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Match Reports

Portsmouth v Burton Albion

11 March 2014

Portsmouth 0-0 Burton Albion

Albion took a point home to Burton after drawing 0-0 with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

For all of Albion's invention and creativity they couldn't find a way past the Portsmouth back-line after a frantic first-half, the host stamped their authority on the second-half to cancel out their timid opening 45 display but in the end neither team did enough to warrant the win.

Captain Lee Bell was recalled to the Brewers' starting line-up at the expense of Matty Palmer who dropped to the bench.

Defender Ian Sharps did not travel after coming off in the 2-1 win at Oxford with a calf strain, Marcus Holness who replaced the 33-year-old at the Kassam Stadium took his place in the starting eleven.

Within the first 30 seconds Albion had their first shot of the match, a quick throw-in by Damien McCrory found winger Jimmy Phillips with a yard of space, the Albion number 17 turned onto his right and took aim from 25 yards but Trevor Carson took the ball into his chest.

Albion's loan star Zeli Ismail continued the Brewers' bright start when he got the wrong side of Portsmouth defender Joe Devera, the Wolves loanee was forced off the ball in the area but the referee waved away the half-hearted appeals.

Phillips was again causing Portsmouth right-back Devera problems, the winger picked-up a loose ball yards inside the Portsmouth half before cutting inside and leaving Devera behind, his low shot on the edge of the area took Carson two attempts to collect with Billy Kee waiting in the wings for any misjudgements.

With 10 minutes on the clock the home side started to move out of the first gear they had found themselves in, Patrick Agyemang causing problems for Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and his new defensive partner Holness.

Albion were beginning to make headway down the left wing as Phillips continued to slip his way past Devera but Albion were no longer having it all their own way, Bell who was recalled to the starting eleven playing in front of the back four was continuously marshalling the space of the Portsmouth attackers and in particular Ryan Taylor who was finding more and more room as the first-half progressed.

On 20 minutes Albion striker Dominic Knowles almost gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead, Ismail who assisted Knowles' goal at Oxford again the provider, his left footed cross from the right found Knowles but the young Brewers forward could only head wide of Carson's post.

Albion were arguably the stronger side as the match reached its third, Ismail and McCrory both attempting the spectacular from distance, both on target but the distance just a yard or five too far out.

Knowles was the next Albion player to take aim at Carson's goal again from distance but the Portsmouth 'keeper had to work hard to keep Albion at bay. The forward playing a clever one-two with Ismail before cutting inside from the right onto his left foot and striking at Carson's far post.

Ismail was growing in confidence as the Brewers' chief creator and was the Albion man finding the space inbetween the Portsmouth lines, this time playing in Kee who with just Carson to beat stuck the ball yards over the bar with a curling effort.

With almost 40 minutes on the clock, Portsmouth started to push further and further forward. Holness did well to deny Taylor in the air and Phillips found himself helping McCrory in the left-back position as Ricky Holmes and Devera combined on the flank.

As the half-time whistle approached Portsmouth had a flurry of corners all of which Albion dealt with, first Knowles then Holness and finally Phillips all clearing Albion's box from any potential aerial balls.

The half-time whistle blew to a chorus of boos from the home crowd, a compliment to the Brewers' attacking away performance in the opening 45 minutes.


Striker Kee had the chance to strike into an empty net early into the second period, Ismail's searching ball found Knowles who had his header deflected into the path of Kee, Albion's top scorer had Carson rushing out but his looping effort was rushed because of the 'keepers presence and it bounced wide.

The second-half erupted when Shane Cansdell-Sherriff took a nasty knock to the head as he attempted to clear the ball. Play continued as the defender was on the floor and Portsmouth almost took advantage as Agyemang struck the inside of Lainton's post as most of Fratton Park began celebrating thinking the ball had nestled inside the post and behind the line, it bounced clear and Albion started to move north of Lainton's goal.

Portsmouth winger Romain Padovani almost gave the home side the lead when he found himself unmarked at the far post, McCrory had lost the ball on the left wing and the play was quickly switched to Portsmouth's right wing but a deflection on the shot saw it bounce wide of the Brewers' goal.

On 64 minutes manager Gary Rowett introduced striker Adam McGurk for Knowles and Alex MacDonald for Jimmy Phillips to try and put the game to Portsmouth.

MacDonald had an instant impact, his looping cross found its way to Edwards, the right-back rifled the ball at Carson's goal only to see it deflected as the Albion team watched the ball roll inches wide of Carson's unattended right post.

Albion had the ball in Carson's net on 72 minutes Edwards' free-kick found Kee and his miscued shot landed at McGurk's feet, the substitute poked the ball in the net from six yards only to see the assistant raise his flag.

Albion looked to secure the point when Gray was introduced with less than 10 minutes remaining, the former Man United defender slotting into the defensive midfield role alongside Bell.

Edwards couldn't make the most of a free header from a late Albion corner, the ball whistling wide of the post.

Burton Albion: Lainton, Edwards, Bell, Weir, MCrory, Phillips (MacDonald 64', booked 78'), Knowles (McGurk 64'), Ismail, Holness, Cansdell-Sherriff, Kee (Gray 81').

Substitutes: Lyness, Hussey, Palmer, Symes.

Attendance: 12,780 (123)

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