Mar 312018
 

Match Report

League One


 

Walsall    0

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Gareth Evans found the target as a dominant Pompey won at Walsall to keep alive their play-off hopes.

The Blues took charge following a scrappy first half, although it seemed as though they would not be able to find a way past the struggling Saddlers.

But their patience was rewarded 11 minutes of time when Evans stroked home to seal a third successive victory.

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

Evans returned to the starting line-up in place of Connor Ronan, while the fit-again pair of Stuart O’Keefe and Oli Hawkins were both named on the bench.

There was a slight reshuffle, however, as Nathan Thompson switched to right-back, with Anton Walkes handed the holding midfield role.

With every other League One match played the previous day, there was no-one else to take the attention away from Pompey and Walsall.

Unfortunately, the first half failed to make the most of the spotlight, with no clear-cut opportunities arriving at either end of the pitch.

There were half-chances peppered throughout, though, with most of them falling the way of the visitors.

Jamal Lowe saw an early effort blocked, while Dion Donohue and Luke McGee both acted quickly to beat opposition players to the ball.

Brett Pitman did well to get a shot away after a Naismith flick, although there was not enough pace behind it to trouble Liam Roberts in the Saddlers goal.

Arguably the best Blues chance arrived on 12 minutes when Ben Close made a clean connection with Evans’ delivery, only to send the ball straight at Roberts.

A couple more Pompey chances went off target as the half progressed, as Jack Whatmough was unable to make the most of space afforded to him at the far post.

Pitman then met another Evans cross with a deft header – although it was slightly too deft and the ball flashed past the post.

Close also fired into the side netting, while Kieron Morris dragged wide in a rare opening at the other end.

But the biggest reaction from the stands came when Nicky Devlin was booked for a foul on Naismith, with some irate home supporters believing it was a soft decision.


Half Time

Walsall 0

Portsmouth 0


It was Pompey who looked the more attack-minded side once the second half resumed and they launched several quick forays forward.

One of them led to a chance for Donohue, whose thunderous effort from the left side of the box narrowly cleared the crossbar.

Naismith – still getting booed for having the temerity to be fouled earlier – was next to go close and his shot took a slight deflection to divert the ball wide.

It was the visitors on top and Roberts had to grab Pitman’s looping header underneath his own bar after the skipper had met Close’s cross.

The lively Naismith was then afforded space to surge forward on 65 minutes and drive the ball just wide.

He then turned provider, sending in a teasing low cross that a lunging Pitman was agonisingly unable to reach at the far post.

But Walsall appeared to have weathered the storm and soon had their own chance to break the deadlock.

Luke Leahy sent in a teasing delivery from wide on the left and Amadou Bakayoko came charging in to meet it, but could not keep his shot down.

But the Blues almost scored themselves when Jamal Lowe was brought down and Pitman’s free-kick had to be turned over by Roberts.

A goal did arrive on 79 minutes, however, as the visitors finally made their second half dominance count.

Lowe laid the ball into the path of EVANS on the edge of the box and he hit a sweet first-time shot past Roberts’ grasp and into the net.

Walsall tried to find a way back into the contest, but the Pompey saw out the closing stages with relative ease to ensure a fine opening to their Easter double-bill.

Walsall (4-2-3-1): Roberts; Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy; Cuvelier (Dobson 72), Chambers (c); Morris, Oztumer (Shaibu 84), Ngoy (Kouhyar 67); Bakayoko
Booked: Devlin, Bakayoko, Guthrie, Morris
Subs not used: Gillespie, Roberts, Kinsella, Flanagan

Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Walkes; Lowe, Evans, Close (Ronan 77), Naismith; Pitman (c)
Goals: Evans 79
Booked: Donohue, Walkes
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, O’Keefe, Kennedy, Hawkins

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 5,159 (1,458 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Aug 192017
 

League One

1 – 1


Brett Pitman struck from the spot as Pompey fought from behind to secure a draw with Walsall at Fratton Park.

After a lethargic first half, Luke Leahy capitalised on some sloppy defending early in the second to score for the visitors.

But Pitman confidently netted a penalty following a foul on Nicke Kabamba and it was the Blues who ended the contest on top.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side beaten at Oxford in the last league outing.

Milan Lalkovic had recovered from an ankle injury to feature against his former club, with Kyle Bennett dropping to the bench.

The 4-2-3-1 system remained, although this time it was skipper Pitman up front, with Kal Naismith just behind.

New signing Dion Donohue had to watch from the stands after completing his Fratton switch too late to feature.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of all those who lost their lives in the Barcelona tragedy.

Once the action got underway, referee Brett Huxtable soon had to reach for his pocket, showing Saddlers skipper Adam Chambers a yellow card following a late challenge on Adam May.

But it was the visitors who looked brighter in the opening stages and Leahy unleashed a fierce shot that flew narrowly past the post.

The wing-back then missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock on 15 minutes, heading wide from close range after good work down the right by James Wilson.

Christian Burgess came to the rescue moments later when a sloppy Jack Whatmough pass gifted possession to Amadou Bakayoko.

But it was Whatmough – celebrating his 21st birthday – who then started the move that led to Pompey’s best chance of the half on 31 minutes.

The defender’s superb cross-field ball picked out Gareth Evans on the right and his cross was met by the head of a diving Pitman, only for Shaun Donnellan to make a vital block.

Evans then sent a header over the bar from Danny Rose’s cross, as the hosts finally started to pick up the pace.

But there was a blow for the Blues on 36 minutes, as Drew Talbot became the latest victim of the defensive injury curse.

He went down clutching his hamstring and limped to the sidelines, with Bennett coming on to make his 100th appearance.

The remainder of the half did little to excite a large Fratton crowd, though, with the half-time whistle greeted by yawns rather than cheers.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


It was pretty sleepy stuff before the break and Pompey clearly had not woken up for the start of the second half.

Wilson sent in a low cross from wide on the right and Leahy was left all alone to tap home at the far post.

The Blues were struggling to create much at the other end of the pitch, as Mark Gillespie continued to enjoy a comfortable afternoon between the sticks.

He was not tested by Bennett on the hour mark, with the substitute firing wide from the edge of the box after being teed-up by Naismith.

Jackett opted to make a double substitution on 65 minutes, as Naismith and Lalkovic made way for Curtis Main and Kabamba.

But Walsall almost doubled their lead soon after, with Luke McGee saving well from Amadou Bakayoko and then Burgess blocking a shot from the same player.

The Blues were presented with an excellent chance to level on 74 minutes, though, when Gillespie tripped Kabamba, who did not appear to be posing a threat.

Huxtable immediately pointed to the spot and PITMAN made no mistake, slamming home his third goal of the season.

That provided a spark for Pompey and they immediately started to display more energy going forward.

Pitman almost grabbed his second with a shot that dipped narrowly over the bar after Bennett had done well to steal possession.

It was the Blues looking more likely to grab a winner and Pitman in particular was looking a threat, not quite able to guide Adam May’s pass on target on 87 minutes.

But, despite five minutes being added on for stoppages, Pompey were not able to complete the turnaround by finding a winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Talbot (Bennett 36), Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup; Rose, May; Evans, Naismith (Kabamba 65), Lalkovic (Main 65); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 74 (pen)
Booked: Pitman
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, Close, Chaplin

Walsall (3-5-2): Gillespie; Wilson, Donnellan, Guthrie; Devlin, Morris (Cuvelier 69), Chambers (c), Edwards, Leahy; Oztumer, Bakayoko (Jackson 77)
Goals: Leahy 47
Booked: Chambers, Guthrie, Devlin, Bakayoko
Subs not used: L.Roberts, K.Roberts, Kouhyar, Kinsella, Candlin

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 17,198 (464 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jun 282016
 

Milan Lalkovic

Transfer : Walsall – Portsmouth



Pompey have signed Milan Lalkovic from Walsall after the clubs concluded a compensation agreement.

The 23-year-old Slovakian winger – who has represented his country up to under-21 level – has penned a two-year deal with the Blues.

He was part of the Saddlers side that narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to the Championship last season.

Pompey assistant manager Leam Richardson said: “He fits into the structure of how we play extremely well and is a very dynamic player.

“He’s someone who we’ve watched for some time now and has got the ability to get fans out of their seats.”

Lalkovic came through the ranks at Chelsea and had several spells out on loan before joining Czech side Mlada Boleslav and then Barnsley.

He moved to the Bescot Stadium last summer and scored eight goals in 51 appearances during the 2015/16 campaign.

Portsmouth FC