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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

19 August 2023 Venue Fratton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Reports

Report and reaction: Portsmouth 0-0 Town

19 August 2023

Cheltenham Town are off the mark with this hard earned point in Portsmouth, and boy did they deserve it.

They scrapped and fought at one of League One's most intimidating venues for 90 minutes – well, 115 to be accurate – to finally get up and running this season.

It was just reward for a battling performance and despite extending their goalless run on the south coast, Wade Elliott will be rightly proud of his players this evening.

There were almost farcical scenes midway through the second period when the replacement assistant referee injured himself, an incident that eventually saw 21 minutes added to the end of this one at Fratton Park.

But the disruption didn't dent Elliott's side's resolve, who defended manfully to see it out and draw the boos from the home faithful on the whistle.


"I asked for a 'Cheltenham' performance," said Wade after the game.

"Over the past few seasons that means being gritty, organised, tough to beat and carry a threat, and I thought we were all of those things.

"It was a really good performance and I'm pleased we've got something to go away with.

"The character of the team pleased me most, and the endeavour. You can see that everyone has played their part and there's a real spirit. Scrapping and fighting for each other. There are some really tired bodies in there. A lot bruises and limps. They had to work hard out there.

"If I was a fan in the away end I'd be really proud of the players because they gave everything so I'm pleased for everyone that we've got something to take on the bus to go home with."

Elliott made two changes to his starting 11, starting Curtis Thompson and Will Goodwin at the expense of Ellis Chapman and the injured Oli Hammond. The young striker came in on the left-hand side of a front three for the first time this term.

Luciano D'Auria-Henry, who arrived from Fulham on Friday, was named on the bench and was pressed into action six minutes into the second half (replacing Liam Smith).

There was a typically raucous atmosphere inside this famous old ground but Cheltenham relished the battle and started well, forcing a couple of corners and creating an initial chance but Liam Sercombe missed the target from 18 yards.

Pompey's Joe Rafferty drew the first meaningful save of the afternoon, latching onto Will Ferry's defensive header with a fierce low drive with 12 minutes on the clock.

Alex Robertson went close with a clever back-heel on the half-hour after Rafferty's free-kick from the right caused some problems in the Cheltenham defence. Then Anthony Scully called Southwood into a pretty comfortable save from 18 yards.

But at the other end Cheltenham grew in confidence and a lovely bit of play by Ferry down the right created some space to deliver a cross which eventually fell to Sercombe, but the midfielder fired over.

They created the best move of the game on the stroke of half-time but Thompson could keep his effort on target.


There was a scare moments after the restart, Regan Poole heading against the woodwork and Southwood smothering it on the line.

D'Auria-Henry then took his place down the right and almost immediately saw Aidan Keena burst down the middle but the Irishman dragged his effort wide of the left upright.

Then a moment that will surely become a quiz question in years to come. The assistant referee – who had already replaced his injured counterpart in the first half – picked up a strain of his own to force a prolonged stoppage in play as the PA appealed for a qualified replacement in the crowd.

Fortunately, one hardy soul attracted the attention of the referee and after a break of around 15 minutes, the game resumed (with 55 minutes on the clock).

Marlon Pack, the former Robins midfielder, immediately sent a 20-yard free-kick over and then quickly drew a smart save from Southwood.

Rob Street was presented with a great chance moments later, but his angled effort went high and wide.

Connor Ogilvie lifted one a foot over before a fantastic opening for Street, who didn't get enough on his header, and a half-chance for Goodwin

Conor Shaughnessy could, and perhaps should have won it in the final moments but thankfully from a Cheltenham perspective, his shot was gathered by Southwood.

They deserved a bit of luck after a torrid start to the campaign, and as a result they're up and running.


PORTSMOUTH (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Poole, Shaugnessy, Ogilvie; Morrell, Pack (c) (Saydee 90); Scully (Sparkes 64), Robertson, Whyte (Kamara 64); Bishop. Subs not used: Schofield (Gk), Swanson, Saydee, Raggett, Lane.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): Southwood; Long (c), Davies, Freestone; Smith (D'Auria-Henry 51), Sercombe, Thompson (Adshead 90), Ferry (Chapman 90); Street, Keena (Williams 90), Goodwin. Subs not used: Harris (Gk), Bradbury, King.


ATTENDANCE: 17,454 (260 from Cheltenham)

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