The Pompey Chimes

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Portsmouth 1 Crawley Town 2 (League 1)

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Wednesday December 26, 2012 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Fratton Park, Portsmouth, England  (map)

League 1 Fixture

Pompey 1 Crawley 2 by Neil Weld at Fratton Park

There was little festive cheer at Fratton as Crawley came from behind to heap more misery on Pompey.

Paul Benson turned home a Scott Allan cross to get Blues fans dreaming of a first victory in more than two months.

But Mat Sadler levelled before the break before Billy Clarke struck from close range in the second half to complete the turnaround.

Guy Whittingham made two changes from the side that drew with Preston before Christmas.

Paul Benson started up front with Izale McLeod dropping to the bench, while Nathaniel Mendez-Laing also returned to the line-up following Jake Jervis’ return to Birmingham.

Johnny Ertl tried to make the most of the wet and windy conditions with a strike from distance early on, but his effort was nervously parried clear by Crawley keeper Paul Jones.

Simon Eastwood then kept out Nicky Adams’ angled drive, before Jon Harley’s attempted clearance ricocheted off Billy Clarke and flew narrowly wide.

But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes when BENSON met  Allan’s fine cross and glanced home a header.

The visitors wasted a great opportunity to equalise midway through the first half when Gary Alexander rose to meet Adams’ cross, only to send his header straight into Eastwood’s arms.

But Crawley were level moments later after Jon Harley had been booked – ruling him out of Saturday’s clash with Yeovil – for a foul on Mike Jones.

Sadler stepped up to take the free-kick and curled his effort past Eastwood’s grasp and right into the bottom corner.

The Reds could have been ahead on 34 minutes, but Hope Akpan blasted high over the crossbar from just nine yards out.

Another chance then went begging when Alexander could not quite reach Adams’ dangerous cross from the right.

Pompey finally started to look dangerous again just before the break and Mustapha Dumbuya cut inside and fired narrowly over on 43 minutes.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing then slid home to complete a fine attacking move, but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Crawley 1

It was Pompey who threatened first early in the second half when Benson collected Brian Howard’s pass, but the on-loan striker could not beat Paul Jones at his near post.

The terrible conditions were making fluid football impossible and both sides were trying efforts from distance.

Crawley had a couple of strikes from outside the box, but neither troubled Eastwood as they were deflected behind.

Mendez-Laing swung a dangerous ball into the box on 63 minutes that Claude Davis did well to head clear before the ball could reach Benson.

But the Blues were dealt a blow on 65 minutes when Gabor Gyepes pulled up injured and limped off to be replaced by Lubomir Michalik.

It might have got even worse, but no Reds player could make a connection with Sadler’s dangerous free-kick.

Neither goalkeeper was being overly troubled, although Paul Jones did have to deal with a Michalik drive that was diverted goalwards by Darel Russell.

But Eastwood was picking the ball out of his net on 73 minutes when Clarke found space to stab home Adams’ low cross.

Whittingham reacted immediately to Pompey falling behind by bringing on another striker, with McLeod replacing Ertl.

Lee Williamson also came on and sent a fierce volley over the bar after Howard’s free-kick had only been cleared as far as the edge of the box.

The same played did find the net on 89 minutes, but referee Roger East had already blown for a Crawley free-kick.

And deep into stoppage-time, Paul Jones stuck out a hand to stop Russell from heading home Williamson’s cross.

But the Blues were unable to find a dramatic late equaliser as their winless run was extended to 11 matches.

Pompey: Eastwood; Dumbuya, Gyepes (Michalik 65), Rocha, Harley; Russell, Ertl (McLeod 73), Howard (c); Mendez-Laing (Williamson 80), Allan; Benson

Goals: Benson 10

Booked: Harley

Subs not used: Smith, Webster, Walker, Harris

Crawley: P.Jones; Hunt, Davis, Connolly, Sadler; Akpan, Simpson; M.Jones, Clarke (Bulman 83), Adams (Cooper 87); Alexander (c) (Akinde 90+2)

Goals: Sadler 28, Clarke 73

Booked: Akpan, Alexander, M.Jones

Subs not used: Kuipers, Walsh, Torres, Ajose

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 13,169

Pompey v Crawley : PREVIEW Posted by kylewhitworth December 24, 2012 

After the postponed fixture away at Hartlepool, Pompey entertain Crawley this Boxing Day at Fratton Park. A waterlogged pitch meant the Blues were unable to push for their first victory in 10 games away at Victoria Park. Pompey will be looking to complete a league double over Crawley after winning 3-0 in the reverse fixture.

Team News

Pompey have no injury concerns, but will be without striker Jake Jervis who has been recalled to parent club Birmingham.

Paul Benson will be pushing to start along side Izale McLeod as a front two.

10th placed Crawley are still sweating over defender Claude Davis’ knee injury, but do expect to have Billy Clarke available.


Pompey and Crawley have only met once in all competitions, having played a League One fixture in September 2012.

Pompey won the away tie 3-0 as Adam Webster set up an Ashley Harris header to open the scoring, before goals from Luke Rodgers and Izale McLeod sealed all three points.

Crawley will feel aggrieved at the result having been reduced to 9 men with the scores level, and will be out for revenge at Fratton Park.

Crawley currently sit 10th in the league, while Pompey occupy 21st position.

Form (league only)

Pompey last five – L L D D D

Crawley – L W D W L

Line Ups

Likely Pompey line up – Eastwood, Dumbuya, Gyepes, Rocha, Harley, Williamson, Ertl, Howard, Allan, Mendez-Laing, McLeod

Likely Crawley line up – Jones, Saddler, Connolly, Walsh, Hunt, Akpan, Simpson, Bulman, Adams, Jones, Alexander


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