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Match Reports

Portsmouth 1-1 Walsall

19 August 2017

Luke Leahy scored his first Walsall goal as the Saddlers were held by newly-promoted Portsmouth at a packed Fratton Park.

After an uneventful first half, the left-back put the visitors in front on 47 minutes when he tapped in James Wilson's low cross.

But Pompey equalised on 74 minutes as Brett Pitman smashed home a penalty after Mark Gillespie had felled Nicke Kabamba.

Both teams tried their luck from distance early on, with Leahy drilling a first-time effort wide and Pompey’s Gareth Evans fizzing a sweetly-struck shot straight at visiting keeper Mark Gillespie.

Jon Whitney’s men had made the brighter start and fashioned two good openings around the quarter-hour mark.

Kieron Morris first dragged wide from 20 yards after being teed up by Joe Edwards, before Leahy nodded James Wilson’s floated far-post cross just off target from close range.

After a lull in proceedings, Portsmouth could have opened the scoring on 31 minutes when Evans’ inviting cross was met by Brett Pitman but his goalbound header was blocked by Shaun Donnellan.

Evans then headed a Danny Rose centre harmlessly over as the hosts, managed by ex-Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, began to grow into the contest.

But Pompey were caught cold two minutes into the second half as Walsall went ahead, Wilson delivering a fierce low cross which the unmarked Leahy tapped in at the far post.

The home side offered little in response, with Kyle Bennett twice firing wide and Adam May shooting well over.

The Saddlers were looking resolute defensively and had a golden chance to double the lead midway through the half.

Erhun Oztumer threaded a lovely pass through to Amadou Bakayoko but his low effort was saved by the legs of home keeper Luke McGee, with Christian Burgess blocking the striker’s second attempt.

And Walsall were left to rue that miss as Portsmouth equalised six minutes later, Pitman rifling home his third goal of the season from the penalty spot after Gillespie had felled Nicke Kabamba.

Boosted by the goal, the dangerous Pitman almost put Pompey in front with a dipping right-footed shot which flew just over the bar.

The south coast club went closest to finding a winner in the closing stages as Adam May’s long pass into the area was volleyed over by Pitman at full stretch.

 

Team: Gillespie, Wilson, Guthrie, Donnellan, Devlin, Leahy, Chambers, Edwards, Morris (Cuvelier 69’), Oztumer, Bakayoko (Jackson 76’).

Subs not used: L Roberts, K Roberts, Kinsella, Kouhyar, Candlin.

Attendance: 17,198 (464 Walsall supporters).


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