Pompey 1 Shrewsbury Town 1
Pompey almost surrendered their unbeaten record yesterday afternoon when a determined Shrewsbury frustrated the hosts took the lead and were eventually deprived by a late Brett Pitman penalty.
Kenny named the expected side with Oli Hawkins fit to continue up top and Andre Green making his debut in place of Ronan Curtis away on international duty.
Pompey came out of the traps quickly when on two minutes Jamal Lowe forced a sprawling save from Joel Coleman. They kept playing all the football for the first quarter an hour with Green looking lively but no further openings created.
The Shrews then took control of the game by pressing Pompey and denying them any time or space to play in. The visitors then played all the football knocking the ball around but despite all their efforts, they could not test ex Salop keeper Craig MacGillivray.
At the interval, Jackett made changes with Ben Close on for Ben Thompson and David Wheeler for Green. Such is the strength of Kenny’s squad he can afford to make these changes to more than tweak his side and these changes improved Pompey’s display and chances were created but most from long range.
Town’s back four stood firm and they thought they should have had a penalty when Alex Gilliead went on a mazy run and fell when challenged by Lee Brown but referee Breakspear waved their appeals aside.
Pompey made their final change when Pitman replaced the tiring Hawkins but it was Pompey who made a horrific mistake to gift the visitors the lead with substitute Greg Docherty’s first touch. A cross came into the box and Nathan Thompson headed the ball into the air and Christian Burgess got lost under the ball and it dropped for Docherty to simply roll home.
Pompey then, at last, began to ramp up the pressure and should have been awarded a penalty when Pitman hauled down but again the officials saw nothing wrong. But a few minutes later Nathan Thompson was tripped by Gilliead and Pitman so reliable from the spot smashed it into the corner.
Thus Pompey escaped with a point which was the most they deserved even though Shrewsbury only had one shot on target all game. Stats, of course, are misleading I had a look at Peterborough’s 3-2 win at Southend yesterday and they only had three shots on target while their hosts had TEN.
Next week sees the top two clash at London Road. It is still early in the season but a result there for Pompey would be very welcome.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson (Close 46), Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c), Green (Wheeler 46); Hawkins (Pitman 67)
Goals: Pitman 87 (pen)
Subs not used: McGee, Haunstrup, Rose, Mason
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 17,634 (281 away fans)
Accolades won and missed
With the season just four weeks old the awards are already heading to Fratton Park.
Jamal Lowe was awarded the League One player of the month award which is a new Bristol Street Motors sponsored gong and is voted for by the fans. I expect like me most of you voted for Jamal and it is obvious that with fans polling that the big clubs will dominate. He received 51% of the vote with Josh Maja of Sunderland getting 29%.
In the traditional Manager and Player of the month awards, both Kenny Jackett and Ronan Curtis were nominated but beaten to the top spot by Peterborough’s Steve Evans and Jason Cumming.
How does the Nations League work?
Last season I gave you a guide to the new Nations League and how it works. With the competition now underway I have discovered a UEFA video that sort of explains it. It is complicated and if you still cannot understand what happens please contact UEFA, not me!
Thanks to some source but last week I was unable to remember the outcome of Ron Newman returning as coach with American team Dallas Tornado. For the records, Pompey won 5-2 and yes, I was there.
2018-19 Prediction League – September
Peterborough (a) – Saturday 15th September 2018 – click here.
Wycombe (h) – Saturday 22nd September 2018 – click here.
Rochdale (a) – Saturday 29th September 2018 – click here.