June 22, 2024

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Sparks fly on Bonfire Night as Pompey win by 3

3 min read
Alex bass replaces Craig MacGillivray
Alex Bass replaces Craig MacGillivray who picked up a knock in training

A change to a 4-4-2 system saw Pompey’s first win in 3 games with top scorer Ellis Harrison getting a brace. First choice keeper Craig MacGillivray suffered a minor knock in training which saw academy product Alex Bass take the opportunity between the sticks.

Manager Kenny Jackett fielded a more-attacking 4-4-2 system which saw Gareth Evans dropped to the bench and replaced by top scorer Ellis Harrison, with his first start in 5 games.

Portsmouth started the game similarly to their past 3 fixtures, with a high press from wingers Curtis and Williams, and highly energetic overlaps from Ross McCrorie and Lee Brown. It was those heroics by the two wing-backs that left Pompey exposed at the back, allowing Southend United to show threat on the break with counter attacks.

Ross McCrorie suffered a pulled hamstring during a chase back up the line, with an immediate substitution necessary, allowing Brandon Haunstrup to fill in in the right-back position. The injury is believed to sideline the Rangers loanee for around a month, which would see him miss his Scotland duty in late November.

The Blue Army had several chances on goal in the first half, with Ben Close getting two shots away at the Southend goal however, the first was parried away by the keeper, and the follow-up deflected away for a corner.

Ellis Harrison’s introduction to the starting lineup saw John Marquis drop deeper into a number 10 position, allowing him to play behind the main Welsh striker up top. This tactic allowed for some brilliant high-energy and quick link-up play between the two strikers.

It almost seemed that Jackett’s half-time team talk would be of a gloomy nature, however the Fratton Faithful spirits were lifted when John Marquis took advantage of a pin-point cross by make-shift right-back Brandon Haunstrup, on the stroke of half time to make it 1-0. The last kick of the game allowed Pompey to head back into the dressing room with the lead and over 60% possession.

John Marquis playing a deeper role behind Harrison

The second half started in a very similar way to the first, with a lot of energy going forward however, lacking the final bit of quality in the final third. Ronan Curtis made a great run down his ever-preferred left hand side, and whipped in a perfect ball to Harrison, who’s free header went sailing over the bar into the Fratton stands.

The Welsh forward however redeemed his glaring miss a few minutes later with a powerful strike from close range, off the bar and in, to double Pompey’s lead.

Not long after that, skipper Tom Naylor thought he had made it 3 however, his low driven shot rebounded off the post.

Pompey kept on pushing forward with chances on goal coming left, right and centre. John Marquis’ volley from 25 yards was unconvincingly parried away by the Southend keeper. The Fratton End crowd could also enjoy Ryan Williams’ heroic overhead kick, however the acrobatic endeavour nestled on the roof of the net.

Alex Bass failed to keep the ball out of the net from Brandon Goodship’s long range shot, with the error gifting Southend a goal to make it 2 – 1. The Southend goal brought a somber atmosphere to the stadium, and a too-familiar feeling of yet another squandered lead.

Kenny Jackett’s attempt to inject more energy into the team saw Ryan Williams replaced by Marcus Harness.

In the 79th minute Sean Raggett was brought down by Rob Kiernan in the box, which offered Harrison the opportunity to double his personal tally from the spot.

Moments later, make-shift right back Brandon Haunstrup doubled his assists tally for the night, by dribbling past the Southend defence and putting through a steady pass into the feet of Marcus Harness. The Pompey winger took the opportunity to make it 4 – 1 by slotting home into the far corner past Bishop.

Aside from John Marquis’ yellow card in the 92nd minute for time wasting, Jackett’s side were able to see off the 3 goal lead in a positive fashion in front of the 16,995 crowd. Pompey rise into 13th place in the table.

Full time: Portsmouth 4 – 1 Southend United

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