Portsmouth (Home)

Jul 8, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

The Memorial Stadium Saturday 18th March 2023

Bristol Rovers 0

Portsmouth 2

Bishop (19, 69 (pen))

Referee: James Bell Attendance: 9,448

Aaron Collins didn’t retain the captaincy for the visit of Portsmouth and Lewis Gibson was handed the armband for the first time.

In terms of changes to his starting XI Joe Barton brought in Luca Hoole and Antony Evans at the expense of James Connolly and Scott Sinclair.

Rovers began the game on the front foot. Collins saw a shot blocked by Ryley Towler, while Gibson headed tamely towards goal from an Evans free kick when well placed.

Former Rovers trainee goalkeeper Matt Macey saved from Collins and Jarell Quansah headed wide shortly afterwards. Moments later, the visitors were ahead in highly controversial circumstances.

When Ryan Tunnicliffe picked out Colby Bishop on the right, almost everyone in the ground thought that the Portsmouth man was offside. Everyone, that is, apart from the assistant referee. As Rovers looked across the line for a flag that was never raised, Bishop ran on and shot across the face of goal. The ball hit the inside of the far post, rolled along the line and hit the near post before entering the net.

Safe to say there were a great many complaints from Rovers players and staff and coaches Andy Mangan and Glenn Whelan were booked for their over zealous protests while later Barton revealed that he was booked in the tunnel at half time.

Rovers found it difficult to get back into the game after that setback but fashioned a golden opportunity to equalise two minutes from the break when Lamare Bogarde and Collins combined to set up John Marquis. However, to the delight of the away fans behind the goal their former striker volleyed his effort high over the bar.

It was the striker’s final touch of the game as neither he or Lewis Gordon came out for the second half, being replaced by Sinclair and Calum Macdonald respectively.

Rovers began the second half well and Collins and Grant Ward might have scored on another day, though they were out of luck in this game.

Portsmouth doubled their lead on 69 minutes, once again in controversial circumstances. Connor Ogilvie somehow managed to get round Hoole down the left and hit a low cross into the area. What should have been a routine save for James Belshaw saw the keeper spill the ball and as Bishop attempted to capitalise , he appeared to be fouled by Macdonald, though Barton felt the Portsmouth man had thrown himself to the ground. Bishop took the resulting spot kick and calmly sent Belshaw the wrong way from 12 yards.

Sandwiched between two Macey saves, from Sinclair and Collins, Sam Finley volleyed a shot over the bar as Rovers attempted to pull a goal back.

They then had to play out the six minutes of added time with ten men after Quansah was red carded for a tackle on Joe Morrell he need never have made. It appeared the on loan Liverpool player was frustrated by Morrell’s time wasting antics and went in on the former City player from behind.

It looked a red card from the stand and, apparently, there was some ‘afters’ as well. Barton felt it was an offence that warranted a yellow card and not a red. I have to say I thought this was one decision the referee got right, and there weren’t many of them!

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Hoole, Quansah, Gibson, Gordon (Macdonald 46), Ward (Loft, 73), Bogarde, Evans (Finley, 73), Collins, Marquis (Sinclair, 46), Coburn.

Substitutes: Balcombe, Connolly, Whelan.

Portsmouth: Macey, Rafferty, Raggett, Towler, Ogilvie, Thompson (Jacobs, 65), Morrell, Tunnicliffe, Lane (Robertson, 87), Bishop, Hackett-Fairchild (Dale, 59).

Substitutes: Scarlett, Oluwayemi, Lowery, Bernard.


Former Rovers youth goalkeeper, Matt Macey, was between the posts for Portsmouth

Yellow cards were issued to Grant Ward, Calum Macdonald and Lewis Gibson

A red card was issued to Jarell Quansah

Four substitutes used

Lewis Gibson was skipper then Sam Finley when he was sent on

Eight added minutes

(photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman