Portsmouth 2
Wycombe Wanderers 1
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Football League Two

Wanderers' play-off hopes for 2015/16 were finally ended following a 2-1 loss at Portsmouth. Defeat left Gareth Ainsworth's side seven points adrift of the play-off zone with just two games remaining. Meanwhile, Pompey virtually guaranteed their play-off spot as they aim to return to the third tier following three seasons in the bottom division.

The reverse at Fratton Park came after Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that had drawn at home to Yeovil the previous Tuesday - Danny Rowe returning to the starting XI for the first time since the 3-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers on 1st December in place of Stephen McGinn, while Gozie Ugu was favoured up front over Garry Thompson. Elsewhere, Joe Jacobson returned on the bench following his spell out through injury but the game came too soon for the return of Luke O'Nein who had been awarded a new three year contract the day before the trip to the south coast.

Before a 16,000 plus attendance it was the home side, kicking towards their own fans that had the better chances in the first-half. However, it was poor finishing that let them down. Gary Roberts shot into the side netting, while Ryan Allsop did well to push away a Marc McNulty shot. Roberts also curled an effort past the right hand post from just inside the penalty area on 28 minutes. While, McNulty shot over the cross bar from a similar position on 31 minutes.

A minute later at the other end, Jerell Sellars had a rare attempt at goal for Wanderers but his shot from the right channel skidded past the right hand upright. Wanderers were let off the hook on 36 minutes when Kal Naismith mis-shot horribly from 8 yards with just Allsop to beat. However, Pompey broke the deadlock a minute later following a pass that looked suspiciously offside on the TV replay. McNulty picked up the past down the right channel before delivering a low cross that Roberts slid in at the far post. Kal Naismith shot against the right hand post from the left side of the box as the home side looked to capatilise on Wycombe's uncertainty at the back.

The second-half saw a noticeable improvement from Wycombe. Sellars swung a ball in from the left that Ugwu glanced towards the far corner but home 'keeper Paul Jones dived full length to tip around the post.

But Pompey made it 2-0 on 67 minutes when a clearance down their left wing saw Conor Chaplin out run Anthony Stewart before angling the ball into the net past the advancing Allsop.

That looked like curtains for Wycombe but they were given a lifeline on 73 minutes when Jombati curled in a free-kick from 20 yards after referee Whitestone had brought play back for a foul despite Pierre netting.

The goal started a period of pressure Wanderers. Danny Rowe saw a shot from outside of the box pushed away on 76 minutes, Garry Thompson went close on 85 minutes, while a minute later Southampton loanee Jason McCarthy almost got one over his parent club's bitter rivals when his effort from the right channel was cleared off the line.

The remaining two games of the season will see Wanderers play for pride only in fixtures that are highly significant to the opposition - starting with the home meeting with 2nd placed Accrington Stanley on Saturday (30th April).

Full-time - Portsmouth 2 Wycombe 1
Wycombe: Allsop, McCarthy, Stewart, Pierre, Jombati, Rowe, Bean, Harriman (sub 72 Kretzschmar), Hayes (sub 68 Thompson) Sellars (sub 82 Liburd), Ugwu - subs not used: Siegrist, Jacobson, McGinn, Sellers
Scorers: Jombati 73
Bookings: Stewart 48, Bean 80
Portsmouth: Jones, Davies (sub 60 Freeman), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens, Evans, Hollands, Doyle, Naismith (sub 76 McGurk), McNulty (sub 60 Chaplin), Robertss- subs not used: Murphy, Barton, Smith, Close
Scorers: Roberts 37, Chaplin 67
Bookings: Chaplin 90+5
Referee: Mr Dean Whitestone Attendance: 16,187 (737)

Gareth Ainsworth at PortsmouthSpeaking after the game, Wanderers Manager Gareth Ainsworth said: "At the final whistle there was one man who was relieved and that was Paul Cook [Portsmouth manager], because he knows he was in a game. We let in a sloppy goal in the first half. I changed things in the second half and we let another sloppy goal in." Commenting on the spectacular goal from Sido Jombati, Ainsworth added: "He is Portuguese and he has that flair. The players on the continent tend to be good at free kicks. If I am being totally honest, I was not 100 per cent confident he was going to hit the target when he took the ball off Max Kretzschmar. I am really pleased for Sido and he has had a tough year with certain things. But he is a solid player."

The Wycombe boss also tried to remain upbeat for what is left of the season: "It is not over yet and we want to get two wins from two games. If we play like we did today we won’t be far away from doing that. I want to finish well starting with a win against Accrington next week before we go to Oxford. Again, if we can get something there we might have a say in who goes up and who stays in the play-offs. There are teams up there who have spent a lot of money, a lot more than us, to be where they are and are desperate to get promoted."

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