A superb atmosphere greeted the players as they emerged from the tunnel but, after a cagey start, it was the travelling Pompey masses making all the noise as Richard Duffy felled Kal Naismith in the area. Evans made no mistake from the spot, sending Collin the wrong way and stroking the ball to the keeper’s left. Jon Stead, playing as a lone front man with Grant just behind him, offered Notts’ response, heading Adam Campbell’s cross straight at Pompey keeper David Forde on 22 minutes. Forde was in action again shortly afterwards, saving Grant’s low shot from 20 yards, before Michael O’Connor was booked for a foul on Michael Doyle. Pompey’s Christian Burgess made a fine interception to deny Grant before Kyle Bennett fired wide as the sides exchanged blows heading into half-time. O’Connor was stretchered off with a serious-looking injury following a committed challenge shortly before four minutes of added time were indicted. Mark Yeates replaced him, with Campbell by now partnering Stead up front. Notts pressed for an equaliser before the break but failed in their quest, Haydn Hollis nodding the ball over from a corner shortly before the referee called time.
There were no changes at the break and the Magpies began the second half brightly, Campbell volleying the ball over from the edge of the area three minutes after the restart. It didn’t take the hosts much longer to find an equaliser, however – and it was certainly worth waiting for. The ball dropped for Elliott Hewitt just outside the ‘D’ and the Welshman volleyed the ball into the area with the outside of his right foot. The pass was perfect for Grant, who had slipped into space, and the Forest loanee curled the ball sumptuously beyond Forde and into the far corner. Pompey’s Amine Linganzi was retrospectively booked for a foul on Hewitt before Conor Chaplin replaced Gary Roberts for the visitors. Collin then had to make two saves in quick succession – the first more comfortable than the second. Carl Baker fired straight at the keeper from inside the area before Naismith forced Collin into a smart stop with his legs. The keeper was left helpless on 77 minutes, however, when the visitors restored their lead. It came from Lowe, whose effort from the left-hand corner of the area took a slight deflection on its way past Collin into the bottom corner. Notts had a penalty shout waved away after the ball appeared to strike Burgess’ hand in the area and Stead and Milsom saw shots blocked in quick succession as Nolan’s men sought a way back into the game. But the visitors wrapped things up in the 90th minute, a quickly-taken free-kick releasing Lowe through on goal. The striker composed himself well before clipping the ball past Collin to secure victory – and promotion – for Pompey.
Notts County: Collin, Tootle, Duffy, Hollis, Bola, A. Campbell (T.Campbell 75), O’Connor (Yeates 47), Hewitt, Milsom, Grant, Stead.
Booked: O’Connor, Bola.
Portsmouth: Forde, Evans, Burgess, Whatmough, Stevens, Linganzi, Doyle, Bennett (Aborah 91), Roberts (Chaplin 61), Baker (Lowe 69), Naismith.
Booked: Linganzi, Naismith, Chaplin.