Boring Braintree blank for Blues

Danny East heads the ball during Pompey's 0-0 draw at Braintree   Picture: Sarah Standing
Danny East heads the ball during Pompey's 0-0 draw at Braintree Picture: Sarah Standing
Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup

Pompey will fight until play-offs are mathematically impossible

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Pompey were held to a 0-0 draw at Braintree in a dreary clash.

There was virtually nothing in the way of excitement as Guy Whittingham’s side continued their pre-season preparations against the Conference National outfit.

Ashley Harris had a chance on the stroke of half-time saved by Nathan McDonald.

And there was a penalty appeal for Braintree as Daniel Holman and Joe Devera tangled after the restart.

But that was where the action of note finished at the Amlin Stadium.

Still, Pompey could take a clean sheet and another 90 minutes of fitness under their belts as positives.

Sonny Bradley was the only player missing from the Pompey squad as a precaution after feeling groin plan in training.

He would have been glad to have given a wretched opening 45 minutes a miss.

It proved to be bleak stuff with next to nothing in the way of clear-cut opportunities.

Braintree were proving a solid test after turning over League Two rivals Southend last weekend.

Johnny Ertl had one of the few opening on 10 minutes after being teed up by Patrick Agyemang following good work from Jed Wallace - but he hit his shot out of the ground.

England C international Kenny Davis was busying himself in the middle of the park and Daniel Holman was putting himself about, and blasted a shot over after 33 minutes.

The best chance of the half came on the stroke of half-time as Agyemang freed Harris, but McDonald saved sharply from the Purbrook teenager’s low drive.

Pompey made one change at the break as Agyemang was replaced by Tom Craddock.

Braintree had strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Devera and Sean Marks collided in the box on 54 minutes - but the ref waved play on.

And then Holman just missed a cross whipped across Phil Smith’s box as Braintree pushed.

The wholesale subs anticipated around the hour mark duly arrived as Pompey made seven switches.

That gave a much more youthful look to Guy Whittingham’s side as the likes of Nick Awford, Josh Warren, Liam Triggs, Jack Maloney and George Branford were given run-outs.

But the pattern of the game remained much the same with little in the way of clear chances.

Sub Nicky Symons did bring a save out of Phil Smith with a shot from long distance.

And there was time for Harris to fire a 25-yarder out of the ground on a night in Essex that will be quickly forgotten.

Pompey: Smith, Yassin, Webster, Devera, Butler, Wallace, Ertl, East, Holmes, Harris, Agyemang. Subs: Awford, Warren, Triggs, Craddock, Branford, Maloney, Barcham, Padovani. Not used: Sullivan, Connolly.