Kenny Jackett’s side came into the 4th round tie on the back of a record of 5 wins in the last 5. Barnsley meanwhile fighting relegation in the Championship travel to Fratton Park after 3 losses and just 2 wins in their last 5 outings.
Marquis preferred up-top over Ellis Harrison after a return to goalscoring form, and Ben Close replaces McGeehan in the holding-midfielder role – the loanee is not eligible to play against his parent club, Barnsley, under the rules of the loan agreement.
Ex blue Conor Chaplin starts for Barnsley in his first return to Fratton Park since his departure in the summer of 2018.
Portsmouth’s first test against an opponent from a higher league started very positively, having held 60% of possession after 15 minutes. A promising chance and warning-shot for the Barnsley keeper came from Tom Naylor in the 7th minute. The skipper found himself in space just outside of the box, but his low driven shot sailed past the post of Collins’ goal.
The Tykes looked nervous and careless in possession consistently throughout the first half. Gerhard Struber’s side gifted the ball to the home team far too often. The biggest reality-check came when Collins aimed to distribute the ball with a long pass. Under no pressure, the Barnsley keeper hit the ball straight at Marquis who watched it ricochet towards an empty goal. Luckily for the away fans, the ball narrowly missed the post.
The opening goal of the game came in the 37th minute when Andy Cannon created space for Ben Close on the edge of the area. The academy graduate took a touch and finessed the ball into the bottom left corner of Collins’ net to open the scoring.
Barnsley’s half-time team-talk was made worse by John Marquis right before the whistle when Steve Seddon’s corner was met by a goal-bound header from Ronan Curtis. Marquis, who was unmarked at the far post, didn’t leave anything to chance and tapped it home from close range to make it 2 – 0 before the break.
In the second half, Barnsley came out the stronger side, and looked hungry for goals. Cauley Woodrow gave the Tykes hope when he struck a bullet from 30 yards out past Alex Bass to make it 2 – 1 and bring Barnsley back into the game.
The Reds’ celebrations were however short-lived as just 2 minutes after, Bass distributed the ball long towards the Barnsley goal. What seemed like a simple situation to deal with for the Barnsley defender, turned into a perfect opportunity for Curtis pressurise and dispossess the centre-half. The Irishman put the ball past Collins to register his second FA Cup goal and give Pompey the 3rd of the afternoon.
The game was put to bed by Kenny Jackett’s side in the 76th minute, which is something that hasn’t happened enough for the Blue Army this season. Once again a Steve Seddon corner was met perfectly this time by Christian Burgess who netted in his 2nd goal in 3 games.
The Fratton Park crowd, now fully confident in progression to the 5th round, indulged in letting Conor Chaplin know that he is still “One Of Our Own” and that he “Should Have Stayed Here”. These antics however seemed to give the striker the confidence he was lacking on the day, as he netted in a second consolation goal in added time to make the scoreline slightly more respectable.
Overall a great performance from Kenny Jackett’s side, especially when considered against an opponent from a higher league. Pompey continue to impress with form from set pieces, which Birmingham loanee Steve Seddon is definitely an integral cog of.
The 5th round awaits, and Pompey are ball number 15.
My man of the match: Andy Cannon.