A positive result for Shrewsbury Town as they kick-off the 2020/21 campaign with a point away from home.
Shrewsbury Town ended the contest with ten men after the reinstated Aaron Pierre saw red. But that did not shadow a decent away performance for Sam Ricketts’ side who left Fratton Park with a well-deserved point.
New loanee Matija Sarkic enjoyed a fruitful debut as he kept a clean sheet against Kenny Jackett’s side.
Town were penning in their hosts early on and forced an early corner, which Pompey less than convincingly cleared.
At the other end, ex Town midfielder Bryn Morris glided beyond Brad Walker. His initial strike was parried by Sarkic, but the Montenegrin gathered at the second attempt.
Portsmouth were beginning to show early signs of promise. Former QPR full-back Lee Brown flashed the ball into the middle but Town were let off.
At the other end, Shaun Whalley’s delivery was met by Brad Walker – the former Wrexham man diverted his header onto the woodwork, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell skewed the rebound wide.
A golden opportunity for Town as they should have broken the deadlock. Instead, Portsmouth grew in confidence. Jack Whatmough, who was featuring in his 100th match for Portsmouth, sent John Marquis in the clear. Aaron Pierre upended the ex Doncaster man and the Grenada international was given the first of two yellow cards.
Matija Sarkic had to be alert, but thankfully Lee Brown’s free-kick missed the target. Town finished the first half in the ascendancy. Huddersfield loanee Rekeil Pyke couldn’t trouble Craig MacGillivray in the Portsmouth goal with his guided header.
Kenny Jackett’s men started the second period at a blistering pace. John Marquis saw Sarkic off his line and tried to lob the stopper but found his radar slightly askew.
Brad Walker should have done better for the visitors as he found himself through on goal, but he couldn’t apply the finish.
This end to end contest swung in Portsmouth’s favour once more. Jack Whatmough’s strike was collected by Matija Sarkic.
Portsmouth continued to up the ante. Lee Brown tried the audacious from long range, but Sarkic scrambled back to tip over. Then, Sean Raggett’s header was cleared by Scott Golbourne.
Town deserved the point at Fratton Park, but will leave slightly disappointed after Aaron Pierre saw red. However, an excellent point away from home against a team largely tipped to be in the top six places come May.
Shrewsbury face Northampton next Saturday, whilst Portsmouth visit Brighton in the EFL Cup on Thursday.
Team Line Ups:
1, MacGillivray, 2. Johnson, 6. Whatmough, 20. Raggett, 3. Brown, 4. Naylor, 17. Morris (80), 19. Harness (69), 26. Evans (55), 11. Curtis, 9. Marquis,
Subs: 7. Williams (69), 8. Close (80), 10. Harrison, 13. Bolton, 14. Cannon (55), 23. Pring, 41. Turnbull
Subs Not Used: 10. Harrison, 13. Bolton, 23. Pring, 41. Turnbull
31. Sarkic, 5. Williams (71), 24. Ebanks-Landell, 2. Pierre, 3. Golbourne, 10. Vela (78), 25. High, 16. Walker, 7. Whalley, 9. Pyke, 35. Cummings (84)
Subs: 1. Burgoyne 8. Norburn (78), 17. Love, 18. Fossey (71), 19. Barnett (84), 22. Daniels, 23. Udoh
Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 17. Love, 22. Daniels, 23. Udoh
Other League One Results (at the time of writing):
Accrington 2 – 0 Peterborough
Crewe 0 – 2 Charlton
Doncaster 1 – 1 MK Dons
Fleetwood 2 – 1 Burton
Gillingham 0 – 2 Hull
Lincoln 2 – 0 Oxford
Northampton 2 – 2 AFC Wimbledon
Plymouth 1 – 0 Blackpool
Sunderland 1 – 1 Bristol Rovers
Swindon 3 – 1 Rochdale