Jed's Redemption

Last updated : 15 February 2015 By Jim Bonner

Jed Wallace scored a 90th minute winner against Exeter City at Fratton Park having missed a penalty earlier in the match to redeem himself and earn another valuable home win for his team.

Unlike Pompey's past matches, this was an entertaining game where the Grecians played their part. Despite the terrible state of the pitch, both teams passed the ball well with much less hoof ball from Pompey than in previous games.

Both sides exchanged efforts on goal that weren't ever going to find the back of the net but Pompey very nearly took the lead when a neat move led to Josh Passley's curler hitting the crossbar.

Exeter soon got back into the match and Paul Jones did well to preserve his clean sheet record with a couple of smart saves to keep out Tom Nichols' drive and then Liam Sercombe's rebound at the end of the first half.

The game lulled for a while in the second half with only a deflected Wallace shot that almost looped into the top corner but Andy Awford's men were denied by the woodwork again soon after James Dunne fired a long-distance thunderbolt onto the crossbar. Had that gone in then that would have been Pompey's goal of the season, unquestionably.

Pompey's big chance came when Matt Tubbs received a through-ball and ran towards goal only to be taken out by Christian Ribiero just inside the box, although some believed that the incident took place outside and a free kick was going to be given. (Having viewed the replay multiple times, it looks just outside the box.)

Referee Patrick Miller had already shown some leniency by refusing to book players for some bad challenges earlier in the game but everyone in the ground was amazed to see Ribiero only receive a yellow card despite denying Tubbs a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Wallace stepped up to take the spot kick and, after a long delay, blasted the ball over the bar and high into the Fratton End. He was devastated by that miss as his team mates consoled him but the character he showed to keep plugging away was admirable.

Having blown their big chance to win the match, it looked like Exeter would steal all three points as Aaron Davies' 18-yard shot struck the crossbar late on.

But the real drama came in stoppage time when Tubbs laid the ball off to Wallace and after beating a couple of defenders, he struck the ball into the bottom corner of the net to blow the roofs off the stands at Fratton Park and send himself into his own frenzied celebration!

There was little time for Exeter to snatch an equaliser and the referee blew the final whistle to confirm Pompey's second home win in successon and three points which now sees Andy Awford's team seven points clear of the bottom two and with a game in hand.

Undoubtedly the focus of this match will be on Wallace and his "zero to hero" story given that his performance wasn't brilliant before his missed penalty and the abuse that some fans were slinging him after the incident.

But the young man has shown some outstanding character to keep going and he always believes he can score, which will serve the team well when they are in need of a stoppage time winner. Where would Pompey be without him?

Speaking of stoppage time winners, that is Pompey's first since April 14th, 2012 at Doncaster when a Dave Kitson equaliser in the 90th minute and a Marko Futacs strike in the 93rd won the match 4-3 in Pompey's favour.

The last stoppage time winner for Pompey at Fratton Park was Erik Huseklepp's goal against Blackpool on September 24th, 2011. It has been a long time coming and there is no feeling better in football than a last-gasp winner.

Another positive Pompey stat is that yesterday's shutout has now made it four clean sheets in a row and the most recent one is the most impressive given the attacking football and goalscoring proficiency that Exeter are known for.

For the record, that's Pompey's best clean sheet run for almost a year with a run of four games stretching from February 25th to March 11th, 2014 being the last time that a Portsmouth side achieved such a feat.

Wallace may take the plaudits for the result yesterday but the outstanding performances of the match came from Paul Robinson who marshalled the defence well and blocked a couple of goalbound shots and James Dunne who was absolutely everywhere in the middle of the park.

But the whole team deserve credit for the way they played and they have now hit some form with eight points from the last twelve taken. Hopefully the good run will continue at Cambridge next week.

Pompey Player Ratings

James Dunne: 8 - Some smart saves and always alert to danger.

Josh Passley: 7 - Looks to have solved Pompey's right back problem.

Jack Whatmough: 7 - Keeps getting better.

Paul Robinson: 8 - A true captain's performance.

Joe Devera: 7 - Typically solid showing.

Dan Butler: 6 - Some of his passing was atrocious but did his defensive duties well.

James Dunne: 8 - All-action performance.

Danny Hollands: 7 - One of his better displays this season.

Jed Wallace: 7 - Showed plenty of character.

Ryan Taylor: 6 - Won most of the challenges in the air but never looked threatening.

Matt Tubbs: 7 - Worked really hard and played his part in penalty incident and goal.


Michael Poke

Ben Chorley

Johnny Ertl

Andy Barcham (Passley 46): 6 - Did well considering he had to play as a wing back.

Nigel Atangana (Wallace 90) : N/A - Only contribution was to get booked for a late challenge.

Craig Westcarr

Conor Chaplin