Pompey 1 Queens Park Rangers 1
QPR held Pompey to a draw in a scrappy FA Cup Fourth round game at Fratton Park yesterday afternoon. This will mean a replay at Loftus Road in ten days time, something Pompey could do without.
Kenny Jackett managed to name a reasonably strong side despite his squad being decimated by injuries, suspensions, players cup-tied and the loss of four loanees. Louis Dennis had recovered from a knee knock and made his big game debut, Gareth Evans reverted to the wide right role in place of Jamal Lowe and Dion Donohue fitted in alongside Tom Naylor in midfield. It was the bench that showed just how thin the home side’s resources were with young Leon Maloney the only forward player available. Five of the seven subs were academy products.
The game was played for the most in a heavy drizzle with a swirling wind which made conditions difficult and long passes a lottery. The first half like a number at the Park recently was forgettable save for a Dennis chip which was turned over by R’s keeper Joe Lumley.
Pompey, however, started the second period with more gusto as they drove towards the Fratton End and a beautiful Dennis pass found Brett Pitman clean through but the touch was too heavy and the shot just cleared the bar.
But on 63 minutes Pompey took the lead as Lee Brown was put through on the left and his cross was diverted into his own net by Lynch to send the crowd into raptures.
Ranges made changes but threatened little until the towering Matt Smith was sent on and his presence at a corner meant that despite Craig MacGillivray twice making instinctive saves Nahki Wells was able to gleefully slam the ball home and mean that both sides have to meet again in London.
There was time for a mass brawl after Ronan Curtis clashed with Josh Scowen and after it all calmed down referee Gavin Ward handed out three yellow cards including one to Curtis which means he misses the replay – if my interpretation of the competition rules is correct.
After the game news filtered through that Luton had scrapped a 1-0 win at Southend to end Pompey’s four-month place as League One leaders.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Donohue (Close 80); Evans, Dennis, Curtis; Pitman (c)
Goals: Lynch 63 (og)
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Brown
Subs not used:Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Morris, May, Maloney
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance:19,378 (2,881 away fans)
After the game, Kenny told the BBC: “I’m slightly disappointed as we got the first goal and there was a period in the second half where we were on top and deserved it. We’ve got ourselves into sixes-and-sevens a bit there at the back not clearing that corner in difficult conditions.
“But, I thought we were competitive and handled ourselves well over the course of the game.”
QPR manager Steve McLaren without umbrella also told the Beeb: “I would have settled for a replay before the game. The conditions were horrendous. The wind was swirling and this had the potential to be a big banana skin for us.
“We were pleased with the first half but when we went a goal down the crowd really got behind them and our boys fought tremendously well and showed great character. We equalised and then it was both teams slugging it out for the winner.”
Posh sack Steve Evans
Just in case you missed the news Peterborough announced that Evans and assistant manager Paul Raynor had been released from their contract less than an hour following the end of their goalless draw with Charlton, with the club sitting in sixth place in League One
Replacements needed apply to PO4 8RA
The transfer deadline is fast approaching Pompey are desperately looking for suitable extra resources with all four loanees now recalled.
It’s going to be a busy week at Fratton Park with not only players coming in but the need to fight off suitors of players such as Matt Clarke rumoured to be circling. There is also the matter of a game at Luton on Tuesday and arrangements to make for a cup replay.
On Social Media this week some ‘fans’ seem to believe that Kenny is personally responsible for the situation and planning demonstrations. It is a matter of getting the right deals done at the right price and I am absolutely certain that the manager is more frustrated than those who would upset the apple cart.
And finally… Pepehands
Lille’s Nicolas Pepe is our latest entrant into the dodgy penalty section of the archive seen here dragging his shot meekly wide against Amiens. The penalty looked a bit iffy, with hints of a dive, so maybe it was for the best.