Wycombe Wanderers 2 Pompey 3
Pompey kept their promotion charge on track but had to thank keeper Craig MacGillivray for several stunning saves to keep the Chairboys at bay.
Kenny Jackett named the expected side with Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans replacing Omar Bogle and Ronan Curtis, who both dropped to the bench.
After last week’s Wembley exploits Pompey started on the front foot and created problems for their hosts from the word go. It was surprising that it took eighteen minutes to get in front. Evans floated in a free kick which was partially cleared but played in again by Matt Clarke and Jamal Lowe shot through a crowded area and into the bottom corner.
Pompey seemed to be coasting but just before the break, MacGillivray had to be at his best to turn aside free kick from McCarthy and then from the resulting corner he did even better to keep out a strike from ex-Blue Paris Cowan-Hall.
Pompey started the second half with a bang. Evans played a through ball down the centre and Brett Pitman stole the ball from defender Stewart and slotted past Ryan Allsop. That was after just twenty-seven seconds!
Wycombe though refused to lie down and hit back when another ex-loanee Marcus Bean slotted home when clearly in an offside position but the officials felt the last touch was from a Pompey player, although replays suggest that was a wrong decision.
Pompey though hit back five minutes later when Pitman slammed home a free kick from the edge of the box after Evans had been brought down.
Both teams looked for more goals and MacGillivray again denied Samuels but with eight minutes left he was helpless as he was unsighted when Kashket hit a volley from the edge of the area.
Wycombe continued to pump high balls at substitute Akinfenwa but Pompey held out for their nineteenth win away from Fratton Park this season!
With Luton and Barnsley dropping points the top of the table looks very interesting. Sunderland needed a last minute winner at Rochdale and would now be the favourites to grab the second promotion spot alongside Luton.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 81), Evans (Curtis 84); Hawkins
Goals: Lowe 18, Pitman 46, 60
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Vaughan, Bogle
Referee: John Busby
Attendance: 6,978 (1,810 Pompey fans)
Kenny Jackett told the official site: “It was very hard-fought – and it was always going to be. If you want to be a successful side then you need to come through different kinds of tests.
“I did feel that we didn’t get the best of the referee’s decisions and I’ll only say that because we’ve won the game. The one for Bean’s goal was wrong because it was blatantly offside, but he thought it had gone in off our player. But we found a way to win and at times had a lot of class, while also showing good guts towards the end of the game.
“Brett took his first goal really well after being played through by Gareth Evans and their keeper didn’t have a chance with the free-kick. Kashket’s volley was a very good one and then there were six minutes of injury-time, so we had to ride that storm. They wanted to stay in the game and then bring Akinfenwa on and it’s something that’s proved successful in the past.”
“It’s a stage of the season where other results around the country are relevant and it does look particularly tight at the top. We have to keep going and also needed to make sure that wasn’t a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ for us following Wembley”
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman added: “It was tense at the end, but we were very good in the first half and then it became a scrap after the break. They kept putting the ball into our box from anywhere on the pitch and luckily, we ultimately came out on top.
(On his second goal): “It was too close to put the free-kick over the wall, so I was always going to put it where I did and I hit it nicely. I’m pleased to be back playing, but also that we’re winning – it’s more important that the team is doing well.
“We’re going to need a lot of victories between now and the end of the season if we want to get promoted. You don’t know how many points are going to be enough, so you just have to try to keep winning whenever you can. We’re doing well at the moment and getting results, which is something we weren’t doing at the start of the year. Our lads are honest and hard-working and thankfully we’ve turned a corner in recent weeks, so want to keep that going.”
And finally… magniliafico
Scoring an own goal can be extremely embarrassing but Ajax’s Argentinean full-back Nicolás Tagliafico doesn’t seem too bothered by this one – in his defence, Ajax were 5-0 up at the time…