By Fan of the Year – Jon Harries
Rolling into the Jonny Rocks stadium, the Dons were on a 4-game unbeaten run and starting to get used to the “purpose” of Liam Manning. The highest scorers in L1 arrived short of striking options with Troy Parrott on international duty and Mo Eisa and Max Watters out injured. Charlie Brown was the man tasked with finding the back of the net, the other two players coming in were Josh McEachran and new signing Peter Kioso making their first league starts for the Dons. Cheltenham also handed a debut to Swansea loanee Kyle Joseph replacing veteran Andy Williams. It was the Robins that settled quickest forcing Andy Fisher into an early save, the away side were lacking rhythm and cohesion and Cheltenham got the lead when Joseph was allowed to turn too easily by Darling and unleashed a daisy cutter into the bottom right-hand corner.
The away side had two guilt edge chances before half time both falling to Brown the first after a delicious ball across just evaded the youngster then Kioso from the other side found Brown in the box whose shot was deflected into the side netting. The away side had control of most of the game with Cheltenham happy to defend their lead. It needed a spark and Hiram Boateng, and Josh Martin were brought on to help ignite the game. Cheltenham could have scored a second if not for a fantastic goaline clearance by Kioso. The Dons were really pushing for an equaliser with Boateng having a shot deflected over but the midfielder was not going to be denied and the equaliser soon came. Harvie with the ball across the box, it deflected into the path of Hiram who smashed it into the roof of the net. Scenes in the away end and the very least that was deserved. Unbeaten away from home and five unbeaten, things are progressing nicely thus far.
Portsmouth had a weekend off due to International call ups and they can reflect on their start to the season as solid if not spectacular. Conceding only one goal in 5 games, Danny Cowley will be under pressure for promotion this season given the demands of the fanbase. They fell to their first defeat in L1 away at Wigan last time out Callum Lang with the decisive strike. Gavin Bazunu saved a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty during the break but conceded two goals as he broke the International record for most goals by a single player. Connor Ogilvie is a dangerous LB and Sean Raggett is a no nonsense defender. The midfield is stacked with talent and experience. Michael Jacobs, two former Dons in Shaun Williams and Louis Thompson and new Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez. Up front Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness provide the ammunition and goals alongside John Marquis.
Ryan Tunnicliffe has settled in at Fratton Park superbly since his summer arrival from Luton. There were doubters when he signed but three assists and a goal have silenced his critics. Able to drop deep and dictate play, much of Portsmouth positive start to the season is down to him. His passing range is top notch and can put his foot in when needed.
Predicted Line Up
Kioso – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Robson – O’Riley – Twine
Parrott – Brown
With no update on Watters and Eisa at the time of writing, this could help Brown feel less isolated. I also prefer O’Riley deeper able to dictate the play with Robson. I’m predicting a 1-1 draw and would take that against an organised side, wouldn’t grumble at a win mind you.