Blues crash out of the FA Cup
Pompey’s barren run in the FA Cup continued as they were knocked out by non-league Aldershot in a first round replay at the Electrical Services Stadium.
Both sides created plenty in a first half full of attacking endeavour, with Jed Wallace denied by a fine Phil Smith save.
But it was the hosts who dominated after the interval and Mark Molesley’s close-range finish secured victory for the Conference Premier side.
Andy Awford made four changes from the side comprehensively beaten at Plymouth at the weekend.
Paul Robinson came straight back into the defence after serving a one-match ban, while there was a start for Nigel Atangana in midfield.
Ryan Taylor and Craig Westcarr started up front as the Blues reverted to a 4-4-2 system, with Jack Whatmough dropping into the back-line.
The tie got off to a pulsating start with both sides looking to get forward at every opportunity.
Pompey were first to threaten in the opening seconds, with the hosts forced to hack clear from the line after Ricky Holmes’ free-kick was met by Whatmough.
Aldershot then broke straight up the other end and Kieron Forbes drilled a low shot inches past the post.
The Blues were looking dangerous from set-pieces and a Holmes free-kick evaded everyone as it flew narrowly wide.
Robinson then rose highest in the box to meet Westcarr’s corner, only for a defender to block the ball’s path to goal.
It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Paul Jones was forced into action to save from Jordan Roberts before Whatmough made a great sliding block to deny former Pompey trainee Joe Oastler.
A Roberts corner then almost swung straight in at the near post, only for Danny Hollands to arrive and scramble clear.
But it took a superb save from ex-Blues stopper Smith to stop his old club breaking the deadlock on 20 minutes.
Holmes did brilliantly down the left to beat two men and swing in a cross that Wallace met with a fine volley.
The ball was headed for the bottom corner, but Smith got down quickly to his left to palm it to safety.
There were not as many clear-cut openings as the half progressed, although both sides were still showing plenty of attacking intent.
Holmes went close just before the break after collecting Nicky Shorey’s incisive pass, but Smith was again in fine form to deny the winger.
Half Time: Aldershot 0 Pompey 0
It was the hosts who came quickest out of the blocks from the restart, although Jones was not overly troubled by Dan Holman’s flicked header.
Pompey were not looking as bright as they had before the break and were guilty of gifting their opponents possession far too easily.
They almost fell behind just before the hour mark when Oastler’s free-kick was flicked on by Brett Williams, but Jones got to there just ahead of Holman.
Molesley then let the Blues off the hook by heading a cross back where it came from, rather than on target.
Pompey were being restricted to half-chances, although Jaydon Gibbs came to Smith’s rescue after the keeper spilled a free-kick.
There was a nervous moment at the other end on 71 minutes as Jones slipped twice when trying to reach Whatmough’s back-pass before eventually getting the ball clear.
He was more assured just seconds later, though, getting down quickly to palm away Williams’ goal-bound effort.
But the keeper was indebted to the experienced Shorey on 75 minutes, with the full-back calmly clearing from the line after a free-kick led to an almighty scramble in the Blues box.
Awford made his first switch soon after and it was a like-for-like one, with the yellow-carded Whatmough making way for Ben Chorley at the back.
Aldershot had failed to make their second half pressure count – until the 82nd minute when they finally grabbed the ugliest of goals.
A corner led to the ball pinging about the Pompey area and despite the best efforts of Alex Wynter, Molesley eventually stabbed home from virtually on the goal line.
And it proved to be the winner as Aldershot saw out the closing stages to set up a second round clash with Rochdale.
Aldershot (4-4-2): Smith; Gibbs, Wilson (c), Oastler, Barker (Diallo 37); Molesley, Forbes, Oyeleke, Roberts; Holman, Williams
Goals: Molesley 82
Booked: Oastler, Gibbs
Subs not used: Thomas, Hatton, Welch, N’Guessan, Fitchett, Derry
Pompey (4-4-2): Jones; Wynter, Robinson, Whatmough (Chorley 76), Shorey; Wallace, Atangana, Hollands (c), Holmes; Westcarr (Storey 82), Taylor (Agyemang 82)
Booked: Atangana, Robinson, Whatmough
Subs not used: Poke, Butler, Ertl, Close
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 5,374 (1,238 Pompey fans)