Jack Whatmough's Portsmouth injury return ends in draw as Reeco Hackett-Fairchild on target at Plymouth
Jack Whatmough made his comeback from injury in Pompey reserves’ 1-1 Central League Cup draw at Plymouth Argyle.
The defender featured in his first game for the best part of a year at Home Park having been sidelined with a knee injury.
Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, who arrived from Bromley for an undisclosed fee last week, was on target for the Blues, cancelling out Klaidi Lolos’ opener late in the first half.
Whatmough captained a young Pompey side, with Liam Daish in charge.
The blustery conditions in Devon caused havoc from kick-off and the visitors were given an early scare when Hackett-Fairchild turned Adam Randell’s cross into his own net.
However, the new-boy’s blushes were spared by the offside flag.
The Pligrims continued to be on the front foot and Haji Mnoga made a brave block to thwart Conor Grant’s powerful effort.
Then minutes later Blues keeper Taylor Seymour – on trial from Lewes – made a fine stop to his right to deny Joel Grant.
Plymouth continued to put Pompey under siege, with Jarvis Cleal firing wide after Seymour couldn’t get enough on his punch.
Then the hosts had another goal chalked off for offside when Conor Grant turned home.
Despite being put under pressure, the Blues had a golden chance to break the deadlock three minutes before the break but Leon Maloney sliced wide.
And the Pilgrims punished that miss when Lolos curled a shot home from 20 yards to open the scoring.
In a frantic final few moments of the first half, home keeper Mike Cooper made a terrific double stop to ensure his side went into the break level.
He firstly thwarted a long-range effort before tipping Josh Flint’s follow-up over the bar.
With the wind behind them, Daish's men started the second period lively and Eoin Teggart produced a good save out of Cooper.
Hackett-Fairchild then cracked an angled shot just wide of the post.
The game continued to ebb and flow, with Plymouth almost doubling their lead but Seymour made a smart stop to deny Randell.
Pompey grabbed their equaliser in the 59th minute through Hackett-Fairchild. Maloney shifted the ball out to Flint on the right and he picked out the former Charlton man to finish home from a few yards out.
The Blues remained on the front foot and nine minutes later Maloney got in behind the Argyle rearguard but was repeled by Cooper.
With four minutes remaining the Pilgrims keeper made another crucial intervention to deny Flint from point-blank range.
Despite ending the game firmly on the front foot, Pompey had to settle for a share of the spoils.
And having collected five points from their three Central League Cup southern central games, it means the Blues exit the competition and Bournemouth are through to the next stage.