Saturday 12th of September saw the initiation of the 2020/21 EFL League One season. For Pompey fans, the occasion was marked by an opening day fixture against Shrewsbury, as well as Jack Whatmough’s 100th appearance in a Portsmouth shirt. The latter perhaps being the more notable feat, as the game against the Shrews finished in a 0-0 draw, which was the only goalless stalemate of the opening weekend in League One.
Team news were largely unchanged from what we saw towards the end of the last season, with Raggett leading the back line, now on a permanent deal, with fully-fit centre-half partner Jack Whatmough. Callum Johnson was given a full League debut at right-back, and his left side counterpart for the afternoon was the ever-experienced Lee Brown.
The connection between the defence and attacking line was bridged by a Kenny Jackett classic 2 defensive-midfielder due in skipper Tom Naylor, and recent Jackett favourite, Bryn Morris.
Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness took their spots on the left and right wings respectively, with Gareth Evans attacking through the middle, behind Pompey’s number 9 John Marquis.
The game was largely uninspiring and as the scoreline suggests, quite slow. Pompey did create chances however, with 14 shots and 6 on target, they certainly looked better on the front foot against their Shropshire competitors. Lee Brown impressed with a few promising chances, and not all of them entirely conventional. In the second half, the left-back almost dipped the ball into the net, over and behind the collar of goalkeeper Matija Sarkic, when he spotted the shot-stopper off his line when taking a free kick from 45 yards out. The Shrews keeper had to be quick off his feet to leap back and avoid having to fish the ball out of the net in rather embarrassing style.
Brown was largely at the centre of attention with left-wing partner Ronan Curtis, showing once again their attacking hunger and compelling link-up play to break down the line. One of the chances of the game came when Portsmouth were handed a free-kick at the edge of the box. Lee Brown stepped up to the occasion and almost caught the goalkeeper out at the far post, bending his shot low around the wall however, just around the woodwork.
Portsmouth’s next fixture is away to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carabao cup on Thursday 17th September. The next League One fixture is away to Rochdale on the 20th of September.