Nov 212020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Crewe Alexandra 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: James Oldham

Portsmouth FC

Nov 072020
 

Match Report

Highlights

FA Cup 1




Sean Raggett scored late in extra-time at Ipswich to send Pompey into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The defender lashed the ball into the net just when it looked like penalties would be required to separate the two League One sides.

It did not look the contest was going to be a close when the Blues roared into a commanding lead through early Ronan Curtis and Tom Naylor goals.

But the Tractor Boys reduced their deficit through Jon Nolan and James Norwood came off the bench to draw them level after the break.

Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that were so impressive in victory at Lincoln in the league on Tuesday evening.

That meant Cam Pring continued to deputise for Lee Brown – who injured his hamstring in the Sincil Bank warm-up – at left-back.

Oli Hawkins led the line for the hosts against his former club, while ex-Blues loanee David Cornell was between the sticks.

With Armistice Day approaching, there was a period of remembrance observed ahead of kick-off, while a bugler paid the Last Post.

And when the action started, Pompey got off to a blistering start and found themselves with a commanding lead inside the opening 13 minutes.

The first goal came after Ryan Williams was fouled 25 yards from goal by defender Mark McGuinness.

CURTIS stepped up to take the free-kick and managed to squeeze his effort between Cornell’s glove and the post.

The advantage was then doubled moments later, as Andy Cannon cut the ball back for NAYLOR to find the net – via a McGuinness deflection – from the edge of the area.

But that was Cannon’s last meaningful piece of action, as he soon limped off the pitch to be replaced by Ben Close.

The newcomer was immediately in the thick of the action, playing a fine pass through to Curtis, whose first time strike had to be turned behind by Cornell.

But the keeper – who did not make an appearance during his short stint with the Blues in 2015 – then almost saw a clearance charged down by the ever lively Ryan Williams.

Instead the ball flew to Marcus Harness and he won a corner that was taken by Cam Pring and headed clear by Hawkins.

Pompey were looking capable of adding to their lead, but instead found their advantage reduced just before the break.

Raggett intervened to stop Nolan’s header reaching Freddie Sears, but the ball flew straight back to the midfielder, who spun sharply and fired home.


Half Time

Ipswich Town 1

Portsmouth 2


The hosts then had a couple of opportunities to get back on level terms immediately after the restart.

Nolan’s effort was deflected narrowly past the post and Brett McGavin’s corner then almost snuck in at the near post, with Craig MacGillivray making the save with his legs.

Jackett soon made his second switch of the afternoon, as Callum Johnson made way and Haji Mnoga was given another chance to impress.

The game had quietened down a bit since Ipswich’s fast start, although a dangerous McGavin delivery into the box somehow evaded everyone on its path out of play.

Curtis showed some neat footwork at the other end of the pitch on 60 minutes, but his effort was comfortably dealt with by Cornell.

Hawkins was soon replaced by Norwood and the striker made an instant impact, racing between the Blues back-line and neatly slotting in an equaliser for the Tractor Boys.

Fellow substitute Gwion Edwards then came close to giving the hosts a lead, courtesy of a fierce strike that was beaten away by MacGillivray.

Ellis Harrison was also brought on to see if he could find a winner against his former club in the closing stages, with Curtis the man to head off.

It was Ipswich looking more likely to score again, though, and Emyr Huws nodded wastefully wide after meeting a McGavin corner.

And they almost did settle the tie in stoppage-time following a spot of pinball in the Pompey box, but Close was in the right place to stop the ball finding the net.

He then had a chance to score for the visitors a few moments later, but fired over from a Williams cut-back.


Full Time

Ipswich Town 2

Portsmouth 2


Teams are allowed to make an additional substitution if ties go into extra-time and Jackett immediately used his, swapping John Marquis with Bryn Morris.

And the visitors suddenly looked bright again, creating a few half-chances before Harness sent a shot crashing against the post.

Cam Pring then lifted a cross into the area from wide on the left, with Harrison rising to meet it and drawing a save from Cornell.

But the Blues did retake the lead in the second period of extra-time after Janoi Donacien had been booked for a foul on Harrison.

Harness’ delivery was met by Naylor, but his header was saved by Cornell. The loose ball was turned towards goal by Rasmus Nicolaisen, though, and RAGGETT made sure that it crossed the line.

And Mnoga almost added icing on the cake at the death, but could not keep his shot down after racing through on goal.

Ipswich (4-3-3): Cornell; Donacien, Nsiala (c), McGuiness, Kenlock; Huws (Judge 102), Nolan, McGavin; Bennetts (Edwards 67), Hawkins (Norwood 62), Sears (Lankester 94)
Goals: Nolan 43, Norwood 66
Booked: Hawkins, Donacien, Norwood
Subs not used: Holy, Wilson, Jackson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson (Mnoga 50), Raggett, Nicolaisen, Pring; Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 23); Harness, Williams, Curtis (Harrison 74); Marquis (Morris 91)
Goals: Curtis 11, Naylor 13, Raggett 111
Booked: Pring
Subs not used: Bass, Downing, Hiwula

Referee: Andy Haines

Portsmouth FC

Nov 032020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Lincoln City 0

Portsmouth 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Carl Brook

Portsmouth FC

Oct 272020
 

Match Report

Highlights

League 1




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Northampton Town 0


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Portsmouth FC

Oct 062020
 

Match Report

Highlights

ELF Trophy




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Half Time

Southend United 0

Portsmouth 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Paul Howard

Portsmouth FC

Sep 012020
 

Match Report

Highlights

Friendly




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