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Match Reports

Stevenage 0 Pompey 0

Both sides finish the game with 10 men

26 August 2023

Marlon Pack in action for Pompey at Stevenage
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images
Match Reports

Stevenage 0 Pompey 0

Both sides finish the game with 10 men

26 August 2023

Pompey kept a fourth successive League One clean sheet, but had to be content with a point at Stevenage.

There were not too many clear-cut openings at either end of the pitch in an affair that became increasing bad-tempered.

And a clash between Joe Rafferty and Jake Forster-Caskey early in the second half saw both sides reduced to 10 men.

Although the Blues were unable to break down their opponents, they did at least set a new club record by stretching their unbeaten league run to 16 matches.

John Mousinho made two changes from the side that drew with Cheltenham on home soil the previous week.

Jack Sparkes was handed a full league debut in a wide attacking role, with Abu Kamara also returning, as Anthony Scully and Alex Robertson made way.

Nathan Thompson was suspended for the home side, but his brother Louis and fellow former Fratton favourites Ben Thompson and Dan Butler all started.

Pompey dominated possession throughout the first half and were just struggling to turn it into many meaningful opportunities.

There were a few teasing crosses flashed across the area, with a blue-shirted player unable to get on the end of them.

The long throws of Alex MacDonald were causing issues at the other end and when one was flicked on by Aaron Pressley, a Jamie Reid header was well saved by Will Norris.

A Rafferty corner then led to a chance for the visitors, but Regan Poole – who thought he had received a shove – could not keep his header down.

The action was starting to liven up and Pressley diverted a cross over, while another MacDonald throw led to Jordan Roberts firing against the outside of the post.

In between those opportunities, a neat passing move from Pompey finished with Kamara’s shot being saved by the legs of Taye Ashby-Hammond.

But the main talking point came on the sidelines in stoppage-time, when the Boro bench stopped the Blues taking a throw.

It led to a some angry words being swapped and referee Simon Mather eventually calmed things down.

Stevenage assistant Paul Raynor was pretty still riled up, however, and soon received a yellow card for his protests.

Half Time: Stevenage 0 Pompey 0

The visitors came charging out of the blocks after the restart and caused their opponents a few problems.

But when a cross deflected off Rafferty and drifted towards goal, Connor Ogilvie had to make a fine headed clearance.

Again, it was an off-the-ball incident that then sparked the contest back into life just before the hour mark.

Rafferty and Forster-Caskey both challenged for possession, with the Stevenage midfielder appearing to lash out at his opponent.

It was not immediately clear what the Pompey defender did to retaliate, but Mather immediately brandished a red card to each player.

Mousinho freshened things up with a switch on 65 minutes, as Sparkes made way for Paddy Lane on the left.

And another substitution followed shortly afterwards, with Alex Robertson brought on for Gavin Whyte.

It was starting to become very open, with attacks switching from one end to the other in quick succession.

Mousinho’s final switch on 77 minutes saw Kamara – who was starting to tire – replaced by Zak Swanson.

The curse of the officials then struck once again, although this time it was referee Mather who went down requiring treatment.

He gamely tried to keep going, but eventually had to limp from the field to be replaced by Stephen Finch.

It was a similar story on the pitch as both sides continued to show plenty of endeavour during 11 minutes of stoppage-time, but to no avail.

Stevenage (4-3-3): Ashby-Hammond; MacDonald, Burns, Piergianni (c), Butler; B.Thompson, L.Thompson (March 84), Forster-Caskey; Reid (List 73), Pressley (Neal 72), Roberts
Sent off: Forster-Caskey
Booked: L.Thompson, Reid, Ashby-Hammond, List
Subs not used: Hegyi, Sweeney, Hannam, Anderson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Poole, Shaughnessy, Ogilvie; Morrell, Pack (c); Kamara (Swanson 77), Whyte (Robertson 69), Sparkes (Lane 65); Bishop
Sent off: Rafferty
Booked: Whyte, Kamara, Swanson
Subs not used: Schofield, Raggett, Devlin, Saydee

Referee: Simon Mather

Attendance: 5,352 (1,384 Pompey fans)

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