Pompey went into the Easter Monday game at Fratton knowing that a win in their early kick-off would lift them up to second, and apply more pressure on promotion rivals Sunderland and Barnsley.
And win they did, but again it wasn’t easy. A result which mirrored that of Friday at Burton and really a performance to match…
Jordi Hiwula opened the scoring for the visitors on the 9th minute, the Blues defence fell asleep but the striker, who bagged his 12th goal of the season, was ready to pounce on the opportunity to grab a shock early lead.
Pompey 0-1 COVENTRY CITY
It was a flat display from Pompey in the first-half and they could have been 2 down had Nathan Thompson not put his body on the line to block an open goal from a shot by Luke Thomas, who countered quickly for the Sky Blues and took it past a Craig MacGillivray storming outside of his 18-yard-box.
At the break, the score read Pompey 0-1 Coventry and as it stood, the race for automatic promotion was back in the hands of Sunderland.
HALF-TIME: Pompey 0-1 COVENTRY CITY
However, Kenny Jackett made a gamble at half-time, bringing off Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans for James Vaughan and Ronan Curtis and it has to be said that it was a risk worth taking, as his team looked much the better side in the final 45.
With 25 minutes to play, Tom Naylor leapt highest from a Lee Brown corner to even the scoreline. It was a thumping header and 5 foot 10 keeper Lee Burge, who looked nervy all game, just couldn’t keep it out.
POMPEY 1-1 Coventry City
The Blues kept hammering away but the quick pace of the Coventry attack wouldn’t quit either, giving the South Coast side plenty of work to do to get anything from the game.
But Pompey dug deep and left it late again, but nobody will care because three points was the reward once more – Brett Pitman with the winner with only 7 minutes to play.
It was another corner routine but it didn’t go straight in, instead the ball was too high for anyone to connect but Ronan Curtis persevered to pick it up on the opposite side of the pitch, his resulting chip back into the box was eventually cleared but only as far as Brett Pitman, who had all the time and space in the world to drill a half-volley into the back of the Milton End net.
POMPEY 2-1 Coventry City
In true Portsmouth fashion, it was a nervy final few minutes and there were 6 minutes added to the end of regular time, but they managed to get over the line and confirm their 7th straight league victory since that 2-1 defeat at Charlton – 8 in all competitions if you look back at that Checkatrade Trophy final win at Wembley!
FULL-TIME: POMPEY 2-1 Coventry City
The Blues moved up to second-place for the first time since the end of January, but with Barnsley 3-0 up against Plymouth at the time of writing in their 3pm kick-off, that position was short-lived.
Nonetheless, automatic promotion remains Pompey’s to lose and the simple fact still stands that if they are to win their final three matches (Sunderland AWAY, Peterborough HOME & Accrington HOME), the Blues WILL be automatically promoted to the Championship!
My Man of the Match: Christian Burgess – Defensively solid once again and kept his nerve throughout the full 90, undoubtedly doing injured Jack Whatmough proud.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, Close; Lowe, Pitman (c) (Walkes 90+2), Evans (Curtis 46); Hawkins (Vaughan 46)
Goals: Naylor 66, Pitman 83
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Morris, Solomon-Otabor
Photo: Jake Smith