Grant's Brace Gives Town First-Ever Win At PompeyTown: 1 Jayson Leutwiler, 2 Jermaine Grandison, 3 Mickey Demetriou, 4 Ryan Woods, 5 Mark Ellis, 6 Connor Goldson, 9 James Collins (19 Andy Mangan 85), 11 Liam Lawrence, 12 Cameron Gayle, 24 Bobby Grant, 26 Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro ( 23 Tyrone Barnett 82)
Subs: 21 Mark Halstead, 10 Scott Vernon, 16 Keith Southern, 22 Jordan Clark, 28 Mikael Mandron
Portsmouth: 1 Paul Jones, 4 Danny East, 5 Joe Devera, 6 Ben Chorley (c), 8 Jed Wallace, 9 Ryan Taylor (15 Paul McCullum 76), 14 Matt Tubbs, 21 James Dunne, 24 Nyron Nosworthy, 28 Cole Kpekawa, 29 Danny Hollands (36 Conor Chaplin 70)
Subs: 27 David Cornell (gk), 19 Wes Fogden, 25 Nigel Atangana, 33 Ben Close, 34 Dan Butler
Ref: Lee Collins
Assistants: Elliott Kaye and Sam Pukiss
Fourth Official: Mark Derrien
Attendance: 14,749 (with 590 from Salop)
Micky Mellon is forced into making a change with Rhys Sharpe suspended after his red card against Oxford, in comes Mickey Demetriou in a straight swap.
It was a blustery day in Portsmouth and the Fratton Park pitch looked sandy and bobbly but it was the home side who took to the conditions better in the opening exchanges. There were little in the way on clear chances in the opening 10 minutes as both sides took their time to get an idea of each others styles.
As the game went on Town were starting to look more of an attacking threat, some good football saw the visitors create some decent openings. A high ball to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw good hold up play from the forward, then Collins and Grant combined well to set Grant away for a a good cross that caused a number of problems in the Pompey box.
Akpa Akpro got in behind Nosworthy and was clipped by the Pompey player who picked up a yellow card for his troubles. Bobby Grant delivered a good looking free kick that caused a number of problems and ended in a Town corner. The visitors kept the pressure on with a string of corners, the best opening coming after Ellis headed back across goal to Grandison who stabbed a shot towards goal but he was unlucky to see it blocked for another corner.
Town were putting the pressure on and creating some good chances, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Cameron Gayle combined well with Gayle driving into the box to get the return ball from Akpa Akpro and he drove a low shot across the face of goal that somehow stayed out.
The visitors pressure paid off on 23 minute when Lawrence and Grant combined to give Town the lead, it came after the ball was played into Lawrence and he played a neat one-two with Grant to set him up for a shot that he curled in from the edge of the penalty area for a lovely finish to make it 1-0.
There was a little lull in play after the goal but Town looked the most likely to score. The thing that Town were doing was working and closing down the space and this was giving Portsmouth no time on the ball.
There were chances for Collins and Akpa Akpro but the best came after Woods did well to work after losing the ball and regaining possession for Town, the ball was moved to Grant who drove forward and at the Pompey defence, Collins was in support and Grant moved the ball to him, it was on his weaker left foot but he hit in an excellent shot but Jones was equal to it and the offside flag was raised as Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro looked to turn the ball home.
Town were hitting the home side well with the counter attack and it was causing a lot of problems for Portsmouth. Defence was turning into attack and it was Grant and Collins who came away with the ball, they were quick to take play back towards the Pompey goal and Gayle was busting a gut to get up as well, he offered the option to the left but as the ball was played to him Kpekawa had got back with an important block as Gayle tried to roll the ball back to Collins for a tap in.
It was nearly the perfect start for Town after Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro got in behind the Pompey defence and then found the space to cut in a shot from a tight angle that beat Jones but it hit the far post and came back out again and Pompey cleared their lines ..
Portsmouth were starting to grow as an attacking force at the start of the second half and the Town defence had to show their metal at times. A Pompey attack first saw Leutwiler get down to tip the ball away and then when the ball dropped in the box Demetriou threw himself in the way of the ball for an important block.
Town were still looking dangerous when they got the ball and drove forward, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro did well to beat the offside trap and the ball was switched to the left, it fell to Grant who nicked the ball away from the Pompey defence, chipped it over another and then when it dropped hit a lovely volley but it was inches wide of the far post.
Town grabbed a second goal on 64 minutes and it followed great pressing from Town to keep the ball around the Portsmouth box, the ball then dropped to Bobby Grant who hit a sweet shot from the edge of the box that flew into the net to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
The game had been a little open but Town were creating the better of the chances and direct ball into Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro saw the forward get up well and head it down to Collins, he hit a decent first time shot but Jones was equal to it with a good tip over the bar.
With just under 10 minutes of the game remaining Micky Mellon made his first change of the afternoon with Tyrone Barnett coming on to replace Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who left the pitch to warm applause from the Town faithful. Then minutes later is was another change to the forward line with James Collins being replaced by Andy Mangan, showing Town's current strength in depth.
Town kept the tempo up of their performance and kept the attacking play going to see the clock out and come away from Fratton Park with their first win their and an important 3 points.