Late drama denies Pompey

From left: Ryan Taylor, Ben Chorley and Joe Devera attempt to keep Exeter at bay Picture: Joe Pepler
From left: Ryan Taylor, Ben Chorley and Joe Devera attempt to keep Exeter at bay Picture: Joe Pepler
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Liam Sercombe broke Pompey hearts with a late, late leveller at Exeter today.

Sercombe struck from 10 yards deep into stoppage time to give his side a 1-1 draw at St James Park.

Jake Jervis looked to have landed his side a precious three points in the League Two relegation dogfight with a 10th minute goal from a set piece.

But Richie Barker’s men had missed chances to blame when Sercombe delivered a painful last-ditch effort.

There were plenty of opportunities for Pompey to put daylight between themselves and their hosts – none clearer than when Ryan Taylor fired wide of an open goal after a mistake by keeper Artur Krysiak.

The result leaves the Blues four points from the relegation places.

Exeter threatened first, with Trevor Carson holding Danny Butterfield’s 20-yard drive.

Painter then saw his shot saved from 30 yards, before Pompey made the breakthrough after nine minutes.

It was Ricky Holmes’ free-kick which supplied the ammunition for Ben Chorley to head back across goal – and Jervis tucked the ball away from a couple of yards.

No-one could get on the end of a fine Butterfield cross moments later, before Painter saw another effort saved from outside the box.

Holmes threatened with two shots from outside the box, before a top-drawer save from Carson kept Pompey in front 12 minutes before the break.

That kept 1,442 soggy Pompey fans happy on the open terrace at the interval.

Pompey started the second-half on the front foot, with Jervis unable to convert Taylor’s cross.

Then there was no blue shirt to tap in Holmes’ cross from a short corner after 52 minutes.

Carson made another save to deny Jimmy Keohane, before the same player put a free header wide.

The Blues looked like they had a second after 62 minutes when Jervis flew down the left and crossed for Holmes, who poked the ball inches wide.

Nicky Shorey forced Krysiak into a save from 20 yards before a frantic finale.

First Carson saved Wes Fogden’s blushes when the midfielder headed past the keeper.

Yet he superbly recovered to dive on the ball.

Then substitute Patrick Agyemang couldn’t tap in fellow sub Andy Barcham’s cross.

Pompey looked to have a killer second when Krysiak missed a backpass but Taylor fired wide of a completely open goal.

Exeter sub David Wheeler had the ball in the net late on, but the flag was up for offside.

Then Sercombe stepped up deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for his side.