Match Report

Apr 302016
 
League 2
Hartlepool United 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Naismith and Chaplin on target for Blues

Goals from Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin saw Pompey secure victory against Hartlepool at Victoria Park.

But results elsewhere ensured their slim hopes of automatic promotion evaporated, with a spot in the play-offs against Plymouth now confirmed.

The game was a turgid affair before the break, but Naismith’s back-flick provided the spark needed to ignite the contest.

Both sides created plenty of chances after that, although it was Chaplin who came off the bench to wrap things up with a neat finish.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week.

Paul Jones – who came off with a thigh injury against the Dons – made way for Brian Murphy between the sticks.

That meant there was no keeper on the bench, while Jack Whatmough made a welcome return to the squad after more than a year out following a knee injury.

The weather before kick-off was certainly unpredictable with hail and snow eventually making way for warm and sunny conditions.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to get particularly excited about once the football got underway.

It began promisingly enough, with Gary Roberts’ effort cannoning into Naismith and deflecting just wide.

But the game soon entered a lull, with the hosts – who had nothing but pride to play for – not showing too much ambition.

There was a free-kick from Nathan Thomas that clipped the top of the wall and flew behind for a corner.

The home fans started to grow frustrated, however, as there was nobody getting into the box to meet some dangerous crosses.

Roberts was doing his best to inject some urgency into proceedings, with a couple of incisive balls that were cleared by the Pools defence.

Pompey suddenly had a couple of decent openings just before the break, as Michael Smith met Christian Burgess’ cross and sent a header looping over the bar.

Roberts then put Gareth Evans away with a fine threaded pass, but he was denied twice in quick succession by former Blues loanee Trevor Carson.

Half Time: Hartlepool 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half initially failed to see an increase in entertainment, with both sides appearing to go through the motions.

A long-range effort from Luke James that rolled comfortably into Murphy’s arms was as close as either came to breaking the deadlock early on.

But the Blues did forge ahead as the game finally conjured up a moment of quality on 57 minutes.

Roberts played a fine pass across to Evans, whose low cross into the box was nonchalantly flicked home by NAISMITH in front of the delighted travelling support

It was almost the home fans celebrating moments later, though, as Billy Paynter burst through on goal and was brilliantly denied by Murphy.

There were suddenly chances galore and Roberts fired a shot into the side netting, while Carson stood his ground to make a save after Smith went one-on-one with the keeper.

Cook made his first chance on 64 minutes, as goal hero Naismith made way for Adam McGurk in the Blues’ attack.

It was a Hartlepool sub that almost scored soon after, though, as – just seconds after entering the pitch – Rhys Oates was denied by another super stop from Murphy.

The hosts were starting to look dangerous and Jones got the ball caught under his feet before his eventual shot was blocked.

A second switch followed on 73 minutes as Chaplin replaced Smith, with the latter given a rousing reception as the curtain came down on his loan spell.

But Hartlepool were still causing a threat and Oates should at least have found the target from close range when he met Thomas’ cross.

CHAPLIN wrapped up the victory on 85 minutes, however, when Enda Stevens cut the ball back for him to coolly steer into the bottom corner.

And there was more good news when Whatmough made his long-awaited return by replacing Christian Burgess for the final few minutes.

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Carson; Magnay, Bates (R.Jones 50), Jackson, D.Jones; Featherstone; James, Woods (Gray 76), Hawkins, Thomas; Paynter (c) (Oates 68)
Booked: D.Jones
Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Richards, Bingham

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Freeman, Burgess (Whatmough 89), Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 64); Smith (Chaplin 73)
Goals: Naismith 57, Chaplin 85
Booked: Freeman
Subs not used: Davies, Haunstrup, Close, Tollitt

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 5,046 (933 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 262016
 
League 2
AFC Wimbledon 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Michael Smith scored the only goal as Pompey won at AFC Wimbledon to guarantee a top-seven finish.

The striker fired home in the first half to settle a match that became extremely stretched in stages.

The Blues had chances to make it a more comfortable finale, but were not made to pay for their profligacy.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that beat Wycombe at the weekend.

Adam Barton was deployed as an emergency centre-back in place of the injured Matt Clarke (groin).

Marc McNulty (hamstring) made way for Smith up front, while Ben Davies dropped to the bench, with Kieron Freeman coming in at right-back.

Kyle Bennett (ankle), Conor Chaplin (groin), Ryan Fulton (thigh), Adam Webster (ankle), Jack Whatmough (back) and Conor Wilkinson (groin) were also sidelined for the visitors.

That meant teenage academy graduates Adam May and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain were named among the substitutes.

It was a fairly even affair in the opening stages, with both sides looking to get forward, but neither managing to carve out many clear-cut openings.

The best fell to the hosts after eight minutes, but an unmarked Darius Charles guided his header straight at Paul Jones after meeting Callum Kennedy’s corner.

It was a similar story at the other end of the pitch, where Gareth Evans could only divert Freeman’s cross safely into the arms of Kelle Roos.

Gary Roberts then rightly picked up the game’s first booking for a mis-timed challenge on former Pompey winger Andy Barcham.

Team-mate Smith and Tom Elliott, however, seemed rather harshly punished when referee Andy Madley brandished yellow cards to both of them.

But SMITH – just like the large travelling support – was celebrating on 35 minutes when he broke the deadlock.

The home fans thought that Roberts had fouled Sean Rigg in the build-up, but Madley was uninterested and the midfielder fed Smith for a calm finish.

And the striker had the ball in the net again moments later, but this time an infringement was spotted and the goal ruled out.

There was not too many opportunities in a frantic end to the half, although the Pompey fans made their own entertainment by serenading Roberts.

Half Time: AFC Wimbledon 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was a surprise at the start of the second half, when Brian Murphy emerged to take Jones’ place between the sticks.

He did well to claim a high ball after the Blues had failed to deal with Barry Fuller’s cross while, moments earlier, Barcham flashed a shot narrowly over.

The visitors had a chance at the other end after ex-Pompey skipper Paul Robinson had been booked for a challenge on Kal Naismith.

He was then picked out by Roberts at the far post, but the winger’s fierce drive was parried clear by Dons keeper Roos.

AFC Wimbledon were causing problems from set-pieces, though, and a free-kick was eventually scrambled clear before a corner was headed over by Elliott.

Another flag-kick then found Charles at the far post, but he headed the ball into the turf and it bounced over the bar.

And Barcham really should have punished his former side just past the hour mark, drilling a shot wide after bursting through on goal.

But Pompey missed a gilt-edged chance of their own on 72 minutes, when Roberts hurriedly shot over despite having time after collecting Evans’ pass.

And, with the Dons committing men forward, they soon had another decent opening, with Fuller well-placed on the line to stop Naismith scoring from point-blank range.

Then, just seconds later, Roberts charged through on goal, but with just Roos to beat, he sent his shot wide.

AFC Wimbledon tried to make their opponents pay for their missed chances, although Connor Smith only received a yellow card for trying to win a penalty.

And the Blues saw out the final few moments to secure all three points and leave the Dons still looking to confirm their spot in the play-offs.

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Roos; Fuller (c), Robinson, Charles, Kennedy; Rigg (Reeves 46), Bulman, Smith, Barcham (Murphy 75); Taylor, Elliott (Azeez 68)
Booked: Elliott, Robinson, Smith
Subs not used: Shea, Sweeney, Fitzpatrick, Akinfenwa

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones (Murphy 46); Freeman, Burgess, Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith; Smith
Goals: Smith 35
Booked: Roberts, Smith
Subs not used: Davies, Haunstrup, Close, May, Oxlade-Chamberlain, McGurk

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 4,799 (911 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 232016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 1 Wycombe Wanderers

 

Roberts and Chaplin secure victory

Pompey have all but secured a place in the top seven following a 2-1 victory over Wycombe at Fratton Park.

The completely controlled the first half and the impressive Gary Roberts deservedly fired them ahead.

Conor Chaplin then came off the bench to double the advantage and seemingly wrap up all three points.

But Sido Jombati’s fine free-kick set-up a nervy finale and there were plenty of chewed fingernails by the time referee Dean Whitestone blew the final whistle.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side so comprehensively beaten at York earlier in the week.

Two of them were enforced, with the injured duo of Adam Webster and Kyle Bennett making way for a fit-again Christian Burgess and Roberts.

The other switch saw Michael Smith drop to the bench and Kal Naismith come in wide on the left.

Wycombe were first to threaten once the game got started and Paul Jones had to gather the ball on the edge of his box to deny the rampaging Gozie Ugwu.

But as the half progressed, the hosts began to take complete control of proceedings in front of another large crowd.

Michael Doyle fed a fine pass through to Roberts, although he then cut the ball back to absolutely no-one.

Roberts, however, was at the heart of everything the Blues did going forward, dictating play with a number of clever passes.

Pompey kept knocking at the door in search of an opening goal and Gareth Evans fired into the side netting before Naismith’s cross was nervously dealt with.

They almost broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Doyle dispossessed former Fratton loanee Marcus Bean in the centre to start an attack.

Roberts picked the ball up and his drive was parried clear by Ryan Allsop, while Danny Hollands’ follow-up was deflected safely into the keeper’s arms.

It was Roberts who went close again moments later, but after brilliantly controlling Christian Burgess’ pass and side-stepping a defender, he curled his shot over the bar.

Matt Clarke’s surging run then created a chance for the lively Marc McNulty and his effort was also narrowly off target.

Wycombe were struggling to hang on, with their rare attacks quickly blunted and their defence then having to deal with a wave of blue.

Naismith should have scored on 36 minutes, only to completely mis-hit his shot after being picked out in the box by Burgess.

The Fratton faithful did not have to wait long for a goal to celebrate, however.

It was ROBERTS who deservedly scored, sliding in to poke the ball home from close range following more excellent McNulty work down the right.

That failed to dampen Pompey’s attacking mentality and they continued to pour forward in search of more goals.

Naismith almost obliged just before the break after collecting a short corner, but his lashed effort cannoned back off the inside of the post.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Wycombe 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Despite the hosts’ almost total dominance in the first half, they almost found themselves back on level terms just after the restart.

Ugwu rose highest to flick on Jombati’s cross and Jones flung himself to the left to palm the ball behind.

But Pompey then had a chance to double their lead, only for Roberts to hit a tame effort straight at Allsop when a pass for McNulty looked the better option.

Cook made a double substitution on the hour mark, with McNulty and Ben Davies making way for Chaplin and Kieron Freeman.

And CHAPLIN only had to wait seven minutes to get his name on the scoresheet and halt the Chairboys’ revival.

The striker latched onto an excellent long pass from Doyle and although his shot was scuffed, the ball trickled into the bottom corner.

That appeared to settle the nerves, but the tension soon ramped up when Wycombe reduced the deficit on 73 minutes.

Doyle was penalised for a foul on Bean on the edge of the box and Jombati stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall and into the net.

There was a sense of panic around the stadium and that only grew when Jason McCarthy drilled in a shot that had to be hacked from the line by a well-placed Freeman.

Pompey were soon looking dangerous on the break, however, and Allsop did well to deny Roberts following a sumptuous pass over the top by Chaplin.

Wycombe were pushing men forward in search of a leveller and Garry Thompson’s volley was pushed clear by Jones.

Burgess then did well to clear the ball from a crowded box after a corner had led to a nervy scramble.

There were a few groans when the fourth official announced an additional five minutes, but Pompey held on to secure the victory.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies (Freeman 60), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 77); McNulty (Chaplin 60)
Goals: Roberts 37, Chaplin 67
Booked: Chaplin
Subs not used: Murphy, Barton, Close, Smith

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, Stewart, Pierre, Jombati; Rowe; Sellars (Liburd 82), Bean, Harriman (Kretzschmar 72), Hayes (c) (Thompson 67); Ugwu
Goals: Jombati 73
Booked: Stewart, Bean
Subs not used: Siegrist, Jacobson, McGinn, Sellers

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,187 (737 away fans)

Apr 192016
 
League 2
York City 3 – 1 Portsmouth

 

York and Pompey made a mockery of their respective league positions as the former stormed to a convincing victory at Bootham Crescent

The Blues were well off the pace before the break and trailed to strikes from Bradley Fewster and Lewis Alessandra.

A stunning effort from Luke Summerfield then gave the destined-to-be-relegated Minstermen a three-goal advantage.

Gareth Evans pulled one back as Pompey finally started to click and both sides might have added to the scoring as the game became extremely stretched.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that were beaten at home by Plymouth at the weekend.

With Christian Burgess and Gary Roberts both nursing knocks, there were starts for Adam Webster and Marc McNulty.

The other switch saw Evans come in wide on right, with Adam McGurk dropping to the bench.

There was a comical moment in the opening stages when referee Nigel Miller awarded a Pompey goal-kick – despite the ball clearly striking Ben Davies on its way out of play.

But there was little else to cheer the large travelling support in a contest that the struggling hosts dominated.

There were a couple of half-chances early on, with Evans’ cross drifting onto the roof of the net and Webster heading wide from a corner.

But it was York looking the more threatening and Paul Jones did well to deny Fewster following a fine surging run from Luke Hendrie.

The keeper was called into action again on 25 minutes, this time preventing Summerfield from finding the net from a free-kick wide on the left.

And there was a further scare when McNulty lost possession, with the ball eventually scrambled behind from a corner.

But it was from that set-piece that the hosts broke the deadlock, as Summerfield’s delivery was headed back by Scot Bennett for Fewster to convert from close range.

Pompey were looking extremely sloppy and were guilty of gifting their opponents the ball on a number of occasions.

York, meanwhile, did not look like a side destined for non-league and doubled their lead on 34 minutes following a quick counter-attack.

Hendrie eventually received the ball wide on the right and sent in a fine low cross that Alessandra slotted home from a few yards out.

There was brief respite at the other end of the pitch when Kyle Bennett shrugged off a couple of challenges and sent a shot flying narrowly over the bar.

But there was still time for the Blues’ evening to get even worse, as Webster went down off the ball and had to be replaced just before the break.

There was no recognised centre-back among the substitutes, so Adam Barton was once again called upon to deputise in defence.

Half Time: York 2 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

York continued to impress after the restart and Ben Davies was called into action to block Galbraith’s drive.

But the hosts did forge further ahead on 48 minutes – not that there was much the Blues could do to prevent it.

It was a stunning strike from Summerfield, who picked up the ball 30 yards out and sent it arrowing into the net.

Pompey came close to reducing the deficit soon after when Michael Smith collected a pass down the left, cut inside and curled a shot narrowly wide.

But they did have a goal in fortunate fashion on 55 minutes, when EVANS was fed by Davies and saw his shot fumbled over the line by Scott Flinders.

The keeper did better to keep out McNulty’s header a few seconds later, although the flag had already been raised for offside.

And the Blues were suddenly look a lot brighter, with Evans flicking Bennett’s corner into the side netting.

But they were still guilty of some sloppy play, with one turnover of possession resulting in Jones saving well to deny James Berrett.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, though, and when Bennett was fouled on the edge of the box, Davies stepped up to curl the free-kick just wide.

Cook made his second switch on 66 minutes, with Tollitt given a chance to impress as Bennett was withdrawn.

The winger was soon involved in the action, reacting quickly after his first effort was blocked and sending a second just over the bar.

But Fewster then missed two chances to wrap the points up as the game became extremely open, sending two shots wide when he should have found the target.

Conor Chaplin was introduced for the closing stages, although it was fellow substitute Tollitt who came close to setting up a grandstand finale on 78 minutes.

He beat his man in the box and drove the ball towards goal, only for a well-placed Hendrie to clear it from the line.

The match was now a breathless affair and it took a fine double save from Jones to stop first Fewster and then Galbraith grabbing a fourth for York late on.

York (4-3-3): Flinders; Hendrie, Bennett, Cameron, Carson; Summerfield, Berrett, Penn (c); Alessandra, Fewster, Galbraith (McEvoy 90+1)
Goals: Fewster 30, Alessandra 34, Summerfield 48
Booked: Summerfield, Carson
Subs not used: Ingham, Swan, Dixon, Riordan, Thompson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Webster (Barton 45+1), Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Chaplin 74), Bennett (Tollitt 66); Smith
Goals: Evans 55
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Murphy, Freeman, Naismith, McGurk

Referee: Nigel Miller

Attendance: 3,214 (841 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 162016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Plymouth Argyle

 

Late goals stun Blues

Pompey were left shell-shocked after somehow managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Plymouth.

Michael Smith’s first half header looked to have wrapped up the points against their promotion rivals at a packed Fratton Park.

The hosts were comfortably holding on for a valuable win, only for Jamille Matt and Gregg Wylde to turn the game on its head late on.

Paul Cook, unsurprisingly, stuck with a winning side, naming the same starting 11 for a fourth match in succession.

There was a minute’s silence before kick-off to remember those who lost their lives in the Battle of Jutland, with the centenary of the naval battle approaching.

It was the visitors who got off to a brighter start when the game started and they had two good chances in the opening stages.

They both came from corners, with the first headed against the inside of the post by Carl McHugh on four minutes.

It was centre-back Peter Hartley who connected with this second, but Enda Stevens was well stationed on the post to clear the danger.

But Pompey grew stronger as the half progressed, putting their opponents under the cosh by pressing high up the pitch.

The home fans were baying for a red card when Argyle keeper Luke McCormick slid out of the box with the ball in his hands, but referee Christopher Sarginson rightly opted for a yellow one.

Kyle Bennett teed-up a chance for Michael Doyle on 29 minutes, but the skipper bent his effort narrowly wide.

Gary Roberts then showed great footwork just inside the box, only to see his shot curl onto the roof of the net.

There was a bit of needle creeping into the game as the interval approached, with a few niggly challenges.

But Fratton Park erupted on 37 minutes when the build-up of Pompey pressure finally resulted in a goal.

It was SMITH who scored it, stooping to head the ball into the bottom corner after Matt Clarke had sent a cross into the box.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Plymouth 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The scrappy element of the contest was on display again early in the second half, with Doyle and Hartley both booked for fouls.

It was the Blues who had the first opening following the restart after the Pilgrims failed to properly deal with Stevens’ low delivery.

The ball fell to the tireless Danny Hollands on the edge of the box and his low drive was deflected inches past the post.

Plymouth were opened up with another neat move just past the hour mark, but after Roberts had flicked Doyle’s pass into Stevens’ path, the left-back lifted a shot over the bar.

Cook made his first switch on 67 minutes, with Adam McGurk making way for Gareth Evans wide on the right.

And the hosts almost doubled their advantage moments later, with Christian Burgess turning Bennett’s free-kick wide from close range.

Plymouth had not threatened since the break, but Paul Jones was called into action on 72 minutes, diving to his right to turn Graham Carey’s shot around the post.

A second substitution soon followed, as Marc McNulty came on for Roberts in the Blues’ attack.

There were a few nervy moments as the seconds ticked down, but Pompey were looking dangerous on the break, with Smith firing one shot wide and seeing another saved by McCormick.

But Argyle deflated the vibrant mood around the ground by levelling on 84 minutes, with Matt heading in Carey’s corner.

And it was Carey who provided the assist for Plymouth’s second goal moments later, clipping the ball back for Wylde to slam home.

There was hope of salvaging something from the game when the fourth official displayed five minutes of stoppage-time.

But despite throwing on an extra forward in the shape of Conor Chaplin, Pompey were unable to find a leveller.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies (Chaplin 89), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 67), Roberts (McNulty 76), Bennett; Smith
Goals: Smith 37
Booked: Doyle, Burgess
Subs not used: Murphy, Webster, Close, Naismith

Plymouth (4-diamond-2): McCormick; Mellor, Nelson (c), Hartley, Purrington (Wylde 70); Carey, McHugh, Houghton, Boateng; Jervis (Reid 78), Matt
Goals: Matt 84, Wylde 86
Booked: McCormick, McHugh, Hartley
Subs not used: Dorel, Bentley, Tanner, Harvey, Rooney

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 18,423 (2,405 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 092016
 
League 2
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 – 4 Portsmouth

 

Doyle, Burgess, Evans and Bennett on target for Blues

Pompey fought from behind to beat Dagenham and charge right back into the automatic promotion race.

It looked like being a miserable afternoon in the capital when Ashley Hemmings’ goal ensured the hosts would go in ahead at the break.

But the mood improved in the second half, with Michael Doyle volleying in the equaliser before Christian Burgess headed the Blues into the lead.

Gareth Evans then came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet late on, with Kyle Bennett capping off a memorable 45 minutes of football.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat both Notts County and Carlisle at Fratton Park.

And there was plenty of anticipation among the 1,659 away fans who had made the journey up from the south coast.

But there was not much to excite them in a drab opening to the contest, with neither side looking particularly threatening.

The visitors had a couple of half chances and Daggers keeper Mark Cousins was forced to race from his line to stop Gary Roberts racing onto Adam McGurk’s hooked pass.

Bennett was then neatly released by Enda Stevens down the left, bursting into the box and seeing a shot blocked.

Their best opening arrived on 23 minutes, however, when the hosts failed to deal with a Ben Davies free-kick.

Bennett picked the ball up and floated a cross to the far post, where it was headed clear by Oliver Muldoon, only for Danny Hollands to send a 25-yard volley flying narrowly over the bar.

But that only seemed to spark Dagenham into life and finally create some chances of their own.

Paul Jones did well to deny Matty Cash from point-blank range after the ball had flown through a sea of bodies.

But he could not prevent League Two’s basement side from breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes.

Justin Hoyte’s free-kick was headed on by Christian Doidge for Hemmings, whose acrobatic over-head effort looped over the keeper and into the net.

Dagenham should really have doubled the advantage moments later, but an unmarked Hoyte headed Josh Passley’s cross over.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency in their forward play, although Michael Smith did hammer a shot narrowly wide just before the break.

Half Time: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The visitors had an early chance to draw level when former Blues loanee Passley was penalised for a handball.

Roberts sent a decent delivery into the box, but Matt Clarke could only head it over as he arrived at the far post.

Pompey were unsurprisingly now playing with a lot more urgency and one quick break ended in Davies’ cross having to be cleared behind by Clevid Dikamona.

And the travelling support finally had something to cheer as their side drew level with a fine goal just before the hour mark.

Roberts collected a long ball down the left from Stevens and pinged in a cross that DOYLE met with a fine low volley from just inside the box.

Pompey were not done there, however, and soon heaped more pressure on their shell-shocked opponents.

Bennett was next to threaten after being fed by Smith, but his effort caught a deflection and bobbled wide.

There was an almighty scramble from the resulting corner that ended with Davies sending in a fierce cross that nobody could connect with.

But Dagenham soon caused some concern at the other end, with Stevens forced to hack clear a corner from the line and Oliver Muldoon’s follow-up then held by Jones.

The mood of the Blues support soon switched from concern to joy, however, as the visitors took the lead on 68 minutes.

Davies was fouled wide on the right and Bennett’s free-kick was met by BURGESS, who glanced home a fine header.

Cook made his first switch with 10 minutes remaining, as Evans added some fresh legs to the attack by replacing McGurk.

And it was EVANS who secured the victory when he stole in to head home Bennett’s free-kick from close range.

But there was still time for the result to become even more emphatic as BENNETT deservedly got a goal of his own, jinking into the box before slamming a shot past Cousins.

Dagenham & Redbridge (4-1-4-1): Cousins; Hoyte, Hyam, Dikamona, Widdowson; Muldoon (Cureton 69); Passley (Hawkins 75), Labadie (c), Cash (Boucaud 75), Hemmings; Doidge
Goals: Hemmings 34
Booked: Passley, Doidge, Hoyte
Subs not used: Moore, Pennell, Chambers, McClure

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 80), Roberts (McNulty 89), Bennett (Naismith 89); Smith
Goals: Doyle 59, Burgess 68, Evans 85, Bennett 88
Booked: Doyle, Smith, Clarke
Subs not used: Murphy, Webster, Close, Chaplin

Referee: Lee Collins

Attendance: 3,122 (1,659 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 022016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 0 Carlisle United

Smith grabs winner for Blues

Michael Smith was on target as Pompey saw off Carlisle to make it back-to-back victories.

Following a slow first half, the Blues were much better after the break and created a number of opportunities.

They were only able to take one – with Smith sliding home from a tight angle – but that proved enough to claim all three points.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that comprehensively beat Notts County on Good Friday.

And they got off to an encouraging start as Gary Roberts met Adam McGurk’s cross, only to see his goal-bound header blocked before it could reach its intended target.

Kyle Bennett then sent in a decent delivery following good work down the left, but it was headed clear and Danny Hollands’ volleyed the loose ball over.

And Ben Davies was not too far away when he attempted a free-kick from 35 yards, curling the ball narrowly past the post.

Carlisle’s first proper chance arrived on 14 minutes and Mark Ellis should have at least hit the target when he was found in space inside the box.

There were not an abundance of chances to get the crowd of their feet, although the hosts were trying their best to up the tempo with some pressing high up the pitch.

United keeper Mark Gillespie did well to claim the ball just underneath his crossbar after Enda Stevens’ cross took a wicked deflection off Tom Miller.

Jason Kennedy had a couple of chances at the other end of the pitch, but dragged one effort wide before failing to find the target from a tight angle.

And, just before the break, Stevens received the first booking of the game following a crude lunge on Brandon Comley.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Carlisle 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The Blues came quickly out of the traps, but Gillespie claimed Christian Burgess’ dangerous cross and then saved Bennett’s shot at his near post.

And it was another effort from Bennett that led to the hosts breaking the deadlock on 57 minutes.

After some patient passing build-up, the winger’s curler from the edge of the box was spilled by Gillespie and SMITH forced the ball home from an acute angle.

Pompey might have added another moments later, but Roberts could not get enough power on his shot and it was comfortably saved.

There was still an attritional element to proceedings, however, with plenty of fouls to break up the flow of the game.

Carlisle threw on a couple of extra strikers in Derek Asamoah and Jabo Ibehre to try to find a leveller.

But the Blues were inches away from doubling their advantage following a quick counter-attack on 79 minutes.

Paul Jones punched a corner clear and Pompey broke up the pitch, with Michael Doyle and Roberts combining to tee-up McGurk, who burst through on goal and fired against the base of the post.

And both sides then had excellent chances to add to the scoring in a hectic couple of minutes.

First, Smith was denied by a fine save by Gillespie, with Danny Grainger getting across quickly to stop McGurk converting the loose ball.

United immediately went up the other end of the pitch, where Hallam Hope somehow failed to connect with Derek Asamoah’s cross at the far post.

It was Pompey who looked the more likely to score in the closing stages, but Jabo Ibehre wasted a great chance to level at the death when he hooked over from inside the box.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (McNulty 89), Roberts (Naismith 86), Bennett (Evans 90+3); Smith
Goals: Smith 57
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Fulton, Webster, Close, Chaplin

Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; Miller, Raynes, Ellis (Ibehre 77), Grainger (c); Comley (Asamoah 68), Joyce; Stacey (Gilliead 59), Kennedy, Hope; Wyke
Booked: Raynes
Subs not used: Hanford, Atkinson, Gillesphey, Sweeney

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 15,416 (361 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Mar 252016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Notts County

Pompey roared back into form and ensured it was a very Good Friday with a convincing victory over Notts County at Fratton Park.

Kyle Bennett struck either side of the interval, with a couple of goals that were extremely easy on the eye.

Christian Burgess then opened his account for the club before Marc McNulty came off the bench to add an extra gloss to the scoreline.

Paul Cook made four changes from the side that drew at Mansfield the previous week.

Paul Jones was recalled from his Crawley loan to replace Ryan Fulton – who had been called up to the Scotland under-21 side – between the sticks.

There were also starts for Gary Roberts, Adam McGurk and Matt Clarke, with McNulty, Kal Naismith and Adam Webster dropping to the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of former Pompey left-back Jack Mansell – who passed away last week – and the victims of the attacks in Brussels.

When the game got underway, the hosts made a bright start to match the fine conditions on the south coast.

And Michael Bull earned the ire of the Fratton faithful for not awarding their side a penalty after just a three minutes.

It looked a clear foul from Haydn Hollis on Ben Davies as the right-back charged into the box, but the referee was not convinced.

However, the first half was ultimately a scrappy affair, with plenty of fouls interrupting the flow of the game.

Stanley Aborah collected the first booking for a late challenge on Michael Smith, not that it stopped the midfielder from getting involved in a few more dubious challenges.

There were not too many shots to trouble either of the goalkeepers, with Curtis Thompson seeing his dangerous run eventually halted before McGurk sent a header over the bar.

It was Roberts who had the first decent chance from the edge of the box on 34 minutes, but his effort flew comfortably into the arms of Scott Loach.

Pompey did break the deadlock just before the break, however, thanks to an impressive solo goal from BENNETT.

The winger collected Enda Stevens’ pass down the left and beat Elliott Hewitt with ease before cutting inside and firing past Loach.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Notts County 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The hosts probably should have doubled their advantage just after the restart, but McGurk somehow failed to connect with Davies’ free-kick from wide on the right.

But their second goal did arrive on 49 minutes – and it was a joy to behold.

Roberts displayed a moment of class to send BENNETT clear through and he calmly slotted the ball past Loach and into the net.

And Roberts then tried to add an audacious third with a cute lob from wide on the right that drifted narrowly over.

But the visitors were almost gifted a way back into the game on the hour mark when Jones dropped Curtis Thompson’s cross, only to pounce on the ball before Jon Stead could poke it home.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, though, and it took a brave block from former England international Alan Smith to deny his namesake Michael.

Cook made his first switch on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Naismith out wide.

With a comfortable lead, it was a more patient display from the hosts, but they still looked the more dangerous side.

And the home fans did have a third goal to cheer on 81 minutes when BURGESS converted Enda Stevens’ cross from close range to open his Blues account.

That was the cue to bring on Conor Chaplin and McNulty for the impressive duo of Smith and Roberts.

And it was McNULTY who wrapped up a memorable victory in stoppage-time when he headed Davies’ free-kick into the top corner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Naismith 67), Roberts (McNulty 84), Bennett; Smith (Chaplin 84)
Goals: Bennett 44, 49, Burgess 81, McNulty 90+1
Booked: Hollands
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, Close, Evans

Notts County (3-5-2): Loach; Boyce (Atkinson 58), Smith (Campbell 75), Hollis; Hewitt, Thompson, Aborah (Burke 58), Noble, Milsom; McLeod, Stead (c)
Booked: Aborah, Milsom, Thompson, Smith, McLeod
Subs not used: Pilkington, Sharpe, Edwards, Murray

Referee: Michael Bull

Attendance: 16,670 (485 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Mar 192016
 
League 2
Mansfield Town 1 – 1 Portsmouth

Tafazolli own-goal secures Blues a point

Marc McNulty missed a penalty as Pompey fought from behind to claim a point at Mansfield.

It looked bleak for the Blues when, within the space of a few minutes, McNulty saw his spot-kick saved and Matt Green slotted the hosts ahead.

But Ryan Tafazolli’s own-goal levelled the contest before the interval and neither side was able to take any of their second half chances.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side beaten at home by Newport the previous week.

One of them was enforced, with Michael Smith replacing the suspended Gary Roberts, while Gareth Evans dropped to the bench to make way for Kal Naismith.

There was not an abundance of chances in the early stages, although the hosts survived a defensive mix-up early on, while Mitchell Rose was unable to beat Ryan Fulton with an angled drive.

Pompey’s keeper then had to race from his area to clear after a blocked Christian Burgess shot turned into a quick Stags attack.

Set-pieces were causing the most problems for both sides, with Mansfield delivering some dangerous free-kicks and the Blues threatening from corners.

But it was penalty that gave the visitors a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on 20 minutes.

McNulty was brought down in the box by former Pompey loanee Daniel Alfei, but his spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Scott Shearer low to the keeper’s left.

And the Stags soon made him pay for his profligacy by taking the lead themselves, as Emmanuel Dieseruvwe teed-up Green for a cool finish.

Referee Carl Boyeson upset the mood of the home fans, however, by issuing a flurry of yellow cards, not that Dieseruvwe, Rose or Green could have much to complain about.

Pompey, meanwhile, were trying to find a leveller, but despite some neat passing forward, they were doing little to trouble Shearer.

Instead, the keeper was finally beaten by one of his team-mates just before the break, with TAFAZOLLI inadvertently turning a Ben Davies corner into his own net.

Half Time: Mansfield 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half was slow to get going, although it was the Blues were looking the more likely to score again.

But they were limited to a couple of scuffed efforts from Enda Stevens and Smith that did little to trouble Shearer.

Kyle Bennett went closer on 65 minutes when he met Davies’ corner with a volley that was heading for the net before it was deflected wide.

The visitors had a chance of their own when Stevens was booked for a foul on Dieseruvwe, but the resulting free-kick was confidently plucked from the air by Fulton.

Cook soon made his first substitution, with Ben Tollitt replacing Bennett wide on the left to add some youthful exuberance to Pompey’s attack.

And the Blues boss made another switch to his front line moments later, with McNulty making way for Adam McGurk.

The hosts had been growing in confidence as the half progressed and almost retook the lead on 62 minutes.

Fulton had to get down to his right to push clear Rose’s skidding, long-range effort and then denied Green from the resulting corner.

His counterpart Shearer had looked assured in the Stags goal, but almost made a hash of Michael Doyle’s opportunistic strike from distance on 77 minutes.

There was then a break in play when one of the linesmen appeared to injure his arm and had to be replaced – not that he received much sympathy from the stands.

Conor Chaplin was introduced in place of Naismith for the final five minutes, as Pompey went in search of a winner.

But, despite the fourth official announcing six minutes of stoppage-time, neither side was able to snatch victory.

Mansfield (4-4-2): Shearer; Alfei, Pearce, Tafazolli, Benning; Rose (Daniel 86), Collins (c), Clements, Kavanagh (Blair 64); Green (Thomas 83), Dieseruvwe
Goals: Green 26
Booked: Dieseruvwe, Rose, Green
Subs not used: Jensen, Baxendale, Chapman, Beardsley

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Naismith (Chaplin 85), McNulty (McGurk 70), Bennett (Tollitt 67); Smith
Goals: Tafazolli 43 (og)
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Evans

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 3,980 (1,192 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Mar 122016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 3 Newport County

Pompey’s good run of form was abruptly halted as they lost at home to Newport.

Darren Jones headed the visitors in front during a first half that was extremely low on quality.

The Blues were then controversially reduced to 10 men when Gary Roberts was shown a second booking for alleged simulation.

And County ensured that they would take all three points back to south Wales, as Scott Boden and Dean Morgan increased their lead.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that won convincingly at Accrington earlier in the week.

The switch came up front, where on-loan Michael Smith made way for top scorer Marc McNulty.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon on the south coast, but there certainly was not a spring in the step of the players.

There was not much to lift the crowd in an incredibly low-tempo opening to the game, with shots thin on the ground.

McNulty dragged the ball wide from the edge of the box, while, at the other end, Boden hit a tame effort straight into Ryan Fulton’s arms.

With little footballing action to excite those in the stands, referee Ben Toner provided the only incidents of note by brandishing a flurry of yellow cards.

Mark Byrne probably deserved his for a cynical challenge on Gareth Evans, although the bookings for Enda Stevens and Danny Hollands looked harsh.

But that was the least of Pompey’s worries, as – despite County not offering much of a threat – they fell behind on 34 minutes.

Medy Elito’s free-kick was flicked on by Boden and Jones out-muscled Fulton to head home, with Toner ignoring the cries of foul from the Blues keeper.

The hosts tried to inject some more urgency into their play, but were finding it difficult to breach a well-organised Exiles defence.

Their best chance arrived in stoppage-time when Joe Day dropped Ben Davies’ cross, but McNulty was too close to the keeper to fire the loose ball past him.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Newport 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Cook, unsurprisingly, made an attacking switch at the break, with Evans the man to make way for Smith.

And there certainly seemed to be an increase in tempo as Pompey set about trying to find an equaliser.

Day was twice called into action in the opening stages, although was not overly troubled by a shot from Roberts and header from Smith.

But the Blues came agonisingly close to scoring on 57 minutes when Smith was inches away from meeting a fine low cross from Kyle Bennett.

Their hopes of getting anything from the game were dealt a severe blow moments later, however, when they were reduced to 10 men.

Roberts went down on the edge of the box and claimed a free-kick, but Toner decided he had dived.

Having already booked the midfielder for a trip on Elito, he displayed a second yellow card followed by a red – much to the ire of most of those inside Fratton Park.

Cook soon made his second substitution of the afternoon, withdrawing Bennett and bringing on Kal Naismith.

But Newport made their numerical advantage count on 69 minutes when they doubled their lead after Pompey had lost possession.

The ball was worked to Elito out on the left and the winger’s cross was headed home by Boden from close range.

Conor Chaplin was immediately brought on for McNulty and soon had a chance, but could only hook the ball over from 12 yards.

He then teed-up Smith with a neat pass, with Day getting down low to his right to save an angled drive.

Instead, it was Newport who scored to complete a miserable afternoon for the Blues, with substitute Morgan converting a low cross from Byrne.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Smith 46), Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 61); McNulty (Chaplin 70)
Sent off: Roberts (two yellow cards)
Booked: Stevens, Hollands, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, McGurk

Newport (4-1-3-2): Day; Holmes, Donacien, Jones, Hughes; Byrne (c); Rodman, O’Sullivan, Elito (Gosling 74); Boden (Morgan 77), Ayina (Wilkinson 61)
Goals: Jones 34, Boden 69, Morgan 87
Booked: Byrne, O’Sullivan
Subs not used: Green, Partridge, Barrow, Klukowski

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 16,245 (386 away fans)

Portsmouth FC