Kenny Jackett once again surprised the Fratton Faithful by dropping Steve Seddon to the bench in favour of Lee Brown, who has just recovered from injury. The change is supposedly established in light of Monday night’s match-up against Arsenal in the FA Cup, where Seddon’s ability to go forward and create chances seems to be crucial for any kind of Pompey success on the night.
The first half turned out to be a fairly dull affair, with neither side looking comfortable and likely to open the scoring. Ryan Williams almost caught out the Rochdale goalkeeper with an in-swinging cross into the box, which very nearly curved its way into the top corner.
Andy Cannon’s first involvement in the game came with a shot from inside the box in the 40th minute however, the attempt flew just over the bar. The Englishman struggled to get into the game and create creative opportunities like usual, and was subsequently subbed off early in the second half in favour of Ben Close.
Just before the final first-half whistle however, Ronan Curtis whipped in a cross from the left side, where Burgess powered a header straight at the goalkeeper. Ryan Williams however was alert at the scene and tapped the ball into the net to open the scoring and end an otherwise uneventful first half.
Kenny Jackett’s second half change was the much anticipated return of Steve Seddon, who replaced Lee Brown in a like-for-like substitution.
Less than 30 minutes after the change, the Birmingham loanee made his mark on the game when James Bolton’s cross ended up in his path. The loanee left-back struck the ball swiftly into the bottom right corner from outside the box, leaving the keeper no chance, and subsequently, grabbing his first Pompey goal.
Less than 10 minutes later, Fratton Park has witnessed yet another set-piece routine that has worked so well over the last few months. Steve Seddon stepped up to take an in-swinging free kick and picked out Christian Burgess, who powered in a header to make it 3-0 on the night, and ups his goalscoring tally for this season to 4.
Portsmouth jump into 3rd place in the League One table, and still hold a game in hand against top of the league Rotherham.
Alex Bass with yet another calm and collected performance between the sticks, earning himself his 7th League One clean sheet of the season.
My Man of The Match: He was only on the pitch for less than 40 minutes, but his impact was instant and decisive. Steve Seddon’s ability to go forward and create (and finish) chances, has stood out for me in this game.
Photo of The Match: Today’s photo of the match goes to Andrew Fletcher, for the below show of Ronan Curtis running riot down the left flank.