Point Each For Pools And Pompey
Pools fought out a close encounter at The Vic with fellow League One strugglers Portsmouth – with neither side able to find a crucial goal to take the three points.
The visitors came into the game on the back of nine consecutive defeats and a win this evening would have taken Pools off the bottom of the league for the first time in 4 months.
But it was not to be for John Hughes' side as the game finished goalless, despite some promising play - a result which did though stretch the unbeaten run to 4 games.
Pools started strongly this evening, keeping the visitors pegged back inside their own half for the majority of the opening forty-five.
Jonathan Franks was in good form for Hughes’s side, getting involved in everything and causing a nuisance with his pace and movement.
Portsmouth had one early chance to test Pools’ resolve as a long kick forward by Simon Eastwood bounced down the right wing to Patrick Agyemang. He showed strength to play in field for Adam Reed but the on-loan forward saw his final shot fly wide of Flinders’ far post.
But the majority of the early game belonged to Pools, who were playing some good football in this first half, showing patience with their build-up and passing it neatly about the pitch.
And there were some chances to break the deadlock; a James Poole free-kick needed a last-minute touch to send it over, while Ritchie Humphreys rose well to meet an Evan Horwood corner but sent his header wide of the far post.
As the break approached, Portsmouth began to edge their way forward and Pools were forced to do more work at the other end of the pitch.
Peter Hartley put in a brave block to deny Jed Wallace from the edge of the box and Flinders collected calmly from James Keene from distance.
The last big chance of the first half fell to Charlie Wyke as the on-loan striker forced his way in from the right but Eastwood put in a good save to deny Pools a late goal.
The visitors came out fighting in the second half and Hughes’ men had much more of a battle on their hands.
While the visitors had found themselves pinned back for much of the first half, Pools suffered the same fate at times early in the second.
Sam Collins put in a crucial clearance to deny Portsmouth as Agyemang caused problems inside the area and Pools were forced back once again.
At the other end, Jack Baldwin powered his way through on goal, forcing his way past several orange shirts to fire an effort at goal. Unfortunately his drilled shot scraped wide of the post but his determination did lift a nervy crowd inside The Vic.
Baldwin went close again for Pools after the visitors failed to clear a Horwood throw-in; the youngster sent a snapshot at goal from the edge of the area but once again it went the wrong side of Eastwood’s post.
With just over ten minutes left on the clock, Pools upped the urgency of their game – fired on by an increasingly vocal crowd.
With sub Monkhouse getting stuck in inside the area and Luke James offering a fresh pair of legs, Pools began to press again in numbers.
And the hosts won a succession of corners but none of Horwood’s deliveries from the left could help find that crucial goal.
At the other end, there was a crucial interception from Collins to deny Reed late glory for Portsmouth before Pools had strong appeals for a handball inside the area ignored by the officials.
Despite the late drama at both ends, the the game finished goalless and Pools had to settle for just one point.
It was a battling display from Hughes' men, who looked solid at the back against a physical Portsmouth presence. This was a game from which Pools would have been hoping to take more but will be happy with their first clean sheet since 1st September 2012.
Full Time: Pools 0 Portsmouth 0
Att: 3526 (280 Portsmouth)
Booked: Portsmouth - Wallace (22), Sodje (39)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton, Baldwin, Humphreys (Monkhouse 64), Franks (James 75), Wyke, Poole
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Holden, Luscombe, Richards, Rutherford
Portsmouth: Eastwood, Cooper, Sodje, Keene, Ertl, Agyemang (Akinde 74), Wallace, Butler, Rocha, Reed, Racon
Subs Not Used: Smith, Walker, Harris, Webster, Gyepes