Portsmouth close in on Wembley with Peterborough victory
Pompey moved to within a game of a Wembley visit with a 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Peterborough.
David Wheeler got the only goal of the game five minutes time in front of a crowd of 3,313 at Fratton Park.
The win puts the Blues’ back-to-back league defeats to bed on an encouraging nights for a side, which was a mix of academy talent and young pros topped up with experience.
There were seven changes to the Pompey starting line-up from the side who lost to Oxford.
And it was a positive first 45 minutes from the Blues, with Gareth Evans firing over from a 20-yard free-kick after 12 minutes.
Ten minutes later a lovely clipped pass from Christian Burgess freed David Wheeler, but his first touch took just a little too much sting out of the ball meaning Conor O’Malley could advance and smother his effort.
Then it was Jamal Lowe who whistled a drive not too far past the upright from the apex of the box after 25 minutes.
Peterborough’s best chance arrived nine minutes before the break when Joe Ward’s cross was tipped on to the bar by Craig MacGillivray and Wheeler reacted well to clear the loose ball.
Wheeler missed a great chance to open the scoring six minutes after the restart when Brandon Haunstrup’s ball found its way through to the loanee, who blazed over from 10 yards.
Danger man Ivan Toney then whistled a shot just over the top from 20 yards in 61st minute.
Seven minutes later MacGillivray missed Cooper’s free-kick from the right touchline, but the ball drifted out for a goal kick.
It was looking increasingly likely that the game was going straight to penalties at the end of 90 minutes.
That was the feeling after the ball somehow stayed out of the Pompey net nine minutes from time, as MacGillivray dived full length to deny Cooper’s drive and Toney’s follow up. Then Burgess cleared off the line from Jason Naismith before the ball came back off the bar.
Five minutes from time Pompey had the lead, though, as Wheeler steered the ball home from Evans’ corner.
And that proved the game’s defining moment as the Blues held out for the victory.