Pompey Destroy Terrible Bantams

Last updated : 03 March 2019 By Jim Bonner

Pompey recorded their first league win since New Year's Day in emphatic fashion by thrashing an awful Bradford side 5-1 at Fratton Park.

Christian Burgess was declared fit as Kenny Jackett hoodwinked the press again and the team were set up in a 4-1-4-1 formation to eventually dominate the team 23rd in League One.

Oli Hawkins struck the post with an early header as Pompey grew into the game. Referee Oliver Langford then awarded the hosts a rare penalty during a corner routine which saw Hawkins hauled down in the box by Anthony O'Connor.

Gareth Evans showed the absent Omar Bogle how it's done from the spot by smashing the ball into the top corner to give Pompey the lead and the pressure continued with the Bantams' defence being constantly pressured.

It seemed like only a matter of time before the second goal arrived and it duly came when Ronan Curtis' strike hit the underside of the crossbar and may have crossed the line but Tom Naylor made sure by tapping the loose ball in from a yard.

Bradford had offered absolutely nothing going forward during the first half so perhaps it was one of their fans who flew a drone over the pitch to stop play?

The distraction worked as the visitors started to attack and Craig MacGillivray palmed Hope Akpan's drive over the bar.

Akpan had missed a glorious chance at the death to equalise in the reverse fixture but was able to score from two yards out as some generous defending from a corner allowed the former Crawley man to reduce the deficit.

Any hope that Bradford had of making a comeback was quickly extinguished, however, as Curtis combined with Lee Brown down the flank and the left back crossed for Jamal Lowe to convert and restore Pompey's lead.

The goals kept coming as the superb Ben Close turned in Evans' shot and then had another when he lashed the ball into the bottom corner as the game ticked towards ten minutes of stoppage time.

Anton Walkes curled a shot narrowly wide and that was the only action of those extra ten minutes caused by the drone delay and numerous injuries to Pompey players that thankfully don't seem to be long term.

Curtis limped off during stoppage time but it seems he has an ankle impact injury rather than a pulled hamstring. Nathan Thompson and Matt Clarke collided towards the end of the second half but they should both be available to play next week although the former requires a trip to the dentist.

Hawkins was also withdrawn during the game due to a cut on his ankle, but he should also make the trip to The Valley for the televised game at Charlton on Saturday.

As for the game yesterday, it was a very entertaining spectacle and a relentless attacking display against an admittedly dreadful Bantams side who are surely destined for League Two next season.

For that reason, fans shouldn't be getting too carried away but it was great to see the wingers return to their menacing early season form with Evans making a huge contribution to the result.

Hawkins was simply too difficult to handle for the Bradford centre backs but the best player on the pitch was Close who kept the ball moving, rarely gave it away and scored a couple of goals to keep his run going. He seems to be relishing the more advanced role in midfield and finally, it looks like Pompey fans are seeing the best of him.

The thrashing means that Pompey have kept pace with the top three who all recorded comfortable victories yesterday and face a far tougher match at Charlton on Saturday. If they can reproduce yesterday's performance, they'll have every chance of beating the stuttering Addicks.

Pompey Player Ratings

Craig MacGillivray: 6 - Suspect for the conceded goal but little else to do.

Nathan Thompson: 7 - Rock solid but the dentist calls.

Matt Clarke: 6 - Hopefully head injury isn't too serious.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Continues to look steady.

Lee Brown: 8 - One of his best Pompey performances.

Tom Naylor: 8 - Grabbed a goal and did his defensive duties really well.

Jamal Lowe: 8 - Looking back to his best after a rest.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Played a key part in the demolition.

Ben Close: 9 - Absolute baller. Time to produce that sort of performance consistently.

Ronan Curtis: 8 - Caused nightmares for the Bradford defence.

Oli Hawkins: 8 - Simply couldn't be handled.


Alex Bass

Brandan Haunstrup

Anton Walkes (Thompson 77): N/A - Almost scored in stoppage time.

Dion Donohue (Clarke 84): N/A - Slotted in nicely.

Viv Solomon-Otabor

James Vaughan (Hawkins 69): N/A - Didn't see much of him.

Brett Pitman