Football: Fans Disappointed at Early FA Cup Exit for Pompey

The Blues crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday 7th November after a 2-1 defeat at home to Wycombe Wanderers. S&C football reporter Ben Willietts reports.

Portsmouth fell behind in the 27th minute after poor defending from a wide free-kick. Pompey failed to impress in the first half, giving themselves a lot of work to do to remain in the competition. The second half started in a better light, with Portsmouth equalising in the 47th minute as Gareth Evans beat the opposition goalkeeper to a low cross to draw his side level. But despite a good start, the Blue Army failed to build momentum, and as the match looked to be headed for a replay, Wanderers striker Adebayo Akinfenwa looped a header over Forde in the Pompey goal, ultimately knocking the Blues out of the cup.

Portsmouth rotated the squad from the league win at Cambridge, making five changes, and dropping in-form Conor Chaplin to the bench.

Wycombe seized the early initiative and bossed the opening stages of the match, striking the post and allowing Pompey to escape without punishment. They kept pushing for the opener and eventually broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.

Wycombe swung a free-kick from the left side into the penalty area and in rather comical fashion, Forde punched the ball against teammate, Burgess. Wycombe player Cowan-Hall, formerly a youth player here on the South Coast, nodded home and respectably declined to celebrate.

After what should have been a wake up call from the Wycombe side, Pompey failed to improve as Wycombe continued to press and they would have been two up if not for many moments of sterling goalkeeping from David Forde.

Portsmouth came out flying as the second half began, equalising within minutes of the first half. Enda Stevens sent in a delightful cross, making Gareth Evans’ job easy as he flicked the ball past Jamal Blackman and between the sticks.

Forde continued to deny Wanderers throughout the second half, pulling off a string of excellent saves to keep the scores level. Yet despite in-form Chaplin coming on amongst three attack-minded substitutions, Portsmouth failed to break the deadlock. Forde pulled off yet another brilliant save from a speculative volley from Akinfenwa, and the fans seemed to resign to the idea of a replay.

With just three minutes left however, Akinfenwa beat his opponents in the air and looped a header perfectly over the seemingly unbeatable Forde. Wycombe held on to their narrow lead and advanced in to the next round, leaving the two-time FA Cup Champions bitterly disappointed with their first-round exit.

It wasn’t all bad news this week for Pompey though, as a second-string team beat Bristol Rovers 1-0 in the not-so-prestigious Checkatrade Trophy group stage.

Portsmouth face Mansfield in the league at Fratton Park this Saturday, and will be determined to build on their win at Cambridge on the 29th. More to follow.