Portsmouth edge closer to automatic promotion places with thrilling win at Wycombe

Pompey edged closer to the League One automatic promotion with a thrilling 3-2 triumph at Wycombe.

Sunday, 7th April 2019, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 12:26 am
Brett Pitman scores his second goal at Wycombe. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Leading scorer Jamal Lowe's effort and captain Brett Pitman's second-half double ensured the fourth-placed Blues closed the gap on second-placed Barnsley.

Winger Lowe's opener on 18 minutes was followed by the former AFC Bournemouth striker's first less than a minute after the interval to put Kenny Jackett's men in control.

But ex-Pompey midfielder Marcus Bean pulled one back with a debated effort soon after, only for Pitman's free-kick to restore the Blues' two-goal advantage on the hour.

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The Chairboys set up a tense final eight minutes following substitute Scott Kashket's stunner, although Pompey saw it out.

That left the Blues two points adrift of third-placed Sunderland after they grabbed a late winner at Rochdale.

Although the gap to Barnsley in second is just two points, with a game in hand, as they were beaten at Burton.

Pompey were full of confidence after their Checkatrade Trophy final win at Wembley last time out, starting on the front foot at Adams Park.

And the Blues grabbed a goal their early dominance deserved, going ahead on 18 minutes.

Gareth Evans, restored to the starting line up in place of Ronan Curtis, saw his free-kick find its way to Matt Clarke.

The centre-back hooked the ball back into the box, which was cleared to Lowe whose side-foot volley went through a number of bodies and into the bottom corner.

Wycombe had failed to pose Pompey any problems in the opening exchanges, but goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray was forced into a fine save ten minutes before the break.

Full-back Jason McCarthy's 25-yard free-kick was turned behind by the Blues stopper.

MacGillivray was called into action again three minutes later as the Chairboys threatened once more.

The ball found its way through to former Pompey man Paris Cowan-Hall just inside the area, although his fierce strike was straight at the Blues goalkeeper.

Pompey made the perfect start to the second half, doubling their advantage less than a minute after the resumption.

Pitman brushed off defender Anthony Stewart before firing past ex-Blues goalkeeper Ryan Allsop from inside the area.

Yet the Chairboys had a lifeline on 54 minutes, with Bean's disputed effort being awarded.

Having poked home after Pompey had failed to clear a free-kick, the linesman raised a late offside flag. However following a discussion between him and referee John Busby, the goal was given.

But Jackett's troops restored their two-goal advantage on the hour, with Pitman grabbing his second.

Flourishing since his number-10 reinvention, the ex-Bournemouth forward curled a fine free-kick past Allsop from the edge of the area after Gareth Evans had been fouled.

Pitman was then involved again as the Blues nearly added a fourth 22 minutes from time.

The forward's cross found centre-back Clarke, only for his attempt to be hacked away on the line.

But the Chairboys refused to give up hope and bagged a second to set up a tense final eight minutes.

Substitute Kashket rifled home a left-footed half-volley from the edge of the area, leaving MacGillivray with no chance.

Wycombe applied the pressure in the closing stages but Jackett's men stood firm to wrap up a fourth straight league win.