Danny Cowley fielded an unchanged line-up from Saturday’s home victory against Crewe Alexandra, presumably a testament to the confident and convincing performance against Crewe. Such positive words however cannot be spoken of the Shrewsbury squad, who arrived in Portsmouth with 2 losses from 2 games, and only being able to name 6 out of the 7 allowed substitutes, 2 of which were goalkeepers.
In contrast, Pompey started the game as strong favourites, with 2 wins out of 2, with 3 goals scored, and 0 conceded. The exact opposite record from the Shrews.
The Fratton Faithful only had to wait 3 minutes to see Ryan Tunnicliffe slot the ball past Marosi. A quick one-two exchange with Marcus Harness has allowed the new fan-favourite summer arrival the space to get a low shot away and into the back of the net, which set the tone for the rest of the game.
Portsmouth continued to dominate possession and chances, and Salop only getting the occasional look-in on the counter.
Another summer arrival, and new captain Clark Robertson, almost got his first Pompey goal when the ball fell to his feet a few yards away from the goal after a corner. The unmarked skipper only managed to ricochet the ball off of Aaron Pierre, and away for another corner kick.
The start of the second half saw arguably two of the best players on the pitch, Marcus Harness and Clark Robertson, replaced by Gassan Ahadme and Connor Ogilvie. The club later confirmed that both substitutions were due to small impact-injuries sustained in the first period.
The Shrews stepped up the tempo in the second half, and caused the Blues more problems than in the first 45 however, excellent defensive organisation from the whole back-four, and individual heroics from loanee keeper Gavin Bazunu were enough to see out the victory, albeit in uncomfortable and pressured circumstances in the final 10 minutes.
Pompey finished the evening at the top of the League One table, and deservedly so. Several individual situations can be picked out, whereby the Portsmouth side of the Cowley era have the ability to get themselves out of situations which last season would have ended with the ball being picked out of the net. By comparison, at this stage last season, the Blues were sitting in the relegation zone with 1 point from 3 games, and only 1 goal scored. Granted, we are in the infancy of the 2021/22 season however, there are a lot of positives to be taken away from the first 3 fixtures.
Below 2020 Media Man of The Match: Ryan Tunnicliffe
Below 2020 Photo of the Game: Dave Taylor (below)