.

Those opportunities aside, it was not exactly proving to be a flowing contest, but Pompey started to dominate as the game progressed.

They were handed an excellent chance to open the scoring midway through the half when Oliver Langford pointed to the spot.

Evans had sent a corner into the box and with Hawkins being hauled to the ground by Anthony O’Connor, the referee had no choice.

It was EVANS who stepped up to take the penalty and confidently slammed his penalty into the top corner.

The traffic was mostly one-way from that point, with Hawkins proving to be a particular menace to the Bantams back-line.

He played a fine pass through to Curtis on 34 minutes, but the ball got stuck under the forward’s feet and Lowe’s effort was blocked.

And their pressure paid off late in the half when the advantage was doubled, courtesy of another Evans corner.

It was flapped at by Richard O’Donnell and the ball fell for Curtis, whose strike cannoned off the underside of the bar.

The forward thought it had crossed the line, but there was no signal from the officials and NAYLOR followed up to slot home.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Bradford City 0


Pompey continued to look bright once the action restarted and Clarke glanced an Evans corner past the post.

But there was a bizarre incident just past the hour mark, when the referee called both sets of players to the sidelines.

Everybody was looking up in the air and there was a drone hovering overhead, but it eventually flew off and the action was able to restart.

It was the Bantams who were next to go close, with Craig MacGillivray doing well to palm over Akpan’s drive.

But Akpan did score from the resulting corner, driving the ball into the net after Kelvin Mellor’s had headed the ball into his path

Pompey’s response was immediate and when Lee Brown whipped a dangerous cross into the box, LOWE got down to convert with his chest.

But Hawkins had picked up an injury and was withdrawn by James Vaughan – not that it stopped the hosts’ momentum.

They soon had a fourth goal, as Evans met a delivery from Curtis with a half-volley that was turned into the net by CLOSE.

There was more injury concern for the Blues following a sickening clash of heads between Clarke and Nathan Thompson.

Both medical teams were quickly on the case and the right-back was withdrawn for Anton Walkes, with Clarke carrying on after getting bandaged up.

Pompey continued to attack and almost increased their lead, only for O’Donnell to tip over Lowe’s fierce drive.

A bloodied Clarke was struggling, however, and Jackett made his final change by bringing him off for Dion Donohue.

The action continued at a breathless pace and the hosts did have a fifth goal on 87 minutes, with Curtis’ pass being cut out, but the ball breaking for CLOSE to fire into the bottom corner.

The various injuries and drone interruption meant there were 10 minutes of stoppage-time displayed by the fourth official.

And Pompey finished the contest with 10 men, as Curtis pulled up while chasing the ball and hobbled off the pitch.

But the final moments passed by incident-free, as the Blues brought an impressive week to a close by collecting all three points.

Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Thompson (Walkes 77), Burgess, Clarke (Donohue 84), Brown; Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Close, Curtis; Hawkins (Vaughan 69)
Goals: Evans 23 (pen), Naylor 41, Lowe 67, Close 70, 87
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor, Pitman

Bradford (4-2-3-1): O’Donnell; Caddis (c) (Mellor 46), O’Connor, Knight-Percival, Wood (Miller 62); Akpan, Butterfield; Ball, Payne (Clarke 72), O’Brien; Doyle
Goals: Akpan 65
Booked: Caddis, Knight-Percival
Subs not used: Wilson, Anderson, Maltby, Patrick

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 17,657 (493 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 262019
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Trophy

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Bury 0   3 Portsmouth

Pompey romped to a 3-0 victory at Bury to book their place at Wembley in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

The first half was a relatively even affair, but the Blues exploded into life after the interval to put their League Two hosts to the sword.

A brilliant Gareth Evans free-kick got the ball rolling, while Oli Hawkins and Ronan Curtis then struck to effectively wrap up the contest.

Pompey will now have to wait for a week before they learn whether their opponents at the national stadium next month will be Bristol Rovers or Sunderland.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Barnsley in the league at the weekend.

Two of them were enforced, as Hawkins and skipper Evans replaced the injured Omar Bogle and cup-tied Bryn Morris respectively.

Nathan Thompson had also fully recovered from a knee problem, so Anton Walkes made way at right-back.

Christian Burgess was presented with the Player of the Round award for his quarter-final display before kick-off and made his 150th appearance for the club.

It was an open start to proceedings, with crosses from Byron Moore and Lee Brown causing problems at either end.

The hosts had a great chance to break the deadlock after just five minutes, with Craig MacGillivray getting down to his left to keep out Nicky Maynard’s curler.

But the danger was not over and Brown was forced to hack the ball to safety before a white-shirted player could capitalise.

Pompey then created an opportunity of their own just seconds later, as Curtis spun on the edge of the box and forced Joe Murphy to make a save at his near post.

Hawkins also had an effort blocked by Will Aimson from Brown’s cut-back, with both sides continuing to play with an attacking mindset.

It was Bury’s turn to try their luck on 18 minutes, but former Fratton loanee Caolan Lavery bent his shot narrowly past the post.

The hosts started to see more of the ball as the first half progressed, although were unable to cause MacGillivray any more problems.

Half-chances were the best the Blues could muster at the other end and Curtis drilled wide after Thompson’s teasing delivery was headed away.

And when Viv Solomon-Otabor’s path to goal was blocked, Brown crossed for Hawkins to head narrowly over.

A deep free-kick from Evans caused alarm for the Shakers on 36 minutes, but Curtis could not make a clean connection in the box.

Then, just before the break, Hawkins slipped a pass through to Curtis down the right and his centre had to be headed away by Aimson before it could reach Solomon-Otabor.


Half Time

Bury 0

Portsmouth 0


Solomon-Otabor did not emerge for the start of the second half, with Jamal Lowe replacing him and Curtis switching to the left.

Pompey looked bright once the action restarted, although a deep free-kick from Evans was dealt with by the Bury back-line.

And when the ball bounced up for Ben Close just inside the area, Aimson bravely dived in to block the midfielder’s volley.

The Blues were dominating possession and long-range attempts by Lowe and Burgess forced Murphy to make saves, albeit comfortable ones.

There was a scare at the other end when Burgess’ ball across goal was almost intercepted by Lavery, but MacGillivray got the ball clear.

Instead it was the visitors who made their pressure count with two goals in quick succession just past the hour mark.

Close was brought down by Callum McFadezen just outside the box and four players gathered around the ball.

But it was EVANS who eventually took the free-kick and bent home a fine effort that left Murphy rooted to the spot.

And the advantage was soon doubled, as Evans’ cross was nodded back across goal by Thompson for HAWKINS to slam into the roof of the net.

Bury soon had chances to reduce their deficit, as Maynard arrowed a shot agonisingly past the post, while Jay O’Shea hit a fierce effort straight at MacGillivray.

But Pompey were still looking to attack themselves and a long-range drive from Evans was parried away by Murphy, with a brilliant Aimson challenge stopping Curtis converting the loose ball.

CURTIS did have his goal on 77 minutes, however, with a fine finish that was lashed right into the side of the net.

And MacGillivray then ensured the visitors’ kept their three-goal lead, diving to his left to keep out a Lavery free-kick that appeared destined for the top corner.

But there was a blow for the Blues late on when Burgess limped off the pitch, with Walkes replacing him for the final few minutes.

Bury (3-5-2): Murphy; Aimson, Thompson, McFadzean (Omotayo 77); Adams (c) (Cooney 70), O’Shea, Rossiter, Mayor, Moore; Maynard (Telford 70), Lavery
Subs not used: Moloney, O’Connell, Stokes, Danns

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess (Walkes 88), Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Curtis, Evans (c), Solomon-Otabor (Lowe 46); Hawkins
Goals: Evans 61, Hawkins 64, Curtis 77
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Donohue, Vaughan, Pitman

Referee: Ross Joyce

Attendance: 3,900 (452 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 232019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 0   0 Barnsley

Omar Bogle had a penalty saved as Pompey drew with Barnsley to record a fifth successive League One stalemate.

It was a much improved performance from the Blues, who looked dangerous throughout and created some decent chances.

But Bogle missed the best one when his spot-kick was saved and the Tykes came close to capitalising at the other end by striking the woodwork.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Bristol Rovers earlier in the week.

Bogle returned to lead the line, with Viv Solomon-Otabor out wide and Bryn Morris in midfield in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

It meant that Oli Hawkins, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans all dropped to the bench, but Lloyd Isgrove was not permitted to feature against his parent club.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of Pompey hero Mick Kennedy, who passed away earlier this month.

Fratton Park was bathed in sunshine and it seemed to have a positive effect, with the hosts looking bright and the fans roaring their team on.

Ronan Curtis was a constant menace down the right and was continuously looking to take on the opposition defence.

When one of his free-kicks was only partially cleared to the edge of the box, a low volley from Ben Close was blocked.

There were half-chances for Jacob Brown at the other end, with one effort hooked behind by Anton Walkes and another flashing past the post.

Pompey almost broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Solomon-Otabor whipped the ball into the box, where it was glanced narrowly wide by Morris.

The visitors’ best opportunity before the break came when Brown sent Alex Mowatt’s corner past the post from a few yards out.

Barnsley were having plenty of shots, but none of them were particularly threatening and an effort from Cauley Woodrow rolled tamely into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

Another attempt from the striker was blocked by Close and Dani Pinillos fired the loose ball wildly off target.

The Blues had a better chance on 39 minutes when Bogle slipped a pass through to Solomon-Otabor, but Adam Davies was quickly off his line to make a vital save.

It was an encouraging end to the half for Pompey and Morris dinked a pass into the box, where a stretching Bogle could not get enough power on his header.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Barnsley 0


The hosts picked up where they had left off following the restart, although Bogle could not guide Lee Brown’s cross on target at the far post.

Persistent work from Christian Burgess then allowed Close to release Curtis down the right and his delivery had to be turned behind by Ethan Pinnock.

Morris was producing a lively display and he fired over from long-range before teeing-up Curtis, whose shot was too tamely hit to trouble Davies.

There were chants of ‘Micky, Micky Kennedy’ from the Fratton faithful on 57 minutes, with the midfielder having passed away at the age of 57.

The Blues soon had an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock when Dimitri Cavare dived in recklessly on Solomon-Otabor inside the area.

Referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot, but Davies guessed the right way to push Bogle’s penalty clear.

Barnsley came close to making them pay for that miss, as an angled effort from Pinillos narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Jackett made a change on 77 minutes, with Solomon-Otabor afforded warm applause as he made way for Lowe.

But the Blues survived a scare when Brown met Mowatt’s corner and headed the ball down, with the ball ricocheting against the post.

James Vaughan replaced Bogle for the closing stages, as Jackett decided to add fresh legs to his forward line.

Both sides looked capable of finding a winner as the seconds ticked down, but they ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor (c); Curtis, Close, Morris, Solomon-Otabor (Lowe 77); Bogle (Vaughan 84)
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Donohue, Evans, Hawkins

Barnsley (4-2-3-1): Davies (c); Cavare, Pinnock, Lindsay, Pinillos; Mowatt, McGeehan (Dougall 90+2); Brown, Bahre (Adeboyejo 55), Thiam (Hedges 75); Woodrow
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: Walton, Jackson, Green, Styles

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 18,624 (1,944 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 192019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Portsmouth 1    1 Bristol Rovers

Pompey battled from behind against Bristol Rovers to draw for a fourth league game in succession.

A controversial penalty from Jonson Clarke-Harris saw the visitors lead at the interval, only for a James Clarke own-goal to level the contest.

The Pirates had the opportunity to leave the south coast with all three points, but a second Clarke-Harris spot-kick was fired high over the bar.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Southend at the weekend.

Tom Naylor was immediately brought back after completing a two-match ban, while there were also returns for Ronan Curtis and skipper Gareth Evans.

Omar Bogle, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Bryn Morris all dropped to the bench, where they were joined by a fit-again Dion Donohue.

Pompey had a chance to score from an early free-kick, although Evans’ effort was not too troublesome for Jack Bonham between the sticks.

A long throw then caused problems at the other end, with James Clarke hurtling the ball into the box, where it eventually bounced into Craig MacGillivray’s arms.

Curtis soon sent a dangerous low delivery into the danger zone, although Evans could not make a clean connection.

But it was the Pirates who almost broke the deadlock when Naylor gifted possession to Alex Jakubiak on seven minutes.

He surged forward and hit a low shot that MacGillivray got down to, but the ball squirmed clear and Matt Clarke had to clear behind before Clarke-Harris could pounce.

After that energetic start, however, the contest soon settled down into a more laboured affair, with half-chances the order of the evening.

Curtis spun and hit a tame effort that Bonham easily dealt with after the lively Ben Close had headed the ball into the mixer.

There were gaps around the ground when Curtis collected Oli Hawkins’ pass and lifted a shot against the inside of the post, although the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.

Instead it was the visitors who took the lead from the penalty spot on 37 minutes, although it was a controversial decision.

There did not seem to be much of a challenge from Naylor on Clarke-Harris, but referee Neil Hair pointed to the spot and the striker picked himself up to slam the ball home.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Bristol Rovers 1


Jackett made a change at the start of the second half, with Bogle replacing Hawkins as the focal point of Pompey’s attack.

Hair was continuing to make an enemy of the Fratton faithful once the action restarted, with a couple of decisions that went against the hosts.

Bristol Rovers had an opportunity to double their lead when Jakubiak spotted Liam Sercombe inside the area, but the midfielder’s wild effort went out for a throw.

Clarke-Harris then hit a fierce low drive that MacGillivray got his whole body behind in order to make the save.

But the Blues were level just before the hour mark, as Curtis clipped the ball into the box and – under pressure from Bogle – James CLARKE turned the ball into his own net.

That man Clarke was in the action again soon after, however, going down under Jamal Lowe’s challenge and winning another penalty.

It was Clarke-Harris who stepped up to take it once more, but this time blazed his shot high into the Fratton End.

Jackett immediately made his second switch of the night, with James Vaughan adding fresh legs to the forward line and Evans making way.

And his third and final change arrived on 79 minutes, as January arrival Solomon-Otabor came on for Lowe.

There were chances at both ends in the closing stages, with Lee Brown unable to make a connection when Curtis’ shot was deflected into his path.

Rovers substitute Gavin Reilly then sent the ball into the Blues box and Christian Burgess had to clear over his own bar.

But, despite five minutes being added for stoppages and the Fratton faithful roaring their side on, neither team was able to find a late winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe (Solomon-Otabor 79), Evans (c) (Vaughan 66), Curtis; Hawkins (Bogle 46)
Goals: J.Clarke 58 (og)
Booked: Lowe, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Donohue

Bristol Rovers (4-4-1-1): Bonham; Partington, Lockyer (c), Craig, J.Clarke; Sercombe, Upson, Ogogo, Holmes-Dennis (Sinclair 85); Jakubiak (Reilly 77); Clarke-Harris
Goals: Clarke-Harris 37 (pen)
Subs not used: Smith, Kelly, Lines, Matthews, Nichols

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 17,880 (803 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Feb 162019
 

Match Report

League One

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Southend United 3    3 Portsmouth

Pompey moved back up to third in the League One table with a 3-3 draw against Southend.

But the visitors were in no mood to celebrate after throwing away a three-goal advantage at Roots Hall.

Bryn Morris, Ben Close – on his 100th appearance for the club – and Oli Hawkins all found the target as the Blues cruised into a commanding advantage.

Simon Cox reduced the deficit before the break, however, then added a penalty before completing his treble late on.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew at Plymouth the previous weekend.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was handed his debut wide on the left, while Hawkins and Anton Walkes both returned to the starting line-up.

That meant a switch to a 4-4-2 system with Hawkins partnering Omar Bogle, as Matt Clarke claimed the captain’s armband.

Gareth Evans and Ronan Curtis both dropped the bench, while Nathan Thompson missed out with a knock.

There was a minute’s applause ahead of kick-off in memory of World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who passed away earlier in the week.

It was the hosts who had the first effort, but Craig MacGillivray got down to his right to keep out Stephen McLaughlin’s low drive.

Christian Burgess then cleared the danger before Michael Turner could capitalise after Cox’s initial effort had been blocked.

But the Blues soon took control and broke the deadlock on eight minutes, as MORRIS opened his account for the club.

Bogle and Jamal Lowe combined well down the right and when the latter’s cross was pushed out by Nathan Bishop, the midfielder hammered the loose ball into the roof of the net.

They came close to doubling the lead from a corner soon after, with Clarke’s shot blocked and Burgess’ follow-up nervously dealt with by Bishop.

The visitors were well on top, although MacGillivray spilled an effort from Sam Mantom and dived on the loose ball before Michael Kightly could pounce.

And Pompey immediately went up the other end to strengthen their advantage, although the Shrimpers could have dealt with it.

Solomon-Otabor combined well with Lowe, but first Sam Hart and then Mantom made a hash of their clearances and CLOSE sent a neat volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

It looked like they had gone even further ahead when Bogle managed to force the ball over the line, although it was controversially ruled out for offside.

But they did have a third goal on 31 minutes when, at the end of a neat passing move, Morris struck the post.

This time it was Taylor Moore’s chance to decline the opportunity to clear the ball and a grateful HAWKINS slotted home.

Southend looked out of the contest, but gave themselves a lifeline when Cox rose in the box to convert Hart’s delivery.

They almost grabbed another before the break when a corner fell for Turner, who curled his shot just past the post.


Half Time

Southend United 1

Portsmouth 3


The visitors began the second period brightly and a snap-shot from Bogle was saved by Bishop, while a heavy first touch from Lowe allowed the Southend keeper to claim the ball.

But Burgess then made a key challenge inside the box to stop Kightly collecting MacLaughlin’s pass following a quick break.

Pompey immediately created an opening of their own, but Bishop kept out Bogle’s effort and then beat the striker to the loose ball.

It was not as action-packed since the restart, however, and the chances started to dry up as the half progressed.

McLaughlin did try his luck from outside the box, but the ball struck Clarke to divert it wide of the post.

A couple of corners for the hosts also caused problems, although MacGillivray was on hand to deal with them on each occasion.

Solomon-Otabor had faded slightly following a lively start to the contest and was replaced by Curtis on 71 minutes.

And Jackett soon made a second substitution, with Bogle the man to make way as Evans provided fresh legs to the forward line.

The game seemed to be drifting towards a conclusion, but Southend were not done yet and set up a tense finale by pulling another goal back.

Morris caught Kightly in the box and referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot, with Cox stepping up to send MacGillivray the wrong way.

Pompey were not just sitting back, though, and Close had a low effort blocked following some patient build-up play.

But Southend completed a remarkable comeback on 88 minutes, as Cox raced onto Timothee Dieng’s fine pass and neatly tucked away his hat-trick goal.

James Vaughan was brought on as the Blues tried to hit back, but they were unable to find another goal before the final whistle blew.

Southend (4-4-2): Bishop; Bwomono, Turner, Moore, Hart; McLaughlin, Mantom (c) (Hutchinson 73), Dieng, Kightly (Wabo 82); Cox, Humphrys (Klass 25)
Goals: Cox 36, 78 (pen), 87
Booked: Klass, Moore
Subs not used: Smith, Kiernan, Lennon, Kelman

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke (c), Brown; Lowe (Vaughan 88), Morris, Close, Solomon-Otabor (Curtis 71); Hawkins, Bogle (Evans 75)
Goals: Morris 8, Close 20, Hawkins 31
Booked: Walkes, Vaughan
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Haunstrup, May

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 7,300 (1,239 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC