Pompey Smash 'n' Grab Win At Wycombe

Portsmouth finally won their first match of 2014 after a hard fought 1-0 victory at Adams Park following a backs-to-the-wall performance.

Ben Chorley came into the defence at the expense of Sonny Bradley whilst Andy Barcham replaced the injured Jed Wallace. Chorley, who wore the captain's armband, certainly made a difference in the back four with his leadership and vocal presence.

Pompey started brightly and won an early free kick which came to nothing, but were soon to be indebted to Trevor Carson who pulled off a string of fantastic saves to keep the scores level.

The first came when Matt McClure's drive was pushed onto the post and the second was even better when a corner was flicked on and the ball looked like going in only for the Pompey keeper to acrobatically push the ball away.

McClure tried his luck again but Carson was equal to his effort and when Reece Styche thought he'd scored with the follow up, the keeper blocked his shot and the ball was eventually cleared.

The best Pompey could muster in the first half was a soft penalty shout when Jake Jervis fell down in the area but that was as good as it got until the second half.

Speaking of soft penalties, Pompey were awarded one early in the second half for Gary Doherty's apparent trip on Wes Fogden. There were barely any appeals from the Portsmouth players or fans but after a short delay referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot.

Ryan Taylor, who had never scored a penalty at senior level before, stepped up and smashed the spot kick the other side of goalkeeper Matt Ingram to give the visitors a barely deserved lead.

Wycombe felt hard done by and came back into the game with Josh Scowen's volley directed straight at Carson. The travelling fans were then breathing a huge sigh of relief as the team survived two goalmouth scrambles, one of which saw the ball bounce off the post and roll dangerously close to crossing the line before it was hacked clear.

Andy Barcham wasted Pompey's only other chance of the match on the break by slowing down and having his shot blocked and Wycombe constantly peppered the box with aerial balls that were being dealt with by the stout Portsmouth defence.

There were five additional minutes to be played and Pompey fans breathed another sigh of relief when their team was spared the embarrassment of conceding a goal to Gary Doherty for a clear foul on Carson deep into stoppage time.

Richie Barker's men held on for the remaining time to celebrate just their second away win in the league al season in what was the ultimate steal, but it's about time some luck came in our direction for a change.

To win in the manner that they did suggests that this result may be a huge turning point in Portsmouth's season. When was the last time Pompey won 1-0 away from home having soaked up so much pressure and score with their only meaningful shot on target? Probably back in the cup winning season, that's how long ago it would be.

Despite the luck, the players still had to work extremely hard for that victory and a relentless work ethic is something that Richie Barker has instilled in this team, with both Jervis and Taylor willing to defend from the front when they have to.

The Torquay match on Saturday now takes on extra importance as a win against the Gulls would see Pompey jump into mid-table and put a huge distance between themselves and the relegation battlers at the bottom of League Two.

And if Pompey do go on to comfortably survive in the league this season then this result will be marked as the turning point.

Pompey Player Ratings

Trevor Carson: 9 - More than made up for his error on Saturday with some outstanding saves and composure.

Daniel Alfei: 6 - Did a job.

Joe Devera: 7 - Some fans may have wondered why he was kept in the side ahead of Bradley but selection was justified again with another good performance.

Ben Chorley: 7 - Looks like a leader, which is something Pompey have been severely lacking at the back.

Marcos Painter: 6 - Solid enough.

Wes Fogden: 7 - Gave everything.

Nicky Shorey: 6 - Steady showing.

Romain Padovani: 4 - Looked lightweight and gave the ball away too often.

Andy Barcham: 6 - Did OK but could have been a better outlet.

Ryan Taylor: 7 - Good penalty and worked hard.

Jake Jervis: 7 - Defended from the front and looks like an asset to the team.

Substitutes

Phil Smith

Sonny Bradley

Johnny Ertl (Barcham 90): N/A - Came on and got booked within 30 seconds and gave away a free kick in a dangerous position. Thank God it didn't go in!

Thery Racon

Jed Wallace

Ricky Holmes (Fogden 79): N/A - Good to see him back and hopefully he'll start on Saturday.

Patrick Agyemang (Jervis 87): N/A - Served his purpose of keeping the ball upfield late on.