Lincoln City lost out on the points as Portsmouth scored two past the Imps in front of 8,983 at LNER Stadium.
The Imps’ starting 11 saw two changes to the line-up which started against Ipswich Town on Saturday. Tayo Edun was replaced by Conor Coventry with Tom Hopper making his full Imps debut at LNER Stadium in place of Tyler Walker.
Portsmouth: Bass (GK), Naylor, Burgess, Williams, Marquis, Curtis, Bolton, Cannon, Raggett, Close, Seddon
Substitutes: MacGillivray (GK), Brown, McCrorie, Whatmough, Harness, Harrison, McGeehan
The Imps started the game well with an attacking opportunity in the opening minutes. New arrival Tom Hopper received the ball in Portsmouth’s half before playing it to Jorge Grant who was able to beat his men before attempting to lob Alex Bass at the back post, however, the midfielder’s attempt was slightly too heavy.
Max Melbourne did well in the opening stages making two key challenges to prevent a threatening Pompey attack. The left-back has now started Lincoln’s last three SkyBet League One fixtures.
The Imps continued to attack the visitor’s end, this time with Tyreece John-Jules attempting to break the deadlock with a shot from outside the area. The young forward received the ball from Hopper who was played through by Joe Morrell on a promising counterattack for City.
Neal Eardley was the first player in the referee’s book getting a yellow card just before the half an hour mark. The Imps right-back was penalised for putting in a late challenge on John Marquis.
Harry Anderson gave away a free-kick during an Imps attack. Eardley was racing forward with the ball looking for his teammate, however, Anderson clumsily ran into the back of Ronan Curtis who was attempting to get the ball from Eardley, giving the visiting side a free kick in their own half.
Portsmouth’s Ben Close was the second player in the book for a challenge on Morrell in the centre of the park, the Imps midfielder was looking to burst forward after getting the ball from Hopper.
The ball was played out to attacking left-back Melbourne who provided a cross to the near post, before being cleared by Close. It landed back out to Grant on the left who hammered it into the box, just over the head of Anderson.
The fourth official showed four minutes added time as both sides continued to break the deadlock in the opening 45. Portsmouth’s Curtis wasted an opportunity when he rushed his shot on the edge of the box after bringing the ball down well with a great touch.
Anderson was slow with possession in the close stages, giving the ball away just in front of the halfway line. Pompey burst forward trying to find an opener, Cannon’s shot was blocked by Cian Bolger before Steve Seddon was fouled by Morrell on the edge of the box giving away a free-kick.
Curtis fired the ball straight past the wall and into Josh Vickers’ goal giving Pompey the lead with the last kick of the half.
HALF-TIME – THE IMPS 0 PORTSMOUTH 1
Lincoln started the second half looking for an equaliser. John-Jules was bundled down by Burgess winning a free-kick for the Imps to the edge of Portsmouth’s box.
Grant took the set-piece, attempting to find someone at the back post, but the midfielders’ ball was slightly overhit. Moments later the Imps were on the attack again, this time Hopper with a drilled cross into the area which found John-Jules. The young forward hit the ball at the wrong angle sending it over Bass’ goal.
The visiting side were awarded the first corner of the game, winning it in front of their travelling fans with Seddon sending it to the back post. Sean Raggett was there but his header was way off target going out comfortably for a Lincoln goal kick.
The Imps won a free kick on the halfway line when Marquis fouled Melbourne, clattering the City man who was sprinting forward with the ball. Portsmouth’s number 10 received a booking for his challenge.
Michael Appleton made his first change of the game on the hour mark bringing another attacking option on with Lincoln’s top goal scorer Tyler Walker replacing Anderson.
City continued to pile men forward in hunt for an equalising strike. Grant provided a great one-two with Melbourne before finding Walker in the Pompey box, however, the frontman was slightly delayed in pulling the trigger giving the visiting side an opportunity to clear to safety.
Portsmouth man Naylor received a booking for catching Hopper with a high foot. The Imps were awarded a free-kick which was fired into the back post where Bolger was waiting. The ball eventually fell to Conor Coventry on the edge of the box who couldn’t quite get over the ball properly, sending his shot over the bar.
Vickers pulled off a great stop as Pompey looked to extend their lead with a powerful shot in the area. The Imps were soon to counterattack with Walker using his pace down the wing to beat his man and fire a delivery across goal, Raggett was there waiting though, clearing to safety.
Jake Hesketh was brought off the bench by Appleton replacing Coventry in midfield. Pompey also made a change with Cannon coming off for Cameron McGeehan.
Curtis was the next man in the book, getting a booking for a pulling back Morrell as he was beaten for pace. Lincoln’s Grant was soon to follow getting a yellow for fouling James Bolton.
Portsmouth were awarded a penalty when Curtis was fouled by Eardley following a heavy touch from the Pompey goalscorer. Marquis stepped up to take the spot-kick, comfortably slotting it into the left side just under Vickers, to give them the three points.
FULL-TIME – THE IMPS 0 PORTSMOUTH 2
1 Josh VICKERS
5 Jason SHACKELL (C)
6 Cian BOLGER
9 Tyreece JOHN-JULES
11 Tom HOPPER
18 Jorge GRANT
19 Joe MORRELL
20 Conor COVENTRY
23 Neal EARDLEY
24 Max MELBOURNE
26 Harry ANDERSON
21 Grant SMITH
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
17 Tyler WALKER (60’ Harry ANDERSON)
22 Aaron LEWIS
25 Zack ELBOUZEDI
28 Jake HESKETH (74’ Conor COVENTRY)
37 Tayo EDUN
Booked: 25’ Neal EARDLEY, 84’ Jorge GRANT
35 Alex BASS
4 Tom NAYOR
6 Christian BURGESS
7 Ryan WILLIAMS
10 John MARQUIS
11 Ronan CURTIS
13 James BOLTON
14 Andrew CANNON
20 Sean RAGGETT
33 Ben CLOSE
42 Steve SEDDON
1 Craig MacGILLIVRAY
3 Lee BROWN
15 Ross MCCRORIE
16 Jack WHATMOUGH
19 Marcus HARNESS
22 Ellis HARRISON
24 Cameron MGEEHAN (76’ Andrew CANNON)
Goal: 45’ Ronan CURTIS, 86' John MARQUIS
Booked: 39’ Ben CLOSE, 58’ John MARQUIS, 70’ Tom NAYLOR, 81’ Ronan CURTIS
Referee: Ben TONER
Assistants: Wayne GRUNNILL & Ian DUDLEY
4th Official: Declan BOURNE
Attendance: 8,983 (1,154 Portsmouth Fans)