Jan 292018
 

Anton Walkes

Loan : Tottenham Hotspur – Portsmouth



Anton Walkes is looking to continue his football education on the south coast.

The 20-year old loan capture from Tottenham – who will wear the number two shirt – has joined Pompey for the remainder of the season.

He spent most of last year Stateside with the Georgia-based Atlanta United, netting twice in 23 appearances.

Now a player who is comfortable in midfield or at the back wants to assist the Blues in climbing the League One table.

Walkes said: “I’m going to enjoy my time here and am looking forward to being involved and helping the team.

“This is a great club with a lot of history and it’s giving me a chance to improve as a young man.

“First team football is so important in the early stages of your career, so hopefully I can get plenty of minutes and impose myself here.

“My favourite position has been in the middle of the park, but I’ve learnt a lot on the defensive side and really just enjoy being out on the pitch.”

Walkes helped the newly-formed Atlanta reach the MLS play-offs last season and enjoyed the experience.

He said: “They are an expansion team, so needed numbers. It turned out to be outstanding for me and I want to show what I’ve learnt.

“You’re miles from home and out of your comfort zone, so hopefully that’s helped me to mature.

“It’s an unbelievable standard out there, with top quality players, coaches and facilities. You can’t fault it.”


Portsmouth FC

Jan 272018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Shrewsbury Town    1

 


Pompey’s barren start to 2018 continued as they suffered a narrow defeat to high-flying Shrewsbury at a damp Fratton Park.

James Bolton was left in space to score the only goal of the game midway through a first half that failed to sparkle.

But there was plenty of controversy before the break, with two decent shouts for a penalty turned down.

The Blues looked more inventive following the interval, but keeper Craig MacGillivray and the woodwork came to the Shrews’ rescue.

Adam May’s late dismissal for a second bookable offence only served to compound the hosts’ misery.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that suffered a dramatic defeat at Rotherham the previous week.

Gareth Evans returned from injury to skipper the side, while there were also recalls for May and Oli Hawkins.

Regular captain Brett Pitman dropped to the bench, along with Sylvain Deslandes and Matty Kennedy.

Pompey were guilty of some sloppy play before the break, although the wet conditions were undoubtedly making life tough for both sides.

But they dominated possession throughout the first half and Hawkins could not quite connect with Evans’ cross after leaping in the box.

May then received the game’s first booking for a late challenge on Shaun Whalley as the contest continued to meander.

And the goal that gave Shrewsbury the lead was indicative of what had come before, as the Blues failed to deal with a corner and Bolton took advantage at the far post.

There might have been a second when Luke McGee lost out in a race for the ball with Abu Ogogo, but Ben Close was on hand to clear the danger.

But the hosts were soon back on the attack and when Close’s free-kick was only partially cleared, Donohue’s follow-up volley was deflected wide.

Pompey were even closer to a leveller on 31 minutes, as Hawkins met Evans’ delivery, only for MacGillivray to make a superb save.

There was controversy either side of that, however, as the hosts were controversially denied a penalty on two occasions.

Referee David Coote had a clear view of Christian Burgess’ shirt being tugged as he tried to attack a corner, but opted to do nothing.

The official then failed to spot Whalley’s handball in the box, much to the fury of the home side, who rushed to complain, earning Evans a booking.

The Blues had to put that to the back of their minds and Hawkins almost capitalised when the Shrews defence failed to deal with May’s pass.

Evans also had a shot blocked by Omar Beckles and another effort that went over, as the hosts went in behind at the break.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Shrewsbury Town 1


Former Fratton favourite Ricardo Rocha – who made almost 100 appearances for the club – was introduced to the crowd during the interval.

That provided a lift, but the supporters were soon up in arms again when Coote missed another handball, although at least this one was not in the box.

Pompey were still struggling to find any fluidity and Jackett soon made a switch, replacing Jamal Lowe with Pitman.

That certainly provided the required spark, as the hosts soon began to take control and had a series of chances to draw level.

Toto Nsiala was well-placed in the box to keep out Evans’ shot and when the skipper delivered the ball back into the box, Pitman’s guided header was saved by MacGillivray.

Matt Clarke then saw an opening from the resulting corner, but could not force the ball through a sea of orange shirts.

And MacGillivray came to Shrewsbury’s rescue once again when he dived to his right to expertly keep out Kal Naismith’s 30-yard drive.

But the chances began to dry up again and so Naismith was withdrawn on 70 minutes for the fresh legs of Connor Ronan.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and McGee managed to claw away Carlton Morris’ header at point-blank range.

Whalley then arrowed an angled drive narrowly past the post after Shrewsbury had countered quickly.

Time was rapidly running out for the hosts, but they almost found an equaliser on 84 minutes.

Ronan’s looping header was volleyed towards goal by Pitman and a deflection took the ball onto the crossbar.

And there was more controversy late on when the ball bounced up and hit the arm of Beckles, only for Coote to remain unmoved.

But there was still time for the afternoon to get even worse for the hosts, as May’s foul on Stefan Payne saw him receive a second yellow card and subsequent red.

Pitman almost rescued an unlikely point deep into stoppage-time, however, with an angled shot rolling agonisingly past the post.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; May, Close; Evans (c), Naismith (Ronan 70), Lowe (Pitman 55); Hawkins
Sent off: May (two yellow cards)
Booked: Evans, Donohue
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Bennett, Kennedy, Chaplin

Shrewsbury (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; Godfrey; Whalley (John-Lewis 90+2), Nolan, Ogogo (c), Rodman; C.Morris (Payne 83)
Goals: Bolton 21
Booked: C.Morris, Rodman, Payne
Subs not used: Rowley, Hendrie, Lowe, B.Morris, Gnahoua

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,779 (498 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 202018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Rotherham United    1

 


 

Portsmouth    0

 


Pompey were cruelly denied a point at Rotherham after conceding a goal in stoppage-time.

It looked like they had done enough to secure a draw after surviving plenty of second half pressure.

But two of their former players combined for the Millers’ late winner, with Michael Smith teeing-up Joe Mattock for a headed finish.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that drew with Scunthorpe on home soil the previous week.

Sylvain Deslandes was handed a debut at left-back, while Matty Kennedy also returned, as Oli Hawkins and Connor Ronan dropped to the bench.

Jackett was facing the club where he had a short spell as manager last term, while former Blues boss Richie Barker was in the opposition dug-out.

The ball was a regular visitor to both ends of the pitch in the early stages, although a lack of quality in the final third meant a goal did not appear likely.

Dion Donohue – in a natural midfield role – made a block to deny Will Vaulks, while Kal Naismith sent a volley wildly over the bar after meeting Kennedy’s cross.

A fierce effort from Jamal Lowe was on target, although it was straight at Marek Rodak and the Millers keeper made a comfortable save.

Pompey did look bright following a quick break up the pitch on 13 minutes, as Deslandes collected the ball from Ben Close on the overlap, only for his cross to be just too high for Naismith.

And a Donohue free-kick that was flighted into the box somehow evaded both Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke as the defensive duo dashed in at the far post.

Both sides then had decent chances to break the deadlock in the space of a few minutes – with the Blues first to threaten.

Lowe chipped a pass up to Brett Pitman and the skipper tried to deftly flick the ball home, but he did not get enough on his header and it flew safely into Rodak’s arms.

David Ball soon had a dig for Rotherham at the other end, with his curling effort taking a slight deflection and sailing narrowly over the bar.

There were certainly not too many clear-cut attempts, though, with the home fans growing frustrated by some wasteful finishing.

Donohue had one last effort before the break and although his drive took a deflection off Vaulks, it was not enough to deceive Rodak.


Half Time

Rotherham United 0

Portsmouth 0


The first half had drifted towards a conclusion, but Rotherham came charging from the blocks at the start of the second.

First, Luke McGee had to leap on the ball when Ryan Williams’ delivery was turned back into the centre by Richie Towell.

A series of corners then caused chaos in the Blues box, with the Millers going closest to scoring from the first of them.

Richard Wood’s header was blocked in a crowded box and Nathan Thompson then charged down Vaulks’ follow-up effort.

Another flag-kick was soon sent back into the danger zone, though, and this time an unmarked Wood skewed wide.

But Pompey then had an opportunity of their own, with a commanding Rodak punch preventing Naismith from converting Lowe’s cross.

Jackett made a double switch on 66 minutes, with Pitman and Deslandes withdrawn for Hawkins and Ronan.

Smith soon worked his way into the Blues box, but Burgess was there to make a block and deny his former team-mate.

Corners were certainly proving a problem for Pompey and when one was met by Smith, the ball pinged around the area before eventually being hacked to safety.

Another soon followed and it was Thompson to the rescue once more, with the defender throwing himself in front of Semi Ajayi’s effort.

Rotherham applied more pressure as the seconds ticked down, but the visitors were holding firm at the back.

They might have even snatched victory late on when the ball fell to Lowe on the edge of the box, but his effort flew over.

Instead it was the Millers celebrating a late goal, as Smith crossed from the right and Mattock rose to head home at the far post.

Rotherham (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Emmanuel, Ajayi, Wood (c), Mattock; Forde (Taylor 83), Vaulks; Towell, Yates (Smith 65), Williams (Newell 65); Ball
Goals: Mattock 90+1
Booked: Emmanuel
Subs not used: Price, Ihiekwe, Cummings, Clarke-Harris

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Deslandes (Ronan 66); Close, Donohue; Lowe, Naismith, Kennedy; Pitman (c) (Hawkins 66)
Subs not used: Bass, Widdrington, May, Bennett, Chaplin

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 9,129 (1,471 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 132018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Scunthorpe United    1

 


Jamal Lowe celebrated his new contract with a goal, but Pompey had to settle for a 1-1 draw with play-off rivals Scunthorpe at Fratton Park.

Both sides looked bright before the break, although it was the hosts who led thanks to some inventive play from Lowe.

The Iron were more dominant in the second half, however, and Kevin van Veen grabbed a deserved leveller.

Kenny Jackett made two changes from the side that exited the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.

Top scorer Brett Pitman returned to lead the line, partnered by a fit-again Kal Naismith, who was making his first start for seven weeks.

There was also a system switch, with Oli Hawkins joining Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess in a three-man back-line.

That meant Nathan Thompson advanced into the centre of midfield, where he was joined by Ben Close and recent loan signing Connor Ronan.

Pompey took time to get used to the change in formation and looked a bit shaky at the back in the early stages.

Their opponents almost took advantage, with Luke McGee doing well to deny Tom Hopper and Lowe taking care of the loose ball.

But the hosts were lively at the other end and Ronan was especially bright as he attempted to thread passes through to the front two.

It was LOWE who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, though, stealing the ball off the foot of Josh Morris and finding the net from a tight angle with a shot that went in off the post.

The Iron were now shaky at the back and it took some desperate blocks to deny both Pitman and Naismith.

And the lead was almost doubled following a fine passing move involving more than half the side, with Pitman drilling a low effort narrowly past the post.

Scunthorpe were providing an attacking threat of their own, although McGee watched Funso Ojo’s attempt sail safely wide.

Their best opportunity to level came when Murray Wallace let fly from outside the box, but McGee was equal to the shot and punched the ball over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Scunthorpe United 0


And the Iron also had a great chance just after the restart when Hopper cut the ball back for van Veen in the box.

The striker found himself in far too much space, only for Clarke to make a great recovery challenge to deny the visitors.

But there was nothing that Pompey could do to prevent Scunthorpe from drawing level on 53 minutes.

Hopper got free down the left and picked out van Veen in the box, with the Dutchman swivelling and firing home an unstoppable shot.

And it almost got even worse for the Blues, with McGee having to make a fine reaction save from point-blank range to deny Morris.

Pompey tried to make an impression at the other end and Charlie Goode’s slip let in Naismith, only for the defender to recover and make a key block.

Jackett made a double change to try to steady the ship, with Ronan and Dion Donohue making way for Matty Kennedy and Adam May.

That resulted in a change of system to 4-1-4-1, with Naismith and Kennedy out wide and Pitman playing as a lone striker.

And Naismith had a chance to score when Scunthorpe failed to deal with a corner, but saw his angled drive gathered by Rory Watson at the second attempt.

That proved to be the end of the chances, as the final few moments passed by with little goalmouth incident to provide any late drama.

Pompey (3-4-1-2): McGee; Hawkins, Burgess, Clarke; Lowe, Close, Thompson, Donohue (May 71); Ronan (Kennedy 71); Pitman (c), Naismith
Goals: Lowe 15
Booked: Clarke, Hawkins
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Deslandes, Bennett, Chaplin

Scunthorpe (3-4-1-2): Watson; Goode, Burgess, Wallace (c); Holmes, Bishop, Ojo, Morris; Adelakun; van Veen, Hopper (Novak 84)
Goals: van Veen 53
Booked: Bishop, Adelakun
Subs not used: Kelsey, McArdle, Townsend, Sutton, McGeehan, Toney

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 17,741 (386 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 092018
 

Match Report

Checkatrade Torphy


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Chelsea U21    2

 


A dominant Pompey were knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy following a dramatic conclusion at Fratton Park

They created a host of excellent chances in the first half and it was somewhat of a surprise that the sides went in level at the break.

But Belgian starlet Charly Musonda netted following a counter-attack for the Londoners and that looked to be it.

Substitute Brett Pitman levelled in stoppage-time, however, and the third round tie looked to be heading for penalties.

But there were still time for Musonda to curl home a fine free-kick and ensure it was the visitors who progressed to the quarter-finals.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Bristol Rovers on New Year’s Day.

Connor Ronan was handed a debut in place of Pitman, while fellow Wolves loanee Sylvain Deslandes was named among the substitutes.

Pompey were on top throughout the first half and the only negative from a confident performance was that they failed to break the deadlock.

An early effort from Ben Close set the tone for what was to come, with the ball hitting Trevoh Chalobah and ricocheting wide.

The hosts were passing the ball around nicely and one move ended with a snap-shot from the lively Ronan, forcing Marcin Bulka to get down to his right and make the save.

Chelsea’s only threat arrived following a quick break on 17 minutes, but Callum Hudson-Odoi could not beat Luke McGee at the keeper’s near post.

A series of corners led to problems at the other end, with decent deliveries from Matty Kennedy and Dion Donohue causing some nervy moments in the Londoners’ defence.

The fans in the North Stand Lower were being entertained and the Blues had three excellent opportunities to forge ahead in the space of a few seconds.

Bulka twice came to Chelsea’s rescue by keeping out a header and shot from Oliver Hawkins with smart saves.

Sandwiched between them was a sharp volley from Jamal Lowe that had to be cleared from the line by a well-placed Kyle Scott.

Still the chances kept coming and when Close tapped a free-kick to Ronan, the diminutive midfielder fired narrowly over the bar.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Chelsea U21 0


Pompey picked up where they left off after the interval and another opportunity was carved open by one of Matt Clarke’s trademark surging runs.

He sprinted more than half of the length of the pitch and played a neat one-two with Kennedy before laying the ball off to Ronan, who saw his effort blocked.

Jackett made a double switch on 53 minutes, with Hawkins and a limping Nathan Thompson making way for Kal Naismith and Pitman.

The Blues had been pretty dominant as the game approached the hour mark, only to then find themselves trailing.

Chelsea broke quickly down the left and Scott cut the ball back for Musonda to calmly steer past McGee and into the net.

It was still the hosts looking the more confident side, but they were not creating as many clear openings as in the first half.

A Ronan free-kick almost proved fruitful, however, with Pitman’s back-flick blocked and the same fate then befell his ambitious over-head effort.

The danger was not over, though, and when the ball bounced up and hit Ethan Ampadu on the arm, referee Gavin Ward ignored cries for a penalty.

But it took a superb save from McGee to stop Chelsea doubling their lead on 73 minutes, with the keeper flinging out an arm to somehow deny Scott from point-blank range.

Conor Chaplin came on for Ronan, as Jackett tried to inject some extra attacking impetus into his line-up.

And the striker thought he should have won a spot-kick when he went down under Ampadu’s challenge, only for Ward to again remain unmoved.

Pompey did level in added time, though, when PITMAN collected Kennedy’s cross and turned sharply before firing home.

It looked like penalties were on the cards, but when Christian Burgess crudely halted Hudson-Odoi’s surge, Musonda stepped up to curl in an impressive winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson (c) (Pitman 53), Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, May; Lowe, Ronan (Chaplin 76), Kennedy; Hawkins (Naismith 53)
Goals: Pitman 90+2
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Widdrington, Bennett

Chelsea U21 (4-3-3): Bulka; Sterling, Chalobah, Ampadu, Grant (Colley 83); Maddox (Redan 28), Sammut (c), Scott (McCormick 87); Musonda, St Clair, Hudson-Odoi
Goals: Musonda 58, 90+5
Subs not used: Cumming, Dasilva, Christie-Davies, Hazard

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 3,116 (113 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 052018
 

Nicke Kabamba

Loan : Portsmouth – Aldershot Town



Nicke Kabamba has joined Aldershot on loan for the rest of the season.

The 24-year-old striker will be looking to help the Hampshire outfit continue their quest for National League promotion.

They currently sit second in the standings, leading the pack chasing table-topping Macclesfield ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dover.

Kabamba joined Pompey from Hampton & Richmond last January and has made six appearances for the club.

He played 10 times for League Two side Colchester during a loan spell in the first half of the campaign.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 032018
 

Connor Ronan / Sylvain Deslandes

Loan : Wolves – Portsmouth


    


Pompey have signed Wolves duo Sylvain Deslandes and Connor Ronan on loan for the remainder of the season.

Defender Deslandes – who can play at left-back or in a more central role – is a 20-year-old who has represented France up to under-20 level and featured eight times for the Molineux outfit.

Republic of Ireland youth international Ronan, 19, is a midfielder who has played 13 first team games for Wolves.

He has appeared three times for them in the Championship this term, including in away victories at Derby and Burton.

Both players featured for Wolves against Pompey in the under-23 Premier League Cup competition last season.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “We’re short on natural players at the back currently, so Sylvain can hopefully help us continue our excellent defensive record this season.

“Connor’s strength is his creativity, while he also has pace and vision on the ball. He’s someone I rate very highly and has a bright future in the game.

“I worked with both of them during my time Wolves and am pleased to link up with them once again.

“We’ve given them an excellent opportunity to play for Pompey and help us progress during the second half of the campaign.”


Portsmouth FC

Jan 032018
 

Curtis Main

Mutual Consent



Portsmouth Football Club can announce that Curtis Main has left the club by mutual consent.

The 25-year-old striker has now signed for Scottish Premiership outfit Motherwell.

He netted six goals in 23 appearances after arriving at Fratton Park from Doncaster in the summer of 2016.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “We all felt that it was best for his future to take this great opportunity to join Motherwell.

“Various injuries have disrupted Curtis’ time at Pompey, while the arrivals of Brett Pitman and Oliver Hawkins have also limited his time on the pitch.

“But we thank him for everything he’s done for this club and wish him all the best for the future.”

Main played nine times this term, scoring the winner at Charlton to ensure Pompey finished top of their Checkatrade Trophy group.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 012018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Bristol Rovers    2

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Pompey suffered a cruel opening to 2018 after Bristol Rovers struck two late goals to secure all three points at the Memorial Stadium.

The visitors took the lead in an often scrappy contest when Oliver Hawkins headed home in the second half.

And there were opportunities to extend the advantage before Stuart Sinclair struck following a period of Pirates pressure.

It looked like the spoils were to be shared, only for Liam Sercombe to drill a winner in the dying moments.

Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side that saw off Northampton on home soil at the weekend.

Danny Rose and Gareth Evans both limped off against the Cobblers, so in came Adam May and Jamal Lowe.

Pompey’s injury problems were clear from a look at the bench, with Theo Widdrington recalled from a loan spell with the Hawks and joining academy prospects Matt Casey and Dan Smith.

It was the hosts who looked brighter in the opening stages and Luke McGee got down well to deal with a long-range attempt from Billy Bodin.

But the Blues soon grew into the game and were enjoying plenty of possession, without being able to test Adam Smith between the sticks.

A couple of balls into the box had to be hacked to safety, while Lowe’s effort was deflected narrowly wide.

There was danger at the other end when Lee Brown sent a dangerous delivery into the mixer, only for Bodin to collide with Sinclair as they both tried to meet it.

It was certainly the hosts looking more fluent as the half progressed and May charged down Rory Gaffney’s strike, before Tom Broadbent’s surging run was halted by Christian Burgess.

Pompey were still trying to create chances of their own, however, and Smith had to keep out Brett Pitman’s drive at his near post following good work down the right from Nathan Thompson.

Matt Clarke then looked like he was about to convert Dion Donohue’s free-kick, only for the keeper to come off his line and punch clear.

It was a decent spell from Pompey and Joe Partington had to divert the ball behind when Pitman – given plenty of stick for his Bristol City connections – stretched to reach Thompson’s cross.

The action then swung back in Rovers’ favour, although pressing from the Blues back-line was leaving the home crowd frustrated.


Half Time

Bristol Rovers 0

Portsmouth 0


Pompey won an early corner once play restarted and Burgess sent a header looping narrowly over from Donohue’s delivery.

But it was Rovers who came close to breaking the deadlock on 51 minutes, as the ball pinged around the Blues box.

Bodin’s effort was kept out by the feet of McGee and when it was sent back into the area, Tom Nichols diverted it narrowly off target.

There was a melee in the opposite area on the hour mark, but when Pitman centred the ball, Chris Lines was well-placed to hack it clear.

And the visitors did forge ahead on 64 minutes, as a HAWKINS rose to meet May’s fine cross and guide a precision header past the desperate dive of Smith.

They came close to doubling their advantage, only for a Ben Close thunderbolt to be blocked by a Rovers shirt in a packed box.

And Matty Kennedy then did well to trick his way into space and flash a low shot narrowly past the post.

But Bodin came close to a leveller at the other end on 77 minutes, with a rising effort that McGee had to palm over the crossbar.

Rovers were piling on plenty of pressure in the closing stages and it finally paid off with a late leveller.

Bodin’s strike was sav ed by McGee, but he could not keep hold of the ball and Sinclair followed up to find the net.

And the Blues were left heartbroken when, in the 90th minute, a free-kick was played to Sercombe, who drilled a shot into the bottom corner.

Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Smith; Partington, Lockyer (c), Broadbent (Sweeney 59), Brown; Sinclair, Clarke (Sercombe 74), Lines; Bodin, Nichols, Gaffney (Harrison 74)
Goals: Sinclair 84, Sercombe 90
Booked: Partington
Subs not used: Slocombe, Bola, Moore, Telford

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donohue; Close, May; Lowe (Bennett 90+2), Pitman (c) (Main 81), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 64
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Widdrington, Smith, Chaplin

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 10,014 (1,165 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 302017
 

Match Report

League One


 

Portsmouth    3

 


 

Northampton Town    1

 


Pompey finished 2017 on a high as they battled from behind to beat Northampton and climb into the play-off places.

They started poorly, but moved through the gears after Chris Long had put the struggling visitors ahead.

Matty Kennedy and Oliver Hawkins both struck in the space of a few minutes just before the interval.

Hawkins added a second following the restart and it might have been a greater margin of victory without an impressive display from Matt Ingram between the sticks.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that beat AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day.

One of them was enforced, with Brandon Haunstrup suffering from a knock and being replaced at left-back by Dion Donohue.

Meanwhile, Jamal Lowe and Conor Chaplin both dropped to the bench to make way for Kennedy and Hawkins.

Pompey had a great chance to open the scoring early on when Brett Pitman slipped a pass through to Hawkins, but Ingram stuck out a foot to make the save.

But the hosts looked well below par for most of the first half, perhaps fatigued by the hectic festive schedule.

Northampton tried to make them pay and Luke McGee was forced to back-pedal when Sam Hoskins tried to lob him.

The keeper then got down quickly to his right to make the save when Matt Grimes had a snap-shot from 35 yards.

And a teasing Brendan Moloney delivery flew past both Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess, although Long was unable to make a connection at the far post.

Pompey were forced to make a substitution on 25 minutes when Danny Rose collected a bizarre injury.

A drop ball was called for after Nathan Thompson received treatment on the pitch and John-Joe O’Toole accidentally kicked the midfielder in the leg in the battle for possession.

He was switched for Adam May, leaving the hosts with an extremely youthful central midfield pairing.

The Cobblers then broke the deadlock when Close lost possession and O’Toole sent a through ball to Long, who coolly slotted the ball past McGee.

But that seemed to spark Pompey into life and they managed to score twice in four minutes to turn the match on its head.

It was a lovely finish from KENNEDY to level, with the winger cutting on to his right foot and drilling a low shot into the bottom corner.

And it was an even better effort from HAWKINS to give the Blues the lead, as the striker rose on the edge of the box to expertly steer a deep Burgess pass over Ingram and into the net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Northampton Town 1


Gareth Evans had limped off injured just before the break and he was replaced by Lowe before the game restarted.

The hosts were not content with a narrow lead, though, and Kennedy curled a shot narrowly over at the start of the second half.

And Pompey did find themselves further ahead on 48 minutes, as Donohue sent a perfect cross to the far post, where HAWKINS showed plenty of desire to rise above the defence and head home.

It almost got even better after Pitman’s back-heel was blocked, but Close’s follow-up rattled the crossbar.

The Blues were rampant by this point and it was only a string of saves from the overworked Ingram that was limiting the damage.

He did well to keep out an angled Pitman drive before also getting down to save another Hawkins header.

The keeper was also at his best deny Kennedy, while Lowe should at least have found the target after being sent racing through on goal.

There was, unsurprisingly, a bit of a lull following such a frantic opening to the half, although it was still the hosts looking more likely to add to the scoring.

Burgess went close after racing into the box to meet Kennedy’s free-kick and head narrowly wide of the post.

There were to be no more goals, although Pompey had already done enough to secure the points and their place in the top six.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clark, Donohue; Close, Rose (May 29); Evans (Lowe 46), Pitman (c) (Chaplin 89), Kennedy; Hawkins
Goals: Kennedy 41, Hawkins 45, 48
Booked: Pitman, Kennedy
Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Bennett, Main

Northampton (4-1-2-1-2): Ingram; Moloney, Poole, Taylor, Buchanan (c); Grimes; Crooks, McGugan; O’Toole (Foley 59); Hoskins (Powell 64), Long (Richards 72)
Goals: Long 36
Booked: McGugan
Subs not used: Cornell, Smith, McWilliams, Waters

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 18,539 (538 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 262017
 

Match Report

League One


 

Portsmouth    2

 


 

AFC Wimbledon    1

 


The big day might have passed, but there was still plenty of Christmas cheer on show as Pompey beat AFC Wimbledon.

Ben Close livened up a dull first half with a fine strike on a wet and windy Boxing Day afternoon on the south coast.

Lyle Taylor hit back with a penalty just after the break, only for Brett Pitman to net a spot-kick of his own to secure the points for the Blues.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that were beaten at Shrewsbury before Christmas.

It came in attack, where Matty Kennedy dropped to the bench to make way for Conor Chaplin just behind lone striker Pitman.

Both sides had perhaps indulged themselves a tad too much the previous day, with the first half limping along.

Pompey enjoyed the majority of possession and territory, but George Long was largely untroubled in the Dons goal.

It was actually the visitors who were first to threaten, with Cody McDonald – perhaps put off by Luke McGee’s presence – poking the ball wide of the post.

Close sent a couple of dangerous deliveries into the box, only for the Londoners’ back-line to deal with them both.

A snap-shot from the returning Chaplin was well-struck on 19 minutes, but the ball flew straight at Long.

The lively Gareth Evans also had an effort that flew narrowly wide, as the contest struggled to move out of second gear.

Pompey fans were finally given reason to sit up and take notice when Chaplin’s shot took a deflection and hit Jamal Lowe.

He was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough, however, with the ball ricocheting off the winger and being saved by Long.

A couple of Wimbledon corners caused hearts to flutter at the other end, but it was the hosts who finally forged ahead just before the break.

Lowe slide in to win back possession and feed CLOSE, whose 25-yard effort skimmed off the wet surface and into the bottom corner.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

AFC Wimbledon 0


The mood was buoyant inside Fratton Park at the break, but it soon soured when the visitors levelled just after the restart.

There was plenty of controversy about the goal, however, with AFC Wimbledon awarded a penalty after the ball bounced up and struck Christian Burgess on the arm.

Referee Craig Hicks decided it was deliberate and Taylor smashed the resulting penalty into the roof of the net.

There was growing frustration from fans and players alike, as a few more decisions started to go against them.

Jackett made a double switch just past the hour mark to try to inject some fresh impetus into his side.

Chaplin and Lowe were the men to make way, with Oliver Hawkins and Kennedy coming on to replace them.

Hicks looked to have ensured he was off next season’s Christmas card list for anyone living in Portsmouth, but the official was soon back in the home side’s good books.

He spotted Barry Fuller’s shove on Pitman inside the box and, much to the delight of the Fratton faithful, pointed to the spot.

It was PITMAN who stepped up to take the penalty and confidently sent Long the wrong way with a thunderous finish.

Wimbledon almost hit back, as an angled drive from former Blues winger Andy Barcham flashed across the face of goal.

But Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure a return to winning ways in League One.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Evans, Chaplin (Hawkins 64), Lowe (Kennedy 64); Pitman (c)
Goals: Close 45, Pitman 72 (pen)
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, May, Bennett, Main

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Long; Fuller (c), Oshilaja, Charles, Meades; Trotter, Soares (Kaja 78), Abdou, Barcham; Taylor, McDonald
Goals: Taylor 50 (pen)
Booked: Soares, Barcham, Fuller, Trotter
Subs not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Kennedy, Hartigan, Egan, Francomb

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 18,644 (728 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 232017
 

Match Report

League One


 

Shrewsbury Town    2

 


 

Portsmouth    0

 


It was not exactly the Nightmare before Christmas.

But Pompey were certainly lacking festive cheer after individual errors saw their fine run of form brought to an end at high-flying Shrewsbury.

Things appeared to be going the visitors’ way when Luke McGee saved Shaun Whalley’s penalty following a lifeless first half.

But Whalley and substitute Stefan Payne both capitalised on sloppy defending to maintain the Shrews’ magnificent home record.

The game began in cautious fashion and neither side really looked like scoring in a scrappy opening 45 minutes.

Pompey’s three bookings were arguably the most noteworthy incidents, although the Blues could perhaps feel aggrieved to see Matt Clarke, Jamal Lowe and Brandon Haunstrup’s names all taken.

There were a few balls pumped into Shrewsbury’s box, but nothing to trouble Dean Henderson between the sticks.

More concerning was a long-range attempt by Kennedy on 19 minutes, with the keeper managing to push the ball clear after it bounced awkwardly in front of him.

Not too much was happening at the other end of the pitch, although Clarke had to head away Alex Rodman’s curling effort.

And Christian Burgess then made a well-timed challenge inside the box to halt Carlton Morris’ path to goal.

But, with the game drifting towards the interval, neither stopper had realistically looked like conceding.

That almost changed in stoppage-time, though, as McGee showed good reactions after Whalley’s cross was diverted towards the net by an inadvertent Haunstrup deflection.


Half Time

Shrewsbury Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The first half had been forgettable – and Blues fans will be keen for the second period to also escape their memories.

Shrewsbury were given an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock soon after the restart when Christian Burgess lost the ball to Whalley.

He burst into the box and when McGee came charging from his line to deal with the danger, referee Darren Handley decided he took the man and not the ball.

It was Whalley who stepped up to take the spot-kick, only for his tame effort to be saved by the diving Blues keeper.

Pompey almost made him pay for his profligacy when Brett Pitman won a free-kick, but Henderson was equal to the skipper’s effort.

And it was the hosts who took the lead just before the hour mark when McGee tried to stop a deflected Jon Nolan effort from going out for a corner.

The keeper could not keep hold of the ball, however, and Whalley capitalised by sliding it into the net.

Jackett immediately made a double substitution, with Lowe and Kennedy making way for Oliver Hawkins and Kyle Bennett.

But the Blues were looking ragged after falling behind and McGee did well to beat Whalley to Carlton Morris’ threaded pass.

Conor Chaplin replaced Pitman in one last effort by Pompey to try to find a spark of magic and grab an equaliser.

Instead, Shrewsbury grabbed a late second goal, as Payne stole the ball from Clarke and found the target, despite McGee’s best efforts to keep it out.

Pompey kept plugging away – no doubt inspired by a noisy travelling army – but there was to be no Christmas miracle.

Shrewsbury (4-1-4-1): Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; B.Morris; Whalley, Nolan, Ogogo (c), Rodman (Godfrey 87); C.Morris (Payne 75)
Goals: Whalley 59, Payne 81
Booked: C.Morris, Nolan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Riley, Gnahoua, Dodds, John-Lewis

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Haunstrup; Close, Rose; Lowe (Hawkins 60), Evans, Kennedy (Bennett 60); Pitman (c) (Chaplin 77)
Booked: Clarke, Lowe, Haunstrup
Subs not used: Bass, Donohue, May, Main

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 7,429 (1,094 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC