Expires 13th February, 2023
The opening 45 minutes were distinctly forgettable, but it was a completely different story after the interval.
A firm header from Reeco Hackett opened the scoring and the lead was soon doubled by George Hirst.
Aiden O’Brien then came off the bench for his home debut and instantly found the net to leave Rovers deflated.
But there was still time for the superb Sean Raggett to head home deep into stoppage-time to double his tally for the week.
Danny Cowley made three changes from the side that saw off Burton, also on home soil, earlier in the week.
Marcus Harness returned in an unfamiliar wing-back role on the right, while Hackett occupied the opposite flag.
Skipper Clark Robertson came into the back three, as Connor Ogilvie, Mahlon Romeo and Denver Hume all dropped to the bench.
The contest took a while to liven up and half-chances were the order of the day for much of the first period.
Michael Jacobs was crowded out as he tried to get a shot away, while Josh Martin’s free-kick at the other end somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.
The visitors were first to seriously threaten, courtesy of a Reo Griffiths effort that was gathered by Gavin Bazunu at the second attempt.
Louis Thompson then released Harness on the right and his low centre flew agonisngly behind three of his team-mates in the box.
But Rovers almost broke the deadlock on 26 minutes and it took an excellent Raggett clearance to deny them.
Matt Smith combined well with Tommy Rowe to tee-up Joe Dodoo, whose close-range shot was heading for the net until the Pompey defender managed to get it clear.
Jonathan Mitchell then made a couple of regulation saves to deny first Hirst and soon after the in-form Jacobs.
There was a moment of controversy just before the break when Ronan Curtis went down in the box under pressure from a couple of defenders, but referee Tom Reeves ignored his appeals.
Doncaster Rovers 0
Hackett swung in a great delivery shortly after the restart, with Joseph Olowu doing just enough to put off Hirst and stop the striker making a connection.
Raggett was then called upon to make another brave block inside the area, this time from Martin’s shot.
But it was the Blues who finally broke the deadlock on 56 minutes, when Harness swung in an excellent cross from the right.
Hirst was unable to get on the end of it, but HACKETT got above Kyle Knoyle at the back post to find the net with a bullet header.
And things got even better for the hosts just past the hour mark after Ben Jackson nodded the ball straight into the path of HIRST.
The striker superbly brought the ball under control and raced clear before squeezing a shot past Mitchell.
Cowley freshened things up with a substitution soon after, as Tyler Walker made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe.
With the pressure eased, Pompey started to play some neat passing football and a Jacobs curler was held by Mitchell following Tunnicliffe’s exquisite flick.
The hosts were looking to wrap things up and Mitchell just about managed to prevent Harness from finding the net from an acute angle.
January arrival O’Brien was handed a run out for the final 10 minutes, as Jacobs made way to warm applause.
And O’BRIEN marked his Fratton bow by putting the result beyond doubt just a few seconds later, beating Knoyle to bundle Curtis’ low centre over the line.
Cowley’s final switch saw the livewire Thompson make way for Ogilvie, but still the Blues looked to attack.
It took the fingertips to Mitchell to stop them scoring again, as he turned behind a long-range Curtis free-kick.
Doncaster looked like all their energy had been sapped clear and the Blues controlled the closing stages.
And they put the cherry on the cake right at the death, as a fine free-kick into the box by Hackett was firmly nodded home by RAGGETT.
Pompey (3-4-3): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett, Robertson (c); Harness, Thompson (Ogilvie 83), Jacobs (O’Brien 80), Hackett; Curtis, Harness, Walker (Tunnicliffe 67)
Goals: Hackett 56, Hirst 63, O’Brien 81, Raggett 90+5
Subs not used: Webber, Romeo, Jewitt-White, Hume
Doncaster (4-1-4-1): Mitchell; Knoyle, Younger, Olowu, Jackson (Agard 70); Gardner; Griffiths, Smith, Rowe (c), Martin (Barlow 78); Dodoo (Odubeko 60)
Subs not used: Jones, Williams, Seaman, Clayton
Referee: Tom Reeves
Attendance: 14,767 (295 away fans)
It was a deserved outcome, although the hosts probably should have made life easier for themselves following a dominant first half display.
Sean Raggett headed them in front and Michael Jacobs continued his fine individual form by doubling the leas before the break.
But former Fratton loanee Gassan Ahadme reduced Albion’s deficit shortly after the restart, meaning the rest of the contest was nervier than it might have been.
Danny Cowley made two enforced changes from the side that were cruelly beaten at Oxford at the weekend.
Joe Morrell saw his appeal for a harsh sending off dismissed, so began a three-match ban and made way for Tyler Walker.
The other switch was like-for-like, as Mahlon Romeo recovered from an ankle injury to replace Kieron Freeman, who was suffering from concussion.
Pompey came tearing out of the blocks and there were just 35 seconds on the clock when they had a chance to opening scoring.
Hayden Carter got free and found Ronan Curtis, who escaped one challenge before seeing his effort deflected wide.
Jacobs then found space to get forward and hit a low shot that was parried clear by Ben Garratt, with William Kokolo mopping up the loose ball.
The resulting corner was sent into the mixer by Jacobs, but Connor Ogilvie could only get a glancing touch.
There was a drop in pace after that flurry of activity, with the match turning into a slightly cagey affair.
But the Blues started to get back on top and a lovely ball from George Hirst started an attack, but he could only head over when the cross came in from Jacobs.
The pair combined again moments later, swapping passes in the area before the Leicester loanee’s shot was deflected behind.
And it was from the resulting corner that the deadlock was broken, as RAGGETT rose highest to head home Jacobs’ delivery.
It came as no surprise to see that man JACOBS double the lead before the break, catching Joe Powell dithering and nipping in to slot the ball past Garratt.
Burton did have an opportunity to reduce their deficit before the whistle blew, with Gavin Bazunu having to get down to deal with Ciaran Gilligan’s strike.
Burton Albion 0
The hosts looked to keep attacking once the action restarted, only for their opponents to find a lifeline.
Mahlon Romeo and Carter got in each other’s way as the ball ran across the box and Terry Taylor’s angled effort was turned home by Gassan.
Powell then tried to sneak a free-kick inside Bazunu’s near post, but was unable to keep his effort down.
Pompey were struggling to replicate the attacking fluency on display at times before the break, although a Jacobs corner caused problems in Brewers box before eventually being hacked clear.
And they came close to restoring their two-goal lead on 67 minutes after Louis Thompson’s persistence had found Jacobs in space.
His low centre was only cleared as far as Curtis, whose shot was turned over the bar by the leg of Garratt.
The keeper then came off his line to deny Walker a first Blues goal after the ball had been flicked on by Hirst.
But Burton had a chance of their own moments later, with Ogilvie having to time his tackle to perfection to dispossess Harry Chapman inside the box.
Cowley then decided to add some fresh legs in the midfield engine room, as Thompson made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe.
And a second substitution followed soon after, with Denver Hume replaced on the left by Reeco Hackett.
There were comical scenes when a decision went against the visitors, leading to their manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink throwing his papers in the air and jumping up in frustration.
He was shown a yellow card for his outburst by referee Craig Hicks, while Clark Robertson came on for Jacobs during the pause in play.
And the Blues then saw out the closing stages with relative ease to climb above their opponents in the League One standings.
Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Romeo, Thompson (Tunnicliffe 73), Jacobs (Robertson 85), Hume (Hackett 80); Curtis; Hirst, Walker
Goals: Raggett 33, Jacobs 41
Booked: Raggett, Curtis
Subs not used: Webber, Jewitt-White, Harness, O’Brien
Burton (3-4-3): Garratt; Shaughnessy, Leak, Borthwick-Jackson; Hamer, Mancienne (c) (Saydee 82), Taylor (Chapman 63), Kokolo; Gilligan, Gassan (Moult 86), Powell
Goals: Gassan 50
Booked: Mancienne, Powell, Taylor, Chapman
Subs not used: Kovář, Blake-Tracy, Maddox, Lakin
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 13,407 (96 away fans)
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Michael Jacobs immediately cancelled out Luke McNally’s early opener, only for Joe Morrell to then be harshly sent off.
But the Blues were on course for an unlikely victory when Ronan Curtis slotted them into the lead after the break.
Cameron Brannagan levelled in the closing stages of normal time, however, before substitute Nathan Holland struck at the death.
Danny Cowley made five changes from the side that were beaten by Charlton on home soil on Monday night.
Two of them were enforced, with the injured Mahlon Romeo (ankle) and Shaun Williams (back) replaced by Kieron Freeman and Louis Thompson.
Marcus Harness, Tyler Walker and Clark Robertson all dropped to the bench to make way for Jacobs, Curtis and Connor Ogilvie.
Also named among the substitutes were deadline day signing Aiden O’Brien and a fit-again Ryan Tunnicliffe.
Former Blues players Ryan Williams and Steve Seddon both started for the hosts, who also had Simon Eastwood in their matchday squad.
Anybody who got into the ground late would certainly have missed some key incidents, as the opening 16 minutes saw two goals and a red card.
The hosts took an early lead when McNally rose highest in the box to convert a corner from Billy Bodin.
But Pompey quickly hit back, as a long kick from Gavin Bazunu was flicked on by George Hirst and Curtis did well to keep it in play.
His neat back-flick was collected from Freeman, who then squared the ball for JACOBS to slot home from close range.
The celebrations did not last long, however, as the disbelieving visitors were soon reduced to 10 men.
Morrell caught Brannagan and there was no surprise that a free-kick was awarded, but the midfielder was left open-mouthed when referee Samuel Barrott brandished a red card.
United looked to make the most of their numerical advantage and got plenty of men forward to apply pressure.
They came close to restoring their advantage when Brannagan was sent racing through, but Bazunu was off his line quickly to make a key save.
Williams then ballooned a good chance over the bar, while Herbie Kane rolled a shot narrowly wide and saw another attempt held by Bazunu.
But the Blues almost took the lead themselves just before the break after Jacobs had stolen possession.
He rolled the ball across for Hirst, but the striker’s low shot was kept out by the foot of keeper Jack Stevens.
Oxford Un ited 1
The second half began more than 20 minutes later than scheduled because of an unspecified ‘incident’.
And when the action did get started, there was a cagey opening – before Pompey helped explode the contest back into life.
Hirst did well to get forward and use his strength brilliantly to hold of a challenge before finding Jacobs.
He then slipped a clever pass through to CURTIS, who was left in space to calmly roll the ball past Stevens and into the net.
Oxford tried to hit back and Bodin’s shot was blocked after both Matty Taylor and Seddon had failed to connect with Williams’ centre.
Bazunu then dived to his left to push behind Brannagan’s angled strike and was able to deal with the resulting corner.
And Pompey were forced to make a change on the hour mark when Freeman took a ball to the face and was replaced by Robertson.
It was the home side that were unsurprisingly seeing more of the ball and a couple of corners caused a few nerves, while Bazunu made a regulation save to deny Mark Sykes.
Cowley then made his second switch on 71 minutes, bringing some fresh legs into the engine room by swapping Thompson with Tunnicliffe.
Bazunu was soon called into action again, getting down to his right to push clear a low Brannagan shot that was creeping towards the bottom corner.
But the Blues’ resistance was finally broken late on, courtesy of a fine 25-yard strike from Brannagan that flew into the net.
O’Brien was then brought on for his debut in place of Hirst and the delay caused by Freeman’s injury, along with various other stoppages, meant 10 minutes were added on.
With the defender’s departure deemed a concussion substitute, Denver Hume made way for Reeco Hackett.
But the Blues were unable to hang on and Holland’s effort from outside the box clipped the inside of the post on its way into the net.
Oxford (3-1-4-2): Stevens; McNally, Moore (c), Brown (Holland 55); Kane; Williams (Winnall 63), Sykes, Brannagan, Seddon (Mousinho 90+8); Bodin (McGuane 87), Taylor
Goals: McNally 6, Brannagan 82, Holland 90+6
Booked: Brannagan, Seddon, Kane, Moore
Subs not used: Eastwood, Forde, Smyth
Pompey (3-4-1-2): Bazunu; Carter, Raggett (c), Ogilvie; Freeman (Robertson 60), Thompson (Tunnicliffe 71), Morrell, Hume (Hackett 90+5); Jacobs; Hirst (O’Brien 82), Curtis
Goals: Jacobs 10, Curtis 51
Sent off: Morrell
Booked: Jacobs, Hirst, Hume, Curtis, Bazunu, Tunnicliffe, Raggett
Subs not used: Webber, Harness, Walker
Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 10,373 (1,754 Pompey fans)