OLI’S RED HOT AS POMPEY SHARE SPOILS
Striker’s third in three not enough for win
KENNY Jackett was frustrated that his Portsmouth side paid for missing a host of chances in the first half-hour as they drew with Accrington Stanley.
League leaders Pompey started strongly and had a number of good opportunities at the Wham Stadium with goalkeeper Connor Ripley having to be on top of his game to deny Gareth Evans, Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis.
However, Stanley missed the chance to go ahead when Billy Kee’s penalty was saved by Craig MacGillivray after 32 minutes after the keeper had fouled the striker.
Curtis hit the crossbar for Pompey after the break before they took the lead through an Oli Hawkins strike after 62 minutes – his third goal in three games.
Two minutes later Stanley equalised when Michael Ihiekwe headed home a Sean McConville free-kick – and neither side could grab a winner.
“For the first 20-30 minutes we played very well, we had the wind behind us and we needed to score when we were on top in that period,” said Jackett, whose side have seen their gap at the top cut to two points.
“When you dominate and make chances, you need to take them and we didn’t.
“They then got the penalty, and Craig has produced a fantastic save to make up for the mistake he made to give it away.
“For the first 15 minutes of the second half we were on top and went 1-0 up. But then immediately we gave a goal away from a set-piece and it went scrappy.
“I have mixed feelings about the result as this is a difficult place to come, but we started so strongly and were dominant – we just didn’t score.”
Stanley boss John Coleman said a draw was probably a fair result.
“For the first 25 minutes they battered us and had four or five good chances. Then we came into the game, missed the penalty and pinned them back.
“In the second half, I thought we were excellent. They only had two chances – they hit the post and they scored – but it was one-way traffic, we just made the wrong decision with the final pass.
“We are disappointed we haven’t beaten the league leaders, which shows how far we have come but the league is very early days.
“I am frustrated we gave away a goal from a set play but we kept knocking on the door and got the goal back. Once we equalised we looked like the team who would win it.”
The Stanley keeper had kept out Lowe from a tight angle and Evans with a diving save before pushing a Curtis strike around the post.
The Reds grew into the game, but when MacGillivray brought down Kee in the area the normally reliable striker fired his spot-kick straight down the middle and the keeper pushed it away.
Pompey continued to make chances and Curtis’s volley
thumped against the crossbar after 57 minutes.
The visitors took the lead when Evans put a free-kick into the danger area and Hawkins stuck out his leg to send it past Ripley.
Stanley replied after 64 minutes when McConville’s free-kick was headed home by Ihiekwe, on loan from Rotherham, to make it honours even. It was his first goal for the Reds.
Pompey keeper MacGillivray said: “We know that we have to put away more of those chances – especially when we’re away from home.
“Accrington are very hard to beat and so, of course, it’s frustrating, but at least we’ve come away with a point.”
LEVEL BEST: Michael Ihiekwe celebrates the Accrington equaliser
JOLLY OLLY: Portsmouth forward Oliver Hawkins is delighted after getting the first goal
FIRST TO IT: Oliver Hawkins breaks the deadlock for Pompey