Carabao Cup success doesn't come easy for Pompey
Sunday, 30th Aug 2020 11:26 by pompey-fans.com staff
Pompey are through to the second round of the Carabao Cup - though, typically, they did it the hard way.
They found themselves 3-1 down at Stevenage after a disastrous first half hour but recovered to draw 3-3 - then had sub keeper Craig MacGillivray to thank for a 3-1 success in the penalty shootout.
Skipper Tom Naylor returned to the side but some terrible defending by Pompey - playing in their new orange kit - sae them go two down inside 10 minutes.
Sean Raggett was caught out on nine minutes, allowing Elliot List to slot home. Immediately an embarrassing mix-up between Paul Downing and Alex Bass led to the second. Pompey just couldn't clear the danger and it fell to Charlie Carter, who barged James Bolton out of his way and converted.
On 21 minutes Pompey halved their deficit when Lee Brown fed Ronan Curtis and he cut inside from the left and curled home a lovely shot. But on 29 minutes it was 3-1 when Pompey made horrible hard work of dealing with a corner and finally Scott Cuthbert poked it home among a sea of bodies.
Moments before half-time home defender Ben Coker handled a John Marquis shot and Gareth Evans put away the penalty.
Pompey by now looked the stronger side and Marquis drew them level on 51 minutes with a fierce shot that beat the keeper at his near post after Curtis had played in the former Doncaster man.
Both sides had chances to win but even the late introduction of Andy Cannon and Ryan Williams couldn't help Pompey find a winer. They need not have worried, though, for the penalty shootout went their way with a kick or two to spare.
After Stevenage scored their first, Marquis levelled. And with Curtis and Brown also converting, three successive saves by MacGillivray clinched the shootout 3-1 and earned Pompey a second round spot.
They now have a two-week break between competitive games, with the League One opener against Shrewsbury to follow on September 12.
Pompey (4-3-3): Bass (MacGillivray 46); Bolton, Downing, Raggett, Brown; Evans (Cannon 76), Naylor (c), Morris; Harness (Williams 76), Marquis, Curtis. Subs not used: Mnoga, Whatmough, Close, Stanley
Referee: Sam Purkiss