Pompey Double Downs Dons

Pompey bounced back from Saturday's defeat at Shrewsbury with victory over struggling Wimbledon at Fratton Park on Boxing Day.

It was a poor match played under dreadful conditions with the wind and rain contributing to a dire contest which the hosts edged, although the visitors wasted their biggest chance early on when Cody McDonald was put through on goal and yet could only fire the ball wide with Luke McGee bearing down on him.

George Long only had one save of note to make in the first half as the returning Conor Chaplin's shot deflected off Jamal Lowe and into his arms as both sides struggled to muster any attempts on goal.

Therefore it came as a nice post-Christmas surprise when Kenny Jackett's men took the lead right before the break when Lowe did well to win the ball back and feed it to Ben Close who struck it into the bottom corner from twenty yards.

The Dons were awarded a penalty not long after the restart after referee Craig Hicks decided that Christian Burgess deliberately handled the ball when it bounced up and hit him on the arm. Lyle Taylor smashed the ball into the roof of the net for what would be AFC's only attempt on target during the entire game.

The decision was as soft as puppy poo in all honesty and Hicks continued to show his incompetence when he allowed Wimbledon to take a free kick inside their Pompey's half for an offside decision against the Blues. Obviously Pompey couldn't be offside in their own half so why the referee thought it was fine for Wimbledon to take the resulting free kick where they did is anyone's guess.

Hicks continued his role in centre stage when he awarded another soft penalty, this time to Pompey, for Barry Fuller's shove on Brett Pitman. He had to give it after his earlier decision to penalise Burgess and Pompey's top scorer made no mistake from the spot, sending Long the wrong way.

Former Pompey winger Andy Barcham flashed a shot wide from an angle in what was to be the last significant goalmouth action of the match as Portsmouth took the points following a scrappy encounter.

There isn't too much to say in terms of post-match analysis. The defence did their job as proved by Wimbledon having few attempts on goal and the only one on target being the penalty they were gifted by the referee.

Chances were at a premium and signing a creative midfielder or a second striker has to be a priority for Kenny Jackett when the transfer window opens in January. Chaplin simply hasn't been able to step up and there needs to be more penetration going forward if Pompey are to be a threat to the best teams in the division.

As it stands, Pompey continue to be effective enough to get the job done and today's result sees the Blues climb to seventh in the league and only outside the play-offs on goal difference with Peterborough currently occupying sixth place.

Next up is another very winnable game against Northampton where only three points will do with 2018 looming.

Pompey Player Ratings

Luke McGee: 6 - Little to do.

Nathan Thompson: 6 - Dealt with Barcham for the most part.

Christian Burgess: 6 - Harshly penalised.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Solid showing.

Brandan Haunstrup: 6 - Comfortable afternoon.

Danny Rose: 7 - Kept things ticking.

Ben Close: 8 - Scored a good goal and continues to impress.

Gareth Evans: 6 - Worked hard.

Conor Chaplin: 5 - Not at his brightest.

Jamal Lowe: 6 - Won the ball up the pitch on occasions.

Brett Pitman: 6 - Scored the penalty but did virtually nothing else.

Substitutions

Alex Bass

Dion Donahue

Adam May

Kyle Bennett

Matty Kennedy (Lowe 64): 6 - A good outlet on the left when the ball was given to him.

Curtis Main

Ollie Hawkins (Chaplin 64): 5 - Struggled to get involved and win anything.