Will Rooney looks back at Pompey’s 1-1 draw with Accrington and assesses the main talking points...
Goals are secondary in Oli Hawkins’ game – his main role is being the focal point of Kenny Jackett’s attack.
However, the former Dagenham & Redbridge striker has displayed his poacher instincts of late, netting three times in as many matches.
The hitman deftly steered Gareth Evans’ free-kick into the far corner on 62 minutes to give Pompey the lead at Accrington.
The finish was as good as you’ll see from any forward in the division, highlighting his improvements in the final third.
The one criticism Hawkins has received from some is he doesn’t put the ball in the back of the net enough – especially when a striker of Brett Pitman’s calibre has been confined to the substitutes' bench.
However, Hawkins has demonstrated against Fleetwood, Burton and now Stanley that he can dovetail his impressive hold-up play with goals.
Jackett feels the 26-year-old is developing into a quality League One marksman and it’s certainly looking that way.
MaCGILLIVRAY’S FIRST BLIP
Jamal Lowe has demanded Craig MacGillivray to not repeat his moment of madness again.
That’s a request his boss and the Pompey fans will all agree with.
After an immaculate start since his Fratton Park arrival, the keeper made his first significant error.
Assessing the danger and coming for crosses has been one of MacGillivray’s key strengths since moving to Pompey from Shrewsbury.
On 32 minutes, however, the Scot spilled Sean McConville’s corner.
And instead of recomposing himself, MacGillivray desperately tried to win the ball back, he was overzealous and brought down Billy Kee with his legs to concede a penalty.
A mistake was always going to come sooner or later from the Walsall stopper.
In fact, it’s a commendable feat that he hadn’t made such an error beforehand.
Nevertheless, MacGillivray displayed his mettle by ensuring the Blues didn’t fall a goal behind at the Crown Ground.
He made a smart save to keep out Kee’s spot-kick.
MacGillivray didn’t overcommit, instead waiting for the Accrington forward to strike the ball before beating away the effort to his right.
The 25-year-old was entitled to a lapse in concentration and atoned for it anyway.
CHANCES GO BEGGING
The criticism in Tuesday’s draw with Burton was that Pompey didn’t create enough chances during their most dominant spells.
That can’t be said at Accrington – although the Blues lacked cutting edge in front of goal.
For the first 30 minutes, Kenny Jackett’s side were rampant against an Accy outfit that went into the clash in fourth spot and had won their past four home games.
The Blues conjured up a surplus of goalscoring opportunities but couldn’t make their pressure count.
To his credit, keeper Connor Ripley made a number of decent stops in the Accrington net.
He thwarted Gareth Evans’ 25-yard half-volley, while he saved efforts from Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis.
The Irishman also sent a header against the post.
Ripley’s saves were solid but he’d have been disappointed if he was beaten by any of them.
In truth, Pompey could grabbed an insurmountable advantage if their finishing was more clinical.
Instead, they made the long trip back to the south coast feeling slightly aggrieved they’d only collected a point.