Charlton 0 Pompey 1

Pompey celebrate Curtis Main's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Curtis Main's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey rediscovered their goal touch to fire themselves into the next round of the Checkatrade Trophy.

It had been 424 minutes without a Blues player netting before Curtis Main struck a decisive finish in last night’s encounter at The Valley.

That was enough to settle the match in the visitors’ favour as they clambered above Charlton Athletic to top southern group A and qualify for the competition’s knockout stages.

On a night when Kenny Jackett rotated his squad, Main registered his first goal in 13 months – capping a return from his latest injury concern.

The cross from the right had been supplied by Kal Naismith, making only his fifth appearance since August having fallen out of favour.

Certainly the presence of last season’s top scorer will have delighted many Pompey followers, who had been calling for the Scot’s inclusion in a period when the side have struggled for goals.

As it was, Naismith saw out the full 90 minutes in an attacking role in front a typically low Checkatrade Trophy crowd of 1,307 – including 206 away fans.

And for Jackett, it ended a concerning run of four straight defeats before Saturday’s tricky League One encounter at Blackpool.

The Blues boss had made eight changes to the side which exited the FA Cup at Luton on Saturday as the Blues boss rotated his squad.

In addition to Naismith, there were also recalls for fellow League Two title-winning regulars Danny Rose and Gareth Evans, similarly out of favour this season.

Elsewhere, Milan Lalkovic was handed his second appearance of the season, with Oli Hawkins, Nathan Thompson and Luke McGee the only players from Saturday to retain their places.

Designated substitute Brett Pitman was replaced by Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain after feeling a slight twinge in his knee during the warm-up.

On five minutes, Ahmed Kashi drilled in a shot from 25 yards which headed straight to keeper McGee and was dealt with comfortably.

At the other end, Adam May won a free-kick which was delivered by Naismith to the far post where Hawkins’ angled header was easily captured by Dillon Phillips.

Yet on 19 minutes the deadlock was broken through Main.

Lalkovic flighted a right-footed cross to the far post where Naismith slid the ball back across goal for the unmarked Main to finish from close range.

Charlton responded with Joe Dodoo carving out space for himself inside Pompey’s penalty area before drawing a low save from McGee.

There was a scare for the visitors on 40 minutes when Patrick Bauer’s far-post header deflected off May and McGee had to produce a scrambling stop on the line to prevent an own goal.

After the break, there were little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities at a rain-drenched Valley.

However, substitute Jamal Lowe did force Phillips into a save with a powerful shot after bursting into the right-hand channel of the box.

Charlton applied late pressure and Naby Sarr really should have levelled on 90 minutes, only to put a right-wing cross from former Pompey man Ricky Holmes’ over the bar from close range.

That was their last opportunity as Pompey held on for victory.

Pompey: McGee, Evans, Hawkins, Thompson, Donohue, Rose, May, Lalkovic (58 mins Kennedy), Chaplin (86 mins O’Keefe), Naismith, Main (58 mins Lowe).

Subs Not Used: Bass, Burgess, Pitman, Haunstrup.

Charlton: Phillips, Dijksteel, Bauer, Sarr, Mascoll, Aribo, Kashi, Ahearne-Grant (70 mins Holmes), Clarke, Tarique (9 mins Reeves), Dodoo (59 mins Hackett-Fairchild).

Subs Not Used: Maynard-Brewer, Marshall, Forster-Caskey, Barnes.

Attendance; 1,307 (206 away)