GARETH’S LOVING CHANGE OF ENDS
GARETH Ainsworth is loving life at the top end of League Two after a Sam Wood goal ensured Wycombe picked up a point and are unbeaten in six.
Wood diverted a Peter Murphy shot past a stranded Paul Jones after 49 minutes to give the Chairboys a deserved lead but they failed to hang on.
Portsmouth substitute Johnny Ertl sublimely volleyed a Dan Butler corner past Matt Ingram on 70 minutes to ensure both teams had to settle for a point.
The away team endured a dramatic final day showdown last season to stay in the Football League but are currently sitting happy in the automatic promotion places and are yet to lose away from Adams Park.
Ainsworth said: “It is our away form that is really good at the moment but I won’t be talking about anything other than getting to our survival total.
“The pressures being at the bottom is horrible and you have to try and keep the same professionalism but being at the top just breeds confidence and backs up what you are trying to do.
“I know my players so whether the start has surprised me or not I will keep it to myself and the main aim is to never ever repeat what happened last year at all.
“I am really pleased, not many teams will come to Fratton Park and get a draw although it is gutting we didn’t get three points.”
Fresh from their 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge in midweek, Pompey started in top gear but no one was on hand to convert a teasing Jed Wallace cross after six minutes.
The away side then dominated for large spells and Matt McClure almost caught out Paul Jones with a 25-yard shot which the goalkeeper scrambled away.
Experienced Pompey defender Paul Robinson then cleared off the line from Murphy on 43 minutes after Jones had kept out McClure’s initial shot.
In the end-to-end battle, seconds later Craig Westcarr went up the other end and really should have brought the first cheer from the Fratton Park faithful but could only blaze a Wallace cross over the bar.
After Wood’s opener, McClure had the golden chance to put the game to bed but, when alone in the box, could only fire high into the stands.
The miss changed the game and James Dunne rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard strike while Joe Devera and Westcarr somehow wasted glorious chances before Ertl finally hit the target with his first goal for a year.
A frustrated Andy Awford said: “I think Wycombe have come in and done a really good professional job and they deserved their point.
“When teams come here they have to slow the game down. Teams will do that because they want to kill the game and to make the crowd flap and they did a very good job on us.
“We can’t stop that, it is down to the referee to handle that. I think there should have been at least ten minutes of injury time personally.
“Right from minute one there was a bit of slowness from them but I’m not critical of Wycombe for that, that's professional and that’s what teams do.”
STAR MAN AARON PIERRE
be Wycom HAVE THAT: Johannes Ertl of Portsmouth scores the equaliser