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17 January 2015

Wallace goal not enough for victory

A late goal from Darragh Lenihan denied Pompey victory against high-flying Burton in their first home fixture of 2015.

The hosts created plenty of chances and broke the deadlock when Andy Barcham struck the woodwork and top scorer Jed Wallace gobbled up the loose ball.

Burton did not cause Paul Jones too many problems at the other end, but Lenihan fired home in the closing stages to ensure a share of the spoils.

Andy Awford made three changes from the side controversially beaten at Newport the previous week.

Craig Westcarr replaced Ryan Taylor alongside Matt Tubbs – making his home debut – up front.

There were also starts for Barcham and James Dunne in midfield, with Johnny Ertl and Danny Hollands dropping to the bench.

Paul McCallum had to be content with a place among the substitutes after arriving on loan from West Ham during the week.

The game was slow to get going, as both sides struggled to deal with a surface that had been affected by the recent wet weather.

Pompey did create an opening on 11 minutes, though, when Wallace met Westcarr’s low cross, only to see his effort blocked.

But it was Burton who started to apply some pressure as the half progressed and Jacob Blyth soon went close to breaking the deadlock after referee Oliver Langford played the advantage following Paul Robinson’s foul on Stuart Beavon.

Adam Webster made a vital block to keep out Blyth’s first shot, however, while Robinson got in the way of his second.

And Damien McCrory then drilled the ball narrowly over the bar from 20 yards as the visitors poured forward.

But the Blues slowly started to gain a foothold on the game midway through the first half.

Jon McLaughlin managed to keep out a Wallace cross that drifted goalwards before tearing off his line to smother Tubbs’ shot.

The Brewers keeper then almost handed Pompey a comedy opener on 32 minutes when his clearance cannoned off the back of team-mate John Mousinho, but he got back quickly to stop the ball from rolling into the net.

That failed to halt the hosts’ charge and George Taft’s faint touch on a Westcarr cross was just enough to divert it away from Tubbs.

But the Blues took a deserved lead thanks to a fine attacking move on 37 minutes.

Tubbs headed down a cross for Barcham, whose sweet volley cannoned back off the post for WALLACE to slot home.

Pompey were not content with just a one-goal lead, however, and Barcham could not quite beat McLaughlin from an acute angle after bursting into the box.

Wallace then swapped passes with Tubbs down the right, but his raking pass was just out of reach for the unmarked Westcarr.

Burton finally rallied just before the break, only for Beavon to waste a glorious chance by blazing over from close range.

The striker had another attempt in stoppage-time, but Jones got down to parry clear his low shot.
Half Time: Pompey 1 Burton 0

Pompey had a chance to extend their advantage just after the restart when Nigel Atangana flicked on Westcarr’s corner, but Webster’s header was well saved by McLaughlin.

Burton did start to dominate possession, but a well-marshalled defence meant that Jones was not being troubled.

It was fairly quiet at both ends of the pitch, with the lack of action causing the atmosphere to fall a bit flat.

But Pompey did have appeals for a penalty turned down on 69 minutes when the ball bounced off Robbie Weir’s foot and struck him on the arm.

Awford then made his first switch a few minutes later when Dunne – who had earlier gone down injured – made way for Ertl.

And McCallum followed soon after, coming on for Westcarr to make his Blues debut in attack.

He made an immediate impact with a ball into the box that Tubbs – at full stretch – could only head over.

Instead it was Burton who scored on 83 minutes when Lenihan surged down the middle and drove a low shot into the bottom corner.

Pompey tried to hit back immediately and Wallace picked out McCallum with a fine cross from the right, but the striker was unable to keep his effort down after doing well to bring the ball under control.

Webster then did well to retain possession and feed Wallace, who sent a low shot into area.

Tubbs picked the ball up, but his first touch took him away from goal and he could only turn and fire straight into McLaughlin’s arms.

Pompey fans were given hope when the fourth official signalled six minutes of stoppage-time, but their side were unable to find a winner.

Pompey (4-4-2): Jones; Webster, Robinson (c), Devera, Shorey; Wallace, Dunne (Ertl 73), Atangana, Barcham (Hollands 90+2); Tubbs, Westcarr (McCallum 79)
Goals: Wallace 37
Booked: Dunne
Subs not used: Poke, Chorley, Butler, Taylor

Burton (4-4-2): McLaughlin; Edwards, Taft, Mousinho (c), McCrory; Maynard (McGurk 82), Weir, Lenihan, Palmer (Akins 55); Blyth, Beavon (Harness 69)
Goals: Lenihan 83
Booked: Weir
Subs not used: Shearer, Maletic, Slade, Knowles

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 14,323 (211 away fans)

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