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Accrington Stanley 2 Portsmouth 2

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Saturday August 10, 2013 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Accrington Stanley Football Club, England  (map)

League Two Fixture

Connolly's brace not enough for a first victory

PUBLISHED  14:05 10th August 2013

by Neil Weld

David Connolly’s brace was not enough for Pompey to record their first victory of the season at the Store First Stadium.

The Blues fell behind early in the second half courtesy of Peter Murphy’s fine long-range finish.

But Connolly soon fired them level and his second from the spot got the 1,001 travelling fans dreaming of three points.

Accrington refused to accept defeat, however, and Murphy’s header meant the spoils were shared in front of the Sky cameras.

Guy Whittingham made three changes from the side that lost to Oxford on the opening day.

Phil Smith replaced John Sullivan between the sticks, while Danny East and Romain Padovani came in for Dan Butler and the suspended Johnny Ertl.

There was a familiar face in the hosts’ line-up, with former Pompey striker Danny Webber starting for Stanley.

Accrington made a flying start and almost broke the deadlock after just 32 seconds.

Nicky Hunt whipped a fine cross into the box from wide on the wide, but Marcus Carver could not quite guide his header on target.

But Pompey soon settled and only some disappointing final balls saw them fail to test Ian Dunbavin in the hosts’ goal.

The Blues were dominating possession, although it was Accrington enjoying the better chances and debutant Kal Naismith went close with a free-kick that curled narrowly over on 14 minutes.

However, the visitors were so close to taking the lead soon after, with Michael Liddle forced to clear off the line after Sonny Bradley had met Jed Wallace’s corner with a thumping header.

A moment of uncertainty from Dunbavin then allowed Andy Barcham to race onto Wallace’s pass, but the winger’s low cross was turned wide by Patrick Agyemang.

Both sides were looking dangerous going forward, though, and Smith did well to deny Peter Murphy on 28 minutes.

Bradley was a particular threat for Pompey from set-pieces and again rose highest In the box to head Wallace’s corner inches past the post.

Agyemang then tried an ambitious over-head effort from just inside the box, but the fall flew comfortably into Dunbavin’s arms.

The striker was making life difficult for the Stanley defence and almost fired Pompey ahead just before the break.

Agyemang shrugged off a couple of challenges and played a neat one-two with Connolly, but his stinging low drive was just about kept out by Dunbavin.

The keeper could not hold onto the ball, however, and had to grab it at the second attempt before Connolly could take advantage.

Barcham then embarked on an amazing run from inside his own half, waltzing past three players and sliding the ball goalwards, but Hunt was well-placed to hack clear from the line.

Half Time: Accrington 0 Pompey 0

Pompey looked in total control at the end of the first half, but found themselves behind just after the restart.

Webber pulled the ball back for Murphy, who spotted Smith off his line and sent a superb 30-yard lob over the keeper and into the net.

Things almost got worse for the Blues, but Bradley managed to clear off the line after Michael Richardson had prodded the ball goalwards.

That let-off seemed to shock Pompey back into life and they were back on level terms thanks to a well-worked goal on 57 minutes.

Padovani whipped in a fine cross from the right and Agyemang headed the ball down for CONNOLLY to coolly convert.

And they almost found themselves ahead moments later, with Dunbavin having to move quickly across goal to keep out Padovani’s audacious snap-shot from distance.

The Blues were now full of confidence and Barcham was next to go close, firing into the side netting following good build-up play from Agyemang and Connolly.

And the visitors thought they should have won a penalty on 67 minutes when the ball bounced up in the area and struck Rob Atkinson on the arm.

But the Blues were awarded a spot-kick on 78 minutes after CONNOLLY was hauled down by Hunt and the striker kept his composure to stroke the ball home.

Accrington tried to hit back immediately and it took some fine defending from Yassin Moutaouakil to stop Kal Naismith from converting a cross at the far post.

They did level on 85 minutes, however, when Tom Aldred swung in a cross from the right and Murphy rose highest to head home from close range.

But Pompey wanted more than a point and Barcham’s low drive clipped the post, while Wallace’s follow-up was kept out by Dunbavin.

And substitute Ryan Bird fired over the crossbar in stoppage-time as the Blues were forced to settle for a draw.

Accrington: Dunbavin; Hunt (c), Aldred, Atkinson, Liddle; Naismith, Murphy, Richardson (Joyce 65), Hatfield (Mingoia 65); Webber, Carver (Gray 71)
Goals: Murphy 48, 85
Booked: Hunt
Subs not used: Winnard, Wilson, Miller, McCartan

Pompey: Smith; Moutaouakil, Devera (c), Bradley, East; Wallace, Ferry, Padovani, Barcham; Agyemang (Bird 88), Connolly
Goals: Connolly 57, (pen) 79
Booked: East
Subs not used: Sullivan, N’Gala, Butler, Holmes, Harris, Craddock

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 2,531 (1,001 Pompey fans)

 

Pompey forced to settle for a point

David Connolly scored a brace in the 2-2 draw at Accrington Picture: Ste Jones

David Connolly scored a brace in the 2-2 draw at Accrington Picture: Ste Jones

  • by Jordan Cross Published on the 10 August 2013  14:18

Four second-half goals saw the spoils shared between Pompey and Accrington today.

Two goals apiece from David Connolly and Peter Murphy saw a 2-2 draw played out in a breathless clash at the Crown Ground.

Connolly’s double looked to have seen Guy Whittingham’s side come from behind to grab a win, after Murphy’s 35-yarder opened the scoring three minutes after the break.

But it was the midfielder who bundled the leveller home three minutes from time to frustrate a Blues side who carved out a host of chances.

There was a clear handball in the box from Rob Atkinson in the second half among the swathe of Pompey opportunities.

It took 32 seconds for the home side to carve out a clear chance when Marcus Carver headed Nicky Hunt’s cross wide when well placed.

Patrick Agyemang was seeing plenty of the ball early on, with his hold-up play impressing.

Connolly then volleyed Jed Wallace’s quick free-kick wide, before Kal Naismith shot over the top in the 16th minute.

Two minutes later, the buzzing Andy Barcham had a shot deflected for a corner which Sonny Bradley headed goalwards, before Michael Liddle cleared off the line.

Barcham’s determination should have seen Pompey in front in the 24th minute, when he chased a lost cause and squared, but Agyemang bundled the ball wide under pressure.

Danny East was having a solid game at left-back but went into the book two minutes later for clattering Hunt.

Peter Murphy then had a shot saved, before Bradley put another header wide from a corner.

Pompey had two great chances before the half was out to make the breakthrough.

First, Agyemang brilliantly took a high ball down, spun the Accy defence and fired at goal.

Keeper Dunbavin saved his first effort and then gathered with the loose ball tricking in.

Then the excellent Barcham ran half the length of the pitch and beat three men, before Dunbavin saved his left-footed drive.

Not taking one of the chances which had come their way came back to haunt Pompey three minutes after the restart when Accy made the breakthrough.

It was a beautifully-crafted finish from 35 yards, too, from Murphy after being teed up by Danny Webber.

But Phil Smith will perhaps have felt he could have got a stronger hand to the shot.

Pompey were wilting after going behind and Bradley then had to clear Michael Richardson’s shot off the line.

But the visitors were always creating chances, and they were rewarded with the leveller after 57 minutes.

Romain Padovani provided the pass for Agyemang, who held off the Stanley defence and freed Connolly, who made no mistake.

Padovani then so nearly found the back of the net from 35 yards with a peach of a strike which Dunbavin saved well.

Pompey were asking all the questions now and Stanley again had Dunbavin to thank for saving from Barcham.

Then a clear handball in the box from Richardson wasn’t given as the visitors continued to push.

Pompey’s pressure was finally rewarded with 11 minutes left – and it was that man Connolly who was key.

He advanced into the penalty area and was bundled over by Hunt, and the 36-year-old coolly stepped up to send Dunbavin the wrong way.

Yassin Moutaouakil then did an outstanding piece of defensive work to acrobatically clear off the line and maintain his side’s lead.

But that meant nothing when Murphy bundled a header home moments later from Tom Aldred’s header across goal.

There was still time for sub Ryan Bird to fire over when well placed.

That meant Pompey were left with to take a point from a game they would have felt they warranted a greater return from.

Accrington Stanley v Pompey: PREVIEW

Pompey travel to Accrington Stanley this Saturday for their first away game of this season’s League Two campaign. After losses in both the season opener against Oxford United, and the mid-week defeat to Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, Guy Whittingham’s Blues will be hoping for a first win of the 2013/14 campaign.

Team News

Pompey are without captain, Johnny Ertl, who was sent-off during last weekend’s defeat to Oxford, whilst Roman Padovani is expected to replace him in midfield.

No injury worries for Guy Whittingham yet, with a fresh squad to pick from, but it likely to go with a similar line-up to the team who let four goals in against the Ox’s.

After a shock cup win against Middlesborough during the week, the home side will be looking to carry on in memorable fashion in Sky Sports’ live lunch-time kick-off.

Managed by former Scummer, James Beattie, Pompey fans will certainly be giving the Accrington’s new manager a bit of stick during the game.

The Blues will also come up against former Pompey striker, Danny Webber, who is expected to return to the starting line-up.

History

There’s very little history between the two sides, having last met in the FA Cup in 1959. After drawing 0-0 at Accrington, Pompey took the game back to Fratton Park with a 4-1 win for the Blues.

The two sides have never met in league competition until today, with a total of three recorded previous meetings all coming in the FA Cup.

Form

Pompey: LL

Accrington: LW

Line Ups

Likely Pompey line-up: Smith; Moutaouakil, East, Devera, Bradley; Barcham, Padovani, Ferry, Wallace; Connolly, Agyemang

Likely Accrington line-up: Dunbavin; Liddle, Aldred, Hunt, Atkinson; Murphy, Richardson, Hatfield, Naismith; Webber, Carver

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