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2017-18 English League One, Regular Season
  • Gareth Evans (79')

Portsmouth snatch win at Walsall to close in on play-off places

Portsmouth moved to within two points of the play-off places with a third successive win as they beat struggling Walsall 1-0 to consign new boss Dean Keates to a second straight loss in charge.
The visitors controlled the first half and Ben Close should have done better than scuff a close-range volley straight at Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts from Gareth Evans' 12th-minute cross.
Pompey's 18-goal top scorer Brett Pitman twice glanced headers wide while Close volleyed off-target when Dion Donohue's long throw found him free inside the area.
Portsmouth continued to dominate after the break, Kal Naismith whipping a vicious effort inches wide from 20 yards and seeing another shot flash across goal and just past the post.
Walsall took until the 73rd minute to threaten as Luke Leahy's cross was met by a first-time Amadou Bakayoko volley that flew just over.
But Pompey deservedly won it six minutes later as Jamal Lowe teed-up Evans to fizz a fine strike into the bottom corner from 18 yards and condemn Walsall to a sixth defeat in their last seven.

English League One Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Coventry City 34 +18 67
2 Rotherham United 35 +23 62
3 Oxford United 35 +24 60
4 Portsmouth 35 +17 60
5 Fleetwood Town 35 +13 60
6 Peterborough United 35 +28 59
7 Sunderland 36 +16 59
8 Wycombe Wanderers 34 +5 59
9 Doncaster Rovers 34 +18 54
10 Ipswich Town 36 +10 52
11 Gillingham 35 +8 51
12 Burton Albion 35 0 48
13 Blackpool 35 +1 45
14 Bristol Rovers 35 -11 45
15 Lincoln City 35 -2 42
16 Shrewsbury Town 34 -11 41
17 Accrington Stanley 35 -6 40
18 Milton Keynes Dons 35 -11 37
19 Rochdale 34 -18 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 -13 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 -24 32
22 Southend United 35 -46 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 -39 14