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20 March 2021 Venue Fratton Park Attendance

Kick off 13:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: Pompey v Ipswich

All you need to know about League One test

20 March 2021

Pompey v Ipswich Town

It is the start of a new era for Pompey today, as Danny Cowley takes to the Fratton Park dug-out for the first time.

His opening match in charge – flanked by younger brother Nicky – sees Ipswich visiting the south coast for a League One contest (1pm kick-off).

And a quirk of the fixture scheduling fates means that there is plenty of interest in the man stalking the other technical area as well.

The Tractor Boys also decided on a recent change of manager in an attempt to halt their slide down the table.

They opted to replace Paul Lambert with Paul Cook, who, of course, memorably led Pompey to the 2016/17 League Two title.

He has been in charge of four games so far, with one win, one draw and a couple of defeats to his name, while former Blues midfielder Gary Roberts has also joined their coaching team.

It leaves Ipswich sitting seventh in the third tier standings, three places and two points above their hosts.

They had seemed on course for promotion last term, but a dramatic downturn in form meant they were 11th when the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Pompey have already enjoyed a pair of victories over their Suffolk opponents this season – with both coming at Portman Road.

A controversial Sean Raggett goal in extra-time secured FA Cup progress, while Ryan Williams’ brace was enough to earn three points just before Christmas.

Ellis Harrison is likely to miss the rest of the season after injuring his lateral knee ligaments, while Alex Bass (foot) is still sidelined.

Pompey also have doubts over Michael Jacobs (hamstring), Callum Johnson (calf) and John Marquis (ankle).

Ipswich will have to do without key duo Flynn Downes (hamstring) and James Norwood (back) at Fratton Park.

Striker Oli Hawkins will not be able to feature against his former club, having only just returned to training following knee surgery.

Read the thoughts of new head coach Danny Cowley and midfielder Ben Close ahead of the game.

Pompey: 15 wins
Ipswich: 19 wins
12 draws

At Fratton Park
Pompey: 5 wins
Ipswich: 10 wins
7 draws

Referee: Alan Young
Assistants: Stuart Butler and Paul Evans
Fourth Official: Sam Purkiss

Supporters in the UK can watch the action live – with graphics, commentary and replays – by purchasing a match pass for £10.

Subscribers will, as usual, be able to listen to listen to live commentary from Andy Moon and Guy Whittingham by signing into their account and visiting the match centre from 12pm.

Please note that subscribers based in the UK and Ireland will still need to purchase a match pass in order to watch the game live.

Click here for more information about using iFollow on a matchday and click here for information on downloading the app, so you can access content on your mobile device.

We will have updates throughout the game on Twitter and the match centre. You can also see behind-the-scenes content on our Instagram story.

There will be post-match reaction on the website and our official YouTube channel, with highlights to follow on Sunday.

Local listeners can hear commentary by tuning in to either Express FM or BBC Radio Solent.


Pompey are the 23/20 favourites with VBET to secure all three points, while the visitors can be backed at 14/5.

Click here to find a comprehensive list of odds for Saturday’s game. 18+. Be Gamble Aware.

All games kick-off at 3pm

Accrington v Wigan
AFC Wimbledon v Charlton
Burton v MK Dons
Fleetwood v Swindon
Gillingham v Doncaster
Northampton v Crewe
Oxford v Blackpool
Plymouth v Bristol Rovers
Rochdale v Peterborough
Shrewsbury v Hull
Sunderland v Lincoln


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Match Reports

Pompey 2 Ipswich 1

Naylor and Harness on target for Cowley’s Blues

20 March 2021

Tom Naylor scores for Pompey against Ipswich at Fratton Park
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

The Danny Cowley era got off to a perfect start, as Pompey battled back to beat Ipswich at Fratton Park.

It looked like more of the same for the Blues, who fell behind to James Norwood’s emphatic first half strike.

But Tom Naylor nodded the hosts back on level terms before the break and Marcus Harness slotted home the winner after it.

Cowley’s first starting line-up saw two changes from the side that were narrowly beaten at Peterborough earlier in the week.

Jordy Hiwula and Marcus Harness both returned, with Ben Close and Rasmus Nicolaisen dropping to the bench.

After playing with three at the back against Posh, there was also a switch to a 4-2-3-1 system, with Ryan Williams tucked in behind Hiwula.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition technical area, with Paul Cook and Gary Roberts leading the Tractor Boys.

Ronan Curtis had an early attempt, courtesy of a 35-yard free-kick that was bent over the wall, but comfortably into the arms of Tomas Holy.

There was plenty of noise being generated by both managers, as well as the injured John Marquis up in the South Stand.

It was not a particularly rip-roaring contest on the pitch, though, with both sides showing plenty of energy, but failing to turn that into clear-cut chances.

Ipswich’s first opportunity also came from a free-kick, with Jack Whatmough booked for his challenge on Keanan Bennetts.

Andy Cannon adopted the now popular ‘draught excluder’ technique by laying down flat behind the wall.

Alan Judge bent his strike over it, however, and Craig MacGillivray flung himself to the left to push the ball clear.

But the visitors did break the deadlock soon after, as Norwood raced onto Gwion Edwards’ threaded pass and rifled home.

Pompey quickly fought back, though, and levelled by scoring their first goal in 358 minutes of football.

Curtis whipped a fine corner into the box and NAYLOR rose highest to send a header against the inside of the post and into the net.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Ipswich 1

An early long-range attempt from Edwards straight after the restart was easily dealt with by MacGillivray.

The Blues then came close to taking the lead for the first time in what would have been a similar goal to their first.

Naylor again met a corner from Curtis, but this time Holy was able to push the ball away – then stop Sean Raggett from converting the rebound.

Cowley made his first switch just before the hour mark, with Andy Cannon – who had just been booked – making way for Close.

Williams then had a chance after being picked out by Harness following a quick break, but could not keep his angled strike on target.

A second switch followed on 72 minutes, with Michael Jacobs on for Hiwula and Curtis moving up front.

And it was the Republic of Ireland international who provided the pass for Pompey’s second goal a few seconds later.

He sent a low pass across the area and HARNESS’ first shot was blocked by Judge, but the ball landed back at his feet to slam past a helpless Holy.

Pompey looked to keep possession as much as possible in the closing stages, but had two late chances to increase their lead.

Toto Nsiala almost sliced a Harness cross into his own net and then, from the resulting corner, Holy kept out James Bolton’s header from point-blank range.

But the Blues saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to collect a precious three points and ensure the Cowley brothers began their reign with a win.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Cannon (Close 58); Harness, Williams, Curtis; Hiwula (Jacobs 72)
Goals: Naylor 41, Harness 72
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Cannon, Jacobs
Subs not used: Ward, Mnoga, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Byers

Ipswich (4-2-3-1): Holy; Chambers (c), Nsiala, Wilson (Vincent-Young 79), Ward; Bishop (Parrott 89), Dozzell; Edwards, Judge (Jackson 79), Bennetts (Dobra 59); Norwood
Goals: Norwood 32
Booked: Edwards, Chambers, Bishop
Subs not used: Cornell, McGuinness, Skuse

Referee: Alan Young

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