Pompey 1 AFC Wimbledon 2: Jordan Cross' match report

The Pompey fans shuddered at the mention of the statistic.  AFC Wimbledon had failed to win a League Cup fixture since returning to the Football League in 2011.

Wednesday, 15th August 2018, 10:28 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:06 pm
So disappointing: Pompey crashed out of the league cup with a 2-1 defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues have been known to be the friendliest of hosts plenty of times before when it comes to laying such hoodoos to rest.

And so it proved at Fratton Park last night, as Anton Walkes' inexplicable own goal two minutes from the end gave the Dons' 263 travelling fans a night to remember at PO4.

His gaffe and Joe Pigott's header 14 minutes from time gave Neal Ardley's side a come-from-behind victory after Christian Burgess had put the hosts in front after the break.

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That made it a third successive year Pompey had lost at the opening stage of the competition now branded as the Carabao Cup.

Kenny Jackett rang the changes as he gave those who'd been lacking first-team minutes a chance to stake a claim.

Most failed to do so as Pompey were found wanting for fluency and fluidity for much of the evening, before the game sparked to life late on.

Brett Pitman looked like giving fans the major talking point before the on-pitch drama, when angrily throwing his tracksuit top to the floor when being taken off.

But then arrived the Blues collapse and a result which stalls the momentum created by two opening league wins.

Five Blues switches were made for the clash with Luke McGee and Burgess handed their first starts of the season.

Pitman, Brandon Haunstrup and new boy David Wheeler were the other players brought into the starting XI. There was no place in the 18 for either Danny Rose or Louis Dennis.

There was a peculiar air at Fratton Park as the game got underway, with the travelling fans housed in an upper section of the South Stand and making themselves heard.

They were given cause for early optimism as Mitchell Pinnock found space down the left in the sixth minute, and whipped a ball in which Joe Pigott headed firmly but narrowly wide.

Pompey's early possession failed to yield a chance of note, with the visitors happy to put two banks of four behind the ball and let the home side attempt to break them down.

But it was the visitors who again threatened in the 14th minute when Pinnock's free-kick was hit across the face of his own penalty area by Anton Walkes. Fortunately for the defender Scott Wagstaff's drive was off target when well placed.

There was a bigger let-off for Pompey three minutes later, however, when Wagstaff found himself in the box with just McGee to beat.

The wide man's lob was on the way in to an unguarded net until Haunstrup arrived on the scene and cleared off the line at the last.

It was Wagstff who was continuing to provide the Dons' threat, heading over at the back post from Tyler Garratt's cross in the 21st minute.

Pompey at last fashioned a chance in the 23rd minute thanks to Garratt's slip which gifted the ball to Pitman who in turn picked out Wheeler.

The loan arrival is renowned for his threat from late runs into the box, but frustratingly failed to work Tom King with a clear header from five yards.

It was the visitors who were accumulating the chances, however, with Jackett's men afforded another let off when Pinnock fired wide from 10 yards, after Pigott won the ball in the air.

It took Jamal Lowe to get the Pompey fans off their seats six minutes before the break, as he drove forward in full flow but his 25-yard effort arrowed narrowly wide.

Wagstaff was then granted another sight of goal a minute later, but Haunstrup closed the door on the former Gillingham man as he pulled the trigger.

But it was the Blues who would've been more relieved the scoreline was goalless at the break, in a half where Pompey failed to find their fluidity.

That visitors' failure to take one of their sights of goal returned to haunt them four minutes after the break.

Pitman fashioned a chance out of nothing and saw his effort deflected for a corner. And it was from Gareth Evans' ensuing delivery that Burgess emphatically thumped home his header at the back post.

Wimbledon's reply was immediate as Pinnock forced his way into the box and worked the ball around the advancing McGee. It was Haunstrup Pompey were again indebted to as he denied Hanson a shot on goal as the ball squirmed to the powerful striker.

Close's 58th-minute sight of the target ended with the ball skewing wide as Pompey finally settled after taking the lead.

Anthony Wordsworth was much closer to finding the back of the net, though, when he whistled a left footer over from inside the box.

The introduction of Conor Chaplin in the 66th minute provided a major talking point as Pitman was withdrawn and swiped his tracksuit top to the floor in anger when offered it by Kev the Kitman. 

McGee earned his money with 19 minutes left as he made a smart low stop as Wordsworth smashed another effort at goal from inside the box.

But he was powerless and left exposed in the 76th minute as Pigott was allowed the space to head home from Wagstaff's cross, as Pompey made heavy weather of the tie.

It was a second goal of the season for the Dons man.

There was then a big let-off as sub Kwesi Appiah couldn't take Toby Sibbick's pass in his stride with the goal gaping.

Then Matt Clarke left Wagstaff's low drive and exposed McGee, who recovered to turn the ball around the post.

Oli Hawkins had his chance to win it from Lowe's cross but couldn't guide his effort into the net with the goal gaping.

But then came Walkes' nightmare moment as he could only guide the ball into his own net from Tom Soares hopeful late cross and make it a night to forget.