Jamal Lowe converted again this weekend keeping Pompey top, piling pressure on 2nd place Sunderland. An inspired performance from Curtis showed why Ireland are taking note, having given him his first international caps earlier this season. The Irishman put a real a shift in, delivering dangerous crosses all game leading to a Southend own goal as well as a cross that supplied Lowe with his 8th goal of the season.
Pompey had a strong first half, after seemingly finding a weak point in the Southend back four. The majority of Pompey attacks came down the left, with Curtis easily beating his right back on a number of occasions. Link up between our boys on the left finally broke down Southend and 10 minutes in they were a goal down, Turner sticking a Curtis cross into his own net. Southend began a half-hearted comeback but failed to commit enough men forward. The onslaught continued on the left and a stunning delivery from Ronan helped double our lead as Lowe pushed central to convert for this 8th of the season. Southend had a few chances towards the end of the second half the best coming to McLaughlin who skied it from close in after some good link-up play.
Unfortunately, the second half wasn’t quite so entertaining. Pompey have had a really strong first half of the season winning 14 from 20 and this has happened partly due to Jackett’s ‘lead protection’ tactics. Right from the restart it was clear Portsmouth were set up much deeper, inviting Southend pressure. Like the first half McLaughlin was Southend’s biggest threat grabbing a few opportunities close in, unfortunately for him Clarke and Whatmough, who’ve had a solid partnership all season kept their composure and dealt with Southend danger well. The few attacks Pompey did have came from Lowe and Curtis who both led rapid counter-attacks which unfortunately came to nothing. The best chance for the home side came late on when Ben Thomson was taken down just outside the box after a blistering run. Curtis stuck the freekick well troubling Cox between the sticks, who spilled. Sadly Brown failed to follow in quick enough.
With Pompey taking all three points we now widen the gap to 6 points clear at the top, a win on Tuesday will secure top spot for Christmas, taking us a step closer to our aim of championship football next season. Play Up Pompey!