Jul 042022
 

Portsmouth FC Transfers Career Stats


Zak Swanson

(Transfer : Arsenal – Portsmouth)

Born

Cambridge, England

28 Septemeber 2000


Pompey have completed the signing of defender Zak Swanson from Arsenal for an undisclosed fee.

The 21-year-old right-back has put pen to paper on a two-year deal, with the club option of a further 12 months.

Swanson joined the Arsenal academy at the age of six and has represented them at a variety of youth levels, including in Premier League 2.

He previously spent time on loan at Dutch outfit MVV Maastricht and has shown his versatility by representing the Gunners across the back four and also in midfield.

Swanson was a regular presence on the bench for Mikel Arteta’s men in the second half of last season.

Jun 222022
 

Portsmouth FC Transfers Career Stats


Marlon Pack

(Free Agent)

Born

Portsmouth, England

25 March 1991


Pompey have completed the signing of Marlon Pack on a two-year deal.

The 31-year-old Portsmouth-born midfielder has returned to the club where he began his professional career.

After progressing through the academy, he made two senior appearances in 2010 before departing for Cheltenham.

Pack has since played Championship football for Bristol City and Cardiff, departing the latter club at the end of last season.

Pack spent time on loan with Wycombe, Dagenham & Redbridge and Cheltenham during his first spell at Fratton Park.

His senior appearances for the Blues came in a League Cup tie with Crystal Palace and a Championship clash with Cardiff.

Pack moved to Whaddon Road on a permanent basis in 2011 and twice helped the Robins reach the League Two play-offs, being named in the PFA Team of the Year on both occasions.

He then signed for Bristol City and was a regular member of the side that secured both the League One title and the EFL Trophy in 2014/15.

Pack continued to impress in the Championship and made a total of 282 appearances for the club, then went on to feature more than 100 times in three seasons with Cardiff.

Apr 302022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Sheffield Wednesday 4
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

LOST WON WON DRAWN WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Sheffield Wednesday 3

Portsmouth 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

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

Apr 232022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Gillingham 1


FORM GUIDE

WON DRAWN WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON

Pompey continued their fine Fratton form by easing to a comfortable win over relegation-threatened Gillingham.

Ronan Curtis fired them ahead in the early stages and then restored the lead with his 50th goal for the club after Ryan Jackson had levelled for the visitors.

The Blues deserved more for their dominance, though, and Clark Robertson headed home following the interval to wrap things up.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that were cruelly denied victory at Morecambe on Monday.

Joe Morrell and Louis Thompson both returned to the engine room, with Ryan Tunncliffe and Shaun Williams dropping to the bench.

Meanwhile, former Pompey loanees Ben Thompson and Stuart O’Keefe were selected in the visitors’ midfield.

Before the game there was the award of The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season trophy, with readers of our local papers selecting Sean Raggett for the honour.

A minute’s applause was then held to remember all members of the Pompey family who have passed away during the course of the campaign.

The first half was a curious affair, with plenty of excitement at the start and finish and not a lot happening in between.

It was in the fourth minute when Marcus Harness burst down the right and played a neat one-two with Hayden Carter.

He then sent a low cross into the box, where CURTIS was waiting to slam the ball home off the underside of the bar.

The hosts continued to dominate both possession and territory, but were unable to make the most of that.

And they were made to pay on the half-hour mark, as Jackson lost Curtis at the back post to angle home from a Ben Reeves delivery.

There were a couple of blocked shots from the Blues, but nothing to suggest they would retake the lead.

That changed in the second minute of stoppage-time, when Jackson was unable to deal with a Raggett cross.

The ball reached CURTIS at the back post and he showed plenty of composure to arrow it into the bottom corner.

Gillingham were furious, seemingly feeling that referee Darren Drysdale should had already blown for the interval.

The protests of boss Neil Harris saw him sent to the stands, while another member of the coaching team was booked.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Gillingham 1


The second half took some time to get going, but the Fratton faithful soon had another goal to celebrate.

Jacobs sent a corner into the box and ROBERTSON rose above David Tutonda to plant a bullet header into the net.

They might have gone further ahead a few minutes later, with Michael Jacobs only able to find the side netting from an acute angle.

And Curtis tried to complete a hat-trick, but fired into Aaron Chapman’s midriff after collecting a Carter cross.

Pompey were coasting and passing the ball around nicely, prepared to stay patient in search of an opening.

Cowley gave Jay Mingi an opportunity to gain some minutes on the pitch, with Louis Thompson the man to make way.

And former Gills defender Connor Ogilvie then limped off with an injury to be replaced by Mahlon Romeo.

Aiden O’Brien also came off the bench in the closing stages and had a stoppage-time shot turned around the post by Chapman.

But the game had been drifting towards a conclusion before then and Pompey saw out the final moments to secure a deserved win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie (Romeo 78); Morrell, Thompson (Mingi 74); Harness (O’Brien 89), Jacobs, Curtis; Hirst
Goals: Curtis 4, 45+2, Robertson 54
Subs not used: Webber, Williams, Tunnicliffe, Walker

Gillingham (3-5-2): Chapman; Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson; Jackson, Thompson, Lee, O’Keefe (c) (Phillips 46), Tutonda (Dickson-Peters 64); Oliver, Reeves
Goals: Jackson 30
Booked: Tutonda, Ehmer
Subs not used: Dahlberg, Lintott, Maghoma, Chambers, Sithole

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 15,540 (1,192 away fans)

Apr 182022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Morecambe 1
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON

Pompey were denied a third successive League One victory after conceding deep into stoppage-time at Morecambe.

A moment of magic from Sean Raggett looked to be enough to earn all three points for the battling Blues.

But substitute Jonah Ayunga controversially converted in a congested penalty area right at the death to boost the Shrimps’ hopes of beating the drop.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that secured a dramatic win over Lincoln on Good Friday.

Ronan Curtis was rewarded for coming off the bench to net the winner, while there were also starts for Ryan Tunnicliffe and Shaun Williams.

Aiden O’Brien and Louis Thompson dropped to the bench and Joe Morrell missed out completely after going off early against the Imps with a dead leg.

Trevor Carson started between the sticks for the home side, who had fellow former Fratton loanee Toumani Diagouraga on the bench.

The visitors started brightly and when Clark Robertson nodded the ball down, Raggett had a shot blocked and Tunnicliffe then fired over.

But it was Morecambe who began to look more threatening and Dylan Connolly bent the ball inches past the post after Cole Stockton’s pass sent him racing away.

Williams tried his luck at the other end of the pitch, but although his effort was cleanly struck, it flew straight into Carson’s arms.

Pompey then had Gavin Bazunu to thank for a series of smart stops that prevented the home side from forging ahead.

He just about got his fingertips to a low Arthur Gnahoua shot to tip the ball against the inside of the post, where it then ricocheted to safety.

And the keeper was at it again moments later to prevent Stockton from turning home a Greg Leigh delivery.

The danger was not over, though, and Bazunu had to recover quickly to save the striker’s follow-up effort with his feet.

It was not until the end of the first half that the Blues began to find a bit of rhythm and pass the ball around with fluidity.

And they made their late pressure count when Robertson lifted a pass into the box and Curtis rose to nod it into the mixer.

The ball fell to the feet of RAGGETT, who brought it under control and spun before hooking a superb shot against the upright and into the net.


Half Time

Morecambe 0

Portsmouth 1


Leigh threatened for the hosts once the action restarted, but after doing the hard work to get into a good position, he dragged his effort wide

George Hirst then got forward at the other end and bent an attempt narrowly off target in a lively opening to the half.

But the Blues were almost undone in comical fashion on 54 minutes when there was hesitation over who should deal with a pass through the defence.

Bazunu eventually came out to clear and kicked the ball against Gnahoua, with the ricochet sending it inches past the post.

Ousmane Fane then teed up Stockton with a square pass across the edge of the box, only for the striker to fire straight at Bazunu.

Cowley responded with a couple of changes just past the hour mark, as Williams and Michael Jacobs made way for Thompson and O’Brien.

Pompey were looking for a second goal and Hirst fired a low shot wide after doing well to nab possession on the edge of the box.

A final throw of the dice from Cowley came on 72 minutes, with Mahlon Romeo on for Marcus Harness.

That came after a Bazunu clearance had been charged down by Adam Phillips and the ball flew wide, while the Morecambe midfielder then wastefully shot wide after being found by Stockton.

The hosts stepped up the pressure in search of a late leveller and Diagouraga thought he had found one, only for referee Robert Madley to spot a hand being used as the ball was bundled into the net.

But they were finally able to celebrate deep into stoppage-time when Bazunu came to collect a Leigh corner.

He was unable to hold on amidst a sea of bodies, though, and Ayunga forced the ball home, with Madley ignoring Pompey appeals for what looked to be a foul.

Morecambe (4-1-4-1): Carson; Leigh, Bennett, Bedeau, Gibson; Fane (McCalmont 77); Connolly (Diagouraga 68), Phillips, Wildig (c) (Ayunga 60), Gnahoua; Stockton
Goals: Ayunga 90+3
Booked: Leigh
Subs not used: Smith, Cooney, O’Connor, McLoughlin

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Roberson (c), Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Williams (Thompson 63); Harness (Romeo 72), Curtis, Jacobs (O’Brien 64); Hirst
Goals: Raggett 41
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Mingi, Walker

Referee: Robert Madley

Attendance: 4,893 (806 Pompey fans)

Apr 152022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Lincoln City 2


FORM GUIDE

WON WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Lincoln City 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 15,175 (811 away fans)

Apr 122022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 3
Rotherham United 0


FORM GUIDE

WON LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Rotherham United 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 14,154 (301 away fans)

Apr 092022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Cheltenham Town 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN WON

Pompey produced a sloppy showing to lose at Cheltenham and dash any lingering hopes of making the play-offs.

It was incredible that a first half full of chances at both ends, if short on quality, did not provide any goals.

But it was the Robins who finally made the breakthrough after the break, with Liam Sercombe’s strike enough to separate the teams.

Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that were held to a draw at Bolton earlier in the week.

Shaun Williams – fully recovered from a back injury – was handed his first start for more than three months.

And there were also places in the line-up for Mahlon Romeo, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Ronan Curtis and Tyler Walker.

Clark Robertson, Louis Thompson, Joe Morrell, Michael Jacobs and George Hirst all dropped to the bench.

The opening 45 minutes were an action packed, end-to-end affair, with both sides having multiple chances to break the deadlock – helped by some sloppy defending.

A quick break provided the visitors’ first opportunity after just six minutes, as a fine Williams pass sent Marcus Harness racing clear.

He laid the ball off for Romeo and a slip from Reece Hutchinson appeared to give him a free sight on goal, only for a fine recovery challenge from the prostrate wing-back.

Walker soon sent a delivery into the area and Aiden O’Brien get a slight touch on his volleyed effort to send the ball narrowly past the post.

Matty Blair tried to curl home an effort at the other end of the pitch and the ball took a big deflection off Connor Ogilvie before flying into the side netting.

The resulting Alfie May corner led to a spot of pinball in the Box box, with Mattie Pollock eventually poking wide.

Pompey were soon back on the attack themselves and a low Romeo centre was met by O’Brien’s neat back-heel.

Walker tried to turn the ball home from a few yards out, but Owen Evans made the save and kept out the follow up from O’Brien.

A defensive mix-up almost provided an opener midway through the first half and Curtis was able to steal possession from Sean Long.

He then found O’Brien inside the area, only for Robins skipper Will Boyle to get back just in time and make a key challenge which the Blues were adamant was a foul.

But then it was the visitors’ turn to look shaky at the back and they lost the ball right on the edge of their own box.

Gavin Bazunu came to the rescue by making saves to deny Callum Wright and May in quick succession, while Blair’s third attempt was cleared from the line by Hayden Carter.

The action continued to switch from end to the other and Sean Raggett could not quite connect with a fine Williams delivery from the left.

It was Cheltenham who threatened just before the interval, though, and Kion Etete should have done better when he nodded over a Wright cross.


Half Time

Cheltenham Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The contest continued to be played at a frenetic pace once the action restarted, although a Curtis shot did not overly trouble Evans.

Cheltenham then enjoyed a quick break up the pitch, which led to a Blair effort that was blocked by Tunnicliffe.

Cowley made a double switch on the hour mark, with Harness and Williams replaced by Jacobs and former Robins loanee Morrell.

And the final substitution followed not too long after, as Hirst added some fresh attacking energy in place of O’Brien.

There was immediately a great chance for Pompey when Morrell lifted a pass into the box and it was flapped at by Evans.

The follow-up shot from Jacobs appeared to be heading into the net, but Pollock flung himself in its path to divert the ball over.

But it was soon Cheltenham’s chance to go close and a 30-yard Wright rocket was superbly turned around the post by a diving Bazunu.

What followed was the home side’s most sustained spell of pressure in the game and they made it count on 76 minutes.

Etete combined well with Wright on the left and the latter squared the ball for Sercombe to fire home.

And although Pompey huffed and puffed right up until the final whistle, their opponents remained resolute to claim victory in this fixture for the first time.

Cheltenham (3-5-2): Evans; Long, Pollock, Boyle (c); Blair, Sercombe (Chapman 90), Bonds, Wright, Hutchinson; Etete (Lloyd 82), May
Goals: Sercombe 76
Booked: Lloyd
Subs not used: Flinders, Raglan, Freestone, Ramsey, Brown

Pompey (4-2-2-2): Bazunu; Romeo, Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe, Williams (Morrell 60); Harness (Jacobs 60), Curtis; Walker, O’Brien (Hirst 69)
Subs not used: Webber, Robertson, Thompson, Mingi

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 5,117 (1,425 Pompey fans)

Apr 052022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Bolton Wanderers 1
Portsmouth 1


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON

Pompey had to settle for a point on their long-awaited return to action after letting a lead slip at Bolton.

They went ahead through Aiden O’Brien early in the second half, only for Kieran Sadlier to level from the penalty spot and ensure the spoils would be shared.

Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that drew with Wycombe on home soil 17 days earlier.

Michael Jacobs, Joe Morrell and O’Brien all returned to the starting line-up, with Mahlon Romeo, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Tyler Walker dropping to the bench.

Also among the substitutes was Shaun Williams, who had recovered from the back injury he suffered at the end of January.

The first half was full of bright attacking play from both sides, with plenty of dangerous forays forward at each end of the pitch.

And yet a combination of solid defending and a poor final pass meant that there was little in the way of clear-cut openings.

One neat passage from Pompey saw the ball ping around the box and yet it would not quite fall kindly on a number of occasions.

It was certainly an open contest, although when Marcus Harness met a Jacobs free-kick, he could only guide his header into the arms of James Trafford.

A key interception then prevented the ball from reaching the feet of Harness inside the area following good work from Jacobs and George Hirst.

But it was Bolton who had the best chance to forge ahead before the interval, with Dapo Afolayan looking certain to slot his shot into the bottom corner.

Gavin Bazunu got down to his left to make a superb save, however, and Dion Charles could only blast the loose ball across the face of goal.

The only other incident of note before the whistle blew was a crude Kyle Dempsey challenge on Harness that earned the midfielder a yellow card.


Half Time

Bolton Wanderers 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey had not forced Trafford into action before the break, but the keeper was soon picking the ball out of his net after the restart.

It came after Will Aimson – who had only just entered the pitch – was booked for bringing down Hirst outside the box.

The free-kick from Harness slammed into the wall, but the ball was recycled and the same player cut it back for O’BRIEN to slot home.

Wanderers felt that the scorer was offside in the build-up, although he had actually received possession from a white-shirted player.

The visitors might have strengthened their lead moments later and Trafford was relieved to see the ball land safe when he palmed a Sean Raggett header right back into the danger zone.

It was suddenly a frantic affair and after Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s penalty appeals were rightly waved away, the Blues broke and Hirst drew a save from Trafford.

But the action quickly switched to the other end of the pitch and Bazunu had to beat away a shot from Charles.

Pompey were next to threaten when an O’Brien shot was blocked and George Johnston bravely flung himself into the path of Jacobs’ follow-up.

The hosts had a chance to level on 76 minutes, however, when Elias Kachunga made the most of a challenge from Hayden Carter and referee Marc Edwards pointed to the spot.

Bazunu went the right way – getting down to his left – but the penalty from Sadlier was perfectly placed and nestled in the net.

A double switch was made to provide some fresh energy for the closing stages, with Louis Thompson and Jacobs replaced by Williams and Ronan Curtis.

And loanee Walker also entered the fray in the search for a late Pompey winner, replacing Hirst up front.

There were half-chances for both sides during six minutes of stoppage-time, but neither was able to turn one point into three.

Bolton (3-4-1-2): Trafford; Jones, Santos (c) (Aimson 46), Johns; Sadlier, Morley, Dempsey (Williams 70), Johnston; Afolayan (Kachunga 65); Bodvarsson, Charles
Goals: Sadlier 76 (pen)
Booked: Dempsey, Aimson
Subs not used: Baptiste, Thomason, Amaechi, Bakayoko

Pompey (4-2-2-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c), Ogilvie; Thompson (Williams 82), Morrell; Harness, Jacobs (Curtis 82); O’Brien, Hirst (Walker 85)
Goals: O’Brien 50
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Hume

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 13,809 (700 Pompey fans)

Mar 192022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 0
Wycombe Wanderers 0


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON

Pompey were left frustrated by fellow play-off hopefuls Wycombe in a goalless contest at Fratton Park.

The home side struggled to create many clear-cut openings and was often met by a brick wall when they entered the final third.

It might have been even worse for the Blues, with Gavin Bazunu making some smart saves to ensure they at least picked up a point.

Danny Cowley made four changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Plymouth earlier in the week.

Marcus Harness made an instant return after completing his three-match ban, while there were also starts for Tyler Walker, Ryan Tunnicliffe and skipper Clark Robertson.

Ronan Curtis, Aiden O’Brien, Joe Morrell and Denver Hume dropped to the bench, where they were joined by a fit-again Michael Jacobs.

The sun was shining down on the south coast, but there was little brightening the mood of those inside the ground in a slow start.

There was nothing to trouble either keeper in the opening stages, with the game not able to spring into life.

An effort from Garath McCleary flew high into the Fratton End, while Harness could not cut the ball into the centre at the other end after bursting inside from the left.

The Chairboys might have threatened with a series of corners, but none of them caused any damage to the hosts.

Joe Jacobson tried to chest a Connor Ogilvie cross back to David Stockdale midway through the first half and the ball only just reached the keeper before Walker could get there.

Pompey’s most threatening moment came shortly after, as Jacobson made an acrobatic clearance to stop Robertson from getting on the end of Hayden Carter’s delivery.

Wycombe went even closer on 33 minutes, with Anis Mehmeti collecting a fine threaded pass from Daryl Horgan, only for Bazunu to make an excellent save with his leg.

But that was about it for clear-cut openings as the action plodded along before the half-time whistle blew.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Wycombe Wanderers 0


The action did not liven up considerably once the game restarted, with Ryan Tafazolli nodding a Jacobson corner over.

A flag-kick for the home side then saw Jason McCarthy do enough to put off Sean Raggett from a Harness delivery.

Cowley decided the time was right for a double switch just before the hour mark, with Louis Thompson and Walker replaced by Morrell and Jacobs.

The introduction of the latter player, in particular, was greeted with warm applause from the Fratton faithful following a month out with a knee injury.

But it was Wycombe who threatened next, as Vokes raced onto a precise pass from McCleary.

Bazunu did brilliantly to deny the striker, however, forcing him out wide before saving the Welsh international’s angled effort.

There were then boos ringing out around Fratton Park when Tafazolli had his hands all over George Hirst as the striker tried to race onto a long Ogilvie pass.

Referee Benjamin Speedie incredibly waved play on, however, and – to rub salt into the wound – booked both Cowley brothers for their protests.

The visitors came close to taking the lead after Raggett had been booked for a foul on Vokes on the edge of the box.

It was Lewis Wing who stepped up to take the free-kick, which had to be pushed behind by a diving Bazunu.

Cowley made his final throw of the dice to add some fresh attacking impetus, with Curtis on to replace Harness.

And he had a chance to put the hosts ahead late on, angling a shot into the side netting following good work from fellow substitute Jacobs.

But that was as close as Pompey came to snatching a win, with the closing stages a mostly incident-free affair.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo, Thompson (Morrell 57), Tunnicliffe, Ogilvie; Harness (Curtis 80); Hirst, Walker (Jacobs 57)
Booked: Raggett, Carter, Robertson
Subs not used: Webber, Hume, Mingi, O’Brien

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Stockdale; McCarthy, Stewart, Tafazolli, Jacobson (c); Scowen; McCleary, Horgan, Wing, Mehmeti (Hanlan 63); Vokes (Akinfenwa 85)
Booked: Stewart
Subs not used: Dickinson, Grimmer, Forino, Young, Wheeler

Referee: Benjamin Speedie

Attendance: 15,092 (958 away fans)

Mar 152022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Plymouth Argyle 1
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

LOST DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST

Pompey’s long unbeaten run finally came to a close as they were edged out by Plymouth at Home Park.

Ryan Hardie provided the only goal of a frenetic Devon encounter midway through the second half.

The Blues had rarely threatened up until that point and although they pushed forward late on, an equaliser was not forthcoming.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that drew on the road at Ipswich just a few days earlier.

Joe Morrell and Denver Hume both returned to the starting line-up, with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Clark Robertson dropping to the bench.

That saw Connor Ogilvie move back into the centre of defence, while Sean Raggett took the captain’s armband.

There was a familiar face in the opposition ranks, as former Pompey defender James Bolton was selected by the Pilgrims.

It was a contest full of intensity in the early stages, with the endeavour on the pitch matched by the passion in the stands.

But there was not too much to trouble either keeper, as the action all too often broke down once it reached the final third.

Joe Edwards missed a great opportunity by swiping at thin air after Danny Mayor and Panutche Camara had worked the ball to him.

The best chance came when Hardie slipped a pass across to Luke Jephcott, whose effort was well saved by Gavin Bazunu.

There was an opening at the other end when Ogilvie played the ball down the line for George Hirst, who cut inside and saw a shot blocked.

Pompey were able to keep the play alive, though, and a teasing low delivery from Hume was just out of reach for Ronan Curtis.

Mayor soon whipped a fine cross into the Blues area, although it somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

The midfielder then tried his luck with a long-range attempt that was spilled by Bazunu, but quickly gathered at the second attempt.

That was about it in terms of clear-cut chances, although there were a string of bookings before the break, including for Pompey duo Mahlon Romeo and Louis Thompson.


Half Time

Plymouth Argyle 0

Portsmouth 0


The breakthrough did not look like coming any time soon once the action restarted, with some patient play again not leading anywhere.

There was a neat one-two between Curtis and Hirst, but the former was crowded out when he burst into the box.

Jephcott then saw a couple of shots blocked in quick succession by Raggett and Hayden Carter before the play was halted because of a head injury for Hume.

Cooper was alert to the danger at the other end, as Aiden O’Brien tried to race onto a pass over the top from Carter.

But a heavy touch almost allowed Hirst to capitalise soon after, with the keeper just about doing enough to recover.

And the striker then tried to flick Ogilvie’s low cross into the net on the hour mark, only for Bolton to get in a vital block.

Plymouth began to apply some pressure and a couple of Edwards efforts from the edge of the box were blocked.

Cowley responded with his first change, as skipper Robertson came into the defence and Hume was withdrawn.

But the Blues soon found themselves behind, with Jordan Houghton stealing possession from Thompson and Camara squaring the ball for Hardie to fire home.

A double substitution soon followed as Pompey sought a way back into the contest, as Thompson and O’Brien made way for Tunnicliffe and Tyler Walker.

They both proved a lively presence for the visitors and a scramble in the box led to a shot for the former that was inadvertently diverted behind by team-mate Curtis.

There were certainly a few nerves starting to appear from the hosts and Hirst had a chance to level, only to glance a header wide from Ogilvie’s centre.

Green shirts were having to swarm around the area, as Pompey began to apply more and more pressure with the seconds ticking down.

Six minutes of stoppage-time provided added hope, although when Raggett sent a Tunnicliffe corner into the danger zone, the ball was turned wide by Curtis.

And the Pilgrims were able to see out a series of late corners to boost their promotion hopes and dent Pompey’s own play-off chances.

Plymouth (3-5-2): Cooper; Wilson, Bolton, Gillesphey; Edwards (c), Camara, Houghton, Mayor, Sessegnon (Law 86); Jephcott (Garrick 75), Hardie (Randell 90+4)
Goals: Hardie 65
Booked: Sessegnon, Cooper
Subs not used: Burton, Crichlow, Broom, Ennis

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Morrell, Thompson (Tunnicliffe 71), Hume (Robertson 64); Curtis, Hirst, O’Brien (Walker 71)
Booked: Romeo, Thompson
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Jewitt-White, Mingi

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 15,604 (1,381 Pompey fans)

Mar 122022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


A League 1
Ipswich Town 0
Portsmouth 0


FORM GUIDE

DRAWN WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST

Pompey continue their unbeaten run with a hard-fought draw against fellow in-form side Ipswich at Portman Road.

There were not abundance of clear-cut chances in a contest that saw both clubs look to continue their late charge for the play-offs.

The Tractor Boys finished stronger, though, and there was relief when a late goal was disallowed for offside.

Danny Cowley made two changes from the side that enjoyed a comfortable win at Crewe earlier in the week.

Aiden O’Brien and Ryan Tunnicliffe both returned to the starting line-up, as Tyler Walker and Joe Morrell dropped to the bench.

There was a familiar face in the opposition ranks, with Pompey academy graduate Conor Chaplin named in the Tractor Boys team.

It was the hosts who saw more of the ball in the opening stages and enjoyed the territorial advantage, without forcing Gavin Bazunu into action.

There was an effort from Chaplin that bobbled past the post, while Cameron Burgess could not quite pick out Kayden Jackson when he met a dangerous Wes Burns delivery.

And the first decent chances fell to the visitors, with a low Ronan Curtis centre taking a deflection and ricocheting off O’Brien before bouncing over.

The Republic of Ireland international then intercepted a poor pass just moments later and drilled a shot narrowly wide.

Louis Thompson was unhappy to be booked for a firm challenge on Burns, when he appeared to win the ball.

And there were a few other free-kick decisions from referee Christopher Sarginson that frustrated the Blues.

Ipswich did threaten to forge ahead with a couple of opportunities just before the break, starting with a 25-yard effort from Chaplin that flew not too far over.

The same player then released Jackson with a superb pass, but Bazunu was quickly off his line to deny the striker.


Half Time

Ipswich Town 0

Portsmouth 0


There was little to properly excite either set of supporters in an attacking sense immediately after the restart.

A Macauley Bonne header was comfortably claimed by Bazunu, while Burns fired a shot high over the bar.

Pompey were struggling to make any inroads at the other end, although began to get more of a foothold in midfield as the second half progressed.

And two Curtis deliveries in quick succession – one high and the other along the floor – somehow failed to get a touch from anyone as they made their way across the box.

Then a cross from Connor Ogilvie was met by a glancing Sean Raggett header that landed on the roof of the net.

Cowley made a switch on 71 minutes when Thompson went off after receiving some treatment on the pitch and was replaced by Morrell.

There was still not much to test either keeper, although Bazunu got down to his right to make a regulation stop when Theo Bakinson tried his luck from outside the box.

But the Tractor Boys did go close when Bersant Celina took a neat touch to create space and angled in a shot that was well saved by Bazunu.

Burns swung the ball towards the back post just a few moments later and Bakinson’s header flew into the side netting.

Tempers then threatened to boil over on the sidelines and a bout of pushing and shoving had to be calmed down.

It resulted in yellow cards for both Dominic Thompson and Curtis, as well as one for Blues boss Cowley.

Denver Hume replaced O’Brien for the contest’s closing stages, while George Hirst then made way for Walker.

Ipswich thought they had a late winner after Burgess’ header from a Celina free-kick was parried away by Bazunu.

Bonne slammed the loose ball into the net and the ground erupted, only for their celebrations to be cut short by an offside flag.

And Pompey were able to see out four minutes of stoppage-time to collect what could prove to be a valuable point.

Ipswich (3-4-3): Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Burns (Aluko 86), Bakinson, Morsy (c) (Carroll 21), Thompson; Chaplin, Jackson (Bonne 45+3), Celina
Booked: Thompson, Donacien
Subs not used: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Norwood, Pigott

Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Thompson (Morrell 71), Ogilvie; Curtis, Hirst (Walker 86), O’Brien (Hume 84)
Booked: Thompson, Curtis
Subs not used: Webber, Vincent, Jewitt-White, Mingi

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 25,500 (1,986 Pompey fans)

Mar 082022
 

Portsmouth FC


A League 1
Crewe Alexandra 1
Portsmouth 3


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Crewe Alexandra 0

Portsmouth 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Andrew Kitchen

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

Mar 052022
 

Portsmouth FC 2021/2022


H League 1
Portsmouth 4
Accrington Stanley 0


FORM GUIDE

WON WON DRAWN WON WON WON LOST LOST LOST DRAWN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Accrington Stanley 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 15,091 (144 away fans)