Pompey 1 Fleetwood Town 0
Oli Hawkins headed in a Dion Donohue corner just after the interval to stretch Pompey’s lead at the top of League One to six points in a tight and rarely exciting encounter at sun-drenched Fratton Park.
Kenny made two changes one in personnel and one in formation. Ronan Curtis returned from international duty and Gareth Evans dropped to the bench and Pompey changed to a 4-4-2 with Curtis partnering Hawkins up top.
In the end, Pompey got the result they desperately wanted to complement their superb away record and managed to prevent the visitors having a single shot on target. Not that Pompey fared much better with only Hawkins’ effort on target – meaning that neither keeper had a shot to save!
The first half was totally incident free with Fleetwood starting time wasting as early as the sixth minute. The referee lost patience eventually and booked Lewie Coyle for taking an age over a throw in.
At the break, Jackett moved Donahue inside, which pushed Ben Thompson forward and Curtis went out wide reverting to a system more like the 4-2-3-1 we are used to.
Pompey created more in that formation and on fifty minutes when Donohue whipped in a corner from the right and Hawkins lost his marker to nod past Town keeper Alex Cairns. Moments later Oli charged down a Cairns clearance and the ball flew close to the right-hand post.
A round of applause broke out on 58 minutes to pay tribute to Craig Bryden – aka the ‘Pompey Pirate’ – who sadly passed away earlier in the week.
In the dying minutes Tom Naylor – captain for the day – picked up a booking which means he will miss the game against old club Burton on Tuesday. With eight minutes left Nathan Sheron was shown a second yellow both for fouls on Curtis – the first had been a good piece of refereeing allowing play to continue and then going back to book the Fleetwood player with the crowd screaming for a card for Wallace.
Three points but not the convincing display fans were looking for but winning games when not playing well is not a bad thing but we would like to be entertained.
Pompey (4-4-2): MacGillivray; N.Thompson, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Lowe, Naylor, B.Thompson, Donohue; Curtis (Evans 90+2), Hawkins
Goals: Hawkins 50
Subs not used: McGee, Walkes, Burgess, Close, Pitman, Mason
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 18,046 (76 away fans)
After the game Kenny told the official site: “It was a comprehensive 1-0 win and we were the stronger side in both halves.
“We restricted them to not much going forward, which is an achievement because Fleetwood have some talented players. The key moment came from a set-piece and that’s two assists in two weeks now for Donohue, which is good for him. We’d have liked more clear-cut chances and more goals, but we were the better side and deserved the win. You’re always wary with a narrow lead, but we saw it through very well and got into situations on the break.
“That’s how it should be – we need to be tight at the back and have the pace and ability to score further goals. We’re looking to get a really high points total this season and we’re pleased with what we’ve got so far. We work hard and are humble about every single result we get in this division, so we won’t be basking in the glory too much. We’re in on Sunday to look ahead to facing Burton.”
“Ben Thompson made a tackle on every player on the pitch – including our own guys. There was a clash (with Jamal Lowe), but hopefully he’ll be okay. He did well to get up and play the rest of the game, which shows the kind of character we’re looking for.”
Off to Belgium’s fourth tier and at last it’s a positive example of goalkeeping. Too often we’re quick to poke fun at the men between the sticks, but here KRC Gent’s Kevin Frans steps up with a 94th-minute acrobatic effort to save his side a point
2018-19 Prediction League – October
Burton (h) – Tuesday 23rd October 2018 – click here.
Accrington (a) – Saturday 27th October 2018 – click here.