Portsmouth v Accrington Stanley
4th May 2019
Fratton Park (18,439)
Portsmouth made five changes going into the last league game of the season with Thompson, Lowe, Pitman, Curtis and Vaughan all being rested ahead of Portsmouth’s potential play-off opponents. Walkes, Evans, Morris, Soloman – Otobar and Hawkins were all given the chance to impress from the start.
As with tradition the evening started with the player of the season awards being cleared up by the consistently superb Matthew Clarke. Fratton Park then fell silent as the names of fans and players who had sadly passed during the current season.
The match however started in a sombre mood, with very little attacking threat from either team. Accrington came closest when Janoi Donacien’s deep cross was headed against the cross bar by Sean McConville.
It was Accrington and McConville who came out of the half time break the sharpest and with only one minute elapsed Tom Naylor lost control of the ball on the halfway line and McConville was there to pick up the loose ball and drive 30 yards un-challenged before striking the ball into Craig MacGillivray’s goal.
Portsmouth then started to pour forward in search of an equaliser with Lee Brown and Cristian Burgess both coming close from corners. It was Ben Close who levelled up the game on 59 minutes, a beautifully crafted one – two with Ollie Hawkins split the Stanley defence which allowed Close to arrive one on one with Stanley keeper Dimitar Evtimov. Despite defender Mark Hughes’s best efforts Close managed to slip the ball past Evtimov.
Omar Bogle replaced Ollie Hawkins soon after and Portsmouth went looking for a second and when Bogle tee’d up Ben Close 25 yards from goal it was a certainly that the ball would once again bulge in the Stanley goal. Fortunately for Accrington the ball struck the left hand upright before being hacked away.
Full time 1-1
This result and Charlton’s 4 – 0 win against Rochdale left Portsmouth in forth position on goal difference alone. Portsmouth will now face Sunderland in the playoffs with the first leg being held at the Stadium of Light on Saturday 11th May.
Match Report: Mike Hurdle
Photos: Andrew Hurdle