Pompey 1 MK Dons 1: Positives to take, but that run goes on
By Site reporter
Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 00:07:00
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David Connolly's looping header gave Pompey a share of the points against MK Dons at Fratton - the Blues' third draw in four games, but still not enough to end their long winless run. There were plenty of positives for Pompey fans in one of the team's best displays of recent months, but there will be frustration too they couldn't sustain a lively opening half-hour and turn it into a much-needed victory.

 

Connolly replaced James Keene up front, while Ricardo Rocha came in for the suspended Sam Sodje in the centre of defence.

Pompey were on the front foot from very early on, their confidence in the final third boosted by keeper Ian McLoughlin's preference for rolling or kicking the ball out to team-mates, often when they weren't too well-placed to receive the ball.

Luke Chadwick fired in an effort that was a fraction too high but Pompey had the best of the opening stages.

Gary MacKenzie’s miscued clearance almost gave Patrick Agyemang a tap-in, while at the other end Izale McLeod - who surely had more abuse directed at him than any other current Pompey top scorer could have done - shot wide, the first misplaced effort of many on what was to be a forgettable night for the man who left Pompey in a hurry a couple of months ago.

Yassin Moutaouakil’s first-time cross nearly created the opening goal for Agyemang but the Dons cleared with some desperation. Then Therry Racon couldn't get a shot away after a Jed Wallace set-up.

This was one of the best spells of Pompey pressure seen in the past few weeks and it got its reward with the opening goal on 22 minutes. Connolly was the scorer with a clever looping header from Wallace's free-kick near the south stand touchline that beat McLoughlin and seemed to dip in under the bar and into the net in slow motion.

For a while, albeit a short while, Pompey fans dared to dream. They'd taken the lead - something not achieved too often in this wretched run without a win - now could they be on their way to that elusive win?

But their bubble was burst all too quickly as Shaun Williams turned and shot into the roof of the net all in one movement just five minutes after his side had gone behind.

Williams sent a free-kick straight at Simon Eastwood before Connolly’s back-heel into the Fratton end net was ruled out for a clear offside.

Sadly the second half did not live up to the first, although the home fans - unusually below 10,000 in number - did have fun at the expense of McLeod, who couldn't find the target for love nor money and didn't look too happy when withdrawn early on.

Pompey made a double change with 25 minutes left, bringing on Adam Reed and Adam Webster for Racon and Moutaouakil. Soon after, Ashley Harris replaced Liam Walker, who'd faded as the game went on after a decent first half.

With four teenagers on, there was plenty of pace about Pompey's play but little cohesion - not that MK Dons were any more fluent.

The longer the game went on, the sooner most fans probably wanted it to end and in truth a winner for either side would have been harsh on their opponents.

A couple of times in the dying minutes, you could almost hear the Fratton faithful having a sharp intake of breath as MK broke - once earning a free-kick just outside the box - but on this occasion, a defence benefitting from Rocha and Gyepes being together again held firm to secure another point.

Admittedly a point isn't a lot of good when you're several points adrfit at the bottom and without a win for half a league season of games, but it's better than a defeat and it is another small block on which Pompey can try to build.

Pompey: Eastwood; Moutaouakil (Webster 64), Gyepes, Rocha, Butler; Wallace, Ertl, Racon (Reed 64), Walker (Harris 74); Agyemang, Connolly. Subs not used: Smith, Keene, Akinde.

Referee: Keith Hill

Attendance: 9,815.

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