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Match Reports

Report: Portsmouth 2-1 Stevenage

1 January 2024

Match Reports

Report: Portsmouth 2-1 Stevenage

1 January 2024

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Stevenage fall to defeat despite battling performance on the south coast…

Steve Evans kept the same eighteen that were victorious over Northampton Town on Boxing Day, and the same eighteen named before Friday night’s postponement. Four former Portsmouth players were named, with Dan Butler and Louis Thompson in from the off and Nathan and Ben Thompson starting on the substitutes bench.

Within the first three minutes, it would be Stevenage to have the first effort at goal of the game. Receiving the ball on the corner of the Portsmouth area, Jordan Roberts took the opportunity with his left foot, only to see it nestle into the side-netting.

Minutes later down the other end, Ashby-Hammond did well to stand tall and deny Alex Robertson’s header from close range.

After Charles Breakspear dished out the first yellow card of the game to Louis Thompson, the hosts took the lead. An error in defence ended with Portsmouth possession on the edge of the Stevenage box, before Paddy Lane converted with his left foot.

After a let-off when Abu Kamara fired wide in a one-on-one situation with Ashby-Hammond, Jordan Roberts went close to an equaliser for Steve Evans’ men. Dan Butler’s free-kick from midway inside the Portsmouth half was met at the back post by skipper Carl Piergianni, who headed back across goal before Jordan Robert’s shot was expertly tipped over the bar by Norris in goal.

After the opener, the majority of possession was Stevenage’s. It was this possession that ultimately got Boro’ back into the game after a lovely passage of play following Elliott List regaining the ball in an advanced position. List played it wide to Luther James-Wildin who subsequently forwarded it onto Jamie Reid, whose cross was met by the head of Louis Thompson to head home the equaliser against his former club. Stevenage were back level and good value for it, too.

Despite this, Portsmouth retook the lead just after the half hour mark. Lane turned provider with a low cross to Bishop who converted with a back heel just outside of the six-yard box.

Down at the break, Steve Evans made three changes at the interval. Nathan Thompson, Jake Forster-Caskey and Ben Thompson were introduced for Dan Sweeney, Elliott List and Finley Burns.

Kane Hemmings also came on just before the hour mark, as Stevenage looked to throw everything at getting back into the game.

Ashby-Hammond was forced into another top save to deny Kamara who raced through on goal, standing brave to keep the hosts from extending their lead.

Hemmings then went close with a header from close range, but collected well by Will Norris.

Stevenage continued to threaten, and with fifteen minutes left to play, went close again. Nick Freeman did well to find space out wide before crossing the ball into danger, before Jamie Reid’s header nestled against the side netting of Norris’ near post.

A minute later, Stevenage will feel hard done by after Nick Freeman’s shot from the edge of the box hit the left arm of Alex Robertson before deflecting behind for a corner. Despite the appeals of the entire Stevenage squad, Breakspear waived anyway any protests.

Alex MacDonald came on for the last few minutes of the game, either side of a booking for Nathan Thompson and Rafferty respectively.

Stevenage huffed and puffed all the way to the final whistle, but ultimately couldn’t get through the Portsmouth defence. Nathan Thompson and Paul Raynor were sent off in the dying embers, as attention now turns to Maidstone on Saturday in the FA Cup.

Att: 18,891 inc. 592 (A).


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