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Match Reports


23 October 2018

Match Reports


23 October 2018

SECOND half goals from Devante Cole and Jake Hesketh secured a precious away point at League leaders Portsmouth as Albion came from behind to lead before home defender Matt Clarke rescued a point for Pompey.

Albion had trailed at half time to Oli Hawkins' 36th minute header but a frantic opening quarter of an hour after the break saw both Cole, on as a half time substitute, and Hesketh score their first league goals in Brewers colours to stun Fratton Park before the home side made a period of heavy pressure pay with Clarke's header from a corner.

The home side probably had the better of the chances in what remained of the game with several skirmishes in and around the Brewers box but Dimitar Evtimov was rarely seriously tested late on as the defence in front of him dug in to determinedly keep out Portsmouth array of attacking talent.

A draw is a good a god result making it seven points out of a possible nine and continues Albion's unbeaten run at Fratton Park, the Brewers having drawn now on each of their three visits to the very atmospheric south coast ground.

With the quick turnaround following the Plymouth victory there was precious little time for injuries to Ben Turner and Damien McCrory to heal so Reece Hutchinson continued at left back with Ben Fox continuing in the side having come on as a second half substitute for Turner at Home Park.

Pompey lined up with former Albion man Tom Naylor sporting the captain's armband, keen to make an impression after a solid start to life with his new club.

Dimitar Evtimov was the first keeper to be tested inside two minutes. An overlap down the Portsmouth left allowed full back Lee Brown to burst into the box but his angled effort was never going to beat the Brewers topper from such an acute angle. Albion began to come under some sustained pressure in the opening minutes and Evtimov was twice forced to make fintertip saves to keep the Brewers on level terms as a succession of corners were sent into the Albion box to test the reshaped defence.

When Albion finally relieved the pressure it was Southampton loanee Jake Hesketh that mustered the first effort on goal for the Brewers but his 25 yard volley bounced wide of the target.

When Naylor picked the pocket of Jamie Allen in midfield on ten minutes he unselfishly set up Ben Thompson for a low drilled shot from distance that Evtimov had to save at the second attempt as Jamal Lowe went to sniff out any possible rebounds.

Naylor then found himself in the book of referee Andy Madley for a strong challenge on Stephen Quinn right on the halfway line that left the Irishman in some discomfort.

Albion began to grow in confidence and on 22 minutes they fashioned probably the clearest chance yet as Allen, buzzing around the midfield slide a superb ball inside the full back for Will Miller to surge on to but the young attacker could not quite open his body up enough to steer the ball beyond Craig MacGillivray in the Portsmouth goal.

Pompey were forced into a change on 28 minutes as midfielder Dion Donohoe limped off to be replaced by striker Gareth Evans prompting a hasty reshuffle position wise for the hosts as Ben Thompson dropped in alongside Naylor.

Evans was soon the target man for Pompey as full back Anton Walkes made good ground down the right switching the ball back onto his left to curl in a cross that was onto the head of the big front man but he could only guide his header over the crossbar.

But the home side did not have long to wait for the breakthrough. Thompson was able to get into space on the right after Albion had adequately cleared a Pompey break and the Millwall loanee's cross was perfect for HAWKINS to thump home a header from just inside the six yard box.

Having prospered from set pieces on Saturday it was a different story at Fratton Park as firstly a free kick routine didnt quite go to plan and then a corner aimed at McFadzean was this time met with a volley that was skewed well off target.

Half time: Portsmouth 1-0 Burton Albion

Albion made a change for the start of the second half. Ben Fox was the man to make way as Cole was pressed into action wide out on the right, Hesketh moving into a more central role. And it was the Brewers who started brightly after the break with Boyce forcing MacGillivray into an awkward save low to his left, the keeper just smothering the loose ball before Cole could get a toe end on it.

Cole though was on target a minute later with his first league goal for the club. Hutchinson fed Quinn who in turn found Jamie Allen surging forwards. The former Rochdale man looked up and picked out a low cross that found its way through to COLE who finished low inside the post with a first time effort.

Four minutes later and HESKETH had his first goal. The young midfielder squirmed his way past several challenges inside the box and with the angle tightening against him all the time he somehow smashed the ball past MacGillivray at his near post into the roof of the net.

The home side were rattled and some began to lay siege to the Brewers goal in search of an equaliser. A deep cross to the back post was just too high for Hutchinson allowing Jamal Lowe to poke a shot towards goal but his effort was blocked inside the six yard box and the home side did not have long to wait as Evans sent over a corner thast was met by a towering header from CLARKE inside the six yard box.

Portsmouth were not far away from regaining the lead on 63 minutes as Lowe's cross was just too far in front of Evans and Ronan Curtis stealing in at the back post and it was then that Kenny Jackett turned to the experience of Brett Pitman to spearhead the Pompey attack replacing Hawkins, scorer of the first goal of the night for the remainder of the game.

There was concern on Albion's bench as the game moved inside the last twenty minutes when Boyce went down under a challenge from Thompson clutching his ankle with play taking some time to stop as Portsmouth played on looking to take advantage of their momentary numerical advantage.

Cautious of the home side's increasing momentum Albion took off Miller from the wide area to bring on Jake Buxton as they had done at the weekend to try and stiffen up the middle of the pitch in a 4-2-3-1 formation again.

It was not all defensive work for Albion as the game moved towards the final five minutes. Some excellent patient build up gave Hesketh the chance to sent in a wickedly teasing cross but Cole and Allen coming in behind him were just unable to get anything meaningful on it inside the Pompey box.

As the clock ran into the final minute of normal time Albion almost capitalised on a breakaway as Cole burst into the Portsmouth half, attempting to slide Hesketh in with a deflection off a defender almost doing the job for him as MacGillivray got there just before the Southampton man.

With the home side cranking up the pressure in stoppage time Albion sent on Chris Beardsley as the home side prepared to pump a late corner into the box but nobody in a bkue shirt could get their heads to it and Albion were able to see off the remainder of added-on time to claim an impressive point on the road.

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