McLeod Pays The Penalty As Pompey Held By Lilywhites
Portsmouth 0 Preston North End 0
Pompey's winless run was extended yesterday after a disappointing goalless draw with Preston at Fratton Park.
Izale McLeod should have given the home side the lead when he was bundled over by Chris Robertson but he struck the bar from twelve yards and Preston escaped.
The game lulled for a good period after that 14th minute miss but Jake Jervis forced Thorsten Stuckmann to palm away his long range stinger and he also had to tip over Scott Allan's free kick.
However, the best save of the match came at the end of the first half from Simon Eastwood who saved Anthony Elding's shot in the box and then produced an even better point blank save from Chris Beardsley's effort, although the flag had gone up.
The second half was arguably worse for entertainment as Pompey struggled to break down a stubborn Preston side that showed little going forward.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Williamson were sent on by Guy Whittingham but they failed to turn the game in Pompey's favour.
Allan was the driving force in Portsmouth's search for a winner, having ran through Preston's defence in an attempt to assist a colleague before having a couple of shots that were saved by the flamboyant Stuckmann.
Those late attempts were the highlights of a drab second half and the fans left Fratton Park relieved to have kept a clean sheet but disappointed to have only drawn with a mediocre side that were missing key players.
That is purely down to McLeod's penalty miss which has cost the team a crucial two points. He also missed a spot kick in the last home game which would have earned a draw.
In total, Pompey have missed four penalties with the other two being taken by Brian Howard at home to Scunthorpe (but that game was won 2-1) and away to MK Dons (though McLeod scored almost immediately after the miss). Perhaps Guy will be selecting another penalty taker from now on?
As for the match itself, it failed to bring much cheer with both sides cancelling each other out and the referee blowing his whistle too often to let the game flow.
In fact, the most entertaining part of the game came from abusing Stuckmann in the Preston goal who seemed to take it in good nature.
But this was not a great result for Pompey who look more and more like getting relegated to League Two next season and are now in the bottom four on merit.
Those who still believe Portsmouth can survive will go to Hartlepool next week knowing that anything but a win will see them put out of their misery.
Pompey Player Ratings
Simon Eastwood: 7 - Reputation growing with more great saves.
Mustapha Dumbuya: 6 - An attacking threat.
Ricardo Rocha: 8 - Dealt with virtually everything.
Gabor Gyepes: 7 - Dominant in the air.
Jon Harley: 6 - Solid at the back.
Darel Russell: 6 - Worked hard.
Brian Howard: 5 - No influence, slow and about time he was dropped.
Johnny Ertl: 7 - Tenacious work meant he screened the defence well.
Scott Allan: 7 - The only real bright spark in the team.
Jake Jervis: 5 - Almost anonymous barring one long range shot.
Izale McLeod: 4 - Costly penalty miss and struggled to get into the game.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Jervis 61): 6 - Gave a little extra going forward.
Lee Williamson (Russell 68): 5 - No impact.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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