Midfielder riding high but Portsmouth must make pressure count 

Pompey writer Will Rooney gives the final verdict on the draw with Burton and looks at what we learnt from the game.

THOMPSON RIDING HIGH

Ben Thompson was awarded man of the match against Burton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Thompson was awarded man of the match against Burton. Picture: Joe Pepler

He oozed class in every department on his debut against Oxford United.

And his display in the 3-0 victory over Plymouth was equally as swashbuckling.

But Ben Thompson’s performance against Burton Albion may have even surpassed those two.

The Millwall loanee has undoubtedly been a shrewd capture from Kenny Jackett and is the type of midfielder who can inspire promotion from League One.

Following a man-of-the-match effort against Fleetwood on Saturday, Thompson again turned in another stylish performance against the Brewers, picking up the plaudit for a second successive game.

The 23-year-old was the Blues’ playmaker in the No10 role before Dion Donohue got injured, acting as the conduit between midfield and the forwards.

When Donohue was withdrawn, Thompson continued to inspire Kenny Jackett’s side’s attacks.

Despite dropping into a deeper role, he wasn’t afraid to run at defenders, with his drive to the byline and fizzing cross leading to Oli Hawkins’ opener.

Jackett said earlier this week how he wanted Thompson to win the ball higher up the pitch and run at opposition players with the ball more.

He certainly did both against Burton, along with maintaining his tenacious defensive duties.

Consistency was the one flaw of Thompson’s game earlier in his Pompey career.

Based on his past few performances, however, he seems to have remedied that previous chink in his armour.

PRESSURE DIDN’T COUNT

Matt Clarke felt it was two points dropped against Burton – and the majority of the Fratton faithful were likely in agreement.

Bar a 10-minute spell at the start of the second half, the Brewers rarely threatened Craig MacGillivray in the Pompey goal.

Yet Kenny Jackett’s side also didn’t test Dimitar Evtimov in the Burton net enough.

Despite the Blues’ dominance, a dearth of clear-cut chances were conjured up.

In the first half, Ronan Curtis produced a decent save to Evitmov’s left, while Ben Thompson’s long-range shot was well held.

In the second half, though, Evtimov had a fairly comfortable time.

Pompey delivered a number of dangerous balls into the penalty area but, apart from Jamal Lowe having an effort stopped from an acute angle from close range, the Brewers keeper was scarcely forced into action.

It was a similar story in the 2-0 defeat against Gillingham earlier this month and the Blues must start making their pressure count.

HAPLESS DONOHUE

Pompey’s quarterback is again waiting to find out if he’s set for another spell on the sidelines.

Dion Donohue has suffered wretched luck so far this season.

Severe foot blisters in pre-season were followed by a spate of glandular fever. Then he picked up a groin injury succeeded by a hamstring complaint.

When he did break into Kenny Jackett’s side, Donohue displayed all of his attributes and showed he wasn’t willing to surrender his starting berth.

Donohue won a place in his favoured central-midfield role and seemed like he could not be budged.

Although there weren’t many 60-yard passes from Pompey’s Tom Brady against Burton, his short, sharp exchanges were equally as impressive.

There were numerous occasions when Donohue quickly opened up his body, leaving yellow shirts flat-footed before releasing Lee Brown and Ronan Curtis down the left wing.

The former Chesterfield man was forced off on 28 minutes, however, with a hamstring injury.

He limped out of Fratton Park after full-time cursing another hapless setback and now awaits the severity of his setback.