Pompey Poach Win At Brewers
Burton Albion 1 Portsmouth 2
Pompey finally recorded their first win on the road with a deserved 2-1 victory at the Pirelli Stadium despite Yassin Moutaouakil's late dismissal.
Guy Whittingham stuck with the same team that drew with Cheltenham last week but Joe Devera went off early with an injury and was replaced with Bondz N'Gala who was impressive throughout despite Burton's early possession.
In all honesty this wasn't a match for the purists with both sides not playing their best football although Pompey showed what they were capable of after a lovely move from Jed Wallace and Patrick Agyemang saw the former test Jordan Pickford following some one-touch football.
The visitors eventually took the lead in a scrappy game when Agyemang's header directed at the top corner was excellently saved by Pickford only or Ricky Holmes to get to the rebound first and score his first goal for the club.
The Burton goalkeeper had to produce an even better save moments after the restart, stretching his arm out to deny Andy Barcham's header at the far post when he looked certain to score.
Former Pompey player Adam Reed had a curling shot at the end of the half but it was well held by John Sullivan.
The second half began as untidy as the first, with Pompey fans angry when the referee blew for what looked like a soft foul by Agyemang before he rushed through on goal.
The foul by Holmes moments after was certainly clearer but the referee allowed play to go on and the winger ran towards goal and had his shot parried by Pickford before Simon Ferry was there to slide in the loose ball which trickled over the line.
Burton came back into the game and missed a sitter when Michael Symes horribly sliced his shot wide when picked out at the far post with nobody marking him.
When Barcham had a free kick saved and N'Gala missed a free header earlier in the half, some Portsmouth supporters may have been thinking that their team might throw away the lead and those thoughts were reinforced when Moutaouakil stupidly kicked out following a tangle with Jimmy Phillips and was shown a straight red card.
But with time ticking away Burton were struggling to break down a stubborn Pompey defence despite Alex MacDonald's free kick crashing against the crossbar in the 90th minute.
And Sullivan would have been frustrated not to keep a clean sheet as Zander Diamond poked a loose ball in from close range following some suspect defending in the box, but that was virtually the last kick of the game and the final whistle blew to confirm Pompey's first away win in the league since Crewe on March 2nd.
It was a deserved win too but not because Pompey were brilliant, in fact they were far better going forward at Cheltenham last week, but because Burton were poor and their direct style of play didn't work this time. Having said that, their goalkeeper pulled off some great saves to keep them in it.
The defence did an excellent job at keeping things tight at the back. Sullivan held everything well and made no mistakes, Bradley continues to impress and N'Gala slotted in well. Pompey fans have been rightfully blasting Moutaouakil on social media and rightfully so as he was one of the best performers on the day before his moment of madness.
Pompey's wingers continue to do plenty of damage with Holmes standing out yesterday. Wallace may well have played his best game of the season so far too.
Overall, there can't be many complaints to come from this result and hopefully that now gives Whittingham and his players something to build on for what should be a tough game against Fleetwood next weekend.
Pompey Player Ratings
John Sullivan: 7 - Took everything comfortably.
Yassin Moutaouakil: 5 - Very good performance until his stupid red card.
Joe Devera: N/A - Limped off very early. I wonder how the defence would have performed had he not been replaced...
Sonny Bradley: 7 - Won everything in the air.
Danny East: 6 - Solid enough and took a nasty cut for his troubles.
Ricky Holmes: 8 - Alert to score rebound and caused Burton plenty of problems.
Jed Wallace: 7 - Best performance of the season so far.
Johnny Ertl: 7 - Ditto Wallace.
Simon Ferry: 7 - Poached a goal and did the basics well.
Andy Barcham: 7 - Unlucky not to score.
Patrick Agyemang: 6 - Not as influential as in previous games.
Bondz N'Gala (Devera 7): 7 - Real solid performance and may start against Fleetwood now.
Shaun Cooper (Holmes 86): N/A - Brought on at right back after Moutaouakil was sent off.
Tom Craddock (Agyemang 90): N/A - No time to impress.
Source: Fratton Faithful
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