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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

17 October 2020 Venue Fratton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Portsmouth vs Rovers

16 October 2020

Rovers return to league action when they take on Portsmouth at Fratton Park this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side are looking to get back to winning ways after losing 1-0 at Wigan Athletic in their last Sky Bet League One fixture. 

Portsmouth’s early season form 

Pompey began their league campaign with back-to-back goalless draws. After drawing a blank at home to Shrewsbury on the opening day, they were forced to settle for a point once again at Rochdale a week later – despite having the most of the chances in that game. 

They were beaten by Wigan Athletic in their final game in September, before picking up a much needed first league victory at Burton Albion on October 3. A 4-2 win against the Brewers set them up nicely to pick up another three points with a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to MK Dons last time out. 


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. 

Since taking the job, Jacket has been in charge of 176 Portsmouth games, winning 91, drawing 38 and losing 47, 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 last season 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. 


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. His creativity from the flanks is a real outlet for Kenny Jackett’s side. 


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. 


Last time out  

Portsmouth scored late at the Keepmoat Stadium to earn a 2-1 victory when the two sides last met back in September 2019. Gareth Evans had given the visitors the lead on the hour-mark, before Reece James looked to have levelled a point for Rovers with eight minutes of normal time remaining. That was until Ellis Harrison looped a header over Seny Dieng in stoppage-time to seal all three points. 


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Match Reports

REPORT | Portsmouth 0 Rovers 1

17 October 2020

Reece James’ late goal sealed three points for Rovers at Fratton Park.

Rovers started the match brightly boasting the lion’s share of possession and early half-chances. Tenacity in the centre of the park and tireless running from a front three of Jon Taylor, Fejiri Okenabirhie and James put Rovers on the front foot from the start and they managed to carve out the best of the early opportunities.  

Okenbirhie had the two best of these latching onto neat through-balls from Madger Gomes but Craig MacGillivray was quick off his line and smothered the danger on both occasions.  

Rovers best chance of the opening 20 minutes fell to James in his more advanced role.  Gomes was the one to pick him out with another ball through the ever-widening gaps in the Pompey defence. James almost connected too well lashing his left footed effort inches wide of the near post.  

The hosts’ began to see a bit more of the ball as the half wore on and registered their first chance on target just before the half-hour mark. Jack Whatmough headed Lee Brown’s corner-kick on target and while the bounce could have been a bit awkward, Josef Bursik did what he needed to do to push it over his crossbar. Rovers cleared the resulting corner well as another masterclass performance from the Joe Wright and Tom Anderson partnership continued. 

Anderson very nearly did his bit at the other end soon after. A free-kick – awarded after Marcus Harness rugby tackled Gomes to prevent him breaking onto the defence – was floated into the centre-back who had made a run at the back post. He guided the ball just wide. 

At the other end, Portsmouth had begun to see a bit more of the ball in the final 10 minutes and upped the intensity in the final moments but while crosses from Callum Johnson and Brown carried a threat, Rovers dealt with everything that was thrown at them. 

Portsmouth started the second half with the same ferocity that they had ended the first. A few good punches from Bursik, an important header from Wright and some acrobatic defending by Whiteman kept the score level in the opening minutes. Andy Cannon then fired over from the edge of the box and Ellis Harrsion headed narrowly wide from a cross. 

Rovers got more of a grip on things after ten minutes and Okenabirhie continued his personal duel with MacGillivray forcing two more good stops from the Pompey shot-stopper as he went in search of his first league goal of the season. 

The game exploded into life with Bursik making a save from Harness, and Cannon heading wide. Rovers went almost straight up the other end to win a free-kick in a dangerous position which James curled around the wall but comfortably into the keeper’s arms launching a break which almost saw former Rovers John Marquis net just minutes after coming on. 

Reece James broke the deadlock with ten minutes remaining. Josh Sims made his presence felt against his parent club’s fierce rivals – first winning the ball back high up the pitch and then receiving a pass from Whiteman which allowed him to drive at the heart of the Portsmouth defence and drive a low ball across goals. A defender’s toe was enough to nudge the ball to James who was waiting at the top of the box. He swivelled and chipped the ball into the net. 

James had a chance of a second minutes later. Pure tenacity saw him chase down a bouncing ball into the Portsmouth box but it wouldn’t quite sit for the man who would normally be at left-back and he sent it wide. 

Marquis’ attempted cut-back took a deflection off Wright and required a smart save from Bursik in the final minutes and, despite being under the cosh in the closing stages, Rovers were able to see out the final minutes.

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