Kenny Jackett made 3 changes for Portsmouth’s first match since the 9-game winning run ended against Coventry on Tuesday night. Gareth Evans, Marcus Harness and Ellis Harrison replaced Ben Close, Ryan Williams and John Marquis on the team sheets to face 17th place Shrewsbury Town.
Portsmouth, who are still unbeaten at Fratton Park this season, showed comfort in possession of the ball throughout the first half. Inside the first 15 minutes, Harness, Naylor and Seddon all managed to take shots at The Shrews’ goal however neither tested the keeper.
The only highlight from a fairly uneventful first half came from Ellis Harrison, who put the ball over the bar from short distance after a great low cross from Marcus Harness.
Harrison did however opens the scoring with a header from close range in the 64th minute after second-half substitution Ross McCrorie delivered a ball from the right side. The Welshman got to the ball before the Shrews centre-half and netted in the opener.
Although Kenny Jackett’s side looked comfortable on the ball and far the better side, past games this season have proven that a one goal advantage leaves a lot to be desired. John Marquis however put all worries to bed when he received a through ball from Marcus Harness to meet O’Leary one-on-one. The Englishman slid the ball past The Shrews’ keeper with 8 minutes to go, giving Pompey the 2 goal cushion.
Portsmouth get back to winning ways with another positive performance at Fratton Park, once again showing that the current setup is capable of grinding out important results, even in testing conditions like those of Storm Dennis this particular afternoon.
My Man of The Match award goes to Alex Bass however, who made 3 crucial saves and is starting to portray to the fans Jackett’s reasoning his surprise selection in the last 8 games, over usual No.1 Craig MacGillivray.
Pompey’s next game is on Tuesday 18th of February against Exeter City in the semi-final of the Leasing.com trophy. If victorious, Pompey will face either Salford City or Newport County in their second visit to Wembley Stadium in two years, after lifting the same trophy in the 2018/19 campaign (formerly Checkatrade Trophy) in March of 2019.