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02 March 2021 Venue The Keepmoat Stadium Attendance

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Rovers vs Portsmouth

2 March 2021

Rovers return to the Keepmoat Stadium to take on Portsmouth in Sky Bet League One on Tuesday night.

Andy Butler will be looking to halt a run of five games without a win in his first game as the club’s new manager. 

Portsmouth’s recent form 

Pompey have lost just two of their past six league games stretching back to a 2-2 draw at home to Plymouth Argyle at the start of February. They followed that up with a 2-0 win over Swindon Town at Fratton Park, before back-to-back defeats against Bristol Rovers and Blackpool respectively. 

They responded well to those disappointments though with a 1-0 win on the road at Oxford United, before drawing 1-1 with Gillingham in their last league outing. 

 

The man in charge 

Former Swansea and Millwall manager Kenny Jackett was appointed as Portsmouth manager in June 2017, replacing Paul Cook in the dugout at Fratton Park.  

After an eighth-placed finish in Jackett’s first season, his second campaign was arguably his most successful at the club so far. Despite being beaten in the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final by Sunderland, he guided his side to EFL Trophy glory when they beat the same opponents at Wembley a few months earlier.  

Last season saw Pompey once again fall short in the semi-final stage, this time being beaten in a penalty shootout by Oxford United. They are now right in the mix for another push for promotion. 

Since taking the job, Jacket has been in charge of 207 Portsmouth games, winning 107, drawing 43 and losing 57, giving him an overall win percentage of 51.7%.  

 

Ones to watch 

Tom Naylor  

The Pompey captain, Naylor joined the club at the start of the 2018/19 campaign from fellow Sky Bet League One side Burton Albion.   

After starting his career at Mansfield Town, the versatile midfielder did enough to earn a permanent move to Derby County in January 2012. After loans with the likes of Bradford and Grimsby, he followed Nigel Clough to Burton initially on loan in 2015.   

He made the move permanent a few months later and scored six goals in 41 appearances as the Brewers won promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. He featured 33 times in the second tier but couldn’t prevent his side from being relegated, before joining Portsmouth that summer. He played 43 times in all competitions throughout his first season at Fratton Park. He is currently enjoying his best season in front of goal, already netting seven times in the current campaign. 

 

Ronan Curtis  

The 24-year-old Irish winger signed for Portsmouth from League of Ireland outfit Derry City in the summer of 2018 for an undisclosed fee. He attracted the attention of plenty of clubs after impressive performances in the Europa League for Derry, where he netted in the first qualifying round against Danish side FC Midtjylland.   

Curtis netted an impressive 12 goals in his first season at Fratton Park, and followed that up with an even better tally of 14 last season. He has already reached double figures this time around with 10 goals in 36 appearances. 

 

John Marquis  

A man who needs no introduction to Rovers fans, Marquis was re-united with former manager Kenny Jackett after leaving Rovers for an undisclosed fee last summer.  

After starting his career with Millwall, the striker spent plenty of time out on loan before signing a permanent deal with Rovers in the summer of 2016. The 28-year-old hit the ground running in South Yorkshire and quickly became a prolific goal-scorer for the club, scoring 26 goals on the way to securing promotion back to Sky Bet League One in his first season.  

The goals continued to flow for Marquis who played a key role in helping Rovers reach the play-offs in his final season with the club. A move to Portsmouth and the chance to be closer to his family came about that summer, and he departed the Keepmoat Stadium having scored 63 goals in 157 appearances in a red and white shirt.  

After scoring 14 goals in his first season with Portsmouth, he has already matched that tally this time around. 

 

Last time out 

Reece James scored the winner for Rovers 11 minutes from time when the two sides last met in Sky Bet League One at Fratton Park back in October. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Portsmouth 1

2 March 2021

Andy Butler got off to a winning start as Rovers manager as goals from Reece James and Fejiri Okenabirhie secured a 2-1 win over Portsmouth.

Rovers Academy graduate Louis Jones made his League debut for the club with Ellery Balcombe dropping to the bench. James Coppinger and Jon Taylor returned to the team with Okenabirhie and Taylor Richards making way.  

Jones was called into action early on with Portsmouth having several attempts on the Rovers goal but no chances were on target to really challenge the 22-year-old.  

Down the opposite end of the pitch, Rovers were finding a lot of joy through Josh Sims with the winger working his way into great positions and setting up some good chances for Rovers, but Butler’s side were unable to convert their chances initially.   

That was until a mistake from Portsmouth at the back saw Reece James pounce at the opportunity to nudge the ball past Craig MacGillivray from close range, giving Rovers the lead.  

Both teams enjoyed good spells on the ball from that point, but there were limited chances to follow at either end for a while.  

Jon Taylor made a solo run goalward but collided with a Pompey defender as he broken into the 18-yard box which required him to received treatment from the physio. After a few minutes pause, Taylor replaced by Okenabirhie on the 28th minute.  

The forward was straight into the action and seemed to get through on goal five minutes later, but was narrowly deemed offside.  

With his eyes cemented on the bottom right corner of goal, John Bostock tried his luck from 25-yards out but MacGillivary was quick down to his corner to deny.  

Reece James pulled off an impressive block to stop Portsmouth equalising just before the first-half was drawn to a close.  

Two changes were made at the break by the visiting side with John Marquis making his return to the Keepmoat Stadium pitch alongside Andy Cannon with Ronan Curtis and Haji Mnoga exiting the pitch.  

Portsmouth looked more threatening in the second-half and Harvey White came close to scoring a stunning goal as the ball fizzed past the top left corner of Jones’ goal.  

A dangerous ball into the box was grabbed by Jones, but an eager Marquis clashed with the keeper pushing him into goal. Rovers were awarded a free kick.  

On the 63rd minute Josh Sims came off injured and was replaced by Jason Lokilo. Scott Robertson was also brought on at the same time for John Bostock.  

Marquis was constantly getting into tricky positions and asking questions of the Rovers defence whenever the visitors broke but Joe Wright and Tom Anderson did a good job at containing their former teammate. The ex-Rovers man was later shown a yellow card for fouling Bard Halliday.  

Rovers doubled their lead through Okenabirhie who scored an incredible goal from a narrow angle.  

With under 15 minutes left to go, Butler made a fourth change with Taylor Richards coming on in place of James Coppinger.  

Portsmouth pulled back a consolation goal deep into added time through Marquis. Consquently denying Jones his debut clean sheet. 

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