The five games that defined Pompey's season

The News looks back on the highs and lows of the Pompey's ill-fated challenge for a berth in League One play-offs.

Saturday, 12th May 2018, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:16 am
A Josh Magennis own goal handed Pompey a 1-0 win at Charlton

Charlton 0 Pompey 1Saturday, December 9

Pompey spoiled Charlton’s party as they snaffled a 1-0 win at The Valley in December.

Josh Magennis’ 47th-minute own goal was the difference on the Addicks’ 25th anniversary of the return to their home.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A Josh Magennis own goal handed Pompey a 1-0 win at Charlton

Brett Pitman missed a penalty in the 65th minute but that meant little on an afternoon to delight the 3,780 travelling fans and leave them singing of promotion.

It was the first time Kenny Jackett’s men defeated a side above them in the table during the 2017-18 campaign.

And it was a sixth win in seven as the Blues’ campaign continued to gather pace.

Stuart O’Keefe said: ‘Both myself and Josh Magennis got a touch at the far post for the goal. I’m claiming it, though, because I don’t get many!’

The defeat to Gillingham begins to sink in

Pompey 3 Northampton Town 1Saturday, December 30

Pompey ended 2017 in the League One play-off positions after coming from behind to defeat Northampton Town 3-1 at Fratton Park.

Chris Long opened the scoring for the Cobblers but a fine Matty Kennedy strike and a double from Oli Hawkins delivered Kenny Jackett’s troops the three points.

However, injuries to Danny Rose and Gareth Evans took the gloss off an impressive Blues win.

The former was later confirmed to have broken his leg during a drop ball with John-Joe O’Toole.

Unbeknown to Pompey, the injury to Rose would have a major impact on their hopes of remaining in the play-off positions in 2018.

Hawkins said: ‘It took us a while to get going but we played some really good stuff and it was great to get back among the goals again as a striker.’

Pompey 1 Gillingham 3Saturday, March 10

Defeat to Gillingham at Fratton Park in March offered brutal evidence Pompey were not in shape to deliver a successful play-off charge.

In a season’s low, the Blues surrendered a first-half lead to slip to 12th in the League One table.

Kenny Jackett introduced a 3-5-2 formation, with Kal Naismith partnering Jamal Lowe in attack.

And the latter broke the deadlock during a dominant first-half display.

After the break, the inexperienced Pompey’s erratic underbelly returned.

Former Blues loanee Conor Wilkinson was summoned from the bench by the Gills and soon levelled with a superb solo effort.

Lee Martin then netted two more to seal Pompey’s fate. That made it just two points from 18 since Danny Rose’s injury against Northampton.

Jackett said: ‘We have lacked probably at times experience, leadership, talking and some direction at the back.’

Pompey 2 Wigan Athletic 1Monday, April 2

A goal in each half made it a miserable return to Fratton Park for Paul Cook.

Wigan were knocked off top spot and Pompey rose to within goal difference of the League One play-offs with the brilliant win.

Brett Pitman’s 40th-minute penalty took his tally to 20 for the season as the Blues had an evening to enjoy in front of the Sky cameras.

Jamal Lowe doubled the lead in the 55th minute.

Will Grigg’s 89th-minute header did make it edgy, however, through five minutes of stoppage-time.

It was a big win, though, which meant it was now undoubtedly game on for the play-offs.

Jackett said: ‘It’s a big win, fourth on the trot at a key time takes us on to 61 points which now with six games left, we are still in the hunt for fifth and sixth.’

Pompey 0 Charlton 1Saturday, April 21

Pompey players could book their summer holidays after the home defeat to Charlton on April 21.

Those dates pencilled in on the calendar could be circled in permanent marker because this loss ended the Blues’ season.

Pompey were condemned to another season in League One by Nicky Ajose’s first-half goal at Fratton Park.

Kenny Jackett’s Blues paid the price for being second best in every department against their top-six rivals.

Pompey trailed sixth-placed Scunthorpe by four points after the defeat.

The Blues had two games remaining, while the Iron still had three to play.

Jackett said: ‘We’ve not had enough power. We were better in the second half but Charlton edged us out. The game was a reflection of our season.’