Portsmouth 0-0 Barnsley
PORTSMOUTH were left to rue spurning a golden chance to end their seven-game run without a league win – Omar Bogle seeing his penalty on the hour mark saved by Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies to ensure a stalemate between the two promotion-chasing sides at Fratton Park.
There were, however, plenty of positives for manager Kenny Jackett and the fans to take from the encouraging performance against second-placed Tykes, but the over-riding emotion will be one of disappointment. It was a fifth successive league draw and a first clean sheet in 13 league games but it could have been so much more.
There was controversy too when the spot-kick was awarded with a moment’s hesitation as Ronan Curtis clearly believed he was the chosen penalty taker, only for Bogle to grab the ball. There would have been no issue if Bogle had scored after effectively demanding the responsibility but he didn’t, and a great chance to move to within two points of Barnsley was lost.
With injuries and indifferent form causing selection problems for Jackett, there was another raft of changes for the clash with Jamal Lowe among those dropping to the bench – Viv Solomon-Otabor coming in on the left, Curtis switching to the right of midfield, and Bogle back up front.
The pre-match chat appeared to centre on whether Jackett had opted for a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-2-3-1 – whatever it was there was no immediate upturn in form despite Curtis looking dangerous whenever he ran at the Tykes defence.
At the other end Barnsley’s Jacob Brown was keen to shoot at every opportunity and he flashed an effort wide of Craig MacGillivray’s goal from 20 yards midway through the first half.
Pompey then went up the other end and created their best chance of the half, Bryn Morris heading wide from Solomon-Otabor’s left wing cross.
Despite matching their opponents there no real threat on the Barnsley goal until the 39th minute when Tykes goalkeeper Davies was called into action after good work from Bogle.
The striker picked up the pieces when Liam Lindsay lost possession and put Solomon-Otabor in on goal only for Davies to come out and save the winger’s effort – a good chance squandered.
Pompey’s bright end to the opening period appeared to galvanise the players who came out for the second half looking to keep the pressure on the visitors.
Solomon-Otabor and Curtis were looking dangerous down the flanks and Morris and Close were starting to gain the upper hand in central midfield.
Just before the hour mark Curtis was again in full flow, breaking into the box, only to fire a left-footed effort straight at Davis in the Barnsley goal.
The Pompey faithful were in full voice with chants of ‘Micky Kennedy’ ringing round the stadium in honour of the former midfielder who died recently – a minute’s applause held before kick-off.
Portsmouth’s wide men were causing real problems, and they were handed the chance to grab the opener when one of the wingers, Solomon-Otabor, was brought down in the box by Dimitri Cavare.
Referee Charles Breakspear had no hesitation in pointing to the spot before Bogle and Curtis had their ‘debate’ over who would take the penalty. Bogle won as did Davies in the Barnsley goal who dived to his right and pushed his effort wide of the goal.
The miss clearly had an effect on the Portsmouth players and soon after Barnsley had a great chance to take the lead only for Dani Pinillos to fire over the bar after good work from Cauley Woodrow.
Barnsley had further chances with Jacob Brown hitting the woodwork and MacGillivray saving from Ethan Pinnock, but the penalty miss was the stand-out incident of the game.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Curtis, Morris, Solomon-Otabor (Lowe 77mins); Bogle (Vaughan 84). Subs (not used): Bass (gk), Haunstrup, Donohoe, Evans, Hawkins.
Barnsley (4-4-2): Davies; Cavare, Lindsay, Pinnock, Pinillos; Brown, Mowatt, McGeehan, Thiam (Hedges, 75mins); Bahre (Adeboyejo 59), Woodrow. Subs (not used): Walton (gk), Dougall, Green, Jackson, Styles.
Referee: Charles Breakspear