Pompey Drop Points Late

Last updated : 23 September 2018 By Jim Bonner

Pompey have lost their spot at the top of League One after only managing a 2-2 draw with Wycombe after an extremely frustrating game at a soaking wet Fratton Park.

The awful conditions matched the quality of the game for the most part whilst referee Craig Hicks will not be welcome back at Portsmouth after his atrocious performance, although he can't be blamed for Pompey failing to win the game.

Wycombe were certainly the better side in the first half and should have taken the lead when the defence failed to deal with a predictable long ball into the box and Fred Onyedinma could only fire wide from close range.

The visitors did take the lead soon after as Adebayo Akinfenwa laid the ball off to Rhys Morris who struck the ball into the corner of the net despite being tracked by numerous blue shirts who didn't challenge him.

Pompey's only real chance of the half came when Jamal Lowe squared the ball at the byline for Tom Naylor at close range but Ryan Allsop somehow kept the ball out with his legs.

Thankfully the Blues improved after the interval and just as Kenny Jackett was about to make a double substitution, Lowe crossed for Gareth Evans to head in the equaliser.

The Chairboys should have regained the lead only for Akinfenwa to head wide at the far post and they had a shout for a penalty turned away as the rain continued to pour down on the turf.

It looked like Pompey had won the game late when Lowe crossed for substitute Brett Pitman to head in his first league goal of the season as the Pompey fans began to sing about being top of the league.

That joy was short-lived, however, as a clumsy challenge by Christian Burgess on Onyedinma almost immediately after the restart led to Hicks pointing to the spot.

Joe Jacobson scored the resulting penalty by slamming the ball down the middle and Pompey had to settle for a draw as they were receiving absolutely nothing from referee Hicks who left the ground to abuse from almost every home fan in the crowd.

Many of those fans would say he deserved the insults thrown his way and it'd be difficult to argue against them as Hicks blew up every time a Wycombe player went down under the slightest of touches and sometimes when they had committed a foul themselves.

Hicks wouldn't let the game flow at all and although he did book some of Gareth Ainsworth's men for their predictably annoying time-wasting tactics, this game required a stronger referee to deal with the blatant gamesmanship from Wycombe as far too often he would halt play for nothing when Pompey were building an attack.

However, to solely blame the awful referee for dropping two points would be wrong as Burgess has committed a stupid error for the second game running. Although he has been man enough to account for his mistakes and doesn't deserve some of the abuse he's getting on social media, his mistakes have potentially cost Pompey four points.

The first half performance also simply wasn't good enough and the midfield (Naylor aside who played well) were outbattled and didn't contribute much to the overall performance. Evans may have scored but did little else and it the conditions and opposition didn't suit Ben Close's passing game at all.

This was also the first match where Ronan Curtis was nullified by players doubling up on him. Perhaps other teams are beginning to notice him? On the other hand, Lowe still caused plenty of trouble on the other flank and bagged two assists.

Still, the most frustrating thing about this result is that losing top spot means Pompey have already lost an opportunity to seize an initiative and take a grip on League One yet there was always a danger, especially with the conditions yesterday, that Pompey were always going to struggle with Wycombe's anti-football.

If there are any positives to take from Saturday's result they'll be that Portsmouth are still unbeaten and the only other team in the EFL who can boast that are Forest Green Rovers of all clubs. This negative result may also see the manager look to bring in one or two changes for the Rochdale game as it could be argued that the likes of Pitman and Ben Thompson shouldn't be bench warming.

There's plenty for Jackett and his staff to ponder during the week, that's for sure.

Pompey Player Ratings

Craig MacGillivray: 6 - Had no chance with either goal and commanded his area well.

Nathan Thompson: 6 - Supported the attack well.

Christian Burgess: 5 - Once again most of his performance was fine but needs to iron out silly errors if he is to ever really make it in League One.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Continues to look a class above and his run contributed to the second goal.

Lee Brown: 6 - Solid but not brilliant.

Tom Naylor: 7 - Battled hard.

Ben Close: 5 - Struggled to have any influence.

Gareth Evans: 6 - Scored but did little else.

Jamal Lowe: 7 - Got two assists and was Pompey's biggest threat on the day.

Ronan Curtis: 5 - Ineffective for the most part.

Oli Hawkins: 5 - Played his part in the opener but otherwise couldn't get into the game.


Luke McGee

Anton Walkes

Brandan Haunstrup

Ben Thompson

David Wheeler

Joe Mason (Evans 80): N/A - Barely touched the ball.

Brett Pitman (Hawkins 69): 7 - Held the ball up better than Hawkins and got his second goal in two home games.