Bristol City 0 Portsmouth 0: Ronan Curtis has chances but Blues claim hard-working draw against Championship side

Pompey played out a goalless draw at Bristol City as their pre-season programme continues.

Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 4:35 pm
Marlon Pack takes on his former team-mates in Pompey's friendly against Bristol City. Picture: Rogan/Fever Pitch
Marlon Pack takes on his former team-mates in Pompey's friendly against Bristol City. Picture: Rogan/Fever Pitch

This afternoon’s encounter at the Robins High Performance Centre consisted of 120 minutes of football, basically with a pre-agreed extra 30 minutes bolted onto the usual two halves of a match.

Pompey also utilised 23 players, of which one was a triallist central defender and four supplied by Bristol City.

However, there was to be no repeat of the drama last year when the Robins’ Marlee Francois levelled late on in a 3-3 draw while guesting for Cowley’s men.

New-boy Joe Rafferty was named on the bench alongside fit-again Dan Gifford, although Marcus Harness had to pull out of the side late on with an injury concern.

Joe Morrell and Sean Raggett were also missing from the squad, as were Denver Hume and Reeco Hackett as they maintain their returns from injury.

There was also the noticeable absence of Kieron Freeman, with the Blues looking to offload the right-back following the arrivals of Zak Swanson and Rafferty inside eight days.

It took a while for Pompey to find their feet, yet, following the opening 20 minutes, they began to spend more time in the opposition’s half.

Connor Ogilvie headed wide from a corner, Ryan Tunnicliffe’s low cross from the right was deflected wide by home defender Kal Naismith, while Marlon Pack sent a free-kick straight at the keeper from 25-yards out.

On the stroke of half-time, the impressive Thompson pushed a ball through for Curtis to gallop onto, aided by Dan Bentley’s reticence to come off his line.

However, faced with just the keeper to beat, the Irishman’s left-footed lob was blocked and a golden opportunity went begging.

Jayden Reid, who had a nasty aerial collision with Rob Atkinson on the stroke of half-time, didn’t appear for the second half, with Alfie Bridgman replacing him.

Still the sides couldn’t be separated and Curtis drilled in a left-footed shot which deflected on the way to the keeper.

Then terrific work from Curtis saw him cut in from the left on 63 minutes and fire off a right-footed shot which was saved at his near-post by substitute keeper Max O’Leary.

In the 69th minute, Cowley made eight substitutions, with only Haji Mnoga, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Bridgman retaining their places.

That signalled the entrance of Rafferty, who slotted in at right-back, with a central defender triallist also appearing.

Suddenly the Blues were clinging on, with a spectacular Toby Steward save followed by Zak Vyner hitting the bar and then Nahki Wells having a shot cleared off the line by Liam Vincent.

By the end of the initial 90 minutes, the Blues were also fielding three Robins players - Callum Wood, Prince Henry and Omar Taylor-Clarke.

Faced with an additional 30 minutes, Wood blocked Tommy Conway’s shot on the line, thereby thwarting the club which employs him.

In the dying minutes, Gifford saw a powerful angled effort saved at the near post, while a stunning tackle from Vincent prevent a goal-scoring situation for the hosts.

And it remained goalless, with Pompey having four Bristol City players on their side at the final whistle.

Pompey: Bass (69 mins Steward), Swanson (69 mins Rafferty (117 mins Zac Bell)), Mnoga (86 mins Callum Wood), Robertson (Triallist), Ogilvie (69 mins Vincent), Tunnicliffe (86 mins Omar Taylor-Clarke), Reid (46 mins Bridgman), Curtis (69 mins Gifford), Pack (69 mins Jewitt-White), Thompson (69 mins Mingi), Jacobs (69 mins Prince Henry).