FA Cup 1st Round
Pompey eased their way into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 4-0 victory over Maidenhead.
But the National League strugglers made the Blues work hard for their opening goal at York Road, with Ben Thompson finally netting just before the break.
It was less of a struggle in the second half, though, with Oli Hawkins, Jamal Lowe and David Wheeler all finding the target.
Kenny Jackett made a single change from the side that won at Bradford in the league the previous week.
Nathan Thompson – back from a one-match ban – replaced Anton Walkes at right-back, with the visitors clearly taking the game seriously.
Gareth Evans skippered the side on his 150th appearance for the club, while former Pompey striker Ryan Bird was among the Maidenhead substitutes.
Both captain’s laid a wreath on the pitch before kick-off and the teams wore poppies on their shirts, while a minute’s silence was held to commemorate Remembrance weekend.
When the action got underway, it was Pompey who dominated possession without being able to carve open many clear-cut chances.
Carl Pentney was being well protected, although the keeper comfortably claimed a Hawkins effort before punching clear under pressure from the same player.
The first noteworthy incident came on 18 minutes, when the tricky Ronan Curtis got free down the right and crossed for Hawkins, whose header was deflected behind.
And they should really have forged ahead midway through the first half, with Tom Naylor the guilty party.
He failed to connect with an ambitious over-head attempt, but when Evans’ shot was parried into his path moments later, the midfielder turned the ball against the crossbar from a few yards out.
Maidenhead then came close to scoring again soon after, with Ayo Obileye’s strike crashing against the post.
Remy Clerima was also causing problems with a series of long throws, while Nathan Thompson was unable to beat Pentney from a tight angle at the other end.
Pompey won a succession of corners as the half progressed and the heavens opened, although were being frustrated in their attempts to test Pentney.
But the deadlock was finally broken just before the interval, as Curtis whipped in a low cross and Ben THOMPSON fired home to open his account for the club.
Maidenhead United 0
The second half was slow to really click into gear, although it was still the Blues seeing most of the ball.
And they doubled their lead on 55 minutes, with Evans crossing from the right and HAWKINS sending a header looping over Pentney and into the net.
That gave the visitors a cushion, but their lead was even more comfortable when a third went in on the hour mark.
Ben Thompson sent a free-kick into the box and Jack Whatmough nodded the ball down for LOWE, who turned and sent a neat finish into the bottom corner.
Jackett decided the time was right to make a double change, with Lowe and Evans withdrawn for Brett Pitman and Wheeler.
Pompey’s play was more patient with such a commanding advantage, but they were still looking to get forward.
And when they were unable to find a path through the Magpies defence, Ben Thompson hit a long-range shot that was saved by Pentney.
The keeper also kept out a header from Pitman after he had been spotted in the box by Lee Brown.
Pompey’s captain also fired a shot narrowly over the bar after Nathan Thompson won the ball back when a fine passing move came to an end.
The same duo combined again moments later and this time Pentney was forced into a decent save low to his left to keep out Pitman’s sweet first time strike.
But it was WHEELER who wrapped things up on 83 minutes, stooping to head home after Brown’s free-kick had been superbly saved.
There was still time for Pitman to steer narrowly wide following a mad scramble in the box, but the visitors could be happy with their afternoon’s work.
Maidenhead (4-1-4-1): Pentney; Clerima, Kilgour, Massey (c), Steer; Obileye; Odametey, Comley (Owusu 54), Clifton (Bird 67), Upward (Akintunde 46); Kelly
Subs not used: Hamann, Mulley, Alves, Worsfold
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; N.Thompson (Burgess 85), Whatmough, Clarke, Brown; B.Thompson, Naylor; Lowe (Pitman 63), Evans (c) (Wheeler 63), Curtis; Hawkins
Goals: B.Thompson 43, Hawkins 55, Lowe 60, Wheeler 83
Subs not used: McGee, Haunstrup, Close, Dennis
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 3,205 (710 Pompey fans)