Pompey Frustrated By Appleton

Last updated : 28 February 2015 By Jim Bonner

Pompey had to settle for a goalless draw with a stubborn Oxford United at Fratton Park in a match with few big chances.

Nigel Atangana and Ben Chorley came into the starting eleven, replacing the suspended James Dunne and injured Jack Whatmough respectively. Wes Fogden also made a return to the squad but only made the bench and never saw any game time.

The majority of the opportunities during the match fell to Pompey, although they struggled to break down the organised U's defence and when they did, Ryan Clarke in goal was there to prevent the ball finding the net.

He was forced to make two excellent saves in the first half as he tipped Jed Wallace's drive around the post and pushed Matt Tubbs' close range header over the bar.

Apart from that, there wasn't too much to get excited about and the biggest cheers of the afternoon came for Hermann Hriedarsson and David James who were in attendance in the South Stand and made an appearance during the half-time interval.

The second half was a frustating affair with the Oxford players smothering any attack that Pompey could muster. Johnny Mullins almost gifted the hosts the lead when Tubbs seized upon his weak back pass but he could only fire the ball wide from the same angle he scored at when he was in a Wimbledon shirt back on Boxing Day.

Wallace fired a shot over the bar and a last-ditch challenge in the box from Jake Wright prevented Ryan Taylor from scoring but other than that, there were no other chances for Pompey to score and Oxford got the point they played for.

Looking at the match from a positive point of view, Paul Jones never had a significant save to make and Oxford wasted the rare chances they had to score. The defence did a good job in nullifying their attack and that includes the much maligned Ben Chorley.

However, if Pompey are to have prospects this season then this is the sort of match they should really be winning. Awford could be criticised for not making his changes earlier and being seemingly happy with a draw at home, when that shouldn't be the attitude this club takes towards any opposition side in the bottom two divisions.

Still, the draw marks a February without defeat and extends the unbeaten run to seven games. The point takes Pompey into the top half of the League Two table and still nine points off the play-offs with thirteen games remaining.

There's still plenty of time to make this season meaningful, but a result at Northampton next Tuesday is a must.

Pompey Player Ratings

Paul Jones: 6 - Untested.

Josh Passley: 6 - Frustrated.

Joe Devera: 8 - Probably Pompey's best player, which tells you all you need to know about the match.

Paul Robinson: 8 - Another strong showing.

Ben Chorley: 7 - Solid return to the side.

Dan Butler: 6 - Delivery into the box was good but passing was poor.

Danny Hollands: 6 - Average.

Nigel Atangana: 5 - God knows why the sponsors gave him man-of-the-match. Bottled too many challenges and gave the ball away too often.

Jed Wallace: 6 - Marked out of the game for most of it.

Ryan Taylor: 6 - Won plenty in the air but never really threatened.

Matt Tubbs: 6 - Denied by Clarke and wasted a good chance by his standards.


Michael Poke

Adam Webster

Johnny Ertl

Wes Fogden

Andy Barcham (Passley 76): N/A - Needed more time to get into the game.

Craig Westcarr (Tubbs 81): N/A - No impact and not enough time.

Conor Chaplin