MATCH REPORT: Portsmouth 1 Fleetwood Town 0

It was a case of hawk by name and hawk by nature for Portsmouth hero Oli Hawkins as the forward swept in to thwart Fleetwood Town's bid to topple the League One leaders.

Saturday, 20th October 2018, 6:06 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st October 2018, 8:03 pm
Hawkins opens the scoring for Portsmouth

Hawkins had numerous chances either side of the winning goal but aptly, on his 50th appearance, he saved the only goal of the game for the 50th minute.

Fleetwood were undone by a corner as Dion Donohue's centre was flicked on into the path of the forward.

Fleetwood frustrated the league leaders in the first half and limited their chances.

Town's forwards have been in fine form in their last two back-to-back wins but Barton's men failed to have a shot on or off target in the first 45.

It was the leaders who looked most likely to break the deadlock, Ben Thompson a whisker away from beating Alex Cairns as his curling effort whistled over the bar.

And as the bells rang round Fratton Park Town skipper Craig Morgan nearly dropped a clanger.

The centre-half gave the ball away to Hawkins but he failed to punish Town, curling the ball wide.

Fleetwood's normally sharp dead ball trio Ash Hunter, Ryan Taylor and Ross Wallace all wasted numerous set-piece situations.

Though Barton's men nearly sank Pompey due to a delightful bit of skill by Wallace.

The ex-Sheffield Wednesday man whipped in a defence splitting pass towards the unmarked Coyle on the left of the box but as he failed to connect, the right-footer trying to get the ball onto his favoured foot rather than trusting his left.

It was goalless at the break but Portsmouth went for the jugular at the start of the second 45.

It was Hawkins who did the damage, apt that on his 50th appearance for Portsmouth that his goal came in the 50th minute.

The forward was first to react in the box as Tom Naylor flicked-on Dion Donohue's corner from the right.

It should have been two moments later as Fleetwood keeper Cairns saw his clearance cannon back off the forward and thunder towards the empty net but fortunately for Town it skimmed past the post.

Hawkins was in the action again as he nodded a Brown cross over.

But despite their dominance Pompey could not get that vital second goal.

As the clock ticked on Barton sent Evans on for Holt to partner Madden in a front two as he shifted to 4-4-2.

That ignited a spark in Fleetwood's front line Evans the focal point as he slid in Hunter on the left wing.

Hunter and Madden have been a lethal combination this term but Madden could only divert Hunter's cross into the mix over the bar.

Taylor tried his luck from distance before Barton sent Dempsey on for the final 10 in place of Wallace.

But it went from bad to worse for Fleetwood as young right-back Nathan Sheron picked up his second booking for a foul on Curtis, Town finishing the game with 10-men.

Barton sent Cian Bolger on up front for the six minutes of injury time.

The giant defender giving Town an aerial threat as they went route one in the closing stages.

But Town's final chance of the day summed up their attacking performance.

After Burns had won a corner on the right Fleetwood had one last dead ball situation to test the league leaders.

But Taylor could only whip the corner from the right into the welcoming arms of MacGillvray as Town slipped to defeat at Fratton Park.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Sheron, Morgan, Eastham, Coyle (Bolger, 90), Holt (Evans, 67), Taylor, Wallace (Dempsey, 79), Burns, Madden, Hunter. Subs not used: P Jones, Dempsey, Bolger, Marney, Biggins, Rydel.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Brown, Clarke, Naylor, Hawkins, Lowe, Curtis, Whatmough, Donohue, N Thompson, B Thompson. Subs: McGee, Walkes, Burgess, Pitman, Mason, Evans, Close.