Town lose out to Pompey in the Cup
Blues exited the FA Cup after defeat to Portsmouth in extra-time at Portman Road.
Pompey were two up inside the first 15 minutes through a Ronan Curtis free-kick and a low drive from Tom Naylor.
Jon Nolan’s tidy volley just before half-time gave Blues belief, before substitute James Norwood grabbed his first goal of the season in the second half to get Town level.
Blues looked the more likely to find a winner in 90 minutes, but as the tie went to extra-time, Sean Raggett scored a contentious winner to send the visitors through to the next round.
Paul Lambert made nine changes from Tuesday night’s defeat at Sunderland, amongst those changes, Keanan Bennetts was handed his full debut for Town.
Pompey took the lead on 11 minutes through Curtis. The Irish international’s free-kick from 25 yards out hit the near post and deflected off Dai Cornell into the back of the net.
Two minutes later and the visitors doubled their lead. Andy Cannon cut the ball back to the Portsmouth captain Naylor, whose right-footed effort took a deflection off Mark McGuinness and wrong-footed Cornell.
Bennetts skipped past his marker and delivered an inviting cross which Oli Hawkins connected with, but he couldn’t keep his header down in what was Town’s first opening at goal.
Curtis came close to grabbing his second of the afternoon just before the half hour. A swift counter-attack from Pompey saw Ben Close flick the ball through to Curtis, but his volley from 25 yards out was well saved by Cornell to keep Town in the contest.
Town found a way back into the Cup tie just before the break. The ball ricocheted back to Nolan after he intended to find Freddie Sears with a cushioned header and the Blues midfielder finished neatly on the turn from eight yards out.
Blues came out the blocks much sharper after the break and Brett McGavin’s inswinging corner almost crept in, but for Pompey ‘keeper Craig MacGillvray to get a last ditch leg to the ball.
On 51 minutes, Town should’ve been awarded a penalty after Rasmus Nicolaisen grabbed a hold of Hawkins’ shirt, the Blues striker looking to get on the end of Nolan’s cross.
Four minutes after Norwood was introduced on 62 minutes and Town were level through that man. The striker latched on to Sears' deft flick over the top of the Pompey defence and finished calmly into the far bottom corner.
Blues were in the ascendency and looking to go ahead for the first time in the Cup tie, substitute Gwion Edwards tried his luck from 25 yards out and stung the fingertips of MacGillvray who beat the ball away. Edwards had another chance on 79 minutes, but his far post header from a Myles Kenlock cross was well held by the Portsmouth shot-stopper.
Town were dominating the second half and the chances continued to arrive, this time McGavin's corner was met by Emyr Huws inside the six-yard box, but the Welshman's header was just wide of the mark.
The visitors had a golden chance in stoppage time to prevent the tie from going to extra-time, but Close slammed his effort over the bar from eight yards out after Williams had teed him up.
Marcus Harness had the first chance of extra-time, with a fizzing effort from 20 yards out that was gobbled up by Cornell. Harness came even closer two minutes later, finding space on the edge of the D, but his low effort clattered off the post.
Pompey regained the lead in controversial fashion after 111 minutes. Raggett looked to be in an offside position when Nicolaisen headed the ball back across goal and the former bundled home from a yard out.
Blues looked to find an equaliser to force a penalty shootout, but it wasn't to be and Portsmouth progressed to round two of the FA Cup.
Town: Cornell, Donacien, Nsiala (C), McGuinness, Kenlock, McGavin, Huws, Nolan, Bennetts (Edwards 67), Hawkins (Norwood 62), Sears (Lankester 95).
Subs: Holy, Wilson, Judge, Jackson.
Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Johnson (Mnoga 52), Nicolaisen, Raggett, Pring, Williams, Naylor (C), Cannon (Close 23), Curtis (Harrison 74), Harness, Marquis (Morris 91).
Subs: Bass, Downing, Hiwull.
Booked: Hawkins, Pring, Donacien, Norwood.