Why table-topping Portsmouth have their best defensive record for a decade

Pompey are enjoying their longest spell without conceding in almost a decade.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 3:00 pm
Craig MacGillivray has kept four successive league clean sheets during Pompey's best defensive return for almost a decade. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Kenny Jackett’s table-topping side have registered five successive clean sheets in all competitions.

In total, it has been 476 minutes of competitive action since Blackpool’s Keshi Anderson was the last player to net against the Blues.

Pompey lost that Bloomfield Road fixture 1-0 on a bitterly cold Lancashire evening amid a disappointing display.

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Subsequently, Jackett’s men have been undefeated in four League One matches and beaten Cheltenham to progress in the Papa John’s Trophy.

In the process, they have not shipped a single goal.

Now the Blues are scheduled to host Swindon at Fratton Park on Boxing Day – coronavirus permitting.

They head into that encounter boasting their finest defensive record since February-March 2011.

Back then, Jamie Ashdown was the keeper when the Blues created a post-war league record of 636 minutes.

Steve Cotterill’s side achieved six successive Championship shut-outs – against Doncaster, Barnsley, Palace, Ipswich, Scunthorpe and Sheffield United.

However, that was ended by Albert Adomah in a 2-1 defeat at Bristol City in March 2011.

Nonetheless, Ashdown had beaten Peter Mellor’s 33-year post-war league record, established in September 1978.

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The flamboyant Mellor had totalled six clean sheets and 630 minutes in Division Four action.

Then, later in the season, the keeper set the existing club record of seven clean sheets and 654 minutes for all competitions.

Although Pompey, under the management of Jimmy Dickinson and then Frank Burrows, still finished just seventh.

Since Ashdown’s league record, the Blues have three times reached the 400-minute mark without conceding.

Under Richie Barker, they registered 411 minutes from February-March 2014, although three of those four League Two clean sheets were goalless draws.

The following season, Andy Awford oversaw 402 minutes and four league games without conceding.

More recently, in Jackett’s first campaign, Pompey went 439 minutes without conceding from November-December 2017.

That consisted of three League One fixtures and one Checkatrade Trophy outing.

Currently the Blues are on 476 minutes – and still unbroken.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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