Blues were defeated 2-0 by a strong and high-flying Pompey side at Fratton Park…
The game was a highly anticipated fixture between both sets of fans but Portsmouth’s class and skill showed in the final third.
Chris Powell made five changes from the midweek fixture against Luton Town, with Simon Cox, Timothee Dieng and Harry Bunn all returning to the side.
Before the game started Blues won the toss and decided to switch ends, a move which didn’t pay off the end.
As soon as the first whistle was blown there was frantic rush to get the ball and Portsmouth dominated the ball when they gained possession.
The left-winger Ronan Curtis was a real threat down the dugout side of the pitch and on a number of occasions his crosses were left unattended, and he made Blues pay for it when he swung in a low curling ball into the box only for the experienced Michael Turner to poke the ball into his own goal as he tried to stop Oli Hawkins from getting a touch on the ball.
The early goal knocked Southend’s confidence on the ball, but once the game had settled down again Blues managed to hold possession for longer than three seconds.
Blues’ first chance came from a free-kick, Mantom took the set-piece from the left-hand side, sent the ball high and into the box, the ball was left in the box but Pompey’s Tom Naylor was on hand to head the ball away.
Up the other end and Portsmouth broke on the counter, with the dangerous Curtis running down the left, he and Matt Clarke performed a perfectly timed one-two and the number 11 curled a ball into the box which was connected by the head of Jamal Lowe who flicked the ball into the bottom corner.
The first card in the game came after Luke Hyam brought down Naylor in his own half, to stop a Pompey counter-attack.
Southend’s closest chance in the first half came from another set-piece this time a corner was the delivery method. Stephen McLaughlin sent the ball in with John White connecting with the ball as he tried a spinning back-heel, but the effort flew up into the air and was kicked away.
Powell made one change at half-time with Michael Turner being swapped for natural left-back Stephen Hendrie, which meant a reshuffle on the field was to take place. Hendrie went to the left-back position, Moore moved to his centre-back position and Elvis Bwomono went back to right-back.
The second-half started better for Blues with more possession going their way.
Stephen Hendrie gave Blues fans a scare in his own penalty area after it appeared he fouled Nathan Thompson in the area but the referee waved his hands to say no penalty.
Powell saw the opportunity to make an attacking change with Bunn coming off for Theo Robinson.
The forward man made an instant impact starting a counter-attack. Theo worked his way into the box, tried a shot but it was blocked and rebounded to McLaughlin who tried an effort on goal but it was once again blocked and went out for a corner.
McLaughlin took the corner and after a scramble in the box the ball was kicked out to Manom who struck the ball first time but it went wide, the closest chance for Blues all game.
Powell’s final change of the evening saw him take off Captain Mantom and bring on youngster Dru Yearwood.
Kenny Jackett saw it fit for him to make his first change, bringing off their skipper Gareth Evans for Ben Close.
The last bit of action on the night saw Portsmouth given a free-kick after John White brought down Ben Thompson, White was booked and Thompson stepped up to take the free-kick, fired it over the wall and forced Mark Oxley to dive to his right and punch the ball away.
Portsmouth made one more change before the full-time whistle which meant Ben Thompson was replaced by Brett Pitman.
Saturday 8th December 2018
Portsmouth vs Southend United (Sky Bet League One)
Referee – Lee Collins
Linesman – Stephen Brown & Thomas Ramsey
Fourth Official – Jacob Miles
Portsmouth XI: MacGillivray (GK), Brown, Clarke, Naylor, Hawkins, Lowe, Curtis, Whatmough, Nathan Thompson, Evans ©, Ben Thompson.
SUBS: McGee (GK), Walkes, Burgess, Pitman, Dennis, Close, Green.
Southend United XI: Oxley (GK), Bwomono, Moore, Turner, White, McLaughlin, Hyam, Mantom ©, Dieng, Bunn, Cox.
SUBS: Bishop (GK), Hendrie, Hutchinson, Kightly, Yearwood, Robinson, McCoulsky.
Southend – Hyam, White
Portsmouth – N/A
Southend – N/A
Attendance – 18,062 (726 Blues supporters)