NO FRILLS GILLS INFLICT POMPEY'S FIRST LEAGUE DEFEAT
By Site Reporter
Saturday 06 Oct 2018 21:04:00
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Pompey's home form has a Ted Rogers look about it - 3-2-1 - after Gillingham became the first team this season to beat Kenny Jackett's men.

It finished 2-0 at Fratton Park after Steve Lovell's side scored one fabulous goal and one soft one to lead by two at the break - with the Blues unable to turn significant possession into goals, or even many worthwhile efforts on target, either before or after conceding.

They attacked with more purpose in the second half after Jackett brought on David Wheeler and Ben Thompson - and later Oli Hawkins - but it simply wasn't their day. Even previously unbeaten leaders have days like this, and there will be others like it during the long League One campaign.

Most agree it's how Pompey bounce back from the setback that will define how strong they can be this term.

The Blues had had most of the play, if none of the clearer chances, when, on 26 minutes, Tom Eaves struck one of the best goals Fratton Park is likely to see this season. A high ball into the box was nodded on to him and he took two touches to play himself in with sight of goal, then lashed a left-footed volley almost through Craig MacGillivay and into the roof of the net.

Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis were seeing plenty of the ball but were struggling to make the impact in front of goal they have in many games this season, and Pompey paid the price for failing at one end when the Gills got a killer second in first half stoppage time.

A loose pass out of the Blues defence led to the Kent side winning a corner and poor defending meant that when it was flicked on at the near post, Alex Lacey had the simple job of touching it in.

Ben Thompson and Wheeler livened Pompey up at the start of the second half and it seemed like they might have their visitors under siege for the whole second half. But the longer Gillingham survived, the more frantic Pompey's play became - and it was increaingly obvious it was not going to be Pompey's day.

Lowe, Curtis, Brett Pitman and sub Hawkins all tried their luck, but found Gillingham limbs in the way or directed their efforts well off target.

So the home form is a slight worry - after starting with three wins at Fratton they've only taken two points from the past three. Pompey now go to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday (not to mention Crawley in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday) having to show they can bounce back quickly from the blow of a league defeat. Then the home form comes back into focus with successive Fratton encounters with Fleetwood and Burton on October 20 and 23.

Pompey: MacGillivray; N Thompson (Hawkins 74), Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close (B Thompson 46); Lowe, Evans (Wheeler 46), Curtis; Pitman. Subs not used: McGee, Walkes, Burgess, Mason

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 18,158 (542 away fans)



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