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Portsmouth 2 v 1 Ipswich Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 20th March 2021 Kick-off 13:00
Portsmouth 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 20th Mar 2021 15:00

Paul Cook’s return to Fratton Park ended in defeat after Portsmouth came from a goal down to beat the Blues 2-1. James Norwood netted his seventh goal of the season to give the Blues the lead on 32 but Pompey skipper Tom Naylor headed a leveller four minutes before the break and then Marcus Harness grabbed the winner in the 72nd minute.

Town boss Paul Cook made four changes with Norwood, Stephen Ward, Teddy Bishop and Keanan Bennetts returning to the side.

Ward came in at left-back for Myles Kenlock, who was left out of the 18 and Bishop in central midfield for Cole Skuse, who was on the bench.

Bennetts replaced Troy Parrott but playing in a very advanced left-sided position rather than a number 10 with the on-loan Tottenham man on the bench.

Alan Judge moved into a third central midfielder’s role towards the left, although ahead of Bishop and Andre Dozzell. Norwood returned in the out-out-out striker’s role with Kayden Jackson also dropping to the bench.

Kane Vincent-Young was among the subs for the first time in 17 months following his injury problems, while Mark McGuinness and Armando Dobra were also on the bench for the first time since the change of manager.

Jack Lankester, Josh Harrop and Aaron Drinan missed out on places in the 18 having been on the bench for Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood.

Portsmouth, with new management team Danny and Nicky Cowley in the dugout for the first time following their appointment yesterday, made two changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Peterborough in midweek.

Marcus Harness and Jordy Hiwula came into the XI for Ben Close and Rasmus Nicolaisen, whose own goal settled the game at London Road.

Town wore last year’s burgundy and blue away shirt but with blue shorts with a yellow and burgundy trim and yellow socks.

Prior to kick-off the players and officials both took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, again with the exception of Toto Nsiala.

Pompey struck the game’s first shot in the fourth minute, Ronan Curtis hitting a 30-yard free-kick which wobbled in the air but was claimed comfortably by Holy.

Town attacked for the first time in the 11th minute when Bishop won the ball on halfway, Bennetts fed Edwards to the right and the Welshman’s chipped cross to the far post was nodded into the side-netting by Norwood having already appeared to have gone out of play.

Two minutes later, Norwood hooked a ball over the Portsmouth backline for Edwards, who was eventually outmuscled by Lee Brown.

Following Tuesday’s lackadaisical display at Fleetwood, manager Cook was constantly barking at his midfield and strikers to press whenever Pompey had the ball in their area of the field, and the cajoling appeared to be having some impact with the Blues having more bite than they had at Highbury.

Referee Alan Young showed his first yellow card of the day in the 18th minute when Jack Whatmough pulled back Bennetts as the on-loan Borussia Mönchengladbach man was about to shoot from 25 yards.

Judge took the free-kick and curled the ball to keeper Craig MacGillivray’s left and the keeper did well to get across to it and push it wide and to safety.

Town, playing at a greater tempo than at Fleetwood and seeing much more of the ball, were working themselves into some promising positions in the Pompey half, while at the other end Portsmouth’s rather fewer forays forward had been snuffed out.

On 29, a corner was worked to Bishop not far outside the area but the midfielder’s shot hit a Pompey defender and flicked through to MacGillivray.

The Blues went closer a minute later when Norwood was played in on the right of the area and cut across to Bennetts but the winger was unable to get a touch and keeper MacGillivray claimed.

But Town didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal. On 32 Edwards played a clever pass for Norwood in the same area of the box and the striker smashed a powerful shot across MacGillivray and into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

The Blues deserved their lead having been the better side but appeared less attack-minded in the minutes following their goal and in the 41st minute the home team levelled.

Pompey had hardly looked threatening until Curtis sent over a corner from the left and skipper Naylor battled his way to the ball and headed home off the inside of the far post.

Having got back on terms, Portsmouth ended the half the stronger and on 43 Curtis curled a shot wide.

Town would have been good for their half-time lead had they not conceded the goal shortly before the break. They’d looked a much better outfit than on Tuesday and deserved their goal - a second in three games from open play - which was cleverly worked by Edwards and finished comprehensively by Norwood.

Pompey had reacted well to the Town goal but hadn’t looked like grabbing a goal until Naylor’s header from Curtis’s very-difficult-to-defend corner.

Three minutes after the restart Edwards again played Norwood in, this time breaking towards the edge of the area but the Blues striker was unable to get enough on it and MacGillivray was able to claim.

A minute later, Naylor won another header from a corner, Holy blocked, the ball dropped loose and after a brief scramble eventually ended up in the big Czech’s hands.

Soon after, Curtis was booked for a foul as Bishop broke into the Pompey half, then on 56 Andy Cannon joined him for a foul on Edwards on the right wing. Two minutes later, midfielder Cannon was swapped for Close.

A minute later, Pompey broke through Harness and Ryan Williams struck a shot across the face of goal.

On 59 Town swapped Bennetts, who had been less effective since the break, for Dobra, with the Albanian U21 international making his first appearance under new boss Cook. Dobra moved into a number 10 role with Judge in a more orthodox left-sided position.

Edwards was booked for a foul on Curtis in the 66th minute as Portsmouth broke following a Town corner which had come to nothing. Pompey complained that they would have been better off had the official played the advantage and with the resultant free-kick looping into Holy’s arms, they may have had a point.

Town had threatened very little since the break but on 70 a Dozzell free-kick found Norwood and his header from just inside the box inched just past the post having caught a Pompey defender. A minute later, Bishop was booked for a foul on Close.

Chances at both ends had been rare since half-time but in the 72nd minute the home side went in front.

Portsmouth broke down the left having played out from the back - although with Town players feeling the ball had gone out of play - and eventually Curtis's cross reached Harness bursting into the area from the other flank. The former Burton winger’s first shot was blocked by Judge but with his second he made no mistake.

In the 79th minute Town made a double change with Vincent-Young making his very long-awaited return and Jackson coming into a two-man attack. James Wilson and Judge made way. Chambers moved to centre-half to allow Vincent-Young to take up his usual right-back role, while Dobra switched to left wing.

Jacobs was booked for a foul on Dobra in the 82nd minute but with Town not looking particularly like levelling. On 88 Parrott took over from Bishop.

In the final scheduled minute Pompey might have added a third but a low ball across the edge of the six-yard box was bundled behind by Nsiala.

Soon after the fourth official’s board had indicated five additional minutes, James Bolton headed powerfully straight at Holy following the resultant corner.

Pompey were looking more likely to score a third goal than Town a second as referee Young brought the game to an end to cheers from the home bench and directors’ box as new manager Cowley recorded his first win in his opening game in charge.

In the end, Portsmouth deserved the win with the Blues having shown little in the second half. The pressing and work-rate which had been on display in the first half perhaps suffered due to tiredness as the game wore on and although chances had been few and far between at both ends, when a decent opportunity came, Harness took it.

The Blues, who dropped to ninth following the later fixtures, now have a free midweek in which manager Cook plans extensive work on the training field ahead of next Saturday’s trip to another of his old clubs, Wigan.

Ipswich: Holy, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson (Vincent-Young 79), Ward, Dozzell, Bishop (Parrott 89), Bennetts (Dobra 59), Edwards, Judge (Jackson 79), Norwood. Unused: Cornell, McGuinness, Skuse.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown, Williams, Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 58), Curtis, Harness, Hiwula (Jacob 72). Unused: Ward, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Mnoga, Byers. Referee: Alan Young (Cambridgeshire).

Photo: PagePix

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DifferentGravy added 15:01 - Mar 20
Gutted. It never looked like being a spectacle for the purists. But we out battled them in the first half, they had had a shot and we could take that into the break.......but then some really slack defending from a corner allows them back into the game.......basics, get the correct side of your player and make your presence felt.

Second half for 15 mins it looked like they were wearing us down. But we began closing down again, harrying and were getting on top. Then once again we switch off when it looked as though the ball had gone over the touchline......and they score. Heads went down and game over.

We looked susceptible from their set pieces and never looked like threatening from any of our own(apart from Judgys shot)Andre Dozzell(apart from set piece delivery) played really well. He was everywhere and a real shift put in by all. But you cant switch off.

Great to have KVY back.

Tractor_Boy_in_HK added 15:02 - Mar 20
We’re just not a good football club at the moment. Sadly, I have seen no noticeable change from Lambert to Cook (less the first twenty minutes at Plymouth). Still no assertiveness in the final third, still poor touches and aimless passes and still not enough effort going for loose balls. No creativity or passion, and that’s going to mean no victory most of the time. A major clean-up is needed.

Bluearmy_81 added 15:04 - Mar 20
Said it before, this squad is unbelievably poor. Inevitable following years of Evans asset stripping the quality from the squad. When you think of the quality players we've sold and replaced with lesser players. Creswell, Mings, Murphy, Wickham, Waghorn, Bart, always replaced with inferior players. The embarrassing degeneration is inevitable. Unfortunately never a peep of protest from the fans over the years, quite extraordinary really, considering... Instead he gets an eternal free pass.
Join Evans out of ITFC on facebook

bringonbrazil added 15:04 - Mar 20
Two very poor teams, with awful standard of footballers, who really should find a proper career outside of football.

jas0999 added 15:04 - Mar 20
Thought we played well in the first half, but second half showing was yet again extremely poor. In the end we got what we deserved. Nothing. I don’t see how this is going to change. We have an average squad of players and with Evans at the helm, little chance of investment in the squad in the summer.

Another disappointing afternoon.

BromleyBloo added 15:04 - Mar 20
Decent game, albeit with few chances and both teams fighting for a result. So we were better - let’s be honest, we couldn’t have been worse - and, as we know, Norwood makes a difference, but game was there for the taking and we just don’t have enough about us for whatever reason.

1-1 at half-time - good finish by Norwood, but conceded from a corner late on. Does Holy come for anything??? After that and particularly after they scored again , we just weren’t there - in fact I can’t remember us making a chance after their goal. Why not!?!

No good performances - Norwood battled and made a difference, but Bishop, Dozzell and everybody else invisible at best.

So overall poor and we need so much more - where’s the hunger???

Wooly74 added 15:04 - Mar 20
Just the worst ever team I've seen in close to 40 years 😢

Tractorboy1985 added 15:04 - Mar 20
Another gutless performance from players who simply aren’t good enough!! This squad needs stripping to pieces in the summer but we know full well it won’t happen under Evans! Chambers must have some dirt on the club to keep getting picked week in week out and even when KVY was introduced it was for our best performing centre halve in weeks gone by??? I will not be wasting anymore money following these so called professional footballers and this pathetic excuse for a football club!

Lightningboy added 15:05 - Mar 20
Well,thank the Lord we didn’t end up with the Cowleys.

johnwarksshorts added 15:05 - Mar 20
We score and think jobs done. We need to play 100% for 90mins. Poor defending again. Forget promotion and PC can build for next season.

TimmyH added 15:06 - Mar 20
Well there's a surprise we still lose to Portsmouth even with their current record. First 30 minutes they were there for the taking as they looked tentative and nervous but it's the same old same not being able to create enough chances and goals. Second half was just lacklustre with not a decent chance being created, desperately need a combative midfield player whom is not lightweight that many of our midfielders seem to be.

PC has not made a good start W: 1 D: 1 L:3 but far too early to judge him and hopefully in the summer we'll see a clear out of many players not up to it and that could be a fair few.

Skip73 added 15:06 - Mar 20
The same old rubbish from Town. After scraping a 1-0 win against a very poor Plymouth, the usual 'no reason why we cant make top 2' crap is spouted off, then they go and lose the next 2. The only 2 players worth keeping are Norwood and KVY, if he stays fit. Its going to take 2 or 3 years to sort this dreadful squad out. If only the messiah Hurst hadn't been appointed.

Bert added 15:07 - Mar 20
Much better today but from a very low base. Much more on the front foot but the goal threat vanished as soon as we scored. Portsmouth were there for the taking.
The ball was definitely out before Portsmouth's second goal. A draw would have been a fair result but again we messed up.

Norwichbeater added 15:10 - Mar 20
Cook hasnt made ANY difference yet. No improvement. No change of tactics or formation. Nothingness. We were playing a very very poor team today. But we were worse.

DJpatrovers1 added 15:12 - Mar 20
Up until our goal I thought we were good, pressed high up the pitch and win the ballon back on several occasions, not letting Pompey play like they can and there was some decent forward play to go with it including the goal. Another mistake by chambers let’s them back in the game and they grew in confidence.
2nd half completely different story, we stood off them and let them play and we looked clueless got forward as we have generally all season, never looked like getting back in it - did we even creat a shooting opportunity?
Dubious 2nd goal but we can’t do anything about it now.
Very clear to me the squad is just not good enough and Cook will undoubtedly already know this. Lots of players heading out this summer I’d hope, but question is who will we get in with Evans still here aside from frees & loans.... #EvansOut

Cakeman added 15:13 - Mar 20
The positives was that both teams attacked from the off. Had we added to our goal before Pompey scored it would probably have been enough to win it. Judge and Norwood did well I thought.
The negatives are that we are evidently just not good enough where it matters.
A goalkeeper who resembles a Subbuteo player who waits for someone to move him into position.
A powder puff attack which aside from Norwood offer zero.
Just need to see the season out and hope that our owner backs Paul Cook for a complete rebuild.
By the looks of it we need at least half a dozen new faces.

BeattiesBackPocket added 15:18 - Mar 20
7 managers in and people still don’t see how poor this side really is and who’s to blame. Two poor sides a very very poor league we can keep churning managers through all we want as we have and it’ll keep being the same. The difference of the team under magilton when evans first came in to now is unbelievable we have a huge squad of poor players I was there watching under john Duncan and I thought that was the worst team I’d ever see oh how I was wrong and I can only see it getting worse with no investment. Too much taking assets and selling our best assets and replacing them with too many lower league players. It’s like asking a bricklayer to build a house without mortar no structure!

BettyBlue added 15:18 - Mar 20
Paul Cook looking very much like a Paul Jewell Mk2.

No sign of him sorting out this bunch of losers.

clint_eastwood added 15:18 - Mar 20
Never wanted him in the first place. I've always said we need a foreign manager Spanish/Portuguese preferably to completely change our training & style of play. Yes, come on now all of you, let me see it....GIVE ME THAT THUMBS DOWN....YES, I'm saying it out loud....COOK OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bootneckspud added 15:19 - Mar 20
This really falls on the players shoulders, most can’t produce a decent ball in the final third. Need to be realistic here and have a clear out in the summer which will bring fresh talent into the club and try to get rid of this negativity and lack of commitment to get this club back to where it belongs. Give cook time to put his stamp on things....

dirtydingusmagee added 15:20 - Mar 20
poor all round, these players week in week out prove they are just not good enough. Cook will not get anything from them. People who have been saying we have good enough players and just needed a new manager to get promoted im afraid are now seeing how wide of the mark they were/are. Another season in Lge 1 im afraid .

Orraman added 15:20 - Mar 20
Hey Paul Cook - are you Lambert in disguise?

Pencilpete added 15:21 - Mar 20
Portsmouth on a dreadful run and up rock the Town and the dry run is over !! Paul Cook is learning very quickly that either these players do not have the stomach for the fight or they are simply not as good as they all think they are .... I think the reality is somewhere between the two.

Luckily there are so many out of contract that we can clear the decks and let PC build his own squad.

I have faith he will, how many of the current crop of wasters will still be here to see it ??

Linkboy13 added 15:24 - Mar 20
Whole back four needs replacing might keep Wilson as a squad player. We haven't had a dominating centre half since De vos. Unable to deal with crosses. Bishops never going to live up to his earlier promise due to injuries same applies to Huws. If Norwood can sort his head out and concentrate on things on the pitch is definitely a player worth keeping next season. Expect lots of goings with some coming in next season.

Tractor_Boy_in_HK added 15:24 - Mar 20
I remember thinking that when we got rid of Garner and Waghorn (about 30 goals between them the season before) and replaced them and others with League One players, that we were building a team to compete in League One. Time has proven this to be correct.

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