Pompey Ease Past Posh On Final Day

Yet another brace from Brett Pitman saw Portsmouth win their final match of the season against Peterborough yesterday to confirm an eighth place finish in League One.

The Pompey striker had numerous chances to score on an easy afternoon for the skipper who should have bagged more than two. The first of those chances came when he was played through on goal and turned his defender, only to fire the ball straight at Jonathan Bond.

Peterborough clearly weren't bothered about the game and therefore it wasn't too surprising when Pompey took the lead as Pitman headed in Gareth Evans' corner.

Pitman then grabbed his second as he tapped the ball in from all of a yard when it looked like Jamal Lowe's shot was going in anyway after the winger did all of the hard work.

Pompey's top scorer should have completed his hat-trick soon after as Matt Clarke backheeled the ball to him but somehow he blazed it over the bar from point blank range, saving the worst miss of the season until the final day.

There were more chances for Pitman to complete his hat-trick as he forced a save from Bond with a shot from distance at the end of the first half, and then had a couple of half-chances in a non-descript second half barely worth mentioning, such was the snail's pace it was played at.

There has to be some sympathy for the travelling Posh fans who came down to the south coast to see their team, sans League One's top scorer, not even bother to try. An early effort that debutant Alex Bass gathered at the second attempt and a tame shot on target in the second half was as good as it got for them.

The final whistle blew to confirm Pompey's eighth place finish on their return to the third tier of English football and some fans remained behind for the lap of appreciation, whilst cheering Everton's 96th minute equaliser against them lot down the road.

Overall, it has been a satisfactory season and most Pompey fans would have been happy if eighth place was offered to them at the start of the season. It hasn't been amazing though, as a record of 20 wins, 20 defeats and 6 draws highlights just how average this current Portsmouth team are.

Of course, the "what if" would be if the owners strengthened the squad considerably in January when Pompey were sixth and in a very healthy position to challenge for promotion rather than get in a few loans and hail the transfer window as "great" as Kenny Jackett's threadbare squad struggled through winter.

It can't just be a poor winter to blame for Pompey's failure to reach the play-offs, though. A slow start and some poor results against some of the division's worst teams are equally culpable and the bottom line is that if Charlton were beaten a fortnight ago, it would be Pompey and not the Addicks sitting in sixth place right now.

Still, it would be foolhardy not to acknowledge the job Kenny Jackett has done this season. The finish eighth and take the promotion race to the penultimate game whilst dealing with a plethora of injuries all season is a testament to how good a manager he is. Given the right backing next season, he should improve the team.

Jackett has already put his plans for next campaign in motion with Nicke Kabamba announcing he won't be returning to Fratton Park and it seems like Kal Naismith will also be shown the door. Keeping hold of Matt Clarke also seems unlikely given his outstanding performances but Stuart O'Keefe and Anton Walkes could be signed permanently.

There's a lot of work to do in the summer now the season's over. The voting for the Fratton Faithful Awards for 2018 will begin on Twitter today as a send off for a solid, if unspectacular, season in League One.

Let's hope this time next year there is more to be excited about.

Pompey Player Ratings

Alex Bass: 6 - Little to do on his debut.

Nathan Thompson: 7 - Solid as usual.

Christian Burgess: 8 - A return to form.

Matt Clarke: 8 - Another excellent showing but is it his last in a Pompey shirt?

Brandan Haunstrup: 7 - Impressive again.

Stuart O'Keefe: 7 - Kept the midfield ticking.

Jamal Lowe: 7 - This season has been excellent for him.

Gareth Evans: 6 - Did his job.

Ben Close: 7 - Looked good.

Kal Naismith: 6 - Tried hard but no real threat. Probably the last we've seen of him.

Brett Pitman: 8 - Scored two but could have scored enough to be the league's overall top scorer!

Substitutes

Luke McGee

Dion Donohue

Adam May

Connor Ronan

Matty Kennedy (Naismith 77): N/A - Didn't shine in his short cameo. Can't see him being taken on permanently.

Conor Chaplin

Oli Hawkins