Matt grabs fifth of season for victory
Jamille Matt grabbed his fifth goal of the season to earn a fourth consecutive victory for Town on the South Coast.
The striker latched on to Gareth Evan’s flick through the middle, and although being originally denied by John Sullivan, the ball came back off defender Sonny Bradley before reaching the net to give Fleetwood another three Sky Bet League 2 points.
Matt had struck an effort against the near post early in the first half, and it was another solid performance from the Cod Army in their first-ever game at Fratton Park, and against Portsmouth, in front of a noisy 15,000 plus fans.
Graham Alexander named the same side that won consecutive games at home to Torquay United and Bury in recent weeks. Portsmouth, however, made four changes despite beating Burton Albion 2-1 last weekend, with Yassin Moutaouakil (suspended), Joe Devera, JedWallace and Danny East all dropping out, and in came Shaun Cooper, Marcos Painter, David Connolly and Bondz N’Gala.
Town started well, with Jamille Matt coming closest to breaking the deadlock within the opening five minutes. The striker held off a challenge before drilling low inside the area and forcing goalkeeper John Sullivan to divert his effort onto the post.
Pompey striker Patrick Agyemang caused similar problems for centre back pairing Ryan Cresswell and Nathan Pond with his powerful approach, winning a number of free-kicks which the home side failed to make the most of.
Their best effort of the first half came from a long-range drive by striker David Connolly, who caught his half-volley well and forced Davies to initially spill when the ball came at him.
Agyemang also headed over a cross from Ricky Holmes, but Town’s Antoni Sarcevic was the star of the first half – linking-up well with Matt – but both he and Junior Brown fired efforts over the Pompey crossbar - Brown’s effort on the turn being the closer.
Gareth Evans’ curling cross nearly caught Pompey before half-time, but both sides went in level at the break.
Town came out stronger in the second half, as Gareth Evans saw two strikes off his right foot fizz just past Sullivan’s left post, and Sarcevic struck one with vicious spin to force a smart save out of the Pompey goalkeeper.
It was end to end, and Town made their next chance count. Pompey fans called for a foul on Agyemang by Cresswell, but their appeals went in vain and Brown’s flick released Matt clean through on goal - Town’s top scorer couldn’t quite turn in the one on one but the deflection back off defender Sonny Bradley was no more than the striker deserved.
Alexander replaced Matt moments after the goal and it very nearly sparked a second goal for Town. David Ball, Matt’s replacement, crossed from the right and the rising Jeff Hughes headed just over.
Portsmouth tried to fight back for their fantastic support, but their threat disappeared after Agyemang was replaced, and Town’s defence protected Davies to the end for another win on the road.
TEAM: Davies, Howell, Pond, Cresswell, McLaughlin, Evans (Hogan), Schumacher (Murdoch), Hughes, Sarcevic, Brown, Matt (Ball)
UNUSED SUBS: Lucas, Roberts, Parkin, Hogan, Blair,
BOOKED: Cresswell, Matt
ATTENDANCE: 15,809 (187 Fleetwood)