Lowe header secures Shakers win
Pompey’s season continued to drift towards a conclusion as they lost to Bury by a single goal.
In a game of precious few clear-cut chances, Ryan Lowe settled matters by heading home just before the interval.
Jed Wallace came closest to finding the target for the Blues, but they never really looked like salvaging a point.
Gary Waddock made three changes from the side narrowly beaten at Stevenage during the week.
Ben Close made his first league start in a diamond midfield along with the fit-again Jed Wallace, while Craig Westcarr returned in attack.
James Dunne and Ryan Taylor both missed out through injury, with Dan Butler dropping to the bench.
Pompey’s injury problems meant that only six substitutes could be named, including teenage academy prospect Adam May.
The match began at a very leisurely pace typical of an end of season affair, despite Bury being very much in the hunt for automatic promotion.
Neither side created any meaningful chances in the opening stages, although the crowd at least had the warm April sunshine to enjoy.
But the game suddenly burst into life on 16 minutes when Tom Eaves latched onto a long pass and bore down on goal, only to be denied by a superb sliding challenge from Adam Webster.
Pompey sent a couple of dangerous crosses into the box at the other end, but Nick Pope was enjoying a quiet afternoon.
The Shakers keeper was finally called into action midway through the first half and nervously flapped behind a Wallace cross.
Wallace was looking the Blues’ most dangerous player and forced a fine save from Pope when he beat Adam El-Abd and fired in a fierce shot.
The hosts were now starting to move through the gears and Pope again denied Wallace after the midfielder – playing at the tip of the diamond – had tricked his way into space on 31 minutes.
But it was Bury who forged ahead just before the break when substitute Lowe was left in far too much space to head home Joe Riley’s cross from close range.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Bury 1
The visitors came roaring out of the traps at the start of the second half and Chris Hussey curled a free-kick narrowly over.
Andrew Tutte then broke down the left and delivered a low cross into the box that Nicky Shorey had to hack clear.
Pompey were struggling to create much against a resolute Shakers defence at the other end, although Wallace did force a simple save from Pope on the hour mark.
Waddock was forced into making his first switch after 66 minutes, with Nyron Nosworthy limping off and being replaced by Johnny Ertl.
And another change soon followed as Conor Chaplin became the fourth academy graduate to enter the fray, with Matt Tubbs making way.
There was still not much happening to excite the crowd, however, with the visitors content to sit on their advantage and Pompey doing little to trouble them.
They did have a chance on 79 minutes, however, when Chaplin got a touch on Joe Devera’s pass, only for Pope to race off his line and get to the ball before Danny Hollands could stab it home.
The match was not one that will live long in the memory – except for teenager May, who replaced Close for his senior debut late on.
Pompey (4-diamond-2): Jones; Devera, Nosworthy (Ertl 66), Webster, Shorey; Atangana, Close (May 85), Wallace, Hollands (c); Westcarr, Tubbs (Chaplin 70)
Subs not used: Poke, Butler, Fogden
Bury (4-1-4-1): Pope; Riley, Cameron (c), El-Abd, Hussey; Etuhu (Sedgwick 72); Jones, Tutte, Soares, Mayor (Rose 81); Eaves (Lowe 32)
Goals: Lowe 45
Subs not used: Lainton, O’Brien, Adams, Nardiello
Referee: James Adcock
Attendance: 14,569 (499 away fans)