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Match Reports

Pompey 2 Exeter 0

Pack and Morrell on target for Blues

21 January 2023

Marlon Pack scores for Pompey against Exeter City at Fratton Park
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images
Match Reports

Pompey 2 Exeter 0

Pack and Morrell on target for Blues

21 January 2023

John Mousinho made the perfect start to life as Pompey’s new head coach after overseeing a League One victory against Exeter at Fratton Park.

The first half was a quiet affair, although debutant Matt Macey made a couple of excellent saves to keep the scores level.

But the Blues dominated much of the second half and took the lead through Marlon Pack’s volley before Joe Morrell’s first goal for the club wrapped up the points.

Mousinho made three changes from the side comprehensively beaten at Bolton for his first match in charge.

Macey came straight in between the sticks and there was a home debut for Ryley Towler, with Pack returning from suspension to skipper the team.

Josh Oluwayemi and Denver Hume both dropped to the bench, while Michael Morrison was not named in the squad.

There was a poignant tribute to Anton Walkes before the game, with a minute’s applause to remember the 25-year-old former Pompey player, who tragically died earlier in the week.

When the action started, Macey quickly endeared himself to the Fratton faithful by making a stunning save to keep out Sam Nombe’s curling effort.

Both sides then stopped the game so everyone inside the ground could pay tribute to eight-year-old Ace Rewcastle, who sadly passed away recently.

Pompey came close to forging ahead when the action restarted and Colby Bishop’s neat back-heel found Owen Dale.

He then cut the ball across the edge of the box for midfielder Morrell, who fired his shot past the post.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut openings during the first half, although Macey again came to the rescue with another fine save to deny Josh Key.

Dale almost managed to steal the ball from Cheick Diabate at the other end, but the defender was just about able to shepherd it back for keeper Jamal Blackman.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Exeter 0

The second half started in lively fashion and both sides had great chances to take the lead within seconds of each other.

It took a diving save from Blackman to keep out Connor Ogilvie’s cleanly-struck 20-yard effort, only for the Grecians to break from the resulting corner.

Jevani Brown was sent racing clear and into the box, but Macey was quickly off his line to snatch the ball from the forward’s feet.

There was  a chance to remember a third member of the Pompey family on 52 minutes, as everyone rose to applaud Steve McLenaghan, who did such excellent work to help save the club from liquidation.

Pompey’s bright start to the second period then led to a deserved breakthrough just before the hour mark.

Zak Swanson did well to keep the ball in play on the right and whip in a dangerous cross that was nodded away.

But it only went as far as PACK, whose superb 25-yard volley dipped in front of Blackman and found the bottom corner.

Mousinho then made his first substitution on 69 minutes, with Michael Jacobs making way to be replaced by Ronan Curtis.

And Pompey had another chance when Dale was brought down and Ryan Tunnicliffe played a clever free-kick along for Bishop, whose shot rose just over the bar.

Morrell should have doubled the lead when he was teed-up by Curtis in plenty of space inside the box, only to fire over.

However, he made up for that miss just a few seconds later by opening his Blues goalscoring account.

It was not the prettiest strike the Fratton faithful have seen, though, as MORRELL met Pack’s pass with a tame effort that Blackman somehow allowed to bobble over the line.

Another change followed, with Louis Thompson brought on for his first home appearance since breaking his leg in August, as Tunnicliffe made way.

And the Blues continued to push forward in the closing stages, with the Fratton faithful in fine voice as they celebrated a return to winning ways.

Pompey (4-3-3): Macey; Swanson, Raggett, Towler, Ogilvie; Tunnicliffe (Thompson 78), Pack (c), Morrell; Dale, Bishop, Jacobs (Curtis 69)
Goals: Pack 57, Morrell 74
Booked: Thompson
Subs not used: Oluwayemi, Hume, Hackett, Scarlett, Pigott

Exeter (3-4-1-2): Blackman; Sweeney (c), Diabate, Hartridge; Caprice, Chauke (Collins 46), Kite (Stansfield 70), Key; White; Brown, Nombe
Booked: Hartridge, White
Subs not used: Lee, Grounds, Stubbs, Sparkes, Harper

Referee: Ollie Yates

Attendance: 18,719 (1,589 away fans)

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