Date: 24th March 2019 at 10:00am
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Shrewsbury Town 0 Pompey 2

Pompey kept their good run going with a 2-0 win at Shrewsbury where in the past they have come unstuck. The three points move the Blues above Sunderland who had the weekend off due to international call ups.

Jackett replaced the injured Viv Solomon-Otabor with Gareth Evans with Jamal Lowe switching to the left.

Pompey did not start well and appeared to have their minds on other things certainly for the opening thirty minutes. This allowed the hosts to have most of the game Craig MacGillivray back at the club where he started his league career had to be at his best to push a Whalley effort onto the post.

Eventually, Pompey woke up with Arnold denying Evans and Ben Close shooting wide after being set up Omar Bogle. Then just before the break Lee Brown had his shot saved by Arnold and Close swept home the loose ball.

After the break, Bogle picked up a booking for a fierce challenge on Golbourne and Jackett decided to withdraw him for Oli Hawkins before the Cardiff loanee saw red.

It was Hawkins, keen to impress his manager, who was at the heart of most things Pompey did in the second half. Firstly he had an effort deflected on to the post and then Arnold got down brilliantly to his left to prevent a second.

Pompey did get their second quite fortuitously when the keeper outside his box slammed a clearance against a defender. That put Hawkins clear and he cleverly squared for Brett Pitman to seal the points.

On the downside, Pompey picked up five bookings which may mean suspensions in the crucial run-in games.

Barnsley picked up three points with a late, late winner at Walsall and Luton trounced play off hopefuls Doncaster.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Evans (Walkes 89), Pitman (c), Lowe; Bogle (Hawkins 55)
Goals: Close 40, Pitman 79
Booked: Bogle, Naylor, Close, Burgess, Brown
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, May, Isgrove, Vaughan

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance:8,028 (1,172 Pompey fans)

After the game, Kenny Jackett was honest in his appraisal of the performance and explained how he had changed things when Pompey were struggling.

He told the club’s website: “It was hard-fought and the first 25 minutes really did belong to Shrewsbury, with our keeper making one outstanding save in that period.

“I was wondering if it was going to be our day, but we changed things a bit tactically and had a lot of chances. We weren’t able to provide enough support up to Omar Bogle and it meant he couldn’t quite get into the game. So we needed to get Brett slightly closer to the second ball and Jamal over to his natural side, where he could be more of a threat. We battled very well from that and looked like scoring goals on the break, which ultimately proved to be the case.

“We got ourselves the first goal – which is always key – and then an excellent reverse ball from Oli Hawkins allowed Pitman to wrap things up. Oli came on and hit the bar, forced their keeper into a very good save and then made the key assist for Brett to put the game to bed.”

Jackett added: “We’re trying to keep pressure on the top two and then after that it’s third and fourth spot, which gets you at home in the second leg of the play-offs. Beyond that it’s about the gap to seventh to cement a place in the play-offs – they’re all the things that go through your mind.

“You have to find different ways of winning games throughout the season because at the moment there’s no side with nothing to play for.”

The final point is very true with thirteen sides in danger of relegation and the remainder chasing the final play off spot.

Tickets

What is going on with tickets for Wembley? Yes, they have sold out which is remarkable but talking to fans on Friday including longtime Vital Pompey member StorageMatt most fans have had to settle for seats in the gods.

What happened to the seats at the ground level? Why were tickets released in blocks leaving fans believing that the seats they wanted had gone and grabbing what appeared to be left?

Questions that need answering.

Rule changes

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has published a significant list of changes to the rules which will come into effect from 1 June 2019.

Three changes were approved following 2 years of worldwide experiments:
• The introduction of yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials
• A player being substituted leaving the field at the nearest point on the boundary line
• At a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball is in play as soon the kick is taken (it can be played before it leaves the penalty area).

In addition, some rules have been amended and clarified, one being dropped ball if the ball touches the referee (or other match official) and goes into the goal, possession changes or an attacking move starts. This is a major change as in the past the referee was seen as part of the game.

I will come back to these rule changes later in the season as they are important and will affect the games in the summer. There certainly are some significant changes.

And finally…know your rules

After discussing upcoming rule changes here we feature a player who clearly forgot a simple rule. Cagliari’s Luca Cigarini scored (what would have been) one of the goals of the season against Fiorentina in Serie A recently – finding the net from his own half. However, the show-off failed to realise that free-kicks from offsides are indirect.

PUP

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