Dominant Pompey held in Crawley stalemate

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Pompey had to settle for a point and a 0-0 draw at Crawley, despite dominating possession at the Stadium.

Paul Cook’s side were denied the chance to extend their 100-per-cent winning start to the season as the Red Devils seemed content to get players behind the ball and hit the Blues on the counter-attack.

It meant long spells in the opposition half for Pompey but without any reward as Crawley shut-up shop and denied the visitors any clear sight of goal.

The Blues’ best chance arrived as early as the eighth minute, when a strong Nigel Atangana run saw him pick out the run of Matt Tubbs.

However, the diminutive front man couldn’t find the finish to outwit keeper Freddie Woodman.

The best the hosts could offer was a long-range effort from Luke Rooney midway through the half that Brian Murphy dealt with comfortably.

Gary Roberts on the ball for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gary Roberts on the ball for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

But apart from that it was all Pompey, with Kyle Bennett firing over, Matt Clarke trying his luck from a corner kick and Christian Burgess attempting to catch Woodman off his line with a free-kick from inside his own half.

In the second half, the Blues continued to boss proceedings.

And the pressure they mounted on their hosts increased with the introduction of Adam McGurk in the 51st minute for Ben Davies.

He added a bit more attacking intent but it was the same result in front of goal as Tubbs and then the Northern Irishman tested Woodman but without hurting Crawley.

The introduction of Jayden Stockley and Conor Chaplin for Tubbs and Bennett in the 81st minute suggested Cook was desperate to claim a well-deserved three points.

That added extra impetus to the Blues’ attacking play, but it was Crawley who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 86th minute when Lewis Young raced through from the right, only to be denied by Clarke and then Murphy.

Again, Pompey pushed for a winner, but Crawley hung on to claim the scoreless draw – a result that surprisingly delighted the home fans, who gave their side a standing ovation at the final whistle!