Wycombe 0 Pompey 1

Pompey survive a goalmouth scramble. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey survive a goalmouth scramble. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jamal Lowe in action at Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett lays down Pompey goal challenge to Lowe

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As bodies were flung and feet flew, the ball bounced along the line before it was ushered away from danger.

The 62nd minute – an omen that perhaps, yes perhaps, fortune was turning for Pompey.

It was improbable how Wycombe did not score from that moment, miraculous some among the Fratton faithful in the end behind the goal would no doubt claim.

Nonetheless, the ball failed to enter Trevor Carson’s net, the visitors’ lead was intact – they were on the way to a second win in 16 games.

The first half had seen Carson pull off several superb stops, one of which from Matt McClure was pushed against his right-hand post.

Richie Barker’s side couldn’t even muster a shot on target, yet they entered the interval relieved to still be on level terms with the scoreline goalless.

That opening 45 minutes was Wycombe’s golden opportunity because within five minutes of the restart Pompey had broken the deadlock through Ryan Taylor’s penalty.

The decision by referee Charles Breakspear looked a tad harsh when he adjudged Wes Fogden had been taken out by Gary Doherty.

Perhaps it really was Pompey’s night.

Then came the scramble, the moment it appeared Gareth Ainsworth’s side had their equaliser, but incredibly the ball didn’t cross the line.

Still, the second half was the Blues’ and a defence marshalled by debutant Ben Chorley stood firm, composed and dominant and could not be breached.

That was until the ball was crashed home by the Chairboys from close range five minutes into time added on – only for the referee to disallow it for a foul on Carson.

Pompey had their win and the steady momentum under Barker has suddenly quickened.

Barker made two changes to the side which drew at Morecambe at the weekend, with Bradley and Jed Wallace dropping out.

Bradley made way for Chorley, breaking-up the central-defensive partnership with Joe Devera which has come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks.

As for Wallace, he had recovered from his hip injury sufficiently to make the squad, albeit having to settle for a 
place on the bench at Adams Park.

Andy Barcham replaced him, having appeared as a second-half substitute for the teenager at the Globe Arena on Saturday.

There was also a return to Barker’s 18-man squad for Ricky Holmes, who had not been available since suffering a head injury at Southend on New Year’s Day.

However, there was no room for Yassin Moutaouakil, Ashley Harris or Bondz N’Gala, while Simon Ferry, Danny East and Dan Butler remain on the treatment table.

In addition, David Connolly continues to be absent with an Achilles problem which has meant he has not trained since his superb cameo against Mansfield.

With just three minutes on the clock, Barcham won a free-kick a yard outside the penalty area after Marvin McCoy was adjudged to have tripped him.

However, Nicky Shorey’s low delivery was blocked and the promising position ended with the Chairboys comfortably clearing their lines.

At the other end, in the sixth minute Marcos Painter saw his attempted clearance down the left blocked and the ball fell into the path of striker McClure who unleashed an effort from distance.

Carson managed to get some part of his body on the ball, deflecting it against the left-hand post and out for a corner as the Blues breathed easy again.

Then great work from Fogden down the left saw him whip in a cross which was won in the air by Taylor – only for the ball to bounce off the back of the leaping Jake Jervis and fly harmlessly to the Wycombe keeper.

Rain was falling constantly now and in the 19th minute Carson had to save low down at his near post to beat out a shot during a penalty area melee as Wycombe pressed.

The Pompey fans behind the goal were appealing for a penalty in the 26th minute when Barcham prodded the ball down the line and Jervis strode ahead of McCoy only to fall inside the box.

If anything it was shoulder-to-shoulder and referee Breakspear instead awarded a goal-kick to the hosts.

It was end-to-end football and minutes later Chorley’s ball out of defence was blocked by McClure who saw another attempt from distance pushed out for a corner by the Pompey keeper.

In Wycombe’s very next attempt it was Carson to the rescue again – on this occasion a stunning flying save to somehow keep out Reece Styche’s snapshot.

As the first half came to a close, Painter was caught by Sam Wood 20 yards from the Chairboys’ goal.

But again the free-kick came to nothing.

Five minutes after the interval, the deadlock was broken – with Pompey getting the goal.

Romain Padovani pulled the ball back from the byline to Fogden, who was adjudged to have been caught by Doherty as he received it.

The referee pointed to the spot and Taylor did the rest with a calm finish down the middle to give the visitors the lead.

The Blues had control and an excellent flowing move through the centre and down the left resulted in Barcham firing the ball across goal but nobody could get the final touch.

That lead was almost wiped out, however, in the 62nd 
minute when McCoy’s deep cross from the right sparked a scramble.

But as bodies flew in, the ball was somehow hacked off the line.

It was a real let off for the visitors with the home fans adamant it had crossed the line and appealing for a goal. But the referee was having none of it and waved the game on.

Barker used all three of his substitutes to maintain the Blues’ dominance as the game wore on.

And despite Wycombe having a goal ruled out in stoppage-time, they succeeded.

It was a crucial victory for Pompey as they seek to banish any thoughts of tumbling out of League Two.