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Match Reports

Exeter 0 Pompey 0

Pompey held to a draw in Devon

29 December 2023

Terry Devlin in action for Pompey at Exeter City
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images
Match Reports

Exeter 0 Pompey 0

Pompey held to a draw in Devon

29 December 2023

Pompey brought 2023 to a close in frustrating fashion after being held to a goalless League One draw at Exeter.

The League One leaders were far from their fluent best, although still created chances to collect all three points.

John Mousinho made two changes from the side that were dramatically beaten at Bristol Rovers on Boxing Day.

Paddy Lane – who scored after coming off the bench at the Memorial Stadium – and Terry Devlin came into the starting line-up, with Abu Kamara and Joe Morrell making way.

Pompey started brightly and former Grecian Jack Sparkes saw a shot blocked after twisting his way into space.

A Marlon Pack corner was then glanced past the post by Devlin, who took a clattering in the process, but was soon back on his feet.

And an unmarked Colby Bishop probably should have done better than nod wide after being picked out by Devlin.

But the Blues soon became sloppy and although they were dominant in possession, there were too many misplaced passes.

Exeter might have taken advantage, with Dion Rankine’s header from a Tom Carroll cross flashing just off target.

And when Alex Robertson was dispossessed by Reece Cole, he squared for Sonny Cox to hit a shot straight at Will Norris.

Both sides traded corners that came to nothing as the first half drew to a close, with little to excite a big Devon crowd.

Half Time: Exeter 0 Pompey 0

Pompey were quickly out of the traps following the restart and Vil Sinisalo was alert enough to race from his line to deny Lane.

But they were still finding it tough to breach a resolute home defence, with attacks often breaking down once they reached the final third.

Mousinho responded with a triple change just past the hour mark, as Alex Robertson, Gavin Whyte and Devlin made way for Morrell, Kamara and Christian Saydee.

Kamara soon had an opportunity to break the deadlock, but could only turn a fine Sparkes cross wide at the far post.

The visitors went closer moments later, with Bishop getting into the box and cutting the ball back for Lane to draw a smart stop from Sinisalo.

And when Kamara combined well with Saydee, his low centre had to be turned behind by Alex Hartridge.

There was a moment of controversy on 78 minutes after Bishop and Saydee had combined to release Kamara in the area.

He appeared to be shoved to turf by Zak Jules, but referee Sunny Gill ignored Pompey’s desperate appeals for a penalty.

With the hosts looking to win, Mousinho made an attacking switch as Kusini Yengi came on for Sparkes.

His physical presence caused Exeter problems, but the home side were able to hold on for a share of the spoils.

Exeter (4-4-2): Sinisalo; Aimson, Diabate, Hartridge, Jules; Rankine, Carroll, Cole (c), Niskanen (Kite 83); Aitchison (Scott 90+3), Cox (Taylor 69)
Booked: Sinisalo
Subs not used: MacDonald, Sweeney, Richards

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Norris; Rafferty, Raggett, Shaughnessy, Sparkes (Yengi 83); Robertson (Morrell 62), Pack (c); Whyte (Kamara 62), Devlin (Saydee 62), Lane; Bishop
Booked: Raggett, Sparkes
Subs not used: Schofield, Towler, Scully

Referee: Sunny Gill

Attendance: 8,322 (1,335 Pompey fans)

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