Pompey Drop Points In Boro Bore Draw
Portsmouth 0 Stevenage 0
Pompey lost the opportunity to go level on points with Oldham and Scunthorpe after a tedious goalless draw with Stevenage at Fratton Park.
Both sides were well organised and worked hard but lacked any real quality in a dull game of very few chances.
John Akinde replaced Patrick Agyemang up front but was very disappointing. He couldn't do anything with the long balls up to him and didn't do enough to hassle the Boro defenders. Pompey certainly missed "Big Pat" as the visitors had more of the ball in the first half.
Pompey's chances were at a premium as Liam Walker should have done better when played in by David Connolly but skewed his shot wide from close range whilst Jed Wallace's free kick later in the half was struck directly at Steve Arnold.
Dani Lopez forced Simon Eastwood into one good save late in the half but both defences were dogged in snuffing out attacks when they actually happened, which was rare.
The second half saw a marginal improvement in Pompey's play but still no real chances were created due to wasteful passing and constant fouling, particularly from Graham Westley's team.
However, despite their cynicism Boro went close to taking the lead when Filipe Morais headed Luke Freeman's cross wide of the far post.
The most exciting moment of this boring match came when Anthony Grant went for a heavy challenge on Johnny Ertl. Yassin Moutaouakil reacted badly to that and motioned to headbutt Lucas Akins before a mass bundle ensued.
Most referees would have sent off Yassin for that but referee Christopher Sarginson was kind enough to let him get away with a booking, showing yellow a card to Grant for his challenge also.
It was no surprise to see Moutaouakil subbed off for Adam Webster soon after and the defender had two good chances to win it for Pompey. The first, a header that was caught by Arnold and the second a snapshot from inside the box in stoppage time after being set up by Connolly.
Stevenage almost nicked all three points at the death when Marcus Haber's header hit the crossbar but a draw was a fair result after what was, in truth, a poor game of football.
The entertainment had to be provided by the fans and Stevenage brought a good number down south for a club of their size.
Despite behaving much like Southampton fans did when they came to Fratton Park in December 2011, they made some noise and did their club proud.
Some fans in the Fratton End reprised with what some may view as "homophobic" chants back at the Stevenage fans but I somehow doubt that they will report them to the FA like some Brighton & Hove Albion supporters.
As for the important issues, Pompey are now two points behind Oldham (who lost at home to Carlisle) and Scunthorpe (who were thrashed at Preston) but this was a wasted opportunity to reduce the gap to zero points.
If a points deduction is to be avoided then Guy Whittingham's team are probably going to have to win their remaining three matches. At least Agyemang will return to give the attack more bite as the defence kept another clean sheet today.
However, the next big match takes place this week when the court finally decides the value of Fratton Park and resolves the immediate future of Portsmouth Football Club.
Pompey Player Ratings
Simon Eastwood: 6 - Little to do.
Yassin Moutaouakil: 5 - Poor ball control, could have easily walked after needless aggression.
Gabor Gyepes: 7 - Business as usual. Sometimes doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Ricardo Rocha: 7 - Sound return to the side.
Shaun Cooper: 6 - Solid showing.
Liam Walker: 5 - Passing was out of character.
Johnny Ertl: 6 - Battled away.
Therry Racon: 7 - Getting better at defensive side of the game.
Jed Wallace: 6 - Didn't see much of the ball.
John Akinde: 4 - Barely involved. Not good enough.
David Connolly: 6 - Tried to make things happen.
Adam Webster (Moutaouakil 80): N/A - Might have won it or us late on.
Jack Maloney (Walker 65): N/A - Didn't see much of the ball.
Ashley Harris (Akinde 65): N/A - No impact.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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