Pompey crash to defeat against Shrews

Pompey saw strong appeals for a first-half penalty waved away by referee David Coote
Pompey saw strong appeals for a first-half penalty waved away by referee David Coote
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Pompey's winless start to 2018 continued as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against high-flying Shrewsbury at Fratton Park.

James Bolton scored the only goal of the game in the first half as Kenny Jackett's side failed to pick up a victory for a fifth successive game.

To make matters worse, the hosts ended the game with 10 men when Adam May was dismissed for a second yellow card.

After a slow start, the Blues gifted the Shrews the lead on 21 minutes.

Shaun Whalley’s tame corner ran all the way to Bolton at the back post and the full-back guided his effort home from close range.

Oli Hawkins should have equalised for Pompey in the 31st minute, though.

Evans’ superb cross found the striker six yards out, but Hawkins headed straight at visiting goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray.

And the hosts were adamant they should have had a penalty a minute later when Jamal Lowe’s cross appeared to strike the outstretching arm of Gareth Whalley, but referee David Coote waved play on.

Jackett’s troops were briefly reinvigorated when captain Brett Pitman replaced Jamal Lowe after the interval.

In the 56th minute, Gareth Evans had an angled right-foot shot blocked by Toto Nsiala, before Pitman saw his looping header well saved by MacGillivray.

From the resulting corner, Matt Clarke had a close-range attempt blocked, and a minute later Kal Naismith’s 30-yard effort forced a fine stop from the Shrews keeper.

The Blues had a let-off on 81 minutes when Whalley drilled an effort past the far post, before Pitman almost grabbed his side an equaliser when his right-footed snap-shot deflected off a Shrews defender and crashed the crossbar.

Pompey ended the game with 10 men when May received a second yellow card in added time, although Pitman came agonisingly close to earning the hosts a late point when his effort shaved the far post.

But the loss meant Jackett's men have not won since their success over Northampton on December 28, while their dismal record against teams in the top six continued.