Portsmouth 4 Gillingham 0: Neil Allen’s match report

0
Have your say

The Checkatrade Trophy served its purpose on this occasion, as Pompey defeated Gillingham with comfort.

The Fratton Park scoreline was 4-0, yet for several of those challenging for a first-team spot it proved a crucial outing.

Brett Pitman nets his first goal of the season during Pompey's 4-0 win over Gillingham. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

Brett Pitman nets his first goal of the season during Pompey's 4-0 win over Gillingham. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

Andre Green marked his Blues bow with a second-half assist – the penalty put away by Brett Pitman to open his goal account for the season.

There was a 28-minute cameo from the bench for Joe Mason, signalling his Pompey debut, while David Wheeler registered his maiden Blues goal in the 90th minute.

Generally, the match provided little to excite the crowd of 2,011, including 69 Gills followers stationed in the South Sstand.

But with two goals in three first-half minutes – provided by Matt Clarke and then Ben Close – a Kenny Jackett side with 10 changes never looked like they would let such an advantage slip.

And with Oli Hawkins expected to miss Saturday’s Shrewsbury encounter through injury and Ronan Curtis away on international duty, the likelihood is two from Pitman, Green, Mason and Wheeler will now start.

There was little to entertain the sparse crowd during the early exchanges. However, the match sprung into life on 10 minutes following a foul on Wheeler.

Pitman took the 25-yard free-kick and crashed it right-footed against the crossbar, the ball then bouncing out for a goal kick.

The next moment of any meaningful significance arrived on 23 minutes when Navid Nasseri’s first-time right-foot shot from just outside the box was fired straight into the arms of Luke McGee.

Then Green found himself in a central position to drag a right-footed effort comfortably wide of the right-hand post.

As a dull opening first period drew to a close, Adam May exchanged passes with Pitman and the former crashed a right-footed effort well over the bar.

Then, in Pompey’s best move of the match so far, May released Wheeler down the right and his low cross was slid out for a corner by Alex Lacey.

From that 41st-minute set-piece, the deadlock was broken when May crossed from the right and Clarke headed home.

Barely two minutes later and the Blues had doubled their advantage when Nathan Thompson crossed from the right and Close placed a first-time right-footed shot into the corner of the net from just inside the box.

There were no changes at the break and a lovely move orchestrated by Close and Wheeler down the right should have increased the home side’s advantage on 52 minutes.

Wheeler whipped in a cross and Pitman somehow put a first-time left-footed shot wide from six-yards out at the far post.

On 54 minutes the skipper did get his name on the scoresheet, finishing from the penalty spot after Aaron Simpson had nudged Green to send him sprawling.

Mason was introduced on 62 minutes for his Blues bow, replacing May in the number 10 role.

Pompey continued to threaten in an improved second-half display and when Mason’s 90th-minute shot was blocked, Wheeler slotted home an angled right-foot finish to wrap up the 4-0 win.