Football: Portsmouth Hopes Frustrated by Exeter

Portsmouth were left bitterly disappointed last Saturday after a 1-0 defeat against in-form Exeter, with the winning goal coming in the 57th minute. S&C football correspondent, Ben Williets, reports. 

Paul Cook named an unchanged side from the previous match, a win against Leyton Orient, and was hoping for more of the same from the promotion-chasing Pompey team.

Prior to kick-off, Fratton Park witnessed a minute’s applause to commemorate the death of title-winning forward Lindy Delapenha – the first Jamaican footballer to play professional football in England – who died last week.

The first half brought little for the Fratton faithful to shout about. While Pompey dominated possession, both teams struggled to find their rhythm. Both defences proved to be in good form, preventing any real chances, and when a half-chance was carved the goalkeepers were equal to it.

The first half dragged to a close, and both teams went into the break without finding their top gear, leaving Pompey fans hoping for better.

After 57 minutes the visitors, with a huge slice of luck, broke the deadlock. Reuben Reid was dispossessed after he burst through the centre, the ball bounced off Danny Rose and fell to David Wheeler, who did not need a second invitation to lash it home, 1-0.

The rest of the match saw Exeter resolutely defending their lead. Part way through the second half Jamal Lowe came on to add some flair to the Pompey attack. However, Portsmouth just didn’t bring the spark to life and struggled to break Exeter down.

Even 5 minutes added time was not enough to see the Blues save a point, and Exeter held on to take home all 3 – a disappointing result for Paul Cook and his team as they lose ground on the automatic promotion places.

Pompey now lie in 6th, but do have a game in hand on the teams above. A win in that game will put them two points off the top three, meaning automatic promotion is still a realistic ambition for the South coast team.

Next up, Portsmouth face an away trip to 7th placed Wycombe, which could be a very important match in the promotion hunt. More to follow.