Sep 012020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey eased to a 4-0 victory over neighbours Gosport in their final friendly before the start of the League One season.

A few hundred fans were allowed in to watch the contest and saw defender Cameron Pring come on to make his debut, just a few hours after arriving on loan from Bristol City.

Ronan Curtis opened the scoring, while Reeco Hackett-Fairchild added a brace and Ryan Williams wrapped things up.

Kenny Jackett decided to name a strong side at Privett Park, with the entire starting 11 involved in the Carabao Cup victory at Stevenage a few days earlier.

There were also returns from injury for attacking duo Ellis Harrison and Hackett-Fairchild, who both featured in the second half.

John Marquis and Marcus Harness had early half-chances before a Curtis header was cleared from the line.

The visitors also had appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Tim Godfray when Marquis went down in the box.

And they broke the deadlock midway through the first half, as Gareth Evans’ cross was flicked on by Bryn Morris for CURTIS to fire home.

Pompey were searching for more goals and Marquis was denied by a block, while Sean Raggett nodded over and Harness saw an effort saved by Pat O’Flaherty.


Half Time

Gosport Borough 0

Portsmouth 1


The entire Blues side was changed at the break, with new arrival Pring among the players entering the fray.

But it was HACKETT-FAIRCHILD who soon doubled the advantage, expertly firing home after being slipped through by Andy Cannon.

And the same played added a third goal on 54 minutes, with HACKETT-FAIRCHILD making space for himself on the edge of the box and crashing the ball into the corner.

There was not too much happening to trouble Duncan Turnbull at the other end, although he did have to turn a Rory Williams free-kick around the post.

That sparked a busy period for the American stopper, though, who brilliantly denied Matt Paterson from point-blank range.

Most of the action was happening at the other end and a Hackett-Fairchild delivery was deflected against the crossbar.

And Australian winger WILLIAMS did add a fourth on 70 minutes after reacting quickest to a loose ball in the Boro box.

It almost got even better for the Blues moments later, but Harrison Brook was unable to find the target.

Hackett-Fairchild then came close to completing a hat-trick late on, only to see his free-kick bend over the bar and another fierce shot saved.

First Half: MacGillivray; Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness, Evans, Curtis; Marquis

Second Half: Turnbull; Mnoga, Whatmough, Rew, Pring; Close, Storey (Brook 68); Williams, Cannon, Hackett-Fairchild; Harrison

Portsmouth FC

Aug 292020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Carabao Cup 1




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Stevenage 3

Portsmouth 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Time: Stevenage 3 Pompey 3

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Portsmouth FC

Aug 152020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Friendly




Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis scored free-kicks to ensure Pompey got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start by beating Norwich’s under-23 side.

Both goals came in the first half of the contest at a drizzly and humid Five Lakes Resort in Essex, where the Blues have been based for a training camp.

Kenny Jackett named a different side in each 45-minute period, with plenty of youngsters featuring after the break.

But Ben Close (groin), Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (knee) and Ellis Harrison (calf) all missed out with minor injury problems.

It was the ‘hosts’ from the south coast who were first to threaten with a John Marquis shot from the edge of the box that drew a comfortable save.

The game was taking place behind closed doors, but a few residents stopped by on their golf carts to catch some of the action.

They witnessed Bryn Morris fire another effort over the crossbar, while a corner from Marcus Harness was parried to safety by Jon McCracken.

At the other end, when Alex Bass parried a shot, Paul Downing, Brown and James Bolton all had to fling themselves in front of the ball in quick succession.

Marquis was denied an opener by McCracken, who acrobatically tipped over his header from a pin-point Brown delivery.

And it was BROWN who did break the deadlock on 30 minutes, curling a free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner after Curtis had been felled just outside the box.

Another set-piece saw the advantage doubled moments later, with a foul on Marquis leading to CURTIS impressively finding the net.

Norwich almost reduced their deficit in fortunate fashion just before the break, but Bass brilliantly prevented Downing from nodding into his own net.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Norwich City U23 0


Eight academy products were among the 11 players introduced after the interval, with Jack Whatmough among them.

Harvey Rew and Eoin Teggart looked particularly threatening going down the left, although chances were proving harder to come by.

Harrison Brook had penalty appeals waved away following a challenge in the box, while Teggart’s low effort was well saved.

The latter then had another effort – this time from an acute angle – kept out after being released by Alfie Stanley.

But Norwich had opportunities of their own and Craig MacGillivray made several fine stops to ensure Pompey’s clean sheet remained intact.

First Half: Bass; Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris; Harness, Williams, Curtis; Marquis

Second Half: MacGillivray; Kavanagh, Mnoga, Whatmough, Rew; Storey, Cannon; Brook, Evans, Teggart; Stanley

Portsmouth FC

Jul 032020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1 Play Off Semi Final




Pompey’s play-off contest with Oxford is finely balanced after the sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Fratton Park.

The hosts made the stronger start and deservedly took the lead through a low finish from Ronan Curtis.

But Marcus Browne grabbed a United leveller just before the interval and neither side were able to find a winner in the second half.

Kenny Jackett made four changes from the side that drew with Fleetwood all the way back in March.

Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband, with regular skipper Tom Naylor named on an extended nine-man bench.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess, Marcus Harness and a fit-again Bryn Morris, as James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon made way.

A blustery Fratton Park was virtually empty, with the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating games taking place behind closed doors.

But there were still more than 1,000 fans present in the form of cardboard cut-outs, with 2003 promotion hero Svetoslav Todorov, chairman Michael Eisner and the late John Jenkins MBE among them.

Before kick-off, there was a minute of applause to celebrate the NHS and other key workers, while all players then took the knee in a powerful statement against racism.

The hosts controlled possession for much of the first half and Ellis Harrison had an early header blocked from a corner.

And the deadlock was almost broken moments later, courtesy of a drilled Curtis effort that struck the base of the post.

Both sides were clearly up for the challenge, with several meaty challenge flying in and Oxford boss Karl Robinson constantly in the ear of a beleaguered fourth official.

Neither keeper was really being put to the test and a Harness curler was blocked, while it took a diving Josh Ruffels header to deal with one Curtis delivery.

After a brief break for drinks, Cameron Brannagan and Cameron McGeehan were both booked following a spat in the middle of the pitch.

Burgess then thought he should have won a penalty after appearing to be tugged back by Rob Dickie, but appeals were dismissed by referee Gavin Ward.

Pompey’s pressure did pay off on 32 minutes, though, as CURTIS advanced and hit a low shot that crept past former Fratton stopper Simon Eastwood and nestled in the net.

That seemed to spark the visitors into life and Browne dragged an effort past the post, although Alex Bass appeared to have it covered.

The Blues could not keep their opponents at bay, though, and Browne did well to burst forward and find the net.

But Pompey did finish the half with a flourish and visiting players had to fling themselves in front of a flurry of shots in quick succession.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Oxford United 1


There was a slow start to the second period in terms of chances, although Harrison felt a challenge on him inside the box warranted a penalty.

Jackett tried to liven up proceedings with a double switch just past the hour mark, as Ross McCrorie and Andy Cannon made way for Bolton and Williams.

But it was Oxford who were next to have a shot, albeit a long-range James Henry attempt that Bass held comfortably.

Williams soon showed some neat trickery, although his low cross was cut out before it could reach Harrison in the centre.

The Blues then delivered a couple of fine corners – first from Brown and then Harness – that were just about dealt with.

Jackett made his third change of the evening on 73 minutes and it was a straight substitution up front, as Harrison made way for John Marquis.

The hosts were starting to build some momentum and Brown’s effort was deflected into the side netting, while the skipper then did well to halt Browne’s break at the other end.

And Burgess went close to restoring the lead when he met Brown’s free-kick, only for Eastwood to get down and make the save.

Curtis was furious not to be awarded a late penalty after going down under a challenge from Dan Agyei, but again Ward said no.

Pompey pushed forward in search of a lead to take to the Kassam Stadium on Monday, but had to settle for a draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; McCrorie (Bolton 62), Burgess, Raggett, Brown (c); McGeehan, Morris; Harness, Cannon (Williams 62), Curtis; Harrison (Marquis 73)
Goals: Curtis 32
Booked: McGeehan
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Downing, Seddon, Naylor, Evans, Hawkins

Oxford (4-1-4-1): Eastwood; Long, Dickie (c), Moore, Ruffels; Gorrin; Henry, Woodburn (Sykes 55), Brannagan (Forde 81), Browne (Agyei 81); Taylor (Mackie 73)
Goals: Browne 43
Booked: Brannagan, Gorrin
Subs not used: Stevens, Atkinson, Mousinho, Kelly, Hanson

Referee: Gavin Ward

Portsmouth FC

Mar 292020
 

On This Day

BORN - March 29



On This Day Hayley McFarland Dave Greenfield Obituary

Jan 282020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey continued their run of fine form with a 2-0 victory at a Lincoln side who had been in imperious home form.

Ronan Curtis curled home a free-kick in the last piece of action of an otherwise lacklustre opening half.

And the Imps never really did enough to threaten that lead, with John Marquis wrapping things up from the spot after Neal Eardley had fouled Steve Seddon.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that knocked Barnsley out of the FA Cup on home soil at the weekend.

Cameron McGeehan was ineligible for that game, but returned on the bench and was joined by the fit-again duo of Lee Brown and Ross McCrorie.

The hosts had an early opportunity when Jorge Grant’s cross drifted towards goal and landed on the roof of the net.

But the opening 45 minutes was a largely soporific affair, with neither side able to find any kind of fluidity and possession constantly changing hands.

A quick Lincoln break might have caused a few flutters in the away end of the ground, but Tyreece John-Jules settled any nerves by blazing high over the crossbar.

Pompey had periods of possession, although were lacking penetration in the final third as the contest continued to drift along.

There was pained expressions among every man in the crowd on 30 minutes after Andy Cannon’s shot hit a defender and ricocheted back into his nether regions.

The midfielder was then involved in a neat bit of build-up play involving Ryan Williams and Ben Close, with the latter’s ball glanced wide by Marquis, who had also strayed offside.

It appeared as though the interval would arrive without any meaningful incident, but the Blues suddenly picked up in stoppage-time.

Curtis fired one effort over, while Cian Bolger did well to stop James Bolton’s low delivery reaching Marquis in the box.

A fierce volley from Cannon was then blocked before, with time almost up, Seddon was bundled over just outside the box.

Close stood over the ball and Seddon feigned to take it, seemingly confusing Imps keeper Josh Vickers as CURTIS curled past his desperate grasp.


Half Time

Lincoln City 0

Portsmouth 1


A long-range attempt from Cannon flew not too far over the bar once the action resumed, as the Blues tried to find a cushion.

But the hosts should have been level soon after, as Tom Hopper beat former Imps defender Sean Raggett and cut back for an unmarked John-Jules to fire wastefully over.

There was still a lack of quality on show, but there was certainly more action than had been on offer prior to the break.

Curtis fizzed a low free-kick into the box and the ball bounced dangerously around before being cleared behind.

The Imps then embarked on a patient passing move up the pitch that ended with Raggett making a crunching – but fair – challenge on Tyler Walker inside the box.

A Grant free-kick was soon partially headed clear, although Conor Coventry’s follow-up was again off target.

Pompey broke quickly to carve out an opportunity of their own on 73 minutes, with Seddon having of acres of space to run into before seeing his low drive beaten away by Vickers.

Jackett made his first substitution moments later, with Cannon making way for McGeehan in the centre.

Raggett then appeared to hurt himself after sticking a foot in to block Walker’s shot, but the centre-back was able to continue after some treatment on the pitch.

Pompey were trying to wrap the match up and when a Curtis corner was only partially cleared, McGeehan curled the loose ball over.

And they had the opportunity to do just that when Seddon’s charge into the box was clumsily halted by Eardley.

Referee Ben Toner had a simple decision to make and immediately pointed to the spot, although spared the Imps defender a second booking.

MARQUIS stepped up to take the penalty and precisely squeezed the ball just inside the post to double the lead in front of the large – and noisy – travelling army.

Curtis might have added some icing to the cake late on, but Vickers made a smart stop to limit the damage for Lincoln.

Lincoln (4-4-2): Vickers; Eardley, Bolger, Shackell (c), Melbourne; Anderson (Walker 60), Morrell, Coventry (Hesketh 74), Grant; Hopper, John-Jules
Booked: Eardley, Grant, Morrell
Subs not used: Smith, Lewis, Edun, Chapman, Elbouzedi

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), Close; Williams, Cannon (McGeehan 76), Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Curtis 45+5, Marquis 87 (pen)
Booked: Close, Marquis, Naylor, Curtis
Subs not used: MacGillivray, McCrorie, Whatmough, Brown, Harness, Harrison

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 8,983 (1,154 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 252020
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 4




Pompey eased into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a dismantling of Championship strugglers Barnsley at Fratton Park.

They were in charge for most of the contest, but had to wait until late in the first half before Ben Close impressively broke the deadlock.

John Marquis then doubled the advantage in stoppage-time, only for a Cauley Woodrow stunner to ignite hopes of a comeback for the visitors.

They were quickly extinguished by Ronan Curtis, however, and Christian Burgess wrapped up a convincing victory, before Conor Chaplin grabbed a late Tykes consolation.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that beat Bolton in the league the previous weekend.

Andy Cannon, Close and Ryan Williams all returned to the starting line-up, with the latter facing his former club.

Ellis Harrison and Marcus Harness both dropped to the bench, while Cameron McGeehan was unable to feature against the side he is on loan from.

Meanwhile, there was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, as ex-Fratton favourite Chaplin played up front.

The contest took a while to get going, but it was Pompey who looked the more threatening side as the first half progressed.

It was the skipper who had the first attempt, with Tom Naylor drilling a low shot narrowly wide when Cannon laid the ball into his path.

Cannon was then not quite able to get on the end of a Williams delivery after Curtis had ridden a challenge in the middle of the pitch and picked out the winger.

The Blues were looking particularly dangerous on the break, although had yet to test Brad Collins between the sticks.

But the keeper might have gifted the hosts an opener midway through the half, with his kick ricocheting off Marquis and rolling just past the post.

Collins then had to get down low to his right to keep out a low effort from Curtis following another pacy counter-attack.

But the deadlock was broken on 37 minutes after Cannon had not been afforded any space to get a shot away.

The midfielder instead laid the ball off for CLOSE to superbly arrow home from the edge of the box, drawing cries of ‘he’s one of our own’ from the Fratton faithful.

Collins then stopped his side falling further behind just before the break, superbly parrying Curtis’ shot behind following good work from Williams.

It was only a brief respite for the Tykes, though, as Curtis met the resulting corner from Steve Seddon and his header was touched over the line by MARQUIS.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Barnsley 0


Barnsley showed more attacking intent once the action restarted, although the Blues soon almost extended their lead further.

Curtis met a cross from Williams and his header hit Marquis, with Collins doing well to stop the ball crossing the line.

The hosts were on top and playing some neat football, as they looked to put the tie out of the Reds’ reach.

But their lead was halved from nowhere on the hour mark, as Woodrow hit a stunning 30-yard strike that left Alex Bass with no chance.

And Barnsley should have soon been level, with Jacob Brown wastefully prodding wide from a few yards out.

He was made to pay his profligacy just a few seconds later, as CURTIS raced onto a long ball over the top by Bass, held off a defender and fired home off the inside of the post.

It had been a quiet return for Chaplin, but he had two opportunities in quick succession to hurt his former club.

His first attempt was bravely blocked by Burgess, while the striker was then unable to beat Bass from an acute angle.

From coming to the rescue at one end, BURGESS then scored the Blues’ fourth goal of the afternoon – just a week after opening his account for the season.

Williams’ effort was deflected behind for a corner, which Seddon whipped into the box for the centre-back to firmly head into the net.

That was Williams’ last contribution, with the winger replaced by Harness, exiting the pitch from the north side and enjoying a standing ovation as he made his way around the pitch.

The newcomer almost added a fifth goal on 82 minutes, but Collins was quickly off his line to prevent him from converting Curtis’ pass.

Pompey fans were certainly enjoying themselves, singing songs about Wembley and paying tribute to Chaplin.

And the Barnsley striker did reduce his side’s deficit in stoppage-time, following up to find the net after Bass had denied Brown.

But the hosts had comfortably done enough to book their place in Monday evening’s fifth round draw – the first time they have reached that stage since getting to the final in 2010.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Seddon; Naylor (c), Close; Williams (Harness 78), Cannon (Evans 90), Curtis; Marquis (Harrison 90+2)
Goals: Close 37, Marquis 45+1, Curtis 62, Burgess 76
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Hawkins

Barnsley (4-1-2-1-2): Collins; J.Williams, Sollbauer, Andersen, Oduor; Halme (Dougall 69); Thomas (Mowatt 46), Ritzmaier; Woodrow (c); Brown, Chaplin
Goals: Woodrow 60, Chaplin 90+1
Subs not used: Radlinger, Ludewig, B.Williams, Styles, Schmidt

Referee: Graham Scott

Attendance: 13,286 (681 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 292019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey finished the calendar year in miserable fashion after conspiring to suffer defeat at struggling MK Dons.

They looked comfortable for most of the contest and created plenty of chances, but a lack of clinical finishing and some sloppy defending meant they went home empty-handed.

Rhys Healey and Conor McGrandles both scored in the latter stages of the first half at Stadium MK, with Alex Gilbey adding a third after the break.

Ronan Curtis continued his fine goalscoring form by finding the net in stoppage-time, but it was just a consolation.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that beat Wycombe on home soil on Boxing Day.

Ryan Williams picked up a groin injury in the early stages of that game and the man who replaced him, Marcus Harness, was handed a start.

That opened up a place on the bench, which was taken by teenage full-back Haji Mnoga, who signed his first professional contract at the start of the week.

Harness played a more advanced role than expected, playing alongside Ellis Harrison in what looked more like a 4-4-2 system.

Pompey took control of the contest right from the start and enjoyed plenty of possession and territorial advantage.

But for all the play they had in and around their opponents’ area, Lee Nicholls looked fairly comfortable between the sticks.

Ben Close and Curtis – the goal heroes against Wycombe – both had shots blocked in the early stages.

The hosts were looking nervy at the back and struggled to deal with some corners from Close, as well as Harness’ trickery.

Anton Walkes also looked a threat going forward down the left and sent a few dangerous deliveries into the box.

Nicholls was called into action on 15 minutes and did well to get behind a fierce long-range drive from the lively Harness.

The keeper conceded a free-kick inside the box after picking up Joe Walsh’s back-pass, but the wall did its job by rushing forward to block Curtis’ effort.

And the Dons then took the lead completely against the run of play, although the Blues were furious that referee Leigh Doughty failed to give a foul against James Bolton in the build-up.

Instead, Jordan Houghton launched the ball forward and Sean Raggett’s header was not hard enough to reach Craig MacGillivray, with Healey nipping in to score.

It got even worst for Pompey before the break, as Tom Naylor tackled Healey on the edge of the box and the ball ran kindly for McGrandles to impressively fire into the top corner.


Half Time

MK Dons 2

Portsmouth 0


Harrison did not emerge following the interval, with John Marquis coming on to replace him up front.

But it was the hosts who were first to threaten, courtesy of a long-range Gilbey attempt that MacGillivray tipped over the bar.

Pompey soon started to take control, though, and once again put plenty of pressure on their opponents.

But the ball just would not seem to fall kindly for them and although unconvincing, the Dons managed to get the ball clear.

And Nicholls was soon called into action to make two key saves in quick succession, first denying Marquis after the striker had been played through by Harness.

The resulting corner was flicked on by Naylor for Curtis at the far post, but the keeper was there to deny the Blues’ top scorer.

MK Dons still threatened at the other end, though, and Raggett had to head Dean Lewington’s free-kick just past his own post.

Then, from the resulting corner, a scramble in the box led to MacGillivray diving on the ball at the feet of Healey.

But Pompey were still pushing forward whenever possible and after some neat build-up play involving Curtis, Close and Harness, the latter’s shot was blocked.

Curtis then went close with a bending strike from outside of the box that Nicholls did brilliantly to turn behind.

Jackett made a double switch on 72 minutes, with Harness and Cannon racing from the pitch to be replaced by Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman.

Marquis was only able to hit a weak shot straight at Nicholls from a low Walkes cross, as time began to run out on the visitors.

A fracas near the touchline led to Walsh and Christian Burgess both being booked – and the Dons scoring a third to wrap the points up.

Pompey were awarded a free-kick, but it came to nothing and the hosts broke quickly up the field, with Gilbey lifting a neat finish over MacGillivray and into the net.

There was at least a reply from CURTIS, who turned home Bolton’s cross from close range right at the death, but there was not enough time for the Blues to launch another attack.

The loss was perhaps an unfair outcome for the visitors, who will hope to improve their away form when they visit Gillingham on New Year’s Day.

MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): Nicholls; Brittain, Williams, Walsh, Lewington (c); Houghton; McGrandles, Kasumu; Gilbey (Reeves 90+1); Healey (Nombe 68), Mason (Agard 77)
Goals: Healey 35, McGrandles 42, Gilbey 84
Booked: McGrandles, Brittain, Kasumu, Walsh
Subs not used: Moore, Poole, Cargill, Boateng

Pompey (4-4-1-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Cannon (Pitman 72), Naylor (c), Close, Curtis; Harness (Evans 72); Harrison (Marquis 46)
Goals: Curtis 90+3
Booked: Harness, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Mnoga, Downing, Hawkins

Referee: Leigh Doughty

Attendance: 12,788 (5,083 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 262019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey provided the perfect belated Christmas present with victory over table-topping Wycombe at Fratton Park.

The hosts came alive following an instantly forgettable first half that never really got out of second gear.

Their pressure told when Ben Close fired home and a neat finish from the in-form Ronan Curtis made the points safe.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that impressively beat Ipswich just before Christmas.

Ross McCrorie injured his hamstring midway through that game and was replaced at right-back by James Bolton.

Those expecting a free-flowing contest like the one witnessed against the Tractor Boys a few days earlier were in for a disappointment.

It was an attritional and stop-start contest from the off on a blustery and damp afternoon on the south coast.

The hosts were first to threaten when Andy Cannon stole possession and whipped in a fine cross from the left.

Ellis Harrison – who was being nudged – nodded the ball down for Ryan Williams, who volleyed narrowly past the post.

But that was Williams’ last involvement, with the winger soon going down injured for the second time and having to be replaced by Marcus Harness.

Ben Close then played a short corner to Cannon and received the ball back before bending a powerful effort wide.

Pompey collected a few bookings before the break, with Harrison and Tom Naylor punished for fouls, while Curtis saw yellow for an alleged dive.

Wycombe won a series of corners, although were never really able to threaten Craig MacGillivray’s net.

Anton Walkes, meanwhile, showed some neat footwork on the left and stung the palms of former Fratton loanee Ryan Allsop with a fierce angled drive.

The visitors’ best chance came when a Joe Jacobson’s flag-kick was glanced across goal by Alex Samuel, but there was nobody to get the required touch.

Six minutes of additional time was the result of a bitty opening period and Harrison had an opportunity after being fed by Cannon, only to fire straight at a grateful Allsop.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Wycombe Wanderers 0


Pompey started the second half brightly and won a corner on the right following some neat interplay between Cannon and Harness.

The ball was sent into the mixer by Close, but Bolton could only head it over the bar from just a few yards out.

Close then had a chance of his own after driving along the edge of the box and firing narrowly over the bar.

Bolton was alert at the other end just before the hour mark, just about getting to Samuel’s low centre before Paul Smyth to turn the ball behind.

MacGillivray then got his fingertips to an effort from Samuel and Christian Burgess was well-placed to deal with the loose ball.

But the Blues picked up again on 66 minutes and Allsop made two fine saves in quick succession, first keeping out Curtis’ deflected effort and then Bolton’s follow-up.

It was the briefest of respites for the Chairboys, though, as the deadlock was broken a few seconds later.

Harrison prodded against the post with just the keeper to beat, but CLOSE kept his cool to get into a shooting position and fire home from close range.

Wycombe immediately responded by replacing Rolando Aarons with David Wheeler, who spent the first half of last season on loan at Fratton Park.

And a change for the hosts soon followed, with the hard-working Cannon drawing warm applause as he made way for Gareth Evans.

The Blues immediately doubled their advantage, as Harness sent in a low cross from the right that was converted by a neat CURTIS flick.

Wanderers were forced to open up a bit more and their opponents looked threatening on the counter.

But the visitors almost reduced their deficit from a late free-kick, with skipper Joe Jacobson curling the ball against the outside of the post.

Pompey saw out the closing stages in driving rain, however, to continue their fine run of form and ensure the final Fratton fixture of 2019 ended in a celebratory fashion.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Burgess, Raggett; Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Williams (Harness 7), Cannon (Evans 72), Curtis (Marquis 90+2); Harrison
Goals: Close 66, Curtis 73
Booked: Harrison, Curtis, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Hawkins, Pitman

Wycombe (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Jombati, Stewart, Samuel, Jacobson (c); Thompson (Pattison 27), Ofoborh; Aarons (Wheeler 67), Samuel, Freeman; Smyth (Kashket 77)
Booked: Stewart, Aarons, Jacobson
Subs not used: Yates, Phillips, Bloomfield, Parker

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 18,419 (749 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 212019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Ronan Curtis ensured there would be plenty of festive Fratton cheer by scoring the only goal of the game against high-flying Ipswich.

The margin of victory might have been narrow, but Pompey were dominant for much of the contest on a sodden south coast.

Will Norris came to the Tractor Boys’ rescue in the first half, although was unable to keep out Curtis’ fierce drive after the break.

And the visitors’ misery was compounded late on, as skipper Luke Chambers was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that were comfortably beaten at Accrington the previous week.

Andy Cannon was handed a first league start for three months, while Christian Burgess returned from suspension and there was also a place for Ryan Williams.

That meant John Marquis, James Bolton and Marcus Harness all dropped to the bench, with Ross McCrorie moving to right-back and skipper Tom Naylor switching back to his usual midfield role.

There was a minute of applause before kick-off to celebrate the lives of Ron Saunders, Jim Smith and John Jenkins MBE.

The crowd also sang the name of the D-Day veteran, who sadly passed away earlier in the week at the age of 100.

Pompey dominated the opening 45 minutes and although there were not many clear-cut openings, the best ones fell to the hosts.

Ellis Harrison – playing against his former club – was booked with just 16 seconds on the clock and was then fouled by Toto Nsiala, who collected a yellow card of his own.

In between those transgressions, Williams’ effort took a deflection, forcing a wrong-footed Norris to react brilliantly to claw the ball away.

The keeper was at his best again soon after, this time to deny McCrorie after the ball had fallen kindly for the loanee.

And Curtis then fired a shot over the bar after Ipswich had failed to properly clear a Williams delivery.

There were more bookings as the half continued, with Gwion Edwards and Burgess punished by referee Brett Huxtable.

But Nsiala was lucky to escape being sent off when his challenge on Cannon was not even deemed worthy of a free-kick.

Tractor Boys boss Paul Lambert sensed his defender was walking a tightrope and withdrew him for Alan Judge.

Jackett was then forced to make a change of his own after McCrorie picked up an injury, with Bolton on to replace him.

The rain was falling heavily by this point, making conditions tough for both sides, although it was still the Blues looking more dangerous before the interval.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Ipswich Town 0


Pompey came so close to breaking the deadlock just seconds after the restart when Norris punched clear a Curtis cross intended for the head of Harrison.

The keeper was on the floor, but still managed to keep out Bolton’s effort, while a follow-up header from Williams was cleared from the line by a well-placed Luke Garbutt.

Norris did well again moments later, this time palming away a fine Curtis cross that seemed destined for the head of Harrison at the back stick.

The visitors finally had a shot on target on 49 minutes, not that James Norwood’s attempt from outside the box particularly troubled Craig MacGillivray.

Instead the Blues went up the other end to finally break the deadlock and it was the in-form CURTIS who got the goal.

The Republic of Ireland international collected a pass from Ben Close, cut inside and hit a ferocious effort that Norris could only help into the net.

Ipswich understandably began to play with a bit more urgency after falling behind, but were still doing little to trouble the hosts.

Jackett made his second switch just before the hour mark, with Cannon coming off to be replaced by Gareth Evans.

The Tractor Boys were starting to look threatening and after Alan Judge brought the ball down near the back post, the substitute hit a low shot narrowly past the post.

Pompey sensed that a second goal was needed and after expertly bringing down a long ball, Harrison’s cleanly-struck effort was kept out by Norris.

Evans then nipped in to collect the ball inside the box and evade a challenge, but was forced wide and Norris used his legs to keep out the midfielder’s angled drive.

The resulting corner eventually fell for Close on the edge of the box and he drilled a low shot inches off target.

It was a rocking atmosphere at Fratton Park and the crowd started up a chant of ‘Jim Smith’s Blue and White Army’ in memory of the former Blues boss.

Flynn Downes tried his luck at the other end and Bolton bravely flung himself in the path of the shot to avert the danger.

And Norwood then burst into the box – seemingly using his hand to control the ball – but could only fire into the side netting.

With the rain continuing to hammer down, there were a few players slipping and sliding on the slick surface.

Evans intentionally threw himself forward to try to get on the end of Harrison’s cross on 83 minutes, but could not quite make a connection.

Ipswich were forced to play the final few minutes with 10 men after Chambers fouled Harrison to collect his second booking of the afternoon.

The visitors’ bench were clearly not happy and assistant manager Stuart Taylor was also shown a yellow card.

Ipswich’s discipline had well and truly gone, with Luke Woolfenden and Kayden Jackson also forcing Huxtable to reach into his pocket.

The referee was being kept extremely busy and Pompey coach Jake Wigley was next to receive a booking for kicking the ball away.

Pompey, meanwhile, remained professional on the pitch to see the game out and collect the perfect Christmas present of three points.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; McCrorie (Bolton 42), Burgess, Raggett, Walkes; Naylor (c), Close; Williams, Cannon (Evans 59), Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 50
Booked: Harrison, Burgess, Williams
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Harness, Marquis, Pitman

Ipswich (3-5-2): Norris; Chambers (c), Nsiala (Judge 38), Woolfenden; Edwards (Jackson 64), Nolan, Skuse (Donacien 60), Downes, Garbutt; Keane, Norwood
Sent off: Chambers (two yellow cards)
Booked: Nsiala, Edwards, Nolan, Woolfenden, Jackson
Subs not used: Holy, Wilson, Huws, Dozzell

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 18,801 (1,994 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Dec 142019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




It was an afternoon to forget for Pompey, who saw their long unbeaten run end with a heavy defeat at Accrington.

When the in-form Ronan Curtis headed them in front towards the end of the first half it seemed as though the Blues would continue their climb up the League One standings.

But Ellis Harrison nodded into his own net just before the break, with a finish that would have been lauded at the other end of the pitch.

And Stanley ran away with it after the break, with Dion Charles giving them the lead – albeit in controversial circumstances – before Colby Bishop added a brace.

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

The entire defence had to change, with Brandon Haunstrup (knee) and Lee Brown (Achilles) both injured, Christian Burgess suspended and Oli Hawkins recently becoming father to a baby boy.

That meant there were recalls for James Bolton and Anton Walkes in the full-back slots and Sean Raggett in the middle, while Tom Naylor also dropped into the back-line.

Ross McCrorie took the skipper’s midfield slot and Ryan Williams dropped to the bench to make way for Marcus Harness on the right.

Pompey started brightly and were camped out in their opponents’ half in the opening stages, but created only one decent opening.

Harrison’s cross from the left was just behind a stretching John Marquis, who could only send the ball over the bar and out of the ground.

Stanley then started to apply more pressure as the first half progressed and Jordan Clark was inches away from making a connection when he slid in at the far post.

Bishop was next to go close flashing a shot narrowly wide after Ben Close had initially made a fine challenge on Sam Finley.

It took a decent tackle from Ross Sykes to deny Marquis at the other end, with the striker almost being sent through by Harrison.

The hosts were still looking more dangerous, though, and when Clark met Seamus Conneely’s cross from deep on the left, Craig MacGillivray was forced to make a fine save to tip the ball over.

Pompey then started to pick up again, although Harrison and Marquis collided with Mark Hughes when all three players tried to get to Harness’ centre first.

Bolton was then unable to get enough on Curtis’ free-kick from the left and Josef Bursik made a simple stop.

But the Blues did go ahead on 35 minutes, as Harness whipped in a dangerous cross from the right and CURTIS stooped to meet it, sending the ball into the net off the inside of the post.

Jerome Opoku came close to hitting an immediate leveller, courtesy of an audacious long-range piledriver that cannoned back off the post.

And Accrington did equalise just before the break – although they received a big helping hand from the visitors.

Conneely sent a corner into the box and Harrison rose to meet it with a firm header that inadvertently sent the ball past MacGillivray and into his own net.


Half Time

Accrington Stanley 1

Portsmouth 1


The hosts had unsuccessfully appealed for two penalties before the break and were at it again when the action restarted.

This time it was Clark who felt he was unfairly upended by Walkes, but referee Martin Coy remained unimpressed.

Pompey then came close to retaking the lead when Harrison turned quickly outside the box and hit a fine strike that a diving Bursik did well to push clear.

Raggett soon did well at the other end to hold off Charles and stop the striker going one-on-one with MacGillivray.

But Charles did give Accrington the lead just past the hour mark, although the hosts were unhappy that the goal was allowed to stand.

Opoku held off Harness with a hand to the face, but it was not spotted by Coy and the left-back was able to square for his team-mate to slot home.

Jackett responded with a double change, as Harness and Marquis made way for Williams and Brett Pitman.

But Stanley almost extended their advantage just seconds later, as Bishop glanced a header against the post, with the loose ball hacked clear.

And Bishop did give them a cushion on 69 minutes, angling the ball into the net after MacGillivray had parried clear Finley’s initial effort.

Things soon got even worse for the visitors, as Bishop raced clear to slot home his second goal of the afternoon.

That came after Coy had played advantage following McCrorie’s challenge on Charles, but the referee went back to book the midfielder.

Accrington continued to look threatening as the minutes ticked down, while a neat Pitman flick was blocked before it could trouble Bursik.

That was as close as Pompey came to reducing their deficit, although the 733 travelling fans continued to cheer right up until the final whistle.

Accrington (4-4-2): Bursik; Johnson, Sykes, Hughes, Opoku; Clark, Finley (Diallo 90), Conneely (c), Pritchard; Bishop (Zanzala 90), Charles
Goals: Harrison 44 (og), Charles 62, Bishop 69, 77
Booked: Finley
Subs not used: Evtimov, Alese, Rodgers, Sherif, Carvalho

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Naylor (c), Raggett, Walkes; McCrorie, Close; Harness (Pitman 65), Marquis (Williams 65), Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 35
Booked: McCrorie
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Casey, Cannon, Evans

Referee: Martin Coy

Attendance: 2,429 (733 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 262019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Pompey finally saw off a stubborn Rotherham side to claim all three points at Fratton Park and register a fourth successive victory.

Ronan Curtis opened the scoring straight from kick-off and after Freddie Ladapo levelled, John Marquis restored their lead.

But Ladapo levelled again after the break – this time from the spot – and it took a neat finish from Ben Close to get the job done.

Kenny Jackett unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that won at Rochdale at the weekend, with Lee Brown once again wearing the armband in the absence of regular skipper Tom Naylor.

And the hosts came sprinting from the blocks, taking the lead with just 33 seconds on the clock – with no surprises about the identity of the goalscorer.

The in-form CURTIS continued his scoring spree with a fine shot from outside the box after receiving a cross-field pass from Ryan Williams.

Millers keeper Daniel Iversen then fumbled Brandon Haunstrup’s deep pass into the box and would have been relieved to see the ball land clear.

But Rotherham soon grew into the contest and when Kyle Vassell guided a shot through Oli Hawkins’ legs, Craig MacGillivray had to get down to make the save.

The unsighted keeper could only parry the same player’s free-kick moments later, though, and Ladapo gratefully converted the loose ball to level the scores.

Marquis sent a couple of half-chances off target, but United were looking threatening at the other end and MacGillivray did well to deny Ladapo.

It was soon the Blues’ turn to go on the attack and Close blazed wastefully over after racing into the box to meet Ellis Harrison’s header.

The hosts did restore their advantage moments later, however, as Harrison nodded Brown’s cross towards the far post, where MARQUIS was waiting to slam home.

There was an escape at the other end when the hosts made a mess of dealing with a cross, but Brown, Vassell and Carlton Morris all collided in the box and the ball drifted harmlessly wide.

Pompey then should have extended their lead in stoppage-time, with Curtis picking out Marquis in the box and the summer signing only able to send a tame header straight at Iversen.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Rotherham United 1


The hosts did have the ball in the net again just after the restart, but Harrison forced Iversen into the net when the keeper collected Williams’ cross and a foul was awarded.

Both sides then collected yellow cards in quick succession, with substitute Chiedozie Ogebene punished for United and Harrison for the Blues.

Rotherham were seeing plenty of the ball around their opponents’ box, but unable to test MacGillivray.

And a quick Williams counter provided an opening for Pompey just before the hour mark, although Curtis’ eventual delivery was just behind Marquis.

But the Millers were given an excellent opportunity to level when Morris’ trickery inside the box drew a foul from Hawkins.

Referee Antony Coggins pointed straight to the spot and Ladapo confidently sent MacGillivray the wrong way to equalise for a second time.

But Pompey again managed to restore their advantage, this time taking just four minutes to go back ahead.

Rotherham made a hash of dealing with Curtis’ flag-kick and CLOSE chested the ball down on the edge of the box before volleying into the bottom corner.

The visitors were dealt a further blow when Billy Jones went down injured just seconds after they had made their final two changes.

He was forced to limp down the tunnel, leaving United to play out the rest of the contest with 10 men.

Pompey soon made a change of their own, with Williams leaving the field to a standing ovation and replaced by Marcus Harness.

They tried to make the most of their numerical advantage, but Curtis was unable to slip a shot inside Iversen’s near post following good work from Haunstrup.

It was certainly not all one-way traffic, though, and Jamie Lindsay’s effort was deflected narrowly past the post.

Harness then hit a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar, as the Blues looked to wrap things up.

They were unable to score again, but saw out four minutes of stoppage-time to climb up into 10th spot in the League One standings.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown (c); Walkes, Close; Williams (Harness 78), Marquis, Curtis; Harrison
Goals: Curtis 1, Marquis 37, Close 66
Booked: Harrison
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Downing, Cannon, Evans, Pitman

Rotherham (4-4-2): Iversen; Olosunde (Ogbene 46), Ihiekwe (c), Robertson, Jones; Morris, Wiles, Barlaser (Lindsay 73), Clarke; Ladapo, Vassell (Crooks 73)
Goals: Ladapo 15, 62 (pen)
Booked: Ogbene, Morris
Subs not used: Price, Thompson, Hastie, Smith

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 16,355 (204 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 232019
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




Ronan Curtis continued his run of fine form by bagging a brace to help secure all three points for Pompey against Rochdale.

Ryan Williams was also on target at Spotland, as the Blues displayed a clinical edge that has been lacking at times this season.

The hosts saw plenty of the ball, but did not do much to threaten their visitors, while Curtis made the most of dangerous deliveries from John Marquis and Williams either side of the break.

And after chances to wrap the victory up had been spurned, Williams opened his Pompey account to settle any nerves.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that won at Harrogate Town to progress in the FA Cup.

Skipper Tom Naylor and Sean Raggett were injured in that game, with Anton Walkes and a fit-again Oli Hawkins replacing them.

Gareth Evans dropped to the bench to make way for Ellis Harrison, while Lee Brown wore the captain’s armband.

The hosts looked lively and dominated possession in the early stages, with Jimmy Keohane curling a shot past the post.

Matty Done was looking particularly dangerous whenever he burst forward, but Dale were not making the most of his trickery.

And the Blues started to feel their way into the contest, although Brandon Haunstrup will want to forget a free-kick that not only cleared the bar, but flew out of the ground.

Pompey did have the lead on 15 minutes, though, and it was largely thanks to the good work of Marquis.

He collected a pass from Williams and spun beautifully on the ball before cutting it back for CURTIS to fire home.

Some dangerous deliveries from Haunstrup and Williams caused problems, as the visitors tried to build on their advantage.

Rochdale began to take charge of possession once more, although they were not doing much to test Craig MacGillivray.

And the Blues almost snatched a second goal on 37 minutes, with Hawkins’ header from a corner blocked and nobody able to force home the loose ball.

Their opponents had one excellent chance to level before the break, as Rekeil Pyke glanced Keohane’s cross against the post.


Half Time

Rochdale 0

Portsmouth 1


Keohane tried his luck from long-range seconds after the restart, with the ball flying high over the bar.

But the Blues were more clinical when they went up the other end moments later and a low Williams delivery was slammed home by CURTIS.

Jackett wanted his men to build on that, screaming at them from the sidelines to keep pressing and make life uncomfortable for their opponents.

A poor clearance from Dale keeper Robert Sanchez flew straight to Williams just before the hour mark, but it caught the winger by surprise and he was unable to capitalise.

The hosts were still being frustrated and when Callum Camps finally did get a shot on target, MacGillivray flew to his right to make a fine save.

The Scotland international then dusted himself down to commandingly claim the resulting corner, drawing cheers of approval from the noisy travelling army.

Pompey were doing their best to keep hold of the ball and slow the game down, while still looking capable of adding to their lead.

When Harrison was bundled to the turf on the right, Haunstrup’s free-kick was nodded against the bar by Hawkins.

Then, seconds later, Curtis burst forward with lightning pace and slotted the ball across for Williams, but Sanchez was quickly off his line to deny the winger.

Jackett soon made a change, with the hard-working Harrison trudging from the turf and replaced by Brett Pitman.

Rochdale were doing their best to try to reduce the deficit, but the Blues were resolute at the back and a real menace on the break.

And they finally made sure of the points late on, with Pitman unselfishly passing to the unmarked WILLIAMS, who coolly slotted home.

Rochdale (4-1-2-1-2): Sanchez; Matheson, O’Connell, Norrington-Davies, Keohane (Tavares 77); Williams; Done (Bradley 83), Morley (Hopper 87); Camps; Henderson (c), Pyke
Subs not used: Lynch, Dunne, Brierley, Gillam

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Hawkins, Burgess, Brown (c); Walkes, Close; Williams, Marquis, Curtis (Harness 90+1); Harrison (Pitman 75)
Goals: Curtis 15, 47, Williams 88
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Downing, Cannon, Evans

Referee: James Adcock

Attendance: 3,789 (993 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Nov 112019
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 1




Pompey finally saw the light at Harrogate Town to book their place in the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The tie was delayed for 55 minutes because of a power failure at the non-league side’s Wetherby Road home.

And they shocked their higher-ranked opponents by racing into an early lead, courtesy of Mark Beck’s header.

But Brandon Haunstrup impressive drew the Blues level and Ronan Curtis hit an even better winner before the break.

It was the visitors’ first victory on an artificial pitch and the result secured a home clash with Altrincham in the next stage of the competition.

Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that comfortably beat Southend in the league six days earlier.

Craig MacGillivray recovered from a thigh problem to replace Alex Bass between the sticks, while the injured Ellis Harrison and Ross McCrorie made way for Haunstrup and Gareth Evans.

The teams finally emerged following two delays – the second, thankfully, a lot briefer than the first – and observed a minute’s silence to mark Armistice Day.

But Pompey might have been wishing that the game had been called off after falling behind with just seven minutes on the clock.

The hosts had already enjoyed a couple of forays forward before taking the lead following a free-kick from deep on the left.

George Smith’s delivery was not dealt with and Jack Muldoon headed the ball across the face of goal for Beck to nod home.

The Blues did look dangerous at the other end, although seemed to struggle with the strong wind and artificial surface.

John Marquis was not quite able to collect Haunstrup’s threaded pass, while Ryan Williams’ cross was cleared before it could reach Evans.

But a leveller did arrive on 17 minutes and it was a fine strike from HAUNSTRUP to open his Pompey account on his 50th appearance for the club.

The left-footed right-back raced in from the flank and collected a pass from Williams before curling a shot past James Belshaw from the edge of the box.

Josh Falkingham tried to hit back immediately, but the Town skipper’s strike hit team-mate Beck on its path to goal.

The 3G surface had been much talked about before the tie and more questions were posed when three players went off injured before the break.

Two of them belonged to the visitors, with skipper Tom Naylor and later Sean Raggett limping from the field and replaced by Anton Walkes and Paul Downing respectively.

There were chances at both ends in between those changes, with Muldoon crashing a shot into the side netting.

A fierce low effort from Ben Close was then smartly saved by Belshaw, who had to get down quickly to beat the ball away.

Harrogate caused problems with a corner on 36 minutes, but MacGillivray – appearing against his former club – was able to punch clear.

And the Blues then took the lead before the break – and it was a goal that was certainly worth waiting for.

Williams laid the ball off for CURTIS, who hit a rocket from 30 yards that dipped beautifully into the net.


Half Time

Harrogate Town 1

Portsmouth 2


Curtis put in a shift at the opposite end of the pitch once the action restarted, getting back into his own box to halt a dangerous Harrogate attack.

Williams came close to scoring his first Pompey goal soon after, with an audacious attempt from wide on the right that Belshaw managed to palm away.

The loose ball eventually fell to Walkes, whose own effort was not quite so impressive, with the ball flying out of the ground.

It was generally a much calmer occasion, however, with little of the frantic action seen before the interval.

But the Blues almost extended their lead just past the hour mark, as Belshaw twice denied Marquis from point-blank range after the striker had been picked out at the back post by Evans.

George Thomson, just moments after coming off the bench, then hit a fierce shot inches past the post for Harrogate.

He subsequently sent a corner into the Blues box, where Beck’s downward header was comfortably held by MacGillivray.

And the same duo combined again from a set-piece soon after, with Beck this time depositing the ball onto the roof of the net.

Lee Brown went close with a cross-shot that could neither find the bottom corner or Williams at the far post.

But Harrogate were still applying plenty of pressure and MacGillivray was called into action to deal with Alex Bradley’s effort.

They saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages, but the Blues were able to see things out to secure progress.

Harrogate Town (4-4-2): Belshaw; Fallowfield, W.Smith, Hall, G.Smith; Kiernan (Bradley 70), Falkingham (c), Burrell (Emmett 32), Diamond (Thomson 63); Muldoon, Beck
Goals: Beck 7
Subs not used: Cracknell, Taylor, Brown, Jones

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Haunstrup, Burgess, Raggett (Downing 31), Brown; Naylor (c) (Walkes 24), Close; Williams, Evans, Curtis; Marquis
Goals: Haunstrup 17, Curtis 41
Subs not used: Bass, Bolton, Cannon, Harness, Pitman

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

Attendance: 3,408 (616 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC