Carson frustrates Pompey on Fratton return

Pompey were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Hartlepool today as former keeper Trevor Carson denied the Blues victory at Fratton Park.

Saturday, 17th December 2016, 5:10 pm
Updated Sunday, 18th December 2016, 1:14 pm
Christian Burgess wins an aerial battle during today's game with Hartlepool Picture: Joe Pepler

It was as one-sided a game you’ll ever see but in Carson, dogged Pools had a man to thank for a battling south-coast point.

Michael Smith, Michael Doyle and Conor Chaplin were all denied brilliantly by the ex-Pompey stopper on a day to forget for Paul Cook’s men, who remain in fourth placed in the League Two table.

An exasperating first half for the hosts began with Gary Roberts firing just wide of the target.

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Smith was then presented with a gilt-edged opportunity but his close-range header was straight at former Blues keeper Carson in the Pools goal.

Moments later and Pompey were threatening again, Kyle Bennett this time the man to send a shot agonisingly wide of the far post.

It was one-way traffic but a dogged Pools defence were standing firm to the pressure.

The Blues, though, thought they had found the breakthrough 10 minutes before the interval when Roberts got in down the left and looped a cross-cum-shot over the onrushing Carson only for Mattthew Bates to brilliantly clear off the line for the visitors.

The second half began as the first ended with Pompey on top.

Carl Baker was the man providing most of the threat as he sent two left-footed efforts over the crossbar in quick succession.

Pools threatened for the first time all afternoon when Rhys Oates found himself in on goal but the covering Gareth Evans was back brilliantly to deny him.

As frustrations grew for Pompey, Cook threw on Chaplin and Kal Naismith in a double switch with Roberts and Bennett departing.

Playing alongside Smith, Chaplin wasted a glorious chance to net right away when he failed to connect with Naismith’s low cross.

Carson then became a one-man wall against his former club, denying Smith, Doyle and Chaplin with three stunning reflex stops as the game entered eight minutes of added time.