Pompey 2 AFC Wimbledon 1

Brett Pitman's 13th goal of the season sent Pompey's biggest crowd of the campaign home happy with a 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 4:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 5:03 pm
Ben Close celebrates after opening the scoring against AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pitman’s 72nd-minute penalty got Kenny Jackett’s men back to winning ways in League One in front of a crowd of 18,644 at Fratton Park.

That ensured Lyle Taylor’s 50th-minute spot-kick did not earn a reward for the Dons in a clash often low on quality in the teeming rain.

That didn’t matter to Pompey, however, as they picked up the points with Ben Close hitting a 45th-minute 25-yarder to get his first senior goal at home.

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Cody McDonald had an early chance he poked past Luke McGee and the post.

Conor Chaplin, who was restored to the starting line-up, hit an opportunistic 30-yarder after 16 minutes which keeper George Long held.

Then Gareth Evans lifted a dreary passage of the game with a run half the length of the pitch before firing over from 25 yards.

Chaplin’s 20-yarder was helped on by Jamal Lowe after 30 minutes but Long managed to block the ball.

The opening goal came just before the break as Close arrowed a low drive home to brighten a dour 45 minutes.

The response came from the visitors five minutes after the restart as Christian Burgess was penalised for handball and Taylor lashed his spot-kick home down the middle.

Pompey got a grip on the match with 18 minutes left, however, when Pitman was pushed in the box by Barry Fuller and got up to lace his penalty past Long.

There was a hearts-in-mouths moment as Andy Barcham’s 77th-minute cross flew across the face of goal but no Wimbledon shirt could finish.

And that was as close as Pompey came to conceding as they saw the game out to return to winning ways – and seventh place in the table.