Shrimps held in Pompey thriller

Tom Barkhuizen.
Tom Barkhuizen.
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Portsmouth 3 Morecambe 3

Jayden Stockley’s header five minutes into stoppage time broke Morecambe hearts as the Shrimps saw a three-goal lead slip away at 10-man Portsmouth on Saturday.

Goals from Tom Barkhuizen, his first for the club, Alan Goodall and Andy Fleming inside the first 40 minutes stunned Fratton Park.

Alan Goodall celebrating the second goal at Fratton Park

Alan Goodall celebrating the second goal at Fratton Park

But a Gary Roberts double either side of the break then set up a grandstand finale.

Enda Stevens’ red card 20 minutes from time did not halt the Pompey charge, with Stockley levelling the score with time almost up to ensure Paul Cook’s men stayed unbeaten.

Shrimps boss Jim Bentley said: “We’re gutted we haven’t got the three points.

“The performance in the first half was absolutely brilliant. They’ve got a player in Gary Roberts who can make things happen though and after the second it was all hands to the pump.

“The sending off didn’t change anything because for me we were nearly down to 10 due to injuries and the lack of games in the lads’ legs.

“We had decent chances to wrap the game up and didn’t take them and, with the last kick of the game. they’ve scored.

“But what a fantastic game it was. I’m proud of the players.”

Barkhuizen gave Shrimps the lead against the run of play on 11 minutes, the former Blackpool man sprinting from halfway and beating two challenges before firing past Brian Murphy from just inside the area.

Roberts then immediately sent a warning of his intentions, shooting narrowly wide but it was the Shrimps who doubled their advantage on 25 minutes.

Jamie Devitt’s free-kick had been helped round the post by Murphy with his in-swinging corner then headed home at the near post by Goodall.

Pompey kept coming forward but Morecambe looked like they were going to score on every attack.

Aaron Wildig saw a chip from 20 yards come back off the bar before he could only drag a golden chance wide after a fine team move.

The miss was soon forgotten as Fleming made it three on 38 minutes, converting Devitt’s cross on the volley.

It was game-on at the break though, with Roberts firing a 20-yard free-kick beyond Roche to make it 3-1.

Pompey then reduced the arrears to one on 64 minutes with Roberts’ deflected shot from 20 yards.

The Shrimps’ cause was helped when Stevens was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Aaron McGowan on 71 minutes but it did not change the pattern of play with Morecambe under siege.

It looked like it might be the visitors’ day as a series of chances went begging, Adam Webster planting a free header over from six yards in the most glaring of the bunch.

McGowan and Lee Molyneux then wasted opportunities to wrap up the game before Stockley dived to head home Webster’s cross in the 95th minute.