Back-to-back wins reignite Pompey’s Hopes of Automatic Promotion

Portsmouth 2-0 Scunthorpe United

OMAR Bogle and Jamal Lowe were on target in the second half as Pompey’s patience paid off with an ultimately comfortable win over Scunthorpe at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth had to work hard for the victory on a blustery afternoon – the three points cutting the deficit to the top two in League One to four points.  

Bogle opened the scoring with his fourth goal in eight Portsmouth appearances before Lowe grabbed the second with a great finish. The win allowed Kenny Jackett’s side to take advantage of Barnsley slipping up at Doncaster on Friday night.

It was a hard-earned victory for Pompey as they struggled to counter the conditions in a game where the result was far more important than the performance.

It was the second of a three-game run before the Checkatrade Trophy Final – three games that Jackett will expect a maximum points return from; Shrewsbury the final clash in a week’s time before the Wembley date.

Jackett kept the same starting XI that beat Walsall in midweek but the windy conditions meant players happier with the ball at the feet were the main threat.

Lowe was Pompey’s big danger in the opening half hour and, after seeing an early effort fly just over Jak Alnwick’s crossbar, he had a great chance to open the scoring. Viv Solomon-Otabor was the creator threading a ball through to Lowe in the 26thminute. He looked like he had done the hard work by rounding Alnwick only to be denied by a goal-line clearance from Rory McArdle.

Scunthorpe were offering very little going forward with the dead ball delivery of Tony McMahon appearing their best chance of testing Craig MacGillivray in the home goal.

Stuart McCall’s side came into the game on the back of an impressive midweek 4-1 win over Southend United, but Pompey’s defence was providing a far tougher test for the visitors.

As half-time approached Pompey had their best chance of the game – Bogle and Lowe both failing to find a finish when Solomon-Otabor put the ball into the box.

That was just about Solomon-Otabor’s last involvement in the game as he was forced off in first-half injury time, Gareth Evans replacing the loan signing.

The second half was very much like the first with chances limited and Portsmouth relying on long-range efforts – Lee Brown and Brett Pitman both shooting from distance without success.

The longer the game went on without a goal the greater the chance that Scunthorpe could hit the home side on the break. However, Jackett’s side were still well in command and it was Lowe again denied by Alnwick when in on goal – Evans playing the ball into his path in the 68th minute.

Two minutes later and Pompey did find a way through, Bogle grabbing his fourth goal for the club from Evans’ free-kick. Evans, who signed a new two-year deal this week, sent the ball into the box and when it was half-cleared to Bogle he swivelled before sending Alnwick the wrong way.

Lowe made it safe with three minutes of normal time remaining, creating space for himself on the right of the box before an excellent finish.

Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (Donohue 87mins), Solomon-Otabor (Evans 45); Bogle (Hawkins 85). Subs (not used): Bass (gk), Walkes, Haunstrup, Isgrove.

Scunthorpe United (3-4-1-2): Alnwick; McGahey, McCardle, Burgess; McMahon (Hammill 74mins), Ojo, Perch, Pearce; Thomas (Lewis 78); Wootton, Novak. Subs (not used): Flatt (gk), Webster, Olomola, Hallam, Butroid.

Referee: Peter Wright

Attendance: 17,308