Pompey grafted to a hard-earned 0-0 draw at promotion-chasing Oxford today.
It wasn’t pretty at the Kassam Stadium, but that mattered little to Richie Barker’s men who produced a hard-earned and organised display.
There was little in the way of clear-cut chances, but Pompey could have nicked it with nine minutes left when Joe Devera missed the ball five yards out from Jed Wallace’s free-kick.
The clean sheet was a boost for a new-look side who included debut-making trio Ryan Taylor, Daniel Alfei and Nicky Shorey, who all performed solidly.
Pompey’s line-up raised a few eyebrows, with Nicky Shorey starting in central-midfield.
Simon Ferry returned on the right flank with Taylor and Patrick Agyemang paired up top in a 4-4-2.
It was Agyemang who first threatened after four minutes, as he dragged a shot just wide from 25 yards.
Danny Rose then hit a harmless effort wide from 25 yards, before Trevor Carson gathered a Ryan Williams effort from the same distance after 19 minutes.
The best chance of the half fell to Tom Newey, who put a free header over the top from Rose’s corner after 32 minutes.
It wasn’t spectacular stuff but Pompey would have been pleased enough with their organised effort as it remained goalless at the break.
Pompey had a good chance seconds after the restart as Wallace’s cross was perfect for Devera to head home from a yard out – until David Hunt denied him at the last second.
Then Alfei cracked a half-volley inches wide from 25 yards after 62 minutes.
Williams hit one over from distance for the home side, before Rose had an angled drive fly inches wide.
Devera missed a great chance with nine minutes left as he somehow completely missed the ball five yards out from Wallace’s free-kick.
But Barker’s side held out to collect a point they will be pleased with.