Taylor header secures victory for Blues
Ryan Taylor scored the only goal of the game as Pompey picked up a valuable victory against AFC Wimbledon at a wet and windy Fratton Park.
The striker headed home Daniel Alfei’s cross early in the second half to help pull the Blues further away from the bottom two.
It was not a game of many clear-cut chances, but there were still some nervy moments as Pompey held on towards the end.
Richie Barker made two changes from the side that drew at Exeter the previous week.
Sonny Bradley came in for the injured Joe Devera (knee) at centre-back, while Jed Wallace replaced Wes Fogden wide on the right.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey star Keith Blackburn and ex-England and Preston forward Sir Tom Finney, who both passed away recently.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start, although they were unable to do anything with a free-kick after Marcos Painter had fouled Danny Hylton right on the edge of the box.
His strike partner Charlie Wyke then burst into the area and sent a low shot bobbling inches past the post.
Ricky Holmes did find some joy down the left on 15 minutes, although the wind made sure his cross evaded everyone on its way out of play.
The conditions were undoubtedly making life difficult for both sets of sides, although it was Pompey who were playing into the strong gusts.
But the hosts had an opportunity on 26 minutes, when Holmes’ fierce drive had to be pushed to safety by Dons keeper Ross Worner.
Nicky Shorey then swung in a superb cross from the left, with Jim Fenlon forced to clear before Wallace could reach it.
Driving rain was soon another factor for the sides to take into account as they struggled for any fluency.
The visitors did have a couple of half-chances before the end of the first half, but it was all square at the break.
Half Time: Pompey 0 AFC Wimbledon 0
Pompey had created few chances before the break, but the interval team-talk seemed to do the trick as they came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half.
Firstly, Taylor did well to win a corner that resulted in a scramble inside the AFC Wimbledon area before the ball was hacked to safety.
But the Blues were ahead on 52 minutes when TAYLOR rose highest at the near post to head home Alfei’s cross.
The striker needed treatment after receiving a cut to the head while leaping for the ball and had to be bandaged up on the sidelines.
But he did not last much longer, picking up a groin injury that saw Patrick Agyemang called from the bench
AFC Wimbledon went on the attack as they sought out an equaliser and Trevor Carson made a stunning save from point-blank range after Alan Bennett had met George Francomb’s free-kick.
The visitors made a triple substitution as boss Neal Ardley tried to find a route back into the game, while Fogden replaced Holmes for Pompey.
But it was centre-back Will Antwi who came close to equalising when he met Sammy Moore’s free-kick on 75 minutes, only for Painter to head off the line.
Andy Barcham replaced Wallace for the final five minutes as Pompey moved closer to a much-needed victory.
Bennett’s acrobatic over-head effort then landed on the roof of the net on 87 minutes, although some in the Milton End thought it had gone in.
There was an almighty scramble in the Blues box during stoppage-time, with the ball finally hacked to safety from the line.
But the Dons were unable to find an equaliser in the added four minutes, with the final whistle sending the Fratton faithful wild with delight.
Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Alfei, Chorley (c), Bradley, Painter; Wallace (Barcham 86), Racon, Shorey, Holmes (Fogden 74); Jervis, Taylor (Agyemang 59)
Goals: Taylor 52
Subs not used: Smith, N’Gala, Padovani, Harris
AFC Wimbledon (3-5-2): Worner; Jones, Bennett (c), Antwi; Francomb (Saint-Luce 72), S.Moore, Morris, L.Moore, Fenlon (Arthur 72); Hylton (Midson 72), Wyke
Subs not used: Brown, Pell, Oakley
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 15,742 (1,999 away fans)