Match Report

Apr 142017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Plymouth Argyle    1

 


Roberts on target in Fratton stalemate

It finished all square at Fratton Park, as Pompey came from behind to secure a point in an Easter showdown with Plymouth.

They fell behind to Jake Jervis’ header, but then proceeded to dominate for most of the contest.

And the pressure paid off after the break when Gary Roberts capitalised on some uncertainty at the back to equalise.

It was the Blues who looked most likely to get a winner, but they could not find another path through to goal.

Paul Cook chose not to change the side that beat Yeovil on home soil the previous week.

There were three former Pompey players in the opposition line-up, with Sonny Bradley, Ryan Taylor and Jervis all starting.

And it was the visitors who were first to threaten when David Fox fired in a shot that was well blocked by Matt Clarke.

Carl Baker was then denied at the other end, as Bradley came charging across to make a tackle, injuring himself in the process.

The Blues forced Luke McCormick into action on 11 minutes, with the keeper showing good reactions to keep out Gareth Evans’ swerving shot.

But Argyle broke the deadlock just seconds later when Jervis met Gary Sawyer’s cross and firmly headed home at the far post.

Pompey were guilty of trying to rush things and it was only when they slowed things down and kept possession that they started to look dangerous.

The Pilgrims, however, were determined to keep hold of their lead and got plenty of men behind the ball to frustrate their hosts.

But they were indebted to McCormick on 33 minutes, with the skipper spilling Kal Naismith’s curler, only to quickly recover and stop Roberts from sliding in the loose ball.

Plymouth were still looking dangerous on the break, though, and Matty Kennedy fired into the side netting after skipping past a couple of challenges.

However, most of the action was happening at the other end of the pitch and Naismith saw a free-kick deflected narrowly over late in the half.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Plymouth Argyle 1


Pompey continued to show plenty of attacking intent after the interval and Naismith’s cleanly-struck effort forced McCormick into action.

A shot from Kyle Bennett then deflected off Yann Songo’o and flew narrowly wide, while a Naismith effort was also diverted past the post.

Plymouth were throwing themselves in front of everything and some brave defending was paying dividends.

But they contributed to the equalising goal on 57 minutes, as Pompey’s persistence finally paid off.

Baker slipped a fine pass through to Bennett and his delivery caused confusion between McCormick and Songo’o, allowing ROBERTS to nip in and score.

Pompey continued to push and an incisive passing move ended in Naismith winning a corner, from which Baker drilled wide.

Roberts became the first Blues player to be withdrawn on 67 minutes, with Conor Chaplin on to replace him.

And it was still Pompey looking the more adventurous going forward, as their opponents searched for chances on the break.

Jamal Lowe added some fresh impetus into the hosts’ attack when he was brought on for Baker on the right.

But it was Chaplin who had a great chance to give the Blues a lead on 86 minutes, only to head wide when Naismith chipped the ball up to him in the box.

Bennett then fired a free-kick narrowly over deep into stoppage-time, as Pompey had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 78), Roberts (Chaplin 67), Bennett; Naismith
Goals: Roberts 57
Booked: Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi, Kabamba

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick (c); Threlkeld, Songo’o, Bradley (Sokolik 46), Sawyer; Sarcevic, Fox; Jervis (Smith 68), Carey, Kennedy (Tanner 81); Taylor
Goals: Jervis 12
Booked: Sarcevic, Threlkeld
Subs not used: Dorel, Miller, Donaldson, Garita

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 18,625 (2,644 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Apr 012017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Hartlepool United    0

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Naismith and Roberts on target

Pompey moved another step closer to promotion with a 2-0 victory at Hartlepool.

A goal in either half from Kal Naismith and Gary Roberts ensured the Blues registered a fifth win from their past six games.

There were chances at either end of the pitch in an entertaining contest in the north-east, with both sides striking the woodwork.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that beat Newport on home soil the previous week.

Christian Burgess returned from a one-match to replace Tom Davies at the heart of defence.

And with the injured duo of Carl Baker (hamstring) and Eoin Doyle (groin) both missing, there were returns for Jamal Lowe and Noel Hunt.

There was a breathless start to proceedings, with the ball quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten with a Naismith corner that was not properly dealt with, forcing Joe Fryer to leave his line and punch clear.

But Hartlepool then broke quickly following another Pompey set-piece, only for Lewis Alessandra’s surging run to eventually break down.

The ball soon found its way out to Liam Donnelly on the right and his cross was glanced wide by Nathan Thomas.

And the action then switched to the opposite end, as Kyle Bennett saw his effort blocked before Naismith dived to meet Enda Stevens’ delivery and send the ball flying narrowly past the post.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 17 minutes when Stevens found NAISMITH in acres of space to send a smart volley into the back of the net.

The advantage might have been doubled soon after, but a sliding Hunt could not quite reach Gareth Evans’ low cross.

Hunt then tried a snap-shot from the edge of the box, although the ball flew comfortably into Fryer’s arms.

It was the hosts who soon began to dominate possession as they searched for an equaliser without being able to test David Forde.

There were a few shots blocked by the Blues back-line, but Hartlepool were largely guilty of looking for the perfect final pass instead of trying their luck.

The display of one additional minute for stoppages seemed to signal an incident-free end to the first half.

But the players remained on the pitch for a lot longer, with Hunt landing awkwardly after challenging for the ball.

He was treated on the pitch before eventually being stretched down the tunnel and replaced by Roberts.


Half Time

Hartlepool United 0

Portsmouth 1


Naismith was now leading the line for Pompey, but it was still Hartlepool looking the most likely side to score.

And, shortly after Forde had commandingly punched clear a cross, they had their best chance yet to draw level.

It was a cleanly-struck effort from Thomas that curled around the keeper’s grasp and cannoned back off the post, with Rhys Oates’ follow-up blocked by Matt Clarke.

But Roberts then missed a great opportunity to double the Blues’ advantage, diving to meet Stevens’ cross, but sending the ball over from close range.

The substitute made up for that miss, however, by finding the target on the hour mark and sparking wild scenes of celebration in the away end.

Naismith was the provider, staying calm when his initial effort was cut out and unselfishly slipping a pass through to ROBERTS, who slammed the ball into the roof of the net from a few yards out.

And Naismith almost had another goal of his own soon after, surging forward and sending a low shot against the base of the post.

Conor Chaplin replaced Lowe for the closing stages, as Cook decided to reintroduce a more traditional striker.

There was even a late cameo for Nicke Kabamba, as Pompey saw out the final few moments with ease to secure the points.

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Fryer; Donnelly (Magnay 90+2), Walker, Harrison, Deverdics; Featherstone (c); Oates (Rodney 75), Woods, Alessandra, Thomas; Amond
Booked: Alessandra
Subs not used: Dudzinski, Bates, Hawkins, Richardson, Rooney

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Chaplin 80), Naismith (Kabamba 90), Bennett; Hunt (Roberts 45+5)
Goals: Naismith 17, Roberts 60
Booked: Rose
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 4,500 (977 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 252017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    2

 


 

Newport County    1

 


Bennett and Naismith on target at Fratton Park

Pompey got their promotion charge back on track as they returned to winning ways against struggling Newport.

Kyle Bennett opened the scoring late in the first half before Kal Naismith headed in a second after the interval.

It appeared that the Blues were cruising towards three points, but Alex Samuel netted for the visitors to ensure a nervy finale.

Paul Cook – in his 100th match in charge – made two changes from the side beaten at Stevenage the previous week.

Bennett and Naismith had both recovered from injury to take their place in the starting 11, with Noel Hunt dropping to the bench and Christian Burgess serving a one-match ban.

There was a minute’s silence before kick-off in tribute to those affected by the recent attack in London.

Pompey soon started to dominate once the action got underway, but struggled to create too many clear-cut chances.

The best ones fell to Eoin Doyle, but twice he just failed to get on the end of teasing deliveries from Naismith.

And the on-loan Irishman was then unable to beat County keeper Joe Day from an acute angle after being slipped through by Carl Baker.

But the striker was forced off midway through the first half after picking up an injury and replaced by Conor Chaplin.

There had not been much for David Forde to worry about and when former Blues striker Ryan Bird cut the ball across the face of goal, Tom Davies and Michael Doyle combined to scramble it clear.

But it was still Pompey causing the most problems, even if Day was not exactly being over-worked between the sticks.

Bennett and Matt Clarke both had shots charged down, while a number of corners were comfortably dealt with.

The Blues did break the deadlock just before the break, however, and it was a goal that was extremely easy on the eye.

Baker intercepted the ball from Bird and slipped a superb pass through the Newport defence for BENNETT, who neatly slotted home.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Newport County 0


After seeing off some Newport pressure early in the second half, the hosts went in search of another goal.

Chaplin was never really going to trouble Day with an audacious attempt from wide on the left, while Baker’s effort rose over the crossbar.

Naismith then hit a cleanly-struck free-kick straight into the keeper’s arms, as the Blues started to take control.

They almost doubled their advantage on 58 minutes, but Chaplin – who wanted the pass played earlier – could not quite convert Gareth Evans’ low cross.

But Pompey did strengthen their lead just seconds later, as Bennett found Chaplin, who neatly chipped the ball up for an unmarked NAISMITH to head into the net.

Their attacking intent did not end there, though, and Naismith saw a corner deflected into the side netting, while his second attempt was just too high for Clarke at the far post.

It was not quite one-way traffic and Naismith eventually hacked the ball clear after a County corner caused some problems.

Bennett received hearty applause from the Fratton faithful when he made way for Jamal Lowe on 71 minutes.

But it was the visiting support almost cheering when Marlon Jackson sent the ball curling towards goal, only for Forde to make a fine save.

Newport did reduce their deficit moments later, though, with Samuel rising to convert Sean Rigg’s cross from the right.

And they come close to equalising on 78 minutes as the hosts started to get sloppy, with Forde coming off his line to deny Jackson.

County’s confidence had risen and Jack Whatmough replaced Naismith as Pompey tried to shore things up.

The nerves were starting to grow inside Fratton Park and Evans did well to take the ball off the foot of Samuel as he shaped to shoot.

But the Blues saw out the closing stages with relative ease to seal a valuable victory in the battle for promotion.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Bennett (Lowe 71), Naismith (Whatmough 83); E.Doyle (Chaplin 25)
Goals: Bennett 42, Naismith 59
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Hunt

Newport (4-2-3-1): Day; Pipe, Jones (Randall 71), Demetriou, Butler; Labadie (c), Bennett; Samuel, Rigg, Owen-Evans (Myrie-Williams 46); Bird (Jackson 46)
Goals: Samuel 75
Booked: Rigg, Labadie, Myrie-Williams
Subs not used: Bittner, Barnum-Bobb, Nelson, Gordon

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 17,364 (322 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 182017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Stevenage    3

 


 

Portsmouth    0

 


An afternoon to forget for Blues

Pompey’s promotion charge received a set-back as they collapsed to defeat at Stevenage.

Despite hitting the woodwork twice, goals from Jack King and Matt Godden meant they deservedly trailed at the break.

Jobi McAnuff then wrapped things up in the opening seconds of the second half, while a red card for Christian Burgess and missed Conor Chaplin penalty served to perfectly sum up the Blues’ afternoon.

Paul Cook made two enforced changes from the side that beat Grimsby on home soil earlier in the week.

Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith both went off injured against the Mariners, so in came Tom Davies and Noel Hunt in a switch to a 3-5-2 system.

The visitors won an early corner and Carl Baker’s delivery was headed clear, with Davies receiving a bloody nose that forced him to change into a numberless shirt.

Enda Stevens then cut the ball across the face of goal and Gareth Evans charged in to send a fierce shot thudding against the crossbar.

But it was the hosts who then started to take control and they almost broke the deadlock on 12 minutes.

David Forde dived to his right to palm clear Steven Schumacher’s well-struck free-kick and then keep out Josh McQuoid’s follow-up.

The ball again fell to McQuoid, though, and his effort had to be hacked from the line by Matt Clarke, with referee Michael Salisbury ignoring pleas from the home fans that it had crossed.

But it was only a brief respite for the Blues and when an ambitious attempt from former Fratton trainee Luke Wilkinson cannoned back off the crossbar, the ball fell kindly for King to nod home.

Pompey tried to hit back and when Stevens’ cut-back evaded both Baker and Eoin Doyle, a shot from Evans flew wildly out of the ground.

Boro were looking full of vigour, however, and after Tom Pett surged through the centre, his strike had to be saved by Forde.

And they did double their advantage on 28 minutes when McAnuff found Godden in acres of space at the back post to fire into the net.

That finally seemed to spark Pompey into life and they did finish the first half strongly, without being able to find a goal.

Baker went closest with a fine free-kick that struck the underside of the bar and hit Stevenage keeper Chris Day, only to ricochet to safety.

Another Baker set-piece on 37 minutes then just evaded the leaping Davies and landed safely into Day’s arms.


Half Time

Stevenage 2

Portsmouth 0


Pompey would have wanted to build on that positive play just before the interval, but instead found themselves further behind within seconds of the restart.

Godden took advantage of some dithering defending to barge into a shooting position and although Forde did well to deny him, the keeper was powerless to prevent McAnuff from converting the loose ball.

The Blues tried desperately to find a route back into the contest, although their hurried play led to some sloppy moments.

They had a chance to reduce the deficit when Baker’s corner hit a defender in a crowded box and flew narrowly past the post.

But Stevenage were still looking a real threat on the counter-attack and when McAnuff picked out Godden, Davies had to get a block in.

Cook made a double substitution on 64 minutes, with Nicke Kabamba – making his senior debut – and Gary Roberts replacing Hunt and Baker.

A low delivery by Stevens then had to be cut out before it leave the lurking Eoin Doyle with a simple tap-in.

Chaplin came on for Eoin Doyle as Cook made his final throw of the dice, but the afternoon soon got worse for the Blues.

Burgess was booked for a foul and having already been carded for an earlier indiscretion, he received his marching orders.

But there was still time for more misfortune to befall Pompey as they missed an excellent opportunity to grab a consolation.

A penalty was awarded when Fraser Franks tripped Chaplin in the box, but the substitute hit his penalty down the middle and straight into Day’s arms.

That failed to dampen the noise emanating from the away end, though, as the Pompey fans kept cheering on their side despite a disappointing display.

Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Day; Franks, Wilkinson, King (c), Ntlhe (Gorman 74); Pett, Lee; McQuoid (Hinds 67), Schumacher, McAnuff (Loft 88); Godden
Goals: King 16, Godden 28, McAnuff 46
Booked: Wilkinson, Pett, Gorman, Franks
Subs not used: Preston, Johnson, Tonge, McKee

Pompey (3-5-2): Forde; T.Davies, Burgess, Clarke; Evans, Baker (Roberts 64), M.Doyle (c), Rose, Stevens; Hunt (Kabamba 64), E.Doyle (Chaplin 73)
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Booked: Stevens, Baker
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lowe

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 4,185 (1,390 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 142017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    4

 


 

Grimsby Town    0

 


Blues ease to home victory

Pompey brought their fine away form back to Fratton Park with a rout of Grimsby under the floodlights.

There was a touch of fortune about the first two goals, with Kyle Bennett and Danny Rose both benefiting from wicked deflections.

But it was more than luck that saw the Blues strengthen their promotion credentials, as they put their foot on the accelerator.

The points were secured with a couple more strikes either side of the interval, as first Carl Baker and then Kal Naismith got in on the fun.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that cruised to victory against Colchester at the weekend.

And he was almost rewarded with an early goal, as Baker flashed a shot narrowly over the bar soon after kick-off.

But it was Grimsby who looked more dangerous in the opening stages and Akwasi Asante saw a shot deflected narrowly wide following an untimely slip by Matt Clarke.

They went even closer moments later, with Zak Mills’ fierce long-range drive cannoning against the post.

And David Forde was soon called into action to push another decent attempt by Asante over the crossbar.

But the Blues scored against the run of play on 12 minutes, as BENNETT tried his luck from the edge of the box and the ball took a huge deflection to loop over Mariners keeper James McKeown and into the net.

From that point on the hosts dominated and Eoin Doyle could not quite connect with Gareth Evans’ dangerous low delivery.

A back-pedalling Naismith then got on the end of another Evans cross and watched as his header flew inches past the post.

The advantage was doubled on 35 minutes, however, when Bennett dummied Evans’ pass and ROSE hit a shot that took another deflection to beat McKeown.

Pompey kept pouring forward and when Baker slipped a fine ball through to Naismith, the winger’s cut-back was diverted just behind the onrushing Eoin Doyle.

There was a blow for the Blues just before the break, though, as Bennett went down injured and had to be replaced by Gary Roberts.

But the mood soon picked up and there was a third goal in stoppage-time, with BAKER collecting Evans’ pass and beating McKeown at his near post with a ferocious finish.


Half Time

Portsmouth 3

Grimsby Town 0


And it got even better for the hosts just 30 seconds after the restart when McKeown failed to hold Baker’s drive and NAISMITH slotted home the loose ball.

Pompey’s players were full of confidence and lining up to shoot against a stunned opposition defence, but the next effort from Baker ended up high in the Fratton End.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, some of the intensity went out of their performance as the half progressed.

Evans hit a clean shot on target just past the hour mark, but this time the ball was safely held by McKeown.

Pompey were dealt another injury blow on 68 minutes when Naismith signalled to come off after hurting his hamstring, with Jamal Lowe replacing him.

That failed to dampen the hosts’ dominance, though, and McKeown dived to his left to beat away Baker’s 25-yard drive.

Lowe then whipped in a cross from the right that was just behind Eoin Doyle and the on-loan striker could only head wide.

There was a jovial feel inside the stadium, with the Fratton End asking for a song from each stand – who duly obliged.

And the Blues saw out the closing stages in complete comfort to secure a third successive victory, with a third successive clean sheet.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith (Lowe 68), Bennett (Roberts 45); E.Doyle (Chaplin 86)
Goals: Bennett 12, Rose 35, Baker 45+1, Naismith 46
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Hunt

Grimsby (3-5-2): McKeown; Mills, Pearson (c), Collins; Davies, Jones (Disley 57), Maxwell, Osborne (Comley 57), Andrew; Vernon, Asante (Yussuf 81)
Subs not used: Boyce, Bolarinwa, Vose, Dyson

Referee: Mark Haywood

Attendance: 16,492 (527 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 112017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Colchester United    0

 


 

Portsmouth    4

 


Blues boost promotion hopes

Pompey ran riot at Colchester to strengthen their position inside League Two’s top three.

It was a display of attacking supremacy from the Blues, who arguably deserved to win by more than the four-goal margin.

Eoin Doyle got the ball rolling during a first half that saw the visitors grow stronger as it progressed.

And they moved comfortably through the gears after the interval, as Kyle Bennett, Danny Rose and Michael Doyle all got in on the act.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that comfortably beat Crawley earlier in the week.

But it was the hosts who made the brighter start and Brennan Dickenson did well down to the left, only to let himself down with the ball into the box.

Pompey soon began to settle and threaten going forward themselves, though, with some neat attacking play.

Eoin Doyle could not quite get on the end of an excellent Carl Baker cross, while a snap-shot from Kal Naismith was safely held by Colchester keeper Sam Walker.

Then when a cross was only partially dealt with by the United defence, Enda Stevens followed up with a volley that Walker was able to collect.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 22 minutes, with Naismith sending the ball back into the box after his corner had been blocked and Eoin DOYLE heading home from close range.

He was not too far away from adding another soon after, but could not quite get on the end of Bennett’s near-post delivery.

And the on-loan Irishman then capitalised on some hesitancy by George Elokobi to deal with Stevens’ floated pass, only to send his shot over the bar.

Meanwhile, there was little to trouble the visitors at the other end of the pitch, as they comfortably held on to their lead at the break.


Half Time

Colchester United 0

Portsmouth 1


Colchester replaced Sammie Szmodics with Tarique Fosu at the interval in an attempt to improve their fortunes.

But instead Pompey found themselves further ahead just seconds after the restart – much to the delight of their large travelling army.

And it was BENNETT who doubled his tally for the week when, following good work down the right, Naismith selflessly squared for the winger to tuck home.

United came close to reducing their deficit moments later, but a stretching Chris Porter could not quite reach Dickenson’s cross.

But the Blues were still looking to get forward themselves and when Colchester switched off from a throw, Bennett picked the ball up and neatly side-stepped his man before blazing the shot wide.

Stevens then collected Naismith’s shot free-kick and beat a defender, only to see his arrowed drive deflected just past the post.

United were looking all at sea and it came as no surprise when Pompey extended their advantage further just past the hour mark.

Eoin Doyle did well to slide the ball through to ROSE, who saw his first shot blocked by Walker before neatly dinking home at the second attempt.

The keeper was almost caught out by Naismith moments later, but quickly back-pedalled to claw the ball clear.

Colchester had not created much at the other end and when they finally did get forward, it led to Pompey’s fourth goal.

The visitors broke quickly up the pitch from a corner, with Michael DOYLE surging forward to tuck away his first of the season after Naismith’s initial effort had been saved.

That was Naismith’s last bit of action, as he was immediately replaced by Noel Hunt, with Gary Roberts and Conor Chaplin joining him on the pitch soon after.

And there were no nerves in the closing stages as Pompey comfortably saw the game out to complete an enjoyable afternoon in Essex.

Colchester (4-2-3-1): Walker; Wright (Vincent-Young 66), James, Elokobi, Briggs; Garvan (Bonne 68), Lapslie; Murray, Szmodics (Fosu 46), Dickenson; Porter (c)
Booked: James
Subs not used: Barnes, Wynter, Kinsella, Pyke

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith (Hunt 74), Bennett (Roberts 77); E.Doyle (Chaplin 84)
Goals: E.Doyle 22, Bennett 46, Rose 61, M.Doyle 73
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lowe

Referee: Darren England

Attendance: 6,504 (2,244 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 072017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Crawley Town    0

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Blues move up to third

Pompey stormed into the top three with a comfortable victory at Crawley.

After a solid – if unspectacular – first half from the visitors, they took control following the interval.

Christian Burgess headed them into the lead almost immediately after Eoin Doyle had seen his penalty saved.

And Kyle Bennett made sure that the Blues would climb above Luton and Carlisle with a deflected second.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side beaten at home by Crewe at the weekend.

Danny Rose replaced the injured Amine Linganzi in midfield, while Gary Roberts dropped to the bench to make way for Carl Baker.

It was a fairly comfortable first half for the visitors, who controlled proceedings without creating too many clear-cut chances.

There was plenty of probing from Pompey who sent some dangerous balls into the box that Crawley had to deal with.

And they had the first shot on target on 22 minutes, although Danny Rose’s drilled shot forced no more than a regulation save from Glenn Morris.

A dangerous delivery from the left by the lively Bennett was then just out of reach for Baker at the far post.

David Forde was having a quiet evening at the other end of the pitch, although the Blues back-line did have to mop up a couple of Crawley breaks.

Rose then tested Morris once more on 32 minutes, but again the shot did not overly trouble Morris between the sticks.

The best chance arrived soon after, when Baker released Eoin Doyle and Morris had to spread himself to deny the on-loan striker.

Crawley enjoyed their best period just before the break, with Rhys Murphy bending a shot narrowly wide before Enzio Boldewijn’s stoppage-time header was held by Forde.


Half Time

Crawley Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The hosts were first to threaten after the restart, with James Collins electing to shoot from a tight angle and unable to keep the ball on target.

But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes – although they certainly could have done it in an easier manner.

Enda Stevens did well to break into the box and draw a late tackle from Red Devils right-back Josh Lelan.

Referee Kevin Johnson pointed to the spot and Eoin Doyle stepped up to take it, but Pompey’s penalty woes continued as Morris guessed the right way to make the save.

The ball was hacked behind, but Kal Naismith swung the corner into the box and BURGESS headed home from close range.

Naismith fancied another, though, and after being unable to catch Morris out from long-range, he surged half the length of the pitch before seeing a shot blocked.

But he was forced back on 64 minutes, filling the left-back role when Stevens limped off injured to be replaced by Noel Hunt.

That did not mean Naismith had to stop providing an attacking threat, however, and one cross from the left was held up by Hunt before Eoin Doyle’s fierce drive was blocked.

Pompey were not content to sit on their slim advantage and their attacking impetus was rewarded on 71 minutes.

Hunt sent the ball through Lelan’s legs, with BENNETT picking it up and launching a shot that was deflected past Morris’ grasp.

Crawley responded with a double substitution and one of the newcomers almost reduced the deficit, with Forde doing well to deny Billy Clifford with his legs.

They had to be more adventurous and Collins rose to meet a corner from the left, with the ball flashing inches wide of the post.

But the fact that Red Devils keeper Morris was awarded the home side’s man-of-the-match award was telling.

And the 2,300 travelling fans were in celebratory mood as the Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to secure a valuable victory.

Crawley (4-2-3-1): Morris; Lelan, Connolly, McNerney, Young; Smith (c), Payne (Henderson 72); Boldewijn (Bawling 76), Murphy, Cox (Clifford 72); Collins
Booked: Young
Subs not used: Mersin, Blackman, Djalo

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens (Hunt 64); Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith, Bennett (T.Davies 90); E.Doyle
Goals: Burgess 54, Bennett 71
Booked: Hunt, E.Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Aborah, Lowe, Roberts, Chaplin

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 5,350 (2,300 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Mar 042017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Crewe Alexandra    1

 


Blues suffer Fratton defeat

Pompey produced a flat performance at Fratton Park as they were beaten by Crewe.

It was the second time in less than a week that they spurned the opportunity to climb into the automatic promotion places.

The hosts controlled possession, but opposition keeper Ben Garratt’s clean sheet rarely looked under threat.

And Crewe made the most of a spell of second half pressure to secure all three points, courtesy of skipper George Ray’s firm header.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew with Morecambe earlier in the week.

It came wide on the right, where Carl Baker dropped to the bench to make way for Tuesday’s goalscorer Kal Naismith.

Crewe had a chance to break the deadlock in the opening seconds, with David Forde getting down to save Jordan Bowery’s header.

But it was the Blues who dominated the majority of the first half, without being able to carve out many clear-cut openings.

Their best opportunity came when Enda Stevens whipped in a cross from the left, but it came at Eoin Doyle quickly and he could only glance over from close range.

And the on-loan Irishman was then not quite able to get on the end of a teasing low Naismith delivery.

Gary Roberts also went close with a free-kick from 20 yards that curled narrowly over the crossbar and onto the roof of the net.

There was plenty of probing from Pompey – with Kyle Bennett looking bright – but they struggled to break through a resolute Crewe back-line.

Naismith had a couple of chances late in the half, but on both occasions missed the target after electing to shoot rather than pass.

And the visitors almost grabbed the lead against the run of play before the break when Forde failed to get enough on his punch clear.

The ball was sent back into the box and Ben Nugent’s header was flying towards the net, only for Stevens to clear from the line.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Crewe Alexandra 0


The second half was less than five minutes old when Cook made his first substitution, as Amine Linganzi made way for Conor Chaplin.

Pompey were still looking lethargic, however, as they struggled to impose themselves in the opposition half.

And it was Crewe who had a decent opportunity when Ollie Turton found himself in space on the edge of the box, only to fire over.

Cook’s second switch arrived just past the hour mark, with Baker replacing Bennett as the Blues continued to search for a source of inspiration.

But there was growing frustration both on and off the pitch, as the hosts were labouring away with little reward.

Not that there was much to worry about at the other end pitch, with Callum Cooke finding the side netting in a rare Railwaymen attack.

But that seemed to spark the visitors into life and they twice came close to breaking the deadlock.

First, following a quick break from a Pompey corner, Cooke’s cross hit Stevens and flew inches past the post.

Stevens then came to rescue from the resulting corner, as – for the second time in the game – he cleared from the line, this time to deny Billy Bingham.

It was third time lucky for Alexandra, however, as the ball was sent back into the box, where Ray rose highest to convert a thumping header.

Noel Hunt was thrown on as the hosts committed plenty of men forward in desperate search of an equaliser.

But Crewe held firm at the back, seeing out four minutes of stoppage-time to leave Fratton Park feeling deflated at the final whistle.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi (Chaplin 50), M.Doyle (c); Naismith, Roberts (Hunt 79), Bennett (Baker 63); E.Doyle
Booked: Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Rose, Lowe

Crewe (4-4-2): Garratt; Turton, Ray (c), Nugent, Bakayogo; Wintle, Jones, Bingham, Cooke (Cooper 80); Kiwomya (Ainley 90+3), Bingham
Goals: Ray 77
Booked: Jones
Subs not used: Richards, Ng, Pickering, Finney, Kirk

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 16,810 (216 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Feb 282017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Morecambe    1

 


Naismith strike not enough for victory

Pompey missed a chance to climb into the automatic promotion places after conceding a late equaliser against Morecambe.

It was the hosts showing all the ambition, although their dominance was receiving no reward as the Shrimps held firm.

But Kal Naismith came off the bench to break the deadlock after the interval and the points looked to have been secured.

Lee Molyneux spoiled the party, however, with a leveller to stop the Blues overhauling defeated Carlisle.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat their promotion rivals at the weekend.

And they immediately set about trying to attack their opponents, who were prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure.

The Blues were passing the ball around with style and were only let down by some wayward finishing.

But Morecambe were also indebted to their goalkeeper Barry Roche, who tipped over a Carl Baker shot before using his feet to deny Gary Roberts.

Roberts was dictating play in the middle of the park and played an exquisite pass through to Eoin Doyle, only for Alex Whitmore to come across and make a fine challenge.

There was not too much action at the other end of the pitch, although Christian Burgess headed off the line before referee Stephen Martin finally spotted his assistant flagging for a foul on David Forde.

It was soon the Blues back on the attack and when another fine Roberts pass released Gareth Evans, it took another Roche save to keep the scores level.

Kyle Bennett then sent a couple of long-range efforts narrowly off target, while Eoin Doyle headed over from a Baker cross.

But Morecambe almost forged ahead completely against the run of play on 32 minutes, with Forde doing brilliantly to stop Aaron Wildig from converting Paul Mullin’s cut-back.

Normality resumed for the rest of the half, but despite Pompey’s dominance, they couldn’t find a way through.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Morecambe 0


Paul Merson was introduced to the crowd at half-time ahead of his induction into the club’s Hall of Fame.

And Roberts was certainly trying to match the former Blues star in the creativity stakes, with a low cross just about grabbed by Roche before it could reach Eoin Doyle.

But the second half was lacking the excitement of the first and Cook tried to liven things up with a substitution on 56 minutes, replacing Baker with Conor Chaplin.

Bennett and Roberts combined well as the hosts tried to find a breakthrough, although the latter’s ball was not quite right for Eoin Doyle.

Cook’s second switch saw Naismith replace Bennett on the left – and it paid instant dividends.

NAISMITH controlled Michael Doyle’s pass with his first touch and then, with his second, steered the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The Blues continued to attack and Chaplin sent a snap-shot wide before Roberts saw his effort saved after being teed-up by Naismith.

But the game was drifting towards a conclusion, until Morecambe suddenly found themselves level on 83 minutes when the ball was worked across to Molyneux, who drove home a precise finish.

Pompey tried to hit back and the award of six additional minutes provided some hope that a winner could arrive.

But the Shrimps somehow survived a corner that ricocheted around their box to depart with a share of the spoils.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi (Rose 79), M.Doyle (c); Baker (Chaplin 56), Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 63); E.Doyle
Goals: Naismith 64
Booked: Roberts
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Lowe, Hunt

Morecambe (4-2-3-1): Roche; Wakefield (McGowan 72), Edwards, Whitmore, Molyneux; Fleming (Murphy 79), Rose (c); Turner (Conlan 55), Wildig, Ellison; Mullin
Goals: Molyneux 83
Booked: Rose
Subs not used: Nizic, Duckworth, Evans, Jordan

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 15,592 (71 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Feb 252017
 

Match Report

League two


 

Carlisle United    0

 


 

Portsmouth    3

 


Roberts, Linganzi and Whatmough on target

A scintillating second half performance from Pompey saw them beat promotion rivals Carlisle at Brunton Park.

Goals from Gary Roberts, Amine Linganzi and Jack Whatmough ensured it was an enjoyable afternoon for the Blues in the north-west.

Neither side managed to take advantage of their chances in a first half that had plenty of talking points, but was short on quality.

It was the visitors who moved through the gears after the interval, however, and a fine strike from Roberts gave them a deserved lead.

Linganzi then opened his account for the club with another impressive strike to end Carlisle’s hopes of a comeback.

And Whatmough wrapped things up deep into stoppage-time with his first ever senior goal for the club.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that draw at Barnet the previous week.

Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench to make way for Carl Baker on the right hand side of Pompey’s attacking midfield trio.

The hosts had the ball in the net inside the first minute, but there were no celebrations from Jamie Proctor, as the linesman had long since raised his flag for offside.

Baker then tried his luck with a low shot at the other end, with Mark Gillespie getting down to beat the ball away.

Both sides were showing plenty of attacking intent, although the quality was lacking in the final third.

A slip from Christian Burgess almost let Reggie Lambe through on goal, but David Forde came charging from his area to reach the ball first.

United were then forced to make a change on 15 minutes, as a clash of heads saw Shaun Brisley replaced by Tom Miller.

There continued to be space for both sides to expose and Forde got down well to parry clear Nicky Adams’ angled drive.

The hosts then managed to work the ball across to the unmarked Miller on the right, only for Roberts to get a vital block in.

There was another piece of bad news for Carlisle on 36 minutes, however, when Michael Raynes picked up an injury and joined central defensive partner Brisley on the sidelines.

Pompey were looking more threatening as the first half progressed and Roberts curled a free-kick narrowly wide from just outside the box.

But the home support were outraged that their side were not awarded a penalty a few moments later.

Forde failed to collect a cross for the first time and in the ensuing scramble, the ball bounced up and hit Gareth Evans on the arm.

Referee Richard Clark ignored the desperate cries for a spot-kick to be awarded, agreeing with the Blues’ right-back that it had not been a deliberate offence.

And Pompey almost rubbed salt into the wounds by breaking the deadlock just before the interval.

Carlisle failed to deal with Evans’ low delivery into the box and the ball ricocheted into Eoin Doyle’s path, only for the striker to somehow clear the crossbar with the goal gaping.


Half Time

Carlisle United 0

Portsmouth 0


Whatever Cook said to his players at the break appeared to do the trick as the visitors came charging out of the blocks.

And they had three excellent chances to open the scoring within the first three minutes of the second half.

First Enda Stevens got free down the left and his low cross was almost diverted into his own net by Gary Liddle.

Roberts teed-up Eoin Doyle to slot the ball home from close-range a few seconds later, but the striker had strayed into an offside decision.

And another effort from the loanee then took a massive deflection and was looping in until a back-pedalling Gillespie managed to tip it over.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Proctor should have guided the ball on target when he met Luke Joyce’s pin-point cross.

Pompey were then back on the attack and when Gillespie fumbled Linganzi’s header, Kyle Bennett’s follow-up was blocked.

The action continued at a hectic pace as the action once again switched to the other end, with Forde getting down to brilliantly turn Lambe’s shot around the post.

Cook made a double substitution – and a change of system – on 72 minutes, as he went in search of a breakthrough.

Whatmough and Conor Chaplin replaced Baker and Bennett, with Pompey switching to a 3-5-2 formation.

And the move paid dividends within seconds, although it was a man already on the pitch who fired the visitors ahead.

It was a fine solo effort for ROBERTS, who burst clear through the centre and beat Gillespie with an exquisite finish.

The midfielder received a warm round of applause as he made way for Kal Naismith for the final 10 minutes.

And the points were then wrapped up late on, courtesy of a 25-yard strike from LINGANZI that arrowed into the bottom corner.

There was a mixture of delight and relief from the 1,209 travelling fans, who had plenty to cheer in the stands.

But they had even more to celebrate in stoppage-time when Naismith picked out WHATMOUGH to drill his first goal for the club into the bottom corner.

Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; Liddle, Raynes (c) (McQueen 36), Brisley (Miller 15), Gillesphey; Joyce, Jones; O’Sullivan (Ibehre 60), Lambe, Adams; Proctor
Booked: O’Sullivan, Miller
Subs not used: Crocombe, Bailey, Devitt, Waring

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Whatmough 72), Roberts (Naismith 80), Bennett (Chaplin 72); E.Doyle
Goals: Roberts 73, Linganzi 86, Whatmough 90+2
Subs not used: O’Brien, Rose, Lowe, Hunt

Referee: Richard Clark

Attendance: 7,197 (1,209 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Feb 182017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Barnet    1

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Chaplin grabs late equaliser

Conor Chaplin hit a fine late leveller to rescue a point for Pompey in a scrappy contest at The Hive.

A largely turgid encounter looked to be heading for a goalless scoreline, with few chances to excite those in the stands.

But Mauro Vilhete converted a late free-kick to give the home supporters cause to cheer and deflate the large travelling army.

Substitute Chaplin perked them up in the dying moments, however, with a peach of a shot that left Bees keeper Josh Vickers with no chance.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Blackpool earlier in the week – naming an unchanged starting 11 for a fourth successive game.

The first half was a distinctly forgettable affair, with neither outfit being able to find their rhythm in a scrappy encounter.

Barnet won a free-kick 30 yards out, but Ruben Bover’s delivery swung out of play in a moment that summed up the action on offer.

The visitors finally carved out a decent opening on 20 minutes when Kyle Bennett released Gary Roberts down the right and the latter’s cross was glanced narrowly wide by Eoin Doyle.

Then, at the other end, David Forde made a fine reaction save to stop Curtis Weston from volleying home Vilhete’s centre.

And it was the Bees who finished the half looking the stronger side, with the Blues guilty of some sloppy play on the ball.

Former Pompey loannee John Akinde did brilliantly to chest the ball down on 38 minutes and send a shot dipping inches over the crossbar.

Charlie Clough then got on the end of a corner and his header was deflected just past the post by a relieved Michael Doyle.


Half Time

Barnet 0

Portsmouth 0


Cook made a double switch at the start of the second half, as Bennett and Jamal Lowe were replaced by Chaplin and Danny Rose.

That saw Pompey match their opponents’ 4-4-2 system, with Roberts at the tip of a diamond midfield.

The visiting fans – who made up more than 50 per cent of the total crowd – were making a racket in the stands.

But there was little action of note happening on the pitch, as the second half continued in the same vein as the first.

Chaplin got crowded out after collecting Amine Linganzi’s pass and charging into the box, as chances eluded both sides.

The hosts did go close on 66 minutes after Akinde won a soft free-kick just outside the area and Bover curled it onto the roof of the net.

And the Blues began to show more urgency as the minutes ticked down, with Chaplin having a shot blocked.

They were starting to look the more dangerous side, although it took a fine Christian Burgess challenge to finally halt the rampaging Akinde.

Carl Baker came on for the tiring Roberts for the final 10 minutes as Cook made his last throw of the dice.

But it was Barnet who forged ahead 10 minutes from time when Justin Amaluzor was fouled just outside the box and Vilhete stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall.

It looked like the hosts were going to hang on for all three points – although CHAPLIN had other ideas.

The substitute had not had much joy since entering the pitch, but found the net with a rocket of a shot from 25 yards that flew into the top corner.

He celebrated with the fans first and then those on the bench, and it proved enough to secure a share of the spoils.

Barnet (4-4-2): Vickers; Clough, Nelson (c), Santos, Johnson; Vilhete, Bover (Sweeney 69), Champion, Weston; Akinola (Amaluzor 75), Akinde
Goals: Vilhete 82
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Dembele, Taylor, Tutonda, Coulson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Rose 46), Roberts (Baker 80), Bennett (Chaplin 46); E.Doyle
Goals: Chaplin 89
Booked: Roberts
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Naismith, Hunt

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 4,571 (2,430 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Feb 142017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    3

 


 

Blackpool    0

 


Evans and Doyle fire Blues to victory

Goals from Gareth Evans and Eoin Doyle ensured Pompey beat Blackpool to record a second successive victory.

They totally dominated the first half and probably deserved to lead by more than Evans’ clinical finish.

It was a tighter affair after the break, however, and there were a few nervy moments before the hard-working Doyle opened his account deep into stoppage-time to secure another three-point haul.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that had beaten Accrington at the same venue less than four days earlier.

And he was rewarded with a bright start for the Blues, who looked to attack their mid-table opponents from the off.

They almost broke the deadlock after just five minutes, only for Gary Roberts to turn Eoin Doyle’s cut-back against the crossbar.

And Roberts then combined well with Kyle Bennett, but the former’s pass was cut-out before it could reach Pompey’s lone striker.

Eoin Doyle did connect with a cross – again from Roberts – moments later and sent a header flying just past the post.

The hosts’ attacking quartet were linking up extremely well, while the impressive Amine Linganzi saw a shot saved by Blackpool keeper Sam Slocombe.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although David Forde was at his commanding best to claim a couple of dangerous balls into the box.

The keeper then had to get down low to his right to push a drive from Kyle Vassell behind for a corner.

But it was the Blues who looked the more threatening side throughout the first half and they deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes.

Enda Stevens’ delivery from the left was missed by Linganzi, but fell for EVANS to lash into the roof of the net.

The advantage was almost doubled a few moments later, with Roberts not quite able to guide a cross on target with his head.

And Eoin Doyle was then inches away from connecting with a superb low cross from Evans that dissected the visitors’ defence.

It was the Irishman who might have added another goal just before the break, but he fired over after Roberts had brilliantly cushioned a long ball forward.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Blackpool 0


Pompey continued to push forward following the interval and Slocombe was just able to beat Eoin Doyle to Matt Clarke’s long pass.

The visitors did start to have more of an impact as the second half progressed and one corner led to a scramble in the Blues box before Evans eventually hacked clear.

Chances were certainly harder to find since the restart, though, and one acrobatic effort from Christian Burgess flew high over the bar.

Cook made his first change on 68 minutes and it was like for like, as Jamal Lowe made way for Carl Baker.

Blackpool then carved out an excellent opening when Jordan Flores’ low cross found Brad Potts at the far post.

It looked like the midfielder would draw the visitors level, but Stevens launched himself at the ball to make a brilliant block.

Evans had received treatment for a shoulder injury earlier in the half and had to be withdrawn on 75 minutes, with Kal Naismith taking his place at right-back.

Pompey then had a chance to strengthen their lead following a quick break, but Baker was dispossessed before he could shoot.

Jack Whatmough came on for Bennett in the Blues’ final change late on, although for the second game in a row the fourth official initially displayed the wrong number.

And Blackpool then went close to levelling from a corner, but Tom Aldred’s bullet header flew narrowly wide.

The atmosphere understandably grew tenser as the seconds ticked down and Blackpool delivered more crosses into the box.

But with the Seasiders committing men forward, the hosts took advantage to make sure of all three points.

Eoin DOYLE did well to hold off a couple of challenges and find Baker, before collecting the return pass and slotting home his first goal for the club.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans (Naismith 75), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Baker 68), Roberts, Bennett (Whatmough 83); E.Doyle
Goals: Evans 27, E.Doyle 90+5
Booked: Burgess, Roberts, Bennett
Subs not used: O’Brien, Rose, Chaplin, Hunt

Blackpool (3-5-2): Slocombe; Aimson, Aldred (c), Robertson; Mellor, Potts (Osayi-Samuel 81), Payne (Matt 81), Flores, Daniel; Delfouneso, Vassell (Odelusi 81)
Booked: Mellor
Subs not used: Lyness, Nolan, Gnanduillet, Cullen

Referee: Darren Deadman

Attendance: 15,132 (216 away fans)


Portsmouth FC