Mar 132021
 

Portsmouth FC 2020/2021


N EFL Trophy Final
Portsmouth 0
Salford City 0 P


FORM GUIDE

LOST LOST LOST LOST DRAWN WON LOST LOST WON DRAWN

Pompey failed to become the first side to successfully defend the Papa John’s Trophy after losing on penalties to Salford in the Wembley final.

Ryan Williams and Ronan Curtis both missed from the spot and their League Two opponents made no mistake.

The contest had finished goalless after 120 minutes, with the Ammies controlling the first half, only for the Blues to hit back after the break.

But neither side could find a breakthrough – despite plenty of chances – and Salford kept their nerve in the shoot-out.

Kenny Jackett made two enforced changes from the side beaten by Sunderland in the league earlier in the week.

Andy Cannon and Ellis Harrison missed out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, so in came George Byers and Jordy Hiwula.

The sides emerged to the usual pyrotechnics associated with a cup final, while the national anthem was still belted out.

But Wembley felt even more cavernous without the raucous atmosphere that usually accompanies such an occasion – albeit one that had been postponed a year due to a global pandemic.

It was Salford who settled quicker and the fourth tier side were probably left wondering how they failed to take a lead into the interval.

An early – and fierce – long-range strike from James Wilson had to be beaten away by a diving Craig MacGillivray.

Williams then did enough to put off Ibou Touray, as the wing-back looked to attack Richie Towell’s fine delivery.

And when Brandon Thomas-Asante escaped down the right, he sent in a low angled drive that was brilliantly tipped to safety by MacGillivray.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although the lively Williams looked dangerous when he got on the ball.

Pompey did start to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, but Vaclav Hladky was not being troubled between the Salford sticks.

MacGillivray, meanwhile, was called into action again on 26 minutes after Wilson had turned Touray’s centre towards the target.

And the keeper made an even better stop after Jordan Turnbull had spun sharply and sent in a thunderous strike.

Hladky was finally called into action moments later, although Williams’ deflected attempt seemed like it would have flashed past the post.

The Ammies were still looking more likely to break the deadlock, however, and a sliding Ash Hunter was inches away from connecting when Wilson stole possession and sent the ball across the face of goal.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Salford City 0


Jackett, unsurprisingly, decided to make changes at the break and took advantage of the extra substitutions now available by making a triple switch.

Hiwula, Harvey White and Charlie Daniels all made way, as Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Lee Brown were brought on, with a shift to a 4-2-3-1 system.

And Curtis made an instant impact, racing onto a long Jack Whatmough pass and forcing a stop from Hladky just seconds after the restart.

Pompey were certainly playing with a lot more confidence, although John Marquis dragged his shot past the post.

Salford were still providing threats of their own, however, with Wilson causing some problems in the Blues back-line.

But there was certainly pressure being applied by the men from Hampshire and it was just that crucial final ball that was lacking.

They went so close to falling behind on 67 minutes, though, with MacGillivray coming to the rescue once again.

He somehow denied Ash Eastham from point-blank range after the Salford skipper had met Touray’s free-kick.

MacGillivray then kept out a 20-yard attempt from Wilson and leapt on the loose ball before Thomas-Asante could capitalise.

Another substitution followed from Jackett on 73 minutes, with Ben Close given a chance to impress in place of Byers.

And his cross soon found Curtis in acres of space inside the area, only for the forward to get his acrobatic scissor kick wrong and watch the ball fly wide.

Pompey were searching for a late winner and when James Bolton’s scuffed effort was partially cleared, Harness sent the ball back into the box.

It found Brown in space and he tried to place a shot into the bottom corner, but the ball rolled narrowly past the post.

Both sides came close to finding a goal before the final whistle, with MacGillivray keeping out Bruno Andrade’s far-post header.

The Blues went straight up the other end and a stretching Marquis was not able to connect with Curtis’ cross.

But neither side could make that breakthrough inside 90 minutes and so the tie went into extra-time.

After 90 Minutes: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey had a chance soon after the restart when Close cut the ball back for Curtis, but his shot was blocked before it could reach the target.

And they had a better chance just before the interval when Curtis lifted a pass into the area and Salford failed to get it clear.

It fell for Williams and his fierce strike was parried by Hladky, with an almighty scramble following before the keeper finally dived on the loose ball.

Marquis was then found in the area by Curtis, but Tom Clarke did enough to force the striker to fire wide.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Jackett made a fifth change during the brief extra-time interval, with Michael Jacobs on for Marquis and Curtis moving up front.

Salford were next to threaten and when their opponents could only partially clear, Jason Lowe dragged a shot wide.

Tom Naylor had a chance at the other end, but he could not force the ball through a sea of bodies after Jacobs’ corner had been nodded back by Whatmough.

Pompey were doing their best to avoid a shoot-out, but both Curtis and Close could not get shots through the defence to test Hladky.

And when Williams sent a low delivery across the face of goal, none of his team-mates could get that vital touch.

After Extra Time: Pompey 0 Salford 0

Pompey got off to a terrible start in the shoot-out, with Williams sending his effort over the bar and Curtis being denied by Hladky.

And although Brown and Sean Raggett both emphatically found the target, it ultimately counted for nothing.

Salford scored all four of their penalties – taken by Luke Burgess, Mani Dieseruvwe, Thomas-Asante and Lowe – to ensure they would lift the Papa John’s Trophy for the first time.

Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Daniels (Brown 46); Williams, Naylor (c), Byers (Close 73), White (Curtis 46); Marquis (Jacobs 106), Hiwula (Harness 46)
Booked: Bolton, Naylor, Brown
Subs not used: Ward, Nicolaisen

Salford (3-4-3): Hladky; Clarke (Loughlan 115), Eastham (c), Turnbull; Lowe, Towell (Dieseruvwe 99), Threlkeld, Touray; Thomas-Asante, Wilson (Burgess 87), Hunter (Andrade 74)
Booked: Towell, Lowe, Touray
Subs not used: Evans, Fielding, Hawkins

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Mar 312019
 

Portsmouth FC




In the greater scheme of things the EFL Trophy may be a minor one but seeing your team at Wembley and lifting a trophy is never something to be taken lightly.

The added benefit of also taking away the one trophy Southampton had won that we hadn’t!

Transport was a nightmare, trains absolutely rammed full so Colin drove us to Horsham to try and get a train with some room on it which was a success.

Poor first half with Sunderland deserved leaders but what a turn around second half with the introduction of Gareth Evans and Oliver Hawkins. We thought we had won it with Jamal Lowe’s late extra time goal but as we have seen so many times we cannot defend or kill off the last few minutes of a game and so we faced the trauma of penalties and all five takers hit the spot.

Well done Portsmouth

Mar 312019
 

Portsmouth FC 2018/2019


N EFL Trophy Final
Portsmouth 2 P
Sunderland 2


FORM GUIDE

WON WON WON WON LOST WON WON DRAWN DRAWN DRAWN

Pompey won the Checkatrade Trophy on penalties following a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at a packed Wembley Stadium.

They were poor in the first half and an Aiden McGeady free-kick meant the Black Cats deservedly led at the interval.

But the Blues were rejuvenated following the restart and Nathan Thompson levelled to ensure an additional 30 minutes.

Jamal Lowe then struck to seemingly secure the win, only for McGeady to scramble the ball home at the death.

That meant a dreaded shoot-out, but Pompey scored all of their spot-kicks, meaning that Craig MacGillivray’s save from Lee Cattermole allowed Oli Hawkins to fire home the winner.

Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that won at Shrewsbury in the league the previous week.

Ronan Curtis was fit enough to start after recovering from severing his finger, meaning that Gareth Evans dropped to the bench.

The teams emerged to a vociferous atmosphere created by a packed crowd at the national stadium.

Pompey’s contingent were whipped up by rousing pre-match speeches from former Fratton heroes David Norris and Hermann Hreidarsson.

But it was the Black Cats who made the brighter start, with Thompson forced to clear George Honeyman’s teasing cross behind.

Lee Brown then made a great challenge right in the corner to stop Lewis Morgan’s charge, as the side from the north-east looked threatening.

Lowe tried his best to cause problems at the other end, although a ball into the box flew straight into Jon McLaughlin’s grasp.

Sunderland were looking more likely to open the scoring and Matt Clarke threw himself in the path of McGeady’s strike.

Pompey’s best opportunity came when Omar Bogle was felled on the right and Brown swung the ball into the mixer.

Christian Burgess rose at the back post, but could not get enough power on his header to trouble McLaughlin.

An effort from Morgan was deflected behind by Brown, while a key Clarke challenge halted Will Grigg’s charge.

There was a rare shot for Pompey on 22 minutes, although Curtis’ effort was always swerving wide of the post.

Then, after Tom Naylor had conceded a free-kick, the midfielder had to nod behind Grant Leadbitter’s delivery.

Sunderland came close to breaking the deadlock soon after when the ball was only cleared as far as Morgan outside the box.

The winger hit a fierce volley that flew through a sea of bodies, but MacGillivray got down well to push the ball clear.

It was only a brief respite for the Blues, however, and they were undone after Thompson had conceded a foul.

McGeady was brought down and picked himself up to curl the ball home, albeit with the help of a deflection off Clarke’s shoulder.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Sunderland 1


Pompey tried to hit back after the break and when Bogle met a corner from Brown, his header was cleared from the line.

It would not have counted, though, as referee Dean Whitestone had spotted a foul on Luke O’Nien in the build-up.

The Blues were looking a lot brighter and trying to use Lowe as an outlet, but were still lacking a final ball.

Jackett tried to shake things up on 56 minutes, with Curtis being brought off and replaced by Evans on the left.

And it was a long pass from the newcomer that almost provided an equaliser just past the hour mark.

The ball was nodded down by Lowe and Pitman took one touch before hitting a neat half-volley that struck the base of the post.

Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and when Sunderland failed to deal with another Evans delivery, Thompson was unable to find the target at the back post.

Lowe then had a great opportunity following good work from Pitman, but rolled his shot wastefully past the post.

Jackett made his second switch to the forward line on 69 minutes, as Bogle made way for Hawkins.

The striker was soon having his shirt tugged inside the area, although Whitestone did not think it was enough to warrant a penalty.

Evans then did well to hold off a challenge and burst forward, firing in a long-range strike that flashed past the post.

But Pompey did find themselves level on 82 minute – and the goal came from a very unlikely source.

THOMPSON had yet to score in 69 appearances, but certainly picked the right location to open his account, nodding home after Evans had collected the ball from Clarke and sent it into the box.

The Blues contingent of an EFL Trophy record crowd of 85,021 erupted as the players ran towards them in celebration.

It had been a dominant second half display, but Sunderland might have secured victory in stoppage-time when Denver Hume skipped through and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Full Time: Pompey 1 Sunderland 1

There were, unsurprisingly, a few tired legs on display at Wembley as the extra period of 30 minutes got started.

Pompey were still looking to get forward and Evans was tackled inside the box after playing a neat one-two with Brown.

Lowe then screwed a shot wide after Hawkins had laid the ball off, while an angled effort from Brown was comfortable for McLaughlin.

Following a brief break after the first set of 15 minutes, the Blues got straight back on the attack and Evans had a shot blocked after cutting in from the left.

Jackett was forced to make a change when Ben Close limped off and his replacement almost scored within seconds of coming on.

Anton Walkes received the ball on the edge of the box and his effort had to be clawed behind by McLaughlin.

But Pompey did go ahead on 114 minutes and it was a brilliant finish from LOWE, who collected a long Clarke pass and sent a glorious lob over McLaughlin and into the net.

The winger was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration, but it looked like being the decisive goal.

Sunderland had other ideas, however, and in the dying seconds McGeady scrambled home an equaliser, despite the best efforts of Clarke to clear from the line.

After Extra Time: Pompey 2 Sunderland 2

A penalty shoot-out is always a nervy occasion, but the Blues kept their nerve throughout, scoring all five of their spot-kicks.

Evans, Pitman, Brown and Lowe all tucked away their efforts, while Sunderland’s second from Cattermole was saved by MacGillivray.

It meant that Hawkins had the chance to win it for the Blues and he made no mistake, slotting the ball home to send the large travelling contingent home in joyous mood.

Pitman then led his side up the Wembley steps to collect the Checkatrade Trophy and send those fans wild with delight.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close (Walkes 113); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Evans 56); Bogle (Hawkins 69)
Goals: Thompson 82, Lowe 114
Booked: Curtis, Evans, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Vaughan

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; O’Nien, Flanagan, Baldwin, James (Hume 88); Leadbitter (Wyke 95), Cattermole; Morgan (Gooch 73), Honeyman (c), McGeady; Grigg (Power 77)
Goals: McGeady 38, 119
Booked: Baldwin, McGeady
Subs not used: Ruiter, Dunne, McGeouch

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 85,021