Another Fratton Stalemate

Last updated : 28 December 2015 By Jim Bonner

Pompey ended 2015 with a disappointing goalless draw with Luton Town that has seen them slip further off the pace in the race for promotion.

There was plenty of endeavour from a Portsmouth side that had Adam Barton actually perform well at centre back in place of Adam Webster but unfortunately the players couldn't make the most of the opportunities they created against Andy Awford's toothless side.

Marc McNulty was guilty of wasting a few chances and probably should have given Paul Cook's men the lead if he had timed his far post run quicker after a superb delivery from Enda Stevens.

Hatters keeper Mark Tyler made a couple of good saves to prevent McNulty from scoring whilst Ben Davies struck the side netting with a free kick, even if the tannoy announcer thought it had gone in!

Unfortunately the chances dried up in the second half as Pompey struggled to break down their resolute opposition. The deliveries into the box were getting worse as the match wore on and when a Pompey player was on the end of one, they couldn't work Tyler or they missed the target.

Matt Clarke wasted the final opportunity in stoppage time as he headed a corner wide and thus Pompey once again dropped two points at home against mediocre opposition that had no interest in attacking and were quite happy to settle for a draw.

That's the fifth goalless draw at Fratton Park this season as Accrington, Yeovil, Mansfield and Wimbledon have all also prevented Pompey from scoring and it's these results which are ultimately going to cost them automatic promotion from League Two.

Whilst McNulty and Lavery have been relied on to open up defensive teams in recent matches that didn't happen today as the former was wasteful and the latter was barely in the game. Unfortunately the wingers also had off-days and thus Tyler didn't have many difficult saves to make and this is a goalkeeper who has conceded plenty of goals in recent games.

This is a very damaging draw for Pompey's promotion prospects as they are now eight points behind leaders Plymouth although thankfully Oxford were also held by Yeovil and so Portsmouth are only four points from third place.

However, it's possible that the Blues could find themselves as low down as 7th in League Two if the teams below them win their numerous games in hand.

It's not time to panic just yet but there is some recruiting to be done in January and ten points are required from those league matches next month if automatic promotion is to be a realistic target in 2016.

Pompey Player Ratings

Brian Murphy: 6 - Little to do.

Ben Davies: 7 - Delivered some decent balls in during the first half.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Didn't give Benson a sniff.

Adam Barton: 7 - Played surprisingly well in unfamiliar role.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Another understated performance.

Michael Doyle: 7 - Got around the pitch well.

Danny Hollands: 7 - Bounced back from poor Orient display with a good showing.

Gareth Evans: 5 - Struggled to make an impact.

Marc McNulty: 6 - Wasted some good chances.

Kyle Bennett: 5 - Couldn't find the space to do any damage.

Caolan Lavery: 5 - Quiet day.


Alex Bass

Ben Close

Ben Tollitt

Gary Roberts (Lavery 64): 5 - No real impact.

Adam McGurk (McNulty 77): N/A - Barely touched the ball.

Conor Chaplin (Bennett 87): N/A - Needed more time.

Jayden Stockley