Salford 0 Portsmouth 0 AET (4-2 on penalties) player ratings: who shone and struggled as Blues lose Papa John's Trophy final

Pompey have surrendered their Papa John’s Trophy crown after losing the 2019-20 season final to Salford City.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 6:42 pm
Pompey keeper Craig MacGillivray needed to be at his best in the first half

The Wembley showpiece – delayed almost a year amid the coronavirus pandemic – went to a penalty shootout, with the Blues falling to defeat.

Defending their 2018-19 title having beaten Sunderland, Kenny Jackett’s side’s grip on the competition finally came to an end at the hands of the League Two Ammies.

Pompey were under siege for the opening 45 minutes, with Craig MacGillivray making several fine saves.

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Jackett’s triple substitution helped get the Blues back into the game after the break, with Ronan Curtis spurning two golden chances.

Salford had two big opportunities of their own, though, with MacGillivray again to the rescue.

Neither side could find a breakthrough in extra-time, either, despite both having opportunities.

Just like Pompey’s triumph two years ago, the showdown was decided by a penalty shootout.

The Scot was Pompey’s saviour in the first half. MacGillivray made four big saves to ensure the Blues went into the break level. There were good stops from Brandon Thomas-Asante and James Wilson before he did well to thwart Jordan Turnbull’s effort on the spin. Things didn’t get much quieter for him in the second period, either. He made a brilliant save to thwart Ash Eastham’s header from point-blank range then denied Bruno Andrade late on in normal time.

However, this time the Blues were on the losing end with Ryan Williams and Ronan Curtis missing the opening two penalties.

Salford won the shootout 4-2, leaving Pompey deflated at full-time.

Here’s how we rated Jackett’s troops throughout the game...

Clearly told to stay wide in the first half when Ryan Williams was drifting inside. Put one decent ball into the box while he lost possession which resulted in a Salford chance. Had a tough task of marking Ibou Touray, who was impressive for Salford. Blew a golden crossing opportunity in the second half when white shirts were queuing up in the box and another in stoppage-time.
Was forced into a rearguard action in the first half and had to be alert to clear a cross when Craig MacGillivray failed to claim the ball off his line. Played a superb raking, crossfield pass to set Ronan Curtis free immediately in the second period which should have been buried. Then he took the ball of Ash Hunter to deny a clear chance. Also made a robust tackle to thwart the breaking Bruno Andrade in his tracks in extra-time.
Had a mixed first half but the moment that stood out was unfortunately when he got caught in possession yet got away with it. Looked more stable in the second period when Lee Brown came on, with Raggett making a big interception when Brown was caught out. Didn't pose a threat from set-pieces like he usually does, either.
Pompey’s brightest player in the first period and was the only one to show any real attacking spark. Had the Blues’ only sort of chance when his cross-shot was deflected and easily gathered by the keeper. Switched to the number-10 role after the break where he continued to be busy. Then had a huge chance saved in extra-time when he should have scored.
Broke up play in the first period but his distribution was also wayward at times. Kept things ticking in the second half, though, always looking to spread the play. Took one for the team when he scythed down Brandon Thomas-Asante and was booked. Then scuffed a good chance in second-half extra-time when the ball was bouncing around from a corner.
Played a few nice passes in the first half but couldn’t get on the ball enough. Dropped into a holding-midfield role in the second period. However, struggled to impose himself and gave away a silly foul for a free-kick that almost led to a goal.
Played one lovely pass that Ryan Williams couldn’t quite get hold of when in on goal. However, apart from that, the Spurs loanee didn’t have much more of an influence.
Fans have long clamoured form the striker to start a game of importance. However, Hiwula struggled to take his chance. In fairness, he fed off scraps for the majority but was caught offside on too many occasions. A poor chest down for George Byers summed up his afternoon.
Battled in the first half up top but had little joy and there were several heavy touches which let him down. Looked better in the second period when he had more flair players around him. A couple of through balls helped Pompey out attacking-wise but he squandered a big chance in extra-time.
Spurned two huge chances after coming on. The Irishman missed a gilt-edged chance when Jack Whatmough’s brilliant vision played him in only seconds after the restart. Then he got his acrobatic effort completely wrong with John Marquis free across goal. Still gave Pompey more from the left than Harvey White.
Gave Pompey more width that they lacked in the first period. Didn’t quite take the game by the scruff of the neck like he’s capable of, though, and lacked a goalscoring threat. In a bad run of form and needs to recapture his sparkle.
Offered a lot more down the left than his counterpart when brought on at the break. Always an outlet but crossing wasn’t quite up to the quality required. Then went agonisingly close in the last five minutes when he volleyed agonisingly wide. Defensively also sound but collected a late booking for a cynical drag back on Brandon Thomas-Asante.
Made a big difference when he came on. Close brought the sort of positive passing that increased the tempo and added spark. Showed fantastic vision to pinpoint Ronan Curtis with a crossfield pass the winger should have done better with.