Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett fielded a full strength side on Saturday afternoon for their second-round FA Cup tie against National League North side Altrincham.
Marcus Harness replacing Ryan Williams on the right wing was the only change from Pompey’s 3-2 win against Rotherham earlier in the week.
Both teams came into this game with the exact same form in the last 6 matches (4 wins, 2 draws.)
The first 20 minutes saw high pressure from Pompey, which almost proved a profitable tactic as The Robins keeper Thompson cleared the ball straight to the feet of John Marquis, who then played it out wide to Harness in space. Harness’ cross back to the Pompey number 10 was instant but his header went wide.
In the 13th minute Altrincham appealed for a penalty when Burgess looked to have brought down the Altrincham attacker however the referee Tom Nield said play-on.
Altrincham enjoying a rare spell of chances with 2 consecutive corners however the Robins were not able to convert.
Pompey make-shift centre-back Oli Hawkins shown a lot of calmness on the ball in defence alongside Burgess for the majority of the first half.
In the 26th minute Pompey created another clear-cut chance on the counter but the luck was not on their side as Ellis Harrison’s low driven shot hit the post.
Jordan Hulme also hit the post of MacGillivray’s goal in the 44th minute, in what was a good chance for the Robins to sneak a lead before the break.
Just before half time, Lee Brown whipped a cross into the centre of the box for Ellis Harrison, however the Welshman’s header and followup were both saved by Altrincham keeper, Tony Thompson.
The start of the second half saw Curtis and Marquis replaced by Williams and Pitman. A change that the Blue’s boss made to introduce more positivity and clinicalness into the game.
Marcus Harness got himself onto the end of a header which was cleared only as far as Ben Close. The Pompey Academy graduate then connected with the ball on the volley giving Portsmouth the lead in the 56th minute.
A moment of confusion between the Robins keeper and his defence saw the referee give Portsmouth a free kick for a back pass however, Brett Pitman’s effort was deflected by the wall.
The National League North side enjoyed another spell of chances although leaving themselves compromised at the back almost proved disadvantageous when Pompey broke on the left with Williams who squared to Marcus Harness in the box. If not for Thompson’s heroics between the sticks, Pompey would have doubled their lead.
A loud cheer in the Milton End was the result of referee Tom Nield pointing to the spot after Christian Burgess brought down Robins attacker Jordan Hulme. Josh Hancock stepped up to the penalty and brought the visitors back level in the 83rd minute.
The Alty cheers were however proven premature as super-sub ‘Pitman The Hitman’ was at the right place at the right time when Ellis Harrison’s header reached Pitman after a corner at the back post, who directed the ball into the net with less than a minute left to play.
Tom Nield blew the whistle shortly afterwards sending Portsmouth into the third round.
Portsmouth will play Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town away in the Third Round of the FA Cup.