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Match Reports

Pompey 0 Torquay 1

1 February 2014

Pompey 0 Torquay 1

An early goal from Billy Bodin was enough for Torquay to draw Pompey back into the League Two relegation battle.

And the visitors never really looked like surrendering their lead to a lacklustre Blues side that offered little going forward.

Gulls keeper Michael Poke did not have a difficult save to make, with his defence doing a sterling job of keeping out Pompey’s attack.

Richie Barker made two changes from the side that won at Wycombe during the week.

Jed Wallace and Ricky Holmes returned to the wide positions, with Andy Barcham and Wes Fogden dropping to the bench.

The game struggled to get going in the early stages, as the strong wind and heavy pitch were undoubtedly making life difficult.

The visitors did go close early on when Kevin Nicholson curled a free-kick onto the roof of the net.

Some in the Milton End thought it had dipped under the crossbar – and the Fratton faithful revelled in their slow realisation that it had not.

There was not much more to get excited about, although the home fans did voice their frustrations when referee Dean Whitestone inadvertently got in the way of a promising attack.

It was Torquay who were looking more likely to open the scoring and skipper Ben Chorley made a desperate clearance on 19 minutes after Trevor Carson had palmed Jayden Stockley’s shot straight back into the danger zone.

Pompey finally threatened midway through the first half, but the ball would not quite fall kindly for either Ryan Taylor or Jake Jervis to get a shot away.

But it was the Gulls who broke the deadlock on 28 minutes when Joss Labadie broke down the right and his cross was deflected into the path of Bodin, who slammed home past a helpless Carson.

The hosts tried to hit back immediately, but Anthony O’Connor just about beat Romain Padovani to Marcos Painter’s dangerous ball into the box.

And they went close again late in the half when Nicky Shorey’s free-kick was only cleared as far as Holmes’, whose fierce drive was bravely blocked by Dale Tonge.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Torquay 1

Pompey looked full of energy at the start of the second half, but Poke was still not being troubled in the Torquay goal.

He was called into action on 54 minutes, though, snuffing out Wallace’s low cross before it could reach its intended target.

Holmes then drilled well wide from distance as the Blues started to grow desperate in their search for a goal.

With that in mind, Barker made his first change on 63 minutes, with Patrick Agyemang replacing Jervis up front.

But it was Taylor who had a decent opportunity moments later, as the striker was just inches away from meeting Daniel Alfei’s cross.

A second substitution followed on 73 minutes with Fogden coming on for Padovani in the centre of the park.

The third and final change was then made soon after, with Painter making way for Barcham in an attacking move.

A fox decided that was the moment to race in front of the Milton End before making its escape via the North Stand.

But it was fox in the box that the hosts really wanted, as Torquay continued to comfortably hold the Blues at bay.

Poke finally had a save to make on 86 minutes, although he was not overly troubled by Fogden’s weak effort from 25 yards.

Chorley and Fogden then both fired over the bar from inside the box late on as Pompey’s hopes of snatching a point drifted away.

Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Alfei, Devera, Chorley (c), Painter (Barcham 79); Holmes, Padovani (Fogden 73), Shorey, Wallace; Jervis (Agyemang 63), Taylor
Subs not used: Smith, Bradley, Ertl, Racon,

Torquay (4-4-2): Poke; Tonge, Pearce, O’Connor, Nicholson; Goodwin (Mansell 73), Lathrope, Labadie (c), Bodin (Cruise 79); Stockley (O’Brien 83), Benyon
Goals: Bodin 18
Subs not used: Rice, Downes, Chapell, Hawley

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 15,474 (741 away fans)

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