Striker’s third in three not enough for win

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

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

PIC­TURE: PSI/Si­mon Davies

JOLLY OLLY: Portsmouth for­ward Oliver Hawkins is de­lighted af­ter get­ting the first goal

FIRST TO IT: Oliver Hawkins breaks the dead­lock for Pom­pey

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