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Portsmouth 0 Gillingham 0: Steve Evans’ men take a point from trip to Fratton Park

A determined performance from Gillingham earned them a point at Portsmouth on Saturday.

The hosts rattled the frame of Gills’ goal in the opening half but were unable to make their possession count.

Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173935)
Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173935)

Gills boss Steve Evans kept just two of the starters from the midweek defeat at Ipswich in the EFL Trophy. Jack Tucker was picked to play right-back in place of Barry Fuller, who picked up a knock training. Lee Hodson, who started the season in that position, had been suffering with illness in the week, said the manager.

The hosts could have called the match off because of international call-ups but chose to play. Their regular stopper Craig MacGillivray was away with Scotland, leading to only a second league start for Alex Bass.

In the heart of the Pompey defence was Sean Raggett, Gillingham born and bred, but playing for the home side having travelled via Dover, Lincoln and Norwich to play on the south coast.

Raggett headed an early chance wide but not before Gills keeper Jack Bonham had been called upon to make a couple of crucial saves. He got down low to turn Gareth Evans’ second minute strike wide and was grateful to Tom O’Connor for clearing after he parried a Ben Close effort.

Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173946)
Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173946)

The Gills were unable to test rookie keeper Bass in the opening half, with Tom O’Connor firing a free-kick over the bar and half chances from Mark Byrne and Mikael Ndjoli going wide of the target.

It was Raggett who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening half with a header crashing off the upright, as he met Gareth Evans’ inswinging free-kick. The ball was cleared as Ellis Harrison looked to poince.

Despite the home side enjoying better chances and more possession, half-time came without the deadlock broken.

Bonham had an early test in the second half and was down well again to save from Harrison.

Both sides were giving away possession after the restart, not welcomed by an impatient home crowd.

Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173942)
Action between Portsmouth and Gillingham at Fratton Park Picture: Kent Pro Images (19173942)

Gillingham continued to hold their own, putting in plenty of effort to frustrate the home side.

Brown smashed a shot wide for Portsmouth after surging past Tucker but the Gills were doing a good job of containing Kenny Jackett’s men.

With nine minutes left Brandon Hanlan got a chance on the break but his weak effort - Gills’ first on-target shot - wasn’t going to trouble the keeper.

Portsmouth came close to winning the match with almost the last kick but Brown's 95th minute shot flashed across the goal and went wide.

Portsmouth: Bass, Brown, Naylor, Burgess, Raggett, Pitman (Marquis 53mins), Bolton, Harness, Harrison, Evans (Williams 76mins), Close (Cannon 76mins). Subs not used: McGee, Downing, Curtis, Haunstrup.

Gillingham: Bonham, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O'Connor, Jones, Byrne, O'Keefe, Jakubiak (Marshall 76mins), Ndjoli (Mandron 79mins), Hanlan (Hodson 90mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Charles-Cook, Pringle, Lee.

Attendance: 18,036 (672 away)


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