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31 January 2015

Blues collect point against league leaders

Pompey held table-topping Wycombe to a goalless draw on a bitterly cold afternoon at Adams Park.

But there was a sense of two points dropped, with the Blues in complete control throughout the first half.

Matt Tubbs, in particular, had plenty of chances before the break and will be disappointed not to have taken at least one of them.

Andy Awford made six changes from the side beaten by Southend the previous week and switched to a 3-5-2 system.

Josh Passley was handed a debut on the right, while there were also starts for Ben Chorley, Jack Whatmough, Dan Butler, Danny Hollands and Ryan Taylor.

Pompey were immediately on the front foot and skipper Chorley – rising highest at the back post – could not quite guide a Butler free-kick on target in the opening seconds.

Passley then sent in a low cross from the right that centre-back Aaron Pierre did well to scramble behind.

Butler’s set-pieces were causing plenty of problems and when his corner was flicked on by Taylor, the ball was just out of reach for Tubbs.

The latter then appealed for a penalty when he played the ball against Pierre’s hand, but referee Andy D’Urso decided it was accidental.

It was Pompey who looked more like the league leaders as they continued to dominate their hosts.

But they were frustrated in their search for a goal as Tubbs raced on to a Jed Wallace pass and saw his shot blocked by Pierre on 19 minutes.

The striker was then found by Whatmough, only for Chairboys keeper Matt Ingram to deny him from point-blank range.

Tubbs was continuously beating the offside trap and should have broken the deadlock when he was picked out by Taylor’s neat pass on 22 minutes.

He raced through on goal and shaped to curl the ball past Ingram, but it flew too close to the keeper, who pushed it clear. 

And Tubbs went close again moments later, this time seeing his acrobatic volley deflected narrowly past the post.

Wycombe finally conjured their first opening on 35 minutes when Sam Wood glanced Peter Murphy’s cross wide.

But the Blues were soon back on the attack and when Tubbs returned Wallace’s pass with a neat back-heel, the midfielder’s deflected effort was well claimed by Ingram.

The hosts then came close to grabbing an undeserved lead as Joe Jacobson curled a fierce strike off the underside of the crossbar.

It was Pompey who had the final word before the interval, however, when Paul Robinson threw himself at a Butler corner and just failed to make a connection.

Half Time: Wycombe 0 Pompey 0

Pompey continued to attack at the start of the second half and Wallace had an effort blocked after breaking from inside his own half.

Then, after Paul Jones had done well to claim a high ball, Tubbs drilled a low drive wide from 20 yards.

The visitors were not creating as many openings as in the first half, but still dominating possession and looking to launch quick breaks.

Wycombe came close to breaking the deadlock on 70 minutes, though, when the ball bounced around the Blues box before Chorley could hack it clear.

But Jacobson sent a cross back into the area which was met by Fred Onyedinma and diverted inches wide.

Pompey seemed content to settle for a point with Wanderers becoming more of a threat as the half progressed.

But they almost caught their opponents on the counter-attack on 82 minutes when Wallace picked out Passley with a fine cross-field pass.

The loanee sent a dangerous ball into the box that Taylor could not quite connect with, despite flinging himself forward.

Jones might have gifted the hosts a late winner when he failed to hold Jacobson’s corner, but recovered to stop Alfie Mawson converting the loose ball.

Neither side was able to steal victory in the closing stages, but Pompey could take plenty of positives from an impressive performance.

Wycombe (4-3-3): Ingram; Jombati, Mawson, Pierre, Jacobson; Murphy (c), Bean, Ephraim (Holloway 66); Onyedinma, McClure (Craig 79), Wood
Booked: Holloway
Subs not used: Richardson, Rowe, Kretzschmar, Bloomfield, Senior

Pompey (3-5-2): Jones; Chorley (c) (Devera 89), Robinson, Whatmough; Passley, Dunne, Wallace, Hollands, Butler; Tubbs (Ertl 90+2), Taylor
Booked: Passley, Whatmough, Jones, Dunne
Subs not used: Poke, Atangana, Barcham, Westcarr, Chaplin

Referee: Andy D’Urso

Attendance: 5,829 (1,550 Pompey fans)

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