MK Dons 1 Pompey 2
After last weeks dramatic final minutes against Doncaster the travelling Pompey army must have expected a quieter afternoon in Milton Keynes. They would be wrong however as their favourites charged back from a goal down to win it in injury time through Conor Chaplin.
Kenny made two enforced changes with Luke McGee back in goal in place of the luckless Stephen Henderson and Brett Pitman came in for the suspended Christian Barnard.
The Dons took a lead on twenty-one minutes through Chelsea loanee Ugbo and despite all their efforts Pompey could not get level by the break. Jackett then made changes taking off Matty Kennedy and Connor Ronan and sending out Chaplin and Jamal Lowe.
They had to wait until six minutes from the end before Matt Clarke, making his 100th appearance powered home header from Dion Donohue`s cross. Pompey then smelt blood and with just ninety seconds of added time remaining Chaplin got on the end of another Donohue cross to seal the three points.
Pompey thus maintain their unbeaten against the Dons and move up one position to eighth with their first win of 2018. This also proves that January has never been a good month for the Blues and they will be glad that February is now well under way. Looking at the table sixth place is still very much up for grabs with Bradford City faltering but there are a lot of clubs in the chasing pack for a solid run is needed.
A word for the travelling army which reached the 6,000 target set by the fans. MK is 121 miles by road and with 6,257 making the trip that is around three quarters of a million travelling miles!
Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Walkes, Hawkins, Clarke, Donohue; Thompson, Close; Evans, Ronan (Chaplin 46), Kennedy (Lowe 46); Pitman (c)
Goals: Clarke 84, Chaplin 90+3
Subs not used: Bass, Deslandes, Widdrington, May, Naismith
Attendance: 14,762 (6,257 Pompey fans)
The Blues boss told the clubs official site “I`m really pleased for the players because we had a few late goals go against us last month and it`s not a nice feeling. So it was great to see Clarke`s header go in and then for Conor to score in injury-time balanced things out slightly. It gave them no chance to come back.
“It had been frustrating because we were on top and then MK went down the other end of the pitch and scored. They`re a side who were battling to get out of the relegation places and I think everyone`s surprised that they are down there. So they were understandably quite edgy in the last 15 minutes and we took the two chances that counted.
“A goal can swing the confidence and we had a surge after the equaliser to get the winner. I`m delighted for Conor. We showed plenty of character to keep battling and it was certainly a reward for our fantastic travelling fans.
“It`s a big period for us now and we need to get a good run together so we can have a run at the play-offs.”
On Chaplin Jackett said: “I felt we needed another forward to get closer to Brett Pitman and he kept going, getting his reward in the end. That can give him confidence and belief that he can go on a run – I certainly believe he`s capable of that.
“I`m also pleased for Luke McGee because he played a key role in an open contest that could have gone either way.”
Last week I meant to write a piece on the reaction to Pompey`s deadline day dealings – in fact more to look at the signings and departures in the window but sadly I didn`t get around to it.
Some fans were screaming for Michael Eisner to write a blank cheque for Kenny to splash on new faces that would clinch a play off spot. Have these fans not learnt from the past? Do they not realise that the club`s infrastructure is not ready (yet) for the Championship?
To survive at that level the stadium must be upgraded to hold at least 25,000 and Eisner has an architect looking at ways of achieving that figure.
Kenny though would rather use the try before you buy approach by loaning players with a view to signing them IF they succeed. As we all know players do not necessarily settle in some environments and loans can help overcome that problem.
This works well but the club have had such bad luck this season with loanees, two of who have failed to last their initial ninety minutes. Several others have picked up injuries which have effectively ended their season.
I think this is however the right way to go, what are your views?
Tuesday – Blackburn Rovers (H)
First midweek home game of the season! A rarity this meeting of two clubs to win major trophies in the last twenty five years but are now at the third tier of English football.
The league fixture was first played at Fratton Park in 1927 and ended in a 2-2 draw both Pompey goals were scored by the Farmer`s boy Billy Haines. This will be the 87th meeting in all competitions and Pompey have only a 30% win ratio.
Pompey`s last win was in November 2008 and was the game after the Milan fixture. Sean Davis, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe score in a 3-2 Premier League win. The attendance of 18,101 could be beaten on Tuesday!
The last meeting at Fratton was goalless in 2010 – that was the game when this happened
Still makes every soccer goof show.
Saturday – Southend United (A)
Pompey have lost their last four games at Roots Hall in a fixture that date back to 1920 when again Pompey lost – in fact it was sixty one years before Southend would beat Pompey again – twelve wins and four draws.
Pompey`s last win in Essex was back in 1996 when Lee Russell scored the only goal.
Southend are currently on a winning run under new boss Chris Powell beating table topping Wigan yesterday.