Portsmouth 2 Burton 1: Neil Allen's verdict - Familiar Fratton End song, new recipient, as brilliant Michael Jacobs strengthens place in Blues hearts

The tune had lovingly been passed down from Matt Taylor to Brett Pitman to John Marquis.

Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 10:00 pm
Michael Jacobs celebrates with Mahlon Romeo after netting Pompey's second goal against Burton. Picture: Robin Jones
Michael Jacobs celebrates with Mahlon Romeo after netting Pompey's second goal against Burton. Picture: Robin Jones

Now the Fratton End have bestowed it upon a new favourite – Michael Jacobs.

Upon his substitution on 85 minutes, the chant of ‘Super, Super Mike’ rang out as finally the talismanic presence earned song recognition.

When once it appeared he had no Fratton Park future and Doncaster was an alternative destination, the fans now have their way.

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Jacobs has netted in three successive matches as he continues to be the sole inspiration in this spluttering Pompey side.

In the 2-1 defeat of Burton – the Blues’ first League One triumph of 2022 – the former Wigan man weighed in with an assist and a goal.

In the process, he was crowned man of the match for a third straight fixture.

It was his 33rd-minute corner from the right which was headed home by Sean Raggett to break the deadlock.

Then Jacobs pressurised Joe Powell into making a mistake and picked up the loose ball himself to net four minutes before half-time.

Although the returning Gassan Ahadme pulled one back on 50 minutes, Jacobs’ first-half wonder show had done enough to claim victory.

The Blues should have won more convincingly, although it was a performance unimpressive and uninspired in parts. Certainly not a lot to be impressed by.

Not that Cowley will be too concerned, having been waiting for a league victory since December 11.

A return to winning form for the Blues, yet Jacobs’ magnificence continues without faltering.

Pompey had been forced to reshuffle their side following failure to overturn Joe Morrell’s red card.

Cowley was informed on Monday night that the Blues had been unsuccessful in the appeal they lodged with the FA over the Welshman’s dismissal at Oxford United.

With Kieron Freeman also absent, having collected an ankle injury and concussion in that 3-2 defeat, Pompey made two changes for the visit of Burton.

Mahlon Romeo returned to right wing-back after recovering from an ankle problem, coming in for Freeman.

While Tyler Walker was handed a recall in place of Morrell, having been dropped to the bench at the Kassam Stadium.

Elsewhere, Harry Jewitt-White was on the bench after recalled from the Hawks on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Brewers named former Pompey loanee Gassan Ahadme in attack, with ex-triallist Ryan Leak as part of their back three.

It took just 34 seconds for Pompey to create the game’s first opportunity, following an excellent run into the box from Hayden Carter.

His surge upfield saw him law the ball off to Ronan Curtis, who took a touch past the defender and fired a left-footed shot which deflected for a corner.

That flag kick was taken by Jacobs, whose near-post delivery was met with a wild first-time shot from Curtis into the Milton End.

Sean Raggett collected the game’s opening booking following a challenge on Ahadme on the halfway line.

On 10 minutes, Thompson ambitiously let fly from 30-yards, yet his attempt comfortably cleared the bar.

He was followed into the book by Michael Mancienne, whose late lunge caught Thompson after the midfielder had nudged the ball away from him.

Hirst won a free-kick down the left on 24 minutes, delivered by Jacobs, and met with a far-post header from Curtis.

The ball looped across goal, requiring the slightest of touches to net, yet the visitors’ Tom Hamer flicked it behind, only for a goal-kick to be mistakenly awarded.

The atmosphere was flat, but a lovely ball from Hirst, on the spin and into the path of Walker, didn’t create a decent opportunity.

Jacobs crossed into the box and there were Hirst and Curtis at the far post getting in the way of each other to divert it wide.

The deadlock was broken on 33 minutes, with Jacobs somewhat inevitably involved.

His right-wing corner was pinpoint and there was skipper Raggett to arrive and plant a header past Ben Garratt to make it 1-0.

It briefly lifted Fratton Park, more relief if anything, as Cowley’s men found themselves in the lead.

Moments later, Curtis was booked following a foul on William Kokolo on the South Stand touchline.

The Blues extended their lead on 41 minutes, with Jacobs making it 2-0.

The midfielder’s pressing of Joe Powell saw the Burton man lose possession of the ball before colliding with Leak inside his own penalty area.

Jacobs had continued to run and breezed past both to arrive at the ball first and poke it past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Burton responded with Ciaran Gillian shooting from the edge of the area and Gavin Bazunu diving to his right to superbly keep it out, conceding a corner.

Pompey started the second half purposefully and Walker threaded through a pass to put Curtis clean through, only for the offside flag to be raised.

The visitors pulled one back on 50 minutes when Gilligan crossed from the right and Romeo and Carter collided, allowing Terry Taylor time to shoot.

That was turned home by Ahadme from six yards to make it 2-1, very much against the run of play in the opening exchanges of the second period.

Burton made the first change of the match on 63 minutes, with Taylor replaced by Harry Chapman.

Pompey went agonisingly close to restoring their two-goal advantage on 67 minute when Jacobs caused problems down the left and the ball fell into the path of Curtis.

The Irishman let fly with a fierce shot on the run which was somehow deflected by the legs of the grounded keeper when it appeared goalbound.

Moments later, Hirst headed the ball back to Walker and he was unable to find a way past the keeper from seven-yards out.

On 75 minutes, Chapman drilled in a shot from outside the box straight at Bazunu, who allowed it to squirm from his grasp and dangerously towards his own goal, before retrieving it.

The fourth official indicated five minutes of time added on as the Blue attempted to retain their slender lead, yet there were to be no late hiccup like Oxford.

A first win in the league since defeating Morecambe on the same ground and the Blues have climbed into 11th spot – while even more plaudits for Jacobs.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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