Fleetwood Town 0 Portsmouth 1: First-half goal sees the visitors victorious at Highbury

Interim boss Simon Wiles suffered frustration in his first home game in charge as Fleetwood Town slipped to defeat against high-flying Portsmouth.
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John Marquis’ first goal for two months did the damage as Pompey prevailed on their travels despite weathering some late pressure.

The striker’s 16th minute header proved the difference to leave the Cod Army without a win in their last five matches in all competitions.

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Both sides observed a minute’s silence before kick-off with it being Fleetwood’s memorial fixture to honour former staff, players and supporters who had passed away during the previous 12 months.

Fleetwood Town's Callum Connolly heads just wide of goal    Picture: Stephen Buckley/PRiME Media Images LimitedFleetwood Town's Callum Connolly heads just wide of goal    Picture: Stephen Buckley/PRiME Media Images Limited
Fleetwood Town's Callum Connolly heads just wide of goal Picture: Stephen Buckley/PRiME Media Images Limited

On the pitch, Wiles named an unchanged side to that which squandered a 2-0 lead at Hull City in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.

Pompey manager Kenny Jackett made one change for his side’s long trip to the Highbury Stadium, with centre-back Jack Whatmough recalled having recovered from coronavirus. Rasmus Nicolaisen made way in the visitors’ first league outing for nearly a month.

The hosts started brightly and Paddy Madden dragged a shot just wide of the left upright after only two minutes.

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It was Pompey who took the lead after a mistake from Ryan Rydel.

His attempted clearance cannoned off Ryan Williams, who chased the ball, turned and whipped in a delicious delivery for Marquis to head home from close range.

The Cod Army nearly equalised a minute later but Callum Camps saw his stinging strike parried by Pompey shot-stopper Craig MacGillivray.

James Hill also had a good chance to equalise soon afterwards but his header flew wide of the target.

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Everton loanee Callum Connolly should have levelled just before the half-hour mark, but he inexplicably headed wide from Kyle Vassell’s inch-perfect cross into the box.

A minute later Madden teed up Vassell, the Rotherham United loanee, but he blazed horribly over when he should have really hit the target.

At the other end, Williams and Marquis combined well again but the latter headed wide as Pompey pushed to double their lead.

Camps had a long-range free-kick charged down as the hosts kept battling for an equaliser, before Madden had a penalty appeal rejected after going down in the area following a tussle with Callum Johnson.

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Vassell had another opportunity but he headed wide from a dangerous inswinging Connolly cross.

Josh Morris rifled a powerful free-kick straight at MacGillivray on the stroke of half-time as Fleetwood went into the break frustrated they hadn’t got back on level terms.

Pompey flew out of the blocks after the resumption and Fleetwood keeper Joe Hilton was forced to make a smart save to thwart Michael Jacobs.

A poor clearance from Hilton then allowed Williams to tee up goalscorer Marquis, but this time, the striker blazed over from the edge of the box.

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Madden had a shot charged down on the edge of the area as Wiles’ team kept battling for an equaliser and substitute Jordan Rossiter saw an effort blocked.

Camps forced a solid block from MacGillivray late in the action but Pompey held on despite late pressure to pick up a priceless win.

Fleetwood Town: Hilton, Rydel, Mulgrew, Hill, Connolly, Camps, Coutts, Whelan (Rossiter 72), J Morris (S Morris 79), Vassell, Madden. Subs not used: Duffy, Saunders, Finley, Holgate, Matete.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Brown, Raggett, Whatmough, Johnson, Cannon, Naylor, Williams, Jacobs, Harness, Marquis. Subs not used: Close, Harrison, Bolton, Nicolaisen, Hiwula-Mayifuila, Mnoga, Turnbull.

Referee: James Bell.

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