Record-breaking Portsmouth up to fifth as promotion charge goes from strength to strength with Tranmere win
Pompey set a club record for consecutive wins as their promotion charge continued to accelerate with a 2-0 win at Tranmere.
Sean Raggett and Ryan Williams got the goals in either half against a struggling Rovers side who gave Kenny Jackett’s men a serious test of their credentials.
The win sees the Blues up to fifth in the table as they kept their fourth league clean sheet on the spin and set a mark for consecutive successes unsurpassed in all competitions since they entered the Football League in 1920.
Micky Mellon’s side dominated the shot count at Prenton Park but it was Raggett’s first-half header to open his Pompey goal account and Williams’ 20 yarder six minutes after the restart which did the damage.
Pompey made two changes from the side who defeated promotion rivals Sunderland last weekend.
One of those was enforced as Andy Cannon missed out with a glute problem. He was replaced by Ben Close with Ellis Harrison also coming in for John Marquis.
The home side have been in poor form and winless in eight league games, but that didn’t look the case as they started on the front foot.
It was Pompey who fashioned the first chance, however, as Ronan Curtis drove forward and saw his 25-yard drive parried in the direction of the lurking Ryan Willams, but Calum Wood did well to recover and do enough to put off the Australian as he pulled the trigger.
The visitors had the lead against the run of play eight minutes later, though, as the set-piece specialists struck again.
Curtis was the man to produce his now trademark vicious delivery which was met by the on-rushing Raggett who applied the headed finish.
Pompey had Alex Bass to thank for maintaining their advantage in the 17th minute as he pulled off a tremendous point-blank stop to keep out Andy Cook’s back heel, and Ben Close did well to deny Kieron Morris a tap-in from the follow-up.
Harrison then wasn’t far wide of the post as he took his shot early and fired across goal from Curtis’ pass in the 26th minute.
Tranmere were certainly still carrying a threat, though, and Bass had to be alert to gather Cook’s goalbound header from Kane Wilson’s deep cross from the right.
Then the striker couldn’t quite get his head on Corey Blackett-Taylor’s cross as Micky Mellon’s men built a head of steam, before the powerfully-built player planted a header wide in stoppage time.
Bass then made a hash of an attempted clearance as he left his box but Burgess spared the keeper his blushes as he blocked Blackett-Taylor’s cross towards an unguarded goal.
The half-time stats showed 11 shots from the home side to Pompey’s three as Rovers looked anything but a struggling side.
But it was the visitors who doubled their lead in the 51st minute through Williams. Pompey broke through Curtis but his pass took the momentum away from the Aussie, but there was still space to check and fire home a 20-yard drive which Davies couldn’t only push into his own net.
Harrison was doing a decent job leading the line on his return to the side but saw his header gathered by Davies from Curtis’ cross.
From there, Pompey were happy to contain the home side with daylight between the sides and did so with Bass largely untested.
That gave the 1,500 travelling fans the perfect afternoon to savour in Birkenhead as their side’s season goes from strength to strength.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass, Bolton, Raggett, Burgess, Seddon,Close, Naylor, Williams, McGeehan, Curtis, Harrison.
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Whatmough, Brown, McCrorie, Evans, Harness,Marquis.