Portsmouth 2 Fleetwood Town 2: Town climb into play-offs as Souttar scores at both ends

Harry Souttar bizarrely scored at both ends as Fleetwood held League One promotion rivals Portsmouth in a lively affair at Fratton Park.
Harry Souttar heads home Fleetwood's second goalHarry Souttar heads home Fleetwood's second goal
Harry Souttar heads home Fleetwood's second goal

The Australia international sent a rocket shot into his own goal to give Portsmouth an undeserved early second-half lead but later atoned with Fleetwood's equaliser as Town climbed back into the play-off zone and extended their unbeaten run to 12 games.

Barrie McKay capped a great game in midfield with Fleetwood's opening goal, which Pompey cancelled out before the break..

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Top scorer Paddy Madden, without a goal in his last five appearances, was left out of the Fleetwood starting line-up, with Ched Evans getting the nod up front.

Josh Morris and Jack Sowerby also started, with Portsmouth recalling Ellis Harrison, who missed Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Peterborough United.

Fleetwood, chasing a league double over Pompey, had an escape in the opening minutes when Ronan Curtis flashed a fierce left-side cross-shot inches over Alex Cairns' crossbar.

But after Glenn Whelan had been booked for a rash challenge on Pompey wingman Ryan Williams, Fleetwood settled into their game, taking the sting out of their hosts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fleetwood's first meaningful attack produced a goal on 19 minutes - and a second for Barrie McKay on his loan spell from Swansea City.

Danny Andrew initiated the move down the left-hand side, feeding a short ball to Evans, whose low cross from the byeline picked out Scotsman McKay and he scrambled the ball home after goalkeeper Alex Bass had saved his initial shot.

In-form Fleetwood began to boss proceedings and almost doubled their lead when Pompey skipper Tom Naylor almost headed McKay's corner into his own net.

In an eventful run-up to half-time, Bass turned a shot from Sowerby over the bar and then, completely against the pattern of play, Pompey central defender Sean Raggett equalised from Ross McCrorie's cross on 36

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In first-half stoppage time, Morris curled a free-kick past the outstretched arms of Bass but agonisingly on to the far upright and the ball rebounded away to safety.

Having been the better side in the first half, Fleetwood bizarrely found themselves 2-1 behind barely three minutes into the second half.

The speedy Williams outpaced his marker and crossed into the danger area, where Souttar attempted to clear but succeeded only in rocketing the ball past the helpless Alex Cairns and into his own net.

But the Stoke City loanee, fresh from being chosen the EFL's Young Player of the Month for February, soon made amends by scoring Fleetwood's close-range equaliser.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Evans set it up, heading a left-side corner back into the six-yard box, where Souttar nodded in the equaliser.

Joey Barton sent on all three outfield substitutes, Madden being the last, in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to snatch victory.

However the draw, allied to Sunderland's defeat at Bristol Rovers, sent Fleetwood up two places to fifth, still behind Portsmouth on goal difference.

PORTSMOUTH: Bass, Bolton, McCrorie, Raggett, Seddon, Naylor, McGeehan (Marquis, 65), Williams (Harness, 65), Cannon, Harrison, Curtis; Subs not used: MacGillivray, Brown, Evans, Downing, Hawkins.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

FLEETWOOD: Cairns 6, Coyle 6, Souttar 7, Gibson 6, Andrew 6 (Burns 54, 6), Connolly 6, Whelan 6, Morris 7 (Madden 75), Evans 7, McKay 9, Sowerby 7 (Coutts 69, 6); Subs not used; Crellin, Thorvaldsson, Biggins, Saunders.

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 16,775.