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Match Reports

Portsmouth v. Cheltenham, 8.3.14

8 March 2014

Full Time: Pompey 0, Robins 0

Cheltenham Town left the South Coast with just one point after a hard fought draw in SkyBet League Two.

It was the typical cliche, a game of two halves and there would be good arguments to say each team held the other to just one point.

The Robins had the better of the first half, Yates' men created chances a plenty in the first half, Ashley Vincent coming closest to opening the scoring as he rifled a shot against the post.

Jake Jervis wasted the best opportunity of the game for the home side, with only Scott Brown to beat he placed his shot just wide of the far post after finding himself one-on-one.

The second half belonged to the home side, when Ryan Taylor was introduced with 20 minutes to go they were spurred into life, Wes Fogden coming closest in the second half when his shot was cleared off the line during a goalmouth scramble as the game came to a close.

This afternoon's fixture was the first ever competitive fixture between the two sides at Fratton Park.

Before the game, Mark Yates claimed his side had nothing to fear and made just one change to the team that started against Bury last week. 

The match winner that day, Byron Harrison, returned to the starting eleven in place of Jamie Cureton.

Jermaine McGlashan provided the assist for Harrison against Bury and kept his place in the first team. He earned a point for the Robins when Pompey visited the Abbey Business Stadium last September, his injury time leveller was his second goal of the afternoon. 

There was a bumper crowd that afternoon at the ABS, as Whaddon Road hosted over 4,500 fans. Pompey had slashed prices for the reverse fixture on the south coast and it attracted over 17,000 fans. 

That's the real gulf between the two sides. Despite Yates' claim there wasn't much between the teams, the Robins sat two points and three places above of the former premier league outfit going into the SkyBet League Two clash.

Their only change following the draw at Chesterfield saw Michael Drennan replace Romain Padovani. 

You would have been forgiven for thinking Cheltenham were the home side in the opening exchanges, despite the vociferous noise erupting from the near sell-out crowd.

But as the first chants of "Play up Pompey" chimed around the goal, Gornell was teasing the Robins fans in the away end.

Neat interplay between McGlashan and Harrison provided space for Gornell and six yards from goal the striker fired into the side netting early on. 

Ashley Vincent fired  over from a  similar  position after some quick thinking in midfield from Sam Deering and Gornell saw another chance to take the lead comfortably denied by Trevor Carson as he shot from range.

The home side looked good on the counter, but struggled to find the crucial ball into the final third. Ricky Holmes struck well wide from range efore Jake Jervis placed a shot several feet wide of the far post with only Scott Brown to beat after a defensive error.

Deering had a shot deflected wide from 25-yards out but there was no corner given, before Gornell was allowed time to turn in the box, however his bouncingeffort was comfortably collected by Trevor Carson.

The Robins had picked up from where they left off last Saturday against Bury, with plenty of movement in attack and solid in defence but just unable to find the back of the net.

It looked as if luck might not have been on the Robins side, Jermaine McGlashan used his pace to find space in the box, evaded a sliding challenge on the byline only to see his shot well saved before being cleared behind from a corner.

And from that corner, Pompey failed to clear their defensive lines and the ball fell to Ashley Vincent on the edge of the box who rifled an excellent volley against the post.

Portsmouth weren't out of the game, but they struggled to create the volume of chances that Yates' men had within the first half.

And even left back Sido Jombati had a chance to get his name on the scoreboard, he was allowed time and space within the Pompey box but his dipping, curled effort just couldn't change it's passed enough to cause much of a problem for Carson between the Pompey sticks.

The Robins ended the first half on top, McGlashan found space on right wing, he put an excellent cross into the box but  the ball didn't fall kindly for Vincent at the back post and was put behind for a corner.

Cheltenham's dominance was much to the annoyance of the Pompey faithful who had started to unleash their frustration on the referee and his officials, they were booed from the field of play after some questionable refereeing decisions as the half came to a close.

Half Time: Portsmouth 0-0 Cheltenham Town

As Portsmouth emerged from the interval, it was obvious they felt it was their time to dominate proceedings, they were much quicker to the ball and put Cheltenham under pressure the moment the had possession. 

Despite the improved effort, their best chance in the opening 15 minutes of the half came as Jake Jervis headed over from an impossible position inside the 6-yard box.

The game was turning into a somewhat scrappy affair after the quality that had been displayed in the first half.

Deering was on hand to pounce on a mistake in the Pompey midfield but his quick shot was snatched at and he failed to find the target. 

After many misplaced passes, mistimed tackles and offside flags, Wes Fogden was able to get a shot on target for the home side. It was a tame effort, comfortably saved. 

Former Championship striker Ryan Talyor replaced Jake Jervis with 22 minutes remaining and revitalised the Portsmouth strikeforce. His introduction changed the game and tipped it in Portsmouth's favour.

He came close on two occasions before Scott Brown did well to instinctively palm Fogden's shot behind for a corner and the shot stopper tipped Ricky Holmes' shot across the face of goal behind moments later.

Zack Kotwica was introduced with 10 minutes remaining and he took it in turns with Jermaine McGlashan to run at Portsmouth's back-line. Both unable to find a break through.

A goalmouth scramble in the closing stages in front of Portsmouth's home end resulted in Fogden's shot from range being cleared off the line after some heroic defending in and around the six-yard box to deny several strikes at goal.

Jason Taylor replaced Deering as the game looked to finish with an end to end climax. 

Portsmouth continued to pile on the pressure, but Yates' men did well to earn a hard fought point at arguably one of the toughest grounds to visit in SkyBet League Two.

Full Time: Portsmouth 0-0 Cheltenham Town

Portsmouth FC (4-4-2): Carson (GK); Devera, N’Gala, Chorley (c), Shorey; Wallace, Diagouraga, Fogden, Holmes; Drennan (Agyemang '83), Jervis (Taylor '68).

Subs not used: Smith, Bradley, Painter, Racon, Padovani.

Cheltenham Town FC (4-4-2): S Brown (GK); Ihiekwe, T Brown, Elliott (c), Jombati; McGlashan, Deering (Taylor '90), Richards, Vincent (Kotwica '79); Harrison, Gornell.

Subs not used: Roberts (GK), Cureton, Braham-Barrett, Noble, Brundle.

Referee: Mr. Michael Bull

Attendance: 17,254 (440 Cheltenham Supporters)

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