Pompey Drop Points To Brewers

Pompey paid for a slow start to the second half tonight meaning they had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Burton Albion at Fratton Park.

The hosts began the game brightly as they bombarded the Brewers' box with dangerous crosses and attempts at goal which keeper Dimitar Evtimov had to save from Ronan Curtis and Ben Thompson.

Whilst the game simmered down, it was still Pompey who dominated most of the proceedings and their attacking play was finally rewarded when Oli Hawkins beat his marker to a superb Thompson cross and headed the ball beyond the Burton goalkeeper.

The visitors had a couple of attempts before that opener with Will Miller striking the ball straight at Craig MacGillivray being the best of them but Kyle MacFazdean also blazed the ball wildly into the corner of the Fratton End; a moment the big screen inside the ground was happy to replay.

What wasn't so happy was the mood of the Portsmouth fans early in the second half as their team didn't turn up after the break and soon found themselves losing.

Jamie Allen was afforded too much space out wide to give the ball to Devante Cole and he struck the ball into the bottom corner and then Jake Hesketh managed to beat two players in the box before rifling the ball into the roof of the net to turn the game on its head.

Thankfully, the atmosphere didn't turn sour and the game soon swung back in the home side's favour. Gareth Evans had a shot cleared off the line whilst Evtimov was equal to Lowe's attempt soon after.

The equaliser finally came when Matt Clarke scored a towering header from a corner and it seemed like Pompey would take control of the game again and find a winner.

However, despite a few more attempts, the team lost its shape in the last ten minutes and couldn't force a winner whilst Burton had a couple of opportunities to score on the break if it wasn't for a couple of timely interceptions from Tom Naylor and MacGillivray.

Referee Andrew Madley, who had been erratic all evening with his decision making, blew the final whistle to mark the end to an entertaining match which ultimately saw Kenny Jackett's men drop two points, albeit against a capable side who were minutes away from securing safety in the Championship last season.

But it's irritating to witness a slow start to a second half not for the first time this season only tonight Pompey were up against a capable League One side who punished them for their lethargy and it's something that needs to change quickly as more opposition sides will become wise to it.

Anton Walkes remains unconvincing at right back as he stood in for Nathan Thompson whose wife has just given birth to a baby boy whilst Jack Whatmough was poorer than usual tonight, especially when he was in possession.

Ronan Curtis hasn't been particularly effective in recent matches, either. It has been suggested that his early season success has gone to his head but it's more likely that the opposition have sussed him out and he'll have to adapt his game accordingly.

On the positive side, Hawkins scored again and also looked the part when playing the lone striker role whilst Ben Thompson was a cut above everyone else on the pitch tonight. Millwall have got a real gem on their hands as he covered so much of the pitch and won the ball back so many times.

A draw at home to a fairly decent team isn't the end of the world even if Pompey's lead at the top of the table was cut to four points. Still, to have that kind of a lead with a third of the season played is an excellent return and long may it continue.

Next up is three consecutive away games starting with a tricky trip to Accrington followed by another long journey to bottom club Bradford before taking on Maidenhead in the first round of the F.A. Cup after their 1-0 win over Chippenham tonight.

Given Pompey's middling form at Fratton Park, perhaps the long time away from home will be welcome!

Pompey Player Ratings

Craig MacGillvray: 7 - A couple of good saves and stayed alert when Burton looked like scoring.

Anton Walkes: 5 - Will not be ousting Nathan Thompson any time soon.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Bagged a goal to go along with a usual quality performance.

Jack Whatmough: 5 - An uncomfortable afternoon.

Lee Brown: 5 - Not quite at it.

Dion Donohue: N/A - Off early with a hamstring injury. Hopefully not too serious.

Tom Naylor: 7 - A busy evening but early card may have hampered him.

Jamal Lowe: 6 - Caused some problems but need to see him shoot more often.

Ben Thompson: 8 - Outstanding and couldn't have asked for much more.

Ronan Curtis: 5 - Faded as the game went on.

Oli Hawkins: 7 - Scored again and isn't given enough credit by some for the work he does up front.

Substitutes

Luke McGee

Christian Burgess

Ben Close

Gareth Evans (Donohue 28): 6 - Worked hard.

David Wheeler

Joe Mason

Brett Pitman (Hawkins 64): 6 - Close to making something happen on occasion but service to him soon diminished.