Fleetwood Town 2 Pompey 5
For the second Saturday running, Pompey took advantage of an early second-half red card to romp home this time netting four times without reply.
Kenny shuffled the pack with Nathan Thompson injured Anton Walkes taking his place. Ben Close and Brett Pitman replaced Oli Hawkins (Ankle) and Gareth Evans. The formation was changed too to 4-3-3.
Before the game Fleetwood boss Joey Barton had said that Pompey were not an outstanding side and that was enough to fire up the visitors after their disappointing showing at Gillingham on Boxing Day.
The visitors lost Lee Brown to injury just after the quarter hour with Brandon Haunstrup a straight replacement. Pompey started well and after 26 minutes Ben Thompson picked up a Haunstrup pass and smashed a long-range effort in off the underside of the crossbar.
However, before half time Pompey found themselves behind when Paddy Madden and a Ched Evans penalty turned the game around. Matt Clarke received his first yellow card of the season when conceding the spot kick. Pompey came close before the half time whistle when Jamal Lowe had an effort blocked.
The second period started with Pompey pushing for the equaliser and when Dean Marney fouled Thompson he was off for a second yellow card. Jackett responded by withdrawing Close and sending on Evans.
In two minutes things were turned on their head when Ronan Curtis was brought down Pitman slammed home the penalty and Walkes then put Pompey ahead with a left-foot curler from a Curtis cross.
Fleetwood stormed back and hit the woodwork twice from a corner and Tom Naylor had to hack an effort of the line. Pompey though would not be denied and Jamal Lowe put the icing of the cake with two excellent goals in the last ten minutes. Number six was almost chalked up but Clarke’s late header was well saved late in added time.
It was the first time they had hit five on the road since the 6-2 win at Cambridge United in February 2015.
With both Luton and Sunderland dropping points Pompey’s lead at the top is back to three points.
Pompey (4-3-3): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown (Haunstrup 19); B.Thompson, Naylor, Close (Evans 53); Lowe, Pitman (c), Curtis (Green 90)
Goals: Thompson 26, Pitman 57 (pen), Walkes 58, Lowe 81, 84
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Wheeler, Mason
Referee: Matt Donohue
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett hailed his side’s character. He told the Blackpool Gazette: “You always need good character because there will always be ups and downs if you are going to be successful. You have to win many different games. There were a lot of tests for us and I’m pleased for the players because they overcame it with good quality and good character.
“At 3-2 I felt we needed more goals. In the likes of Madden and Evans they have a lot of experience and quality. They had one or two players behind them that can serve them. I always felt while they are throwing everything at us and at 11 versus 10 we needed to make it pay when we broke to put the game away.”
The loss of Lee Brown will be a blow and hopefully it is not too serious.
With both sides in the FA Cup third round next weekend the Luton trip had to be rearranged.
Kenny Jackett’s side will now make the trip to Kenilworth Road on Tuesday, January 29 (7.45pm kick-off).
You will all know that the transfer window opens on Tuesday and Pompey have already announced the signing of Rochdale midfield player Andy Cannon for a fee reported to be in the region of £150,000.
If rumours are anything to go by January will be a busy month with Danny Rose leaving possibly on loan and the likes of former loanee Jayden Stockley and Forest youngster Ryan Yates also on loan.
I know some fans are not impressed with the possible signing of Stockley saying that he was far from a success when he was here on loan from Bournemouth in 2015. I would say look at his record since he moved to Aberdeen, playing in the Scottish Cup Final and Exeter.
It will be certainly more interesting than last January.
Happy New Year to you all and here’s hoping 2019 will be another promotion year.