Charlton Athletic 2 Pompey 1
Pompey’s hopes of finishing in the top two are fading fast after defeat at play-off rivals Charlton yesterday evening.
Kenny named an unchanged side with Nathan Thompson, Matt Clarke, Oli Hawkins and Ronan Curtis all recovering from the knocks received in the thumping of Bradford City last week.
With the game live on Sky the attendance of 14,000 was disappointing for the home side in what was a crucial fixture for both sides. Pompey naturally sold their full allocation.
Pompey started well but gradually Charlton’s diamond midfield formation took control and the home side were unlucky not to take the lead when Josh Cullen had a simple chance, only for his shot to hit the back of team-mate Igor Vetokele.
Five minutes before the break Aribo collected a ball in the box and turned his marker before slotting a shot through legs and past a static Craig MacGillivray. Pompey were rocking now but on the stroke of half time a Lee Brown corner was headed firmly home by Curtis to draw the level.
After the break, Pompey had a goal disallowed for offside and the Addicks went up the other end and took the lead with a goal that was fortunate when a Clarke clearance deflected of Reeves and fell for Lyle Taylor to have a simple finish.
After that Pompey huffed and puffed and created little even when Jackett sent on James Vaughan for a totally ineffective Hawkins and Dion Donohue for Ben Close who could not get to grips with the home midfield and later Brett Pitman for Gareth Evans.
They did create chances as the clock ticked down but an equaliser whilst welcome would have been a travesty given the performance.
Next up a Tuesday night trip to Walsall which starts a run of games against sides in the lower reaches of League One all which must be won if the aim of promotion is to be attained. Pompey and Charlton could well meet again in the play-offs and a much-improved performance would be necessary to progress.
Pompey (4-1-4-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor; Lowe, Evans (c) (Pitman 76), Close (Donohue 61), Curtis; Hawkins (Vaughan 61)
Goals: Curtis 45
Booked: Hawkins, Burgess, Naylor
Subs not used: Bass, Walkes, Haunstrup, Solomon-Otabor
Referee: Roger East
Attendance: 14,451 (3,097 Pompey fans)
A project costing six-figures is underway to upgrade Pompey’s Fratton Park. Since Monday, scaffolding has taken residence on the outside of the South Stand with work aimed for completion within five months. The renovation involves the construction of a new South Stand roof, as well as the enhancement of cladding on the stand’s back. According to Mark Catlin, the crucial improvements will finally resolve flooding issues which for a long period have blighted supporters on match days and areas underneath the stand – including the dressing rooms.
Tickets for Wembley
Ticket sales start tomorrow and I expect demand to be high. Sunderland have already sold all of their top price seats in one day.
The record attendance at the new Wembley stadium (from 2008) is 74,434 for the 2017 final between Coventry City and Oxford United and most reckon that figure will be under threat.
Blackpool are back
Great news for Tangerine fans with the disappearance of Owen Oyston from the director’s box. After a near four year boycott, the fans are back and a crowd of 15,871 saw their side score a late, late equaliser against Southend.
Well done to all involved.
And finally… no fun allowed
Deportivo Carcha’s Luis Acuna was booked for this unique celebration – after tucking away a penalty he climbs a ladder to update the scoreboard himself. On returning to the field the referee promptly booked him.