Portsmouth out of the play-off places as Joey Barton's Fleetwood put brakes on promotion charge and leapfrog Blues

Pompey’s promotion charged stalled as they fell out of the play-off places after a 1-0 defeat at windswept Fleetwood.

Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 4:57 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 5:33 pm
Pompey fell to defeat at Fleetwood. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Callum Connolly headed the only goal of the game in the first-half as Joey Barton’s men leapfrogged the Blues in the table.

The game was played out in horrible conditions as strong winds battered Highbury Stadium and had a significant impact on proceedings.

The home side made greater use of having the wind at their back in the opening half with Connolly’s effort in the 12th minute their tangible reward.

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Pompey tried to make the most of having their conditions in their favour but there was no way through in a game of few clear chances.

It was immediately apparent the wind was going to have a big impact on the game with the home team having it at their backs in the first half.

But it was tough for both teams with the ball carrying and passes with any height often ending up out of play.

A break from John Marquis in the 11th minute almost saw Ronan Curtis clear on the penalty spot but the ball in was intercepted by the alert Lewis Coyle.

Fleetwood were the side on the front foot, though, and took the lead with the game’s first clear chance as Marcus Harness was easily beaten by Danny Andrew who crossed from the byline.

Bass parried his delivery but the ball kicked up to Connolly at the back post, who had the simple task of nodding into an unguarded net.

Pompey should have been two goals behind moments later as Wes Burns went clean through but slotted his effort wide with just Alex Bass to beat.

The reply from the Blues came through Ronan Curtis in the 18th minute as he whipped in a free-kick from the left which was carried by the wind and cannoned off Alex Cairns bar and away to safety.

Christian Burgess denied Harry Souttar a free header at the back post from a corner in the 30th minute and from the resulting delivery, Paul Coutts’ ball in was punched by Bass but the ball held up so much he was able to gather at the second attempt.

Pompey had the ball at their back after the restart and were straight on the front foot.

Harry Souttar got an important head on the ball in front of Sean Raggett after 52 minutes from Steve Seddon’s free-kick.

Jackett made a double change after 56 minutes as Ross McCrorie and Ryan Williams were sent on for the ineffective Hawkins and Bolton.

McCrorie immediately put in a dangerous cross which Curtis volleys across goal but no Pompey player’s there to apply the final touch.

Then Burns replied with a 30 yarder which Bass was able to punch away to safety.

It was Pompey doing the pressing now, though, but Lewie Coyle came to the home side’s rescue as he cleared Raggett’s header off the line.

They continued to push for the remainder of the game but the clearest chance fell to sub Josh Morris late on as he fired wide and Pompey fell to defeat.