Match Report

Dec 302016
 
League 2
Yeovil 0 – 0 Portsmouth

 

Blues end the year with a draw

Pompey ended 2016 by picking up a point in extremely testing conditions at Huish Park.

With fog enveloping the ground for the entire contest, it was difficult to make out what was happening at times.

But referee Christopher Sarginson decided to let the game go ahead – even if the mass of travelling supporters could not see their side’s attacks in the first half.

Both sides did their best to find a path through to goal, but neither was able to finish the year on a high.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that fought from behind to win at Newport on Boxing Day.

But the boss switched to a 4-3-3 system, with Kal Naismith and Michael Smith deployed in attacking roles either side of Noel Hunt.

The thick fog engulfing Huish Park began to lift as the kick-off neared, only to return with a vengeance once the players emerged from the tunnel.

It was a particular pea-souper in the end housing the visiting fans, who surely struggled to see what was happening once the ball passed the halfway line.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, but it was Pompey who looked more of a threat.

Naismith was first to test Artur Krysiak in the Glovers goal with a fierce angled effort that had to be beaten behind.

The Scotsman also sent in a couple of inviting deliveries that first Matt Clarke and then Smith failed to divert on target from close-range.

A corner from Naismith then caused an almighty scramble in the Yeovil box on 28 minutes, but the hosts were eventually able to hack the ball clear.

Otis Khan was the player causing the most problems for the Glovers, but a couple of weak efforts from him failed to overly trouble David Forde.

The best chance of the half arrived on 37 minutes when Krysiak stuck out a hand to brilliantly deny Naismith, although a raised flag from the linesman diluted that piece of drama.

Half Time: Yeovil 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Yeovil caused a moment of panic in the Blues box within seconds of the restart, only for Matt Clarke to charge across the box and make a vital challenge on Khan.

A period of Pompey pressure at the other end of the pitch soon led to a shot from Danny Rose that was blocked.

Then, seconds later, Hunt burst into the box and hit a fierce volleyed effort that Krysiak did well to get behind.

It was the Blues who were dominating possession and Carl Baker had a chance on the hour mark, dragging a shot narrowly wide.

Cook made his first switch on 67 minutes, with Kyle Bennett adding an injection of energy into Pompey’s attacking trio in place of Hunt.

And it took a great sliding interception from Nathan Smith to deny namesake Michael from opening the scoring by converting a low Enda Stevens delivery moments later.

It was a similar outcome on 77 minutes, but this time Krysiak dived on the left-back’s cross before the striker could pounce.

Smith did beat the keeper to another Stevens cross soon after, only for Ryan Dickson to get back and clear the ball to safety.

But Yeovil roared into life in the final few moments and had a couple of chances to grab a late winner.

The first one saw a low cross ricochet off both Clarke and Christian Burgess before Forde was able to jump on the loose ball.

And Khan then surged through on goal and had just the keeper to beat, but his fierce drive cannoned back off the corner of post and bar.

Pompey were still looking to get forward in the closing stages, although they had ultimately to settle for a point in a contest that will be best remembered for what those present could not see.

Yeovil (4-3-3): Krysiak; Shephard (Mugabi 21), Lacey, Smith, Dickson (c); Dawson, Whitfield (Butcher 82), Lawless; Khan, Eaves, Campbell (Zoko 71)
Booked: Dickson
Subs not used: Maddison, Ezewelle, Sowunmi, Bassett

Pompey (4-3-3): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker (Chaplin 81), Doyle (c) (Linganzi 90), Rose; Smith, Hunt (Bennett 67), Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Buxton, Whatmough, Lalkovic

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 6,306 (2,084 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 262016
 
League 2
Newport County 2 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Blues win dramatic Boxing Day clash

Pompey ensured there was plenty of festive cheer in a Christmas cracker of a contest at Newport.

It looked like the Blues would be as miserable as Scrooge before a visit from the spirits as the hosts roared into a two-goal advantage.

Danny Rose then provided a spark of hope, only for it to be snuffed out again when Kal Naismith missed from the spot.

But Enda Stevens drew the Blues level with his first goal for the club before Naismith grabbed a late winner.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew with Hartlepool before Christmas.

Naismith and Noel Hunt were brought in for Kyle Bennett and Gary Roberts, as Pompey switched to a 4-4-2 system.

A more direct approach was adopted to cope with the poor surface and physicality of the opposition.

But it was the Welsh hosts who settled quickest and David Forde had to deal with a couple of dangerous balls into the box.

The Blues created most of the half’s clear-cut chances, however, and Michael Smith should have found the target from close range following good work from Naismith and Stevens.

Joe Day then had to come tearing from his box to beat Hunt to an under-hit back-pass and sweep the ball to safety.

But the County keeper lost the same race moments later, with the striker not quite able to guide his looping header on target.

Instead it was Newport who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when Josh Sheehan curled a fine free-kick over the wall and past Forde’s desperate dive.

There was almost an immediate equaliser, but after Day failed to hold Naismith’s long-range effort, Rose’s follow-up was hacked from the line by Jennison Myrie-Williams.

Scot Bennett then attempted to clear a low cross from Stevens and only just avoided sending the ball into his own net.

And it was Christian Burgess who was next to go close on 38 minutes when a Naismith free-kick was not properly cleared.

The centre-back did well to turn amidst a host of amber-shirted bodies, but his shot fizzed narrowly past the post.

Stevens then almost opened his Blues account just before the break with a deflected strike that Bennett just about stopped from sneaking inside the post.

Half Time: Newport 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was another opportunity for Smith early in the second half when Michael Doyle sent a ball into the box from deep, but the striker was unable to make a clean connection.

Newport were proving more clinical, though, and Rhys Healey doubled their advantage from close range after Forde could only parry a curling effort from Sheehan.

But the Blues soon hit back to reduce the deficit, with Gareth Evans getting free down the right and cutting the ball back for ROSE to slot home.

It was the visitors, unsurprisingly, looking the more threatening side by this point and Day was fortunate to parry Evans’ shot to safety, with Smith and Hunt both waiting to pounce.

But they were given an excellent opportunity to level just past the hour mark when Jazzi Barnum-Bobb pushed Naismith in the box and referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot.

It was Naismith who stepped up to take the penalty, only to blast the ball over the bar and turn the party in the away end sour.

The Scottish winger tried to make amends with an ambitious effort from long-range, but there was not quite enough dip on his shot.

Cook threw on an extra striker on 74 minutes as Pompey chased an equaliser, with Carl Baker making way for Conor Chaplin.

It was Naismith who was next to threaten, though, surging half the length of the pitch before drawing a save from Day.

But there was an unlikely provider of Pompey’s equaliser on 80 minutes, as STEVENS latched onto Rose’s pass and lashed home a neat finish.

And Evans was fuming that they did not have the chance to score again soon after, with Breakspear deciding that the right-back had not been pushed in the box.

The winning goal did arrive late on – even if there was a bit of confusion about who scored it.

NAISMITH whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right and it was unclear whether anyone else got a touch as the ball flew into the net.

Not that it mattered to the horde of travelling fans, who celebrated wildly – as did the players and those on the bench.

Newport (3-5-1-1): Day; Meite (Green 90), Jones, Bennett (c); Barnum-Bobb, Tozer (Randall 90), Owen-Evans (Jackson 85), Rigg, Myrie-Williams; Sheehan; Healey
Goals: Sheehan 25, Healey 51
Booked: Healey, Tozer, Barnum-Bobb
Subs not used: Bittner, Bignot, O’Hanlon, Butler

Pompey (4-4-2): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker (Chaplin 74), Rose, Doyle (c), Naismith; Hunt (Linganzi 89), Smith
Goals: Rose 56, Stevens 80, Naismith 87
Booked: Burgess, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Buxton, Whatmough, Lalkovic, Bennett

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 3,714 (729 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 172016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

Carson to the rescue for visitors

Pompey had to settle for a draw in the final Fratton fixture of 2016 after failing to breach a stubborn Hartlepool defence.

They created all the chances of note, but when the visitors’ back-line was found wanting, goalkeeper Trevor Carson came to the rescue with some superb saves.

There was little going on at the other end of the pitch as Pools showed a lack of attacking ambition, although they were ultimately able to make the long trip home with a point in the bag.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Grimsby the previous week – meaning that Pompey were unchanged for a fourth successive fixture.

But there was a flat opening to proceedings, with very few clear-cut chances to liven up the Fratton faithful.

Gary Roberts did cut inside from the right and drag a shot narrowly past the post, although that was as exciting as it got in the early stages.

The hosts started to inject more urgency into proceedings as the half progressed and former Blues loanee Carson had to get down quickly to keep out Michael Smith’s glancing header.

Then, after Danny Rose had done well to steal possession, Kyle Bennett played a neat one-two with Smith and fired inches wide.

And a teasing left-sided cross from Carl Baker somehow evaded everyone as it flew past the post on 24 minutes.

There was nothing much for David Forde to deal with at the other end of the pitch, as Pompey continued to dominate without making a breakthrough.

Smith used his strength to climb above Scott Harrison and meet Bennett’s cross, but was unable to guide the ball on target.

And Harrison then made a vital clearance from the line to deny Smith a simple close-range finish on 37 minutes.

There was one more chance before the interval, with Carson superbly tipping over a fierce Gareth Evans drive, although the officials somehow missed the keeper’s intervention and awarded a goal-kick.

Half-Time: Pompey 0 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was still the Blues looking more likely to break the deadlock once play resumed and Baker surged into the box before sending a dipping shot wide.

The midfielder’s cross following a short corner was then heading straight for Matt Clarke at the far post until Carson made a timely intervention.

Pompey continued to knock at the door and an effort from Baker was deflected wide following a neat passing move.

But with Hartlepool holding firm, Cook made a double substitution on 68 minutes, as Roberts and Bennett made way for Conor Chaplin and Kal Naismith.

The former almost immediately missed an opportunity to open the scoring when he failed to make a connection with Enda Stevens’ fine low delivery.

But it was Smith who almost provided a goal moments later when he met Naismith’s cross, only for Carson to make a superb stop.

Chaplin thought he should have had a penalty on 80 minutes after being bundled over by Harrison, but referee Graham Horwood adjudged it a fair challenge.

A short corner routine then led to a ferocious Naismith shot that smashed Billy Paynter straight in the face and knocked him to the turf.

Pompey were trying their best to find a breakthrough, but Michael Doyle’s half-volley was brilliantly kept out by Carson.

The hosts kept pouring forward in search of a late winner and eight minutes of stoppage-time gave them hope.

But Carson ensured there was a sense of frustration rather than Christmas cheer by making another great save, this time keeping out Chaplin’s header from point-blank range.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Hunt 90+4), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Chaplin 68), Bennett (Naismith 68); Smith
Booked: Baker, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Carson; Donnelly, Bates, Harrison, Carroll; Featherstone; Hawkins, Oates (Deverdics 73), Laurent, Alessandra (Nsiala 90+5); Paynter (c) (Amond 90+6)
Booked: Donnelly, Bates, Featherstone
Subs not used: Bartlett, Pollock, Woods, Walker

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 17,081 (132 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 102016
 
League 2
Grimsby Town 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Naismith grabs later winner

Kal Naismith came off the bench to score a fine free-kick and secure a deserved victory for Pompey at Grimsby.

The visitors dominated for long periods of the Blundell Park contest, only to be frustrated by the stubborn Mariners.

But, with time running out, Naismith curled a fine shot over the wall and into the net to delight the large travelling army of supporters.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that were beaten at home by Stevenage a fortnight earlier.

That meant the in-form Michael Smith continued to lead the line, with Conor Chaplin having to be content with a place on the bench.

Ben Davies was denied the opportunity to feature against his former club, with the former Fratton full-back sidelined by a calf problem.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of Grimsby legend Paul Futcher – who recently passed away – and the victims of the Chapecoense air disaster.

When the game got started it was the visitors who soon started to dominate, but there were not an abundance of clear-cut chances at either end of the pitch.

Kyle Bennett was looking lively and after he stole possession, it took a vital Josh Gowling interception to stop his pass finding Smith.

The winger then had a chance of his own, firing in a curling effort that James McKeown had to tip over the bar.

Carl Baker whipped the resulting corner into the box from wide on the right, but Matt Clarke was unable to send his header on target.

It was Danny Rose who was next to try his luck on nine minutes, with a 25-yard effort that bent narrowly wide.

There was not much to report at the opposite end, although Omar Bogle did curl a shot over after Grimsby had been awarded a soft free-kick.

It was soon the Blues back on the attack and Baker had a couple of sighters, one of which flew straight into McKeown’s arms, while the second was blazed over.

Enda Stevens then delivered a dangerous low cross into the box that had to be hacked to safety by the hosts.

And Gary Roberts also had a couple of effort just before the break, but the first was blocked and the follow-up trickled wide.

Half Time: Grimsby 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was Pompey who were first to threaten following the interval and McKeown did well to keep out Smith’s powerful low drive after Christian Burgess had threaded a pass to the striker.

Stevens then delivered another teasing low cross from the left that flashed invitingly across the face of goal.

But Grimsby almost broke the deadlock with their first decent chance on 54 minutes, with Ashley Chambers’ cushioned volley clawed to safety by David Forde.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, however, and Baker embarked on a fine run into the box, only to see his effort saved by McKeown.

Zak Mills was perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch when he brought down a rampaging Bennett right on the edge of the box.

But referee Andy Haines decided that a yellow card was appropriate punishment and Bennett curled the resulting free-kick wide.

Cook made a double substitution on 76 minutes, with Conor Chaplin and Naismith brought on for Gary Roberts and Bennett.

There was a nervy moment for McKeown soon after when he dropped Rose’s cross, but Gowling came to his keeper’s rescue by scrambling the ball clear.

But Grimsby were looking more adventurous than before the break and Clarke had deal with the danger following a spot of pinball in the visitors’ box.

Just as a goalless draw was looking the likely outcome, however, Pompey snatched a late winner.

Baker was brought down by Kayden Jackson 25 yards out and NAISMITH stepped up to curl an exquisite free-kick past McKeown’s grasp and into the net.

But there was an immediate scare at the other end when Forde failed to hold Scott Vernon’s ferocious shot, only to react quickly and smother the loose ball.

The Blues stayed strong at the back, however, and saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to secure a valuable victory.

Grimsby (4-2-3-1): McKeown; Mills, Gowling, Collins, Andrew; Comley (Vernon 72), Summerfield; Chambers (Bolarinwa 58), Berrett, Jackson; Bogle
Booked: Gowling, Mills, Berrett
Subs not used: Henderson, Pearson, Boyce, Disley, Venney

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 76), Bennett (Chaplin 76); Smith (Hunt 89)
Goals: Naismith 86
Booked: Stevens, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 6,560 (1,110 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 262016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Stevenage

 

Blues suffer home defeat

Pompey were brought back down to earth with a bump after losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage.

The visitors seemed content to leave Fratton Park with a point as they soaked up pressure from the Blues.

But Steven Schumacher and Matt Godden both struck in quick succession after the break to leave the home fans stunned.

Michael Smith’s third goal in as many games restored some hope, but Pompey were unable to find a leveller.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that won at Luton earlier in the week.

That meant Conor Chaplin had to be content with a place on the bench after returning from suspension, with Smith keeping his place up front.

Pompey made a bright start and a fine cross from Kyle Bennett was just out of reach for Smith running in at the far post.

Bennett went even closer on eight minutes with an effort from the edge of the box that cannoned back off the post.

It was not a half full of clear-cut chances, however, with a solid Boro back-line making it difficult for the Blues to find a way through.

The hosts also had to deal with some rather physical defending and Smith in particular found his shirt being tugged whenever he tried to get on the end of a pass.

But the striker did find some space down the left on 24 minutes, cutting inside and seeing a shot blocked, with Gareth Evans’ follow-up then deflected over.

There was not too much for David Forde to deal with at the other end and when Godden volleyed narrowly wide of the post, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside.

It was still Pompey looking the more likely to break the deadlock, but when Gary Roberts met Carl Baker’s cross he could not get enough power behind his header to test Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Stevenage 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was a surprise at the start of the second half, with Jack Whatmough and Amine Linganzi replacing Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle in a double switch.

It was the Blues who were first to threaten after a ragged opening when Bennett cut in from the left and stung Jones’ fingertips with a fierce shot.

But there was none of the passing fluency that was evident before the break, with the hosts guilty of some sloppy play.

Stevenage were still lacking in ambition, but a foul from Matt Clarke led to Schumacher curling a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

Cook made his last throw of the dice on 68 minutes, trying to inject a fresh attacking impetus by replacing Bennett with Chaplin.

The striker soon had a chance to break the deadlock, but fired over from close range following good work from Smith and Roberts.

But instead it was the visitors who scored against the run of play on 71 minutes, when Pompey failed to clear their lines and Schumacher slotted home.

That proved to be the midfielder’s final kick of the game as he was replaced by Charlie Lee before the game resumed.

It soon got even worse for the Blues, however, as Stevenage regained possession from a miscued Forde clearance and Godden slid the ball through the keeper’s legs.

But some hope was restored 10 minutes from the end when a cross from Evans missed Chaplin, but was lashed home by SMITH at the far post.

Pompey poured forward in search of an equaliser and Roberts hit a low effort narrowly wide on 89 minutes.

But Boro got plenty of men behind the ball to frustrate the Blues and when Whatmough headed against the post in stoppage-time it proved to be the last chance to salvage a point.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess (Whatmough 46), Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c) (Linganzi 46); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Chaplin 68); Smith
Goals: Smith 80
Booked: Clarke, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, Naismith, Lalkovic, Hunt

Stevenage (4-4-2): Jones; Henry (c), Wilkinson (Wells 46), Franks, Ntlhe; Cowans, Schumacher (Lee 72), King, Gorman (McKirdy 60); Godden, Kennedy
Goals: Schumacher 71, Godden 75
Booked: Gorman, Wilkinson, King
Subs not used: Day, McAnuff, Tonge, Pett

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 15,987 (277 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 222016
 
League 2
Luton Town 1 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Portsmouth fight back aginst Hatters

Pompey stretched their unbeaten away run to five matches by coming from behind to beat Luton at Kenilworth Road.

It looked like being a tough night for the Blues when Danny Hylton gave the visitors an early lead and then had another effort disallowed.

But Michael Smith soon evened things up with his second goal in as many games and Gareth Evans turned the match on its head just before the break.

The Hatters did not put apply too much pressure in the second half, but there was still a sense of relief when Kal Naismith came off the bench to wrap things up.

Paul Cook made one enforched change from the side that drew with Cheltenham at the weekend.

Conor Chaplin was suspended after collecting his fifth booking at Whaddon Road, so was replaced by Smith up front.

Pompey almost found themselves ahead after just four minutes, with Christian Walton superbly saving Matt Clarke’s header before Alan Sheehan hacked the ball clear.

But instead it was the hosts who took an early lead when Evans was lying on the turf with an injury.

Sheehan took advantage of the space that created on the Luton left, whipping in a cross that Hylton expertly guided into the top corner.

Hylton had the ball in the net again just seconds later, but this time his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

And it was the opposition fans feeling jubilant on 11 minutes after seeing their side grab an equaliser.

SMITH fed the ball to Carl Baker and when he was tackled, the striker guided the ball in off the post from the edge of the box.

It was a breathless, end-to-end encounter, with both sides showcasing fine attacking flair and also some sloppy play.

A couple of Luton free-kicks caused a few nerves among the travelling supporters, but one was saved by David Forde and the other headed clear by Christian Burgess.

Gary Roberts then missed an excellent opportunity at the other end by heading Baker’s cross straight at Walton.

Olly Lee went close for the Hatters on 32 minutes, volleying narrowly past the post after being picked out on the edge of the box by Sheehan’s corner.

Both sides seemed keen to get forward whenever possible and a crisp effort from Michael Doyle flew into the side netting.

Roberts came close to firing the Blues ahead before the break, drawing a fine stop from Walton after his initial effort had been blocked.

And when the midfielder won a free-kick it finally did lead to Pompey taking the lead in stoppage-time.

His short pass to Baker led to a 20-yard drive that deflected off the Luton wall and flew behind for a corner.

Roberts stepped up to take the corner and when the visitors failed to deal with his dangerous cross, the ball landed at the feet of EVANS to hook home.

Half Time: Luton 1 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey started the second half as they had ended the first – on the attack.

Bennett found space to shoot on the edge of the box, but scuffed his effort wide, while Roberts could not quite bring down a clever chipped pass from Doyle.

The Blues were enjoying plenty of possession and the home support started to grow frustrated as the chances dried up.

They won a free-kick when Danny Rose was booked for illegally stopping a counter-attack, only for Pompey to immediately break up the field and threaten themselves.

And the visitors were agonisingly close to extending their advantage with a third goal just past the hour mark.

It was good work down the right from Smith to chip the ball into the centre, where Burgess rose highest to head against the crossbar.

There was then more frustration a few moments later when Baker swung in a free-kick that Evans glanced inches past the post.

Pompey were soaking up any Hatters pressure at the other and when Sheehan got a shot away on 70 minutes, Forde was there to make a comfortable save.

Cook made his first switch soon after, with Roberts departing to a rousing reception from the travelling fans as he made way for Naismith.

And Luton almost snatched a leveller on 82 minutes when Forde punched clear a corner and Sheehan’s follow-up had to be cleared from the line by Clarke.

But there was a big sigh of relief moments later when the Blues scored again to secure all three points.

It was a fine solo effort from NAISMITH, with the substitute bundling his way into space before steering a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

And Pompey saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to send the travelling army of almost 1,000 fans back home with smiles on their faces.

Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Walton; Justin (Mackail-Smith 85), Rea, Mullins, Sheehan (c); Lee; Gilliead (Cook 58), Mpanzu; McGeehan; Hylton, Vassell (Marriott 79)
Goals: Hylton 7
Booked: Sheehan, Lee
Subs not used: King, O’Donnell, Cuthbert, Smith

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 74), Bennett (Whatmough 88); Smith (Hunt 90+1)
Goals: Smith 11, Evans 45+2, Naismith 84
Booked: Evans, Rose, Stevens, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 8,805 (975 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 192016
 

League Two


 

Cheltenham Town    1

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Smith grabs late leveller

Michael Smith came off the bench to hit his first league goal of the season and earn Pompey a point at Cheltenham.

It looked like the Blues would be made to pay for missed opportunities when Daniel O’Shaughnessy fired the hosts ahead midway through the second half.

But Smith capitalised on a goalkeeping error late on to salvage a deserved point and give the large travelling support something to smile about on the journey home.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Mansfield at home the previous week.

And they had a chance to open the scoring in the early seconds after Carl Baker swapped passes with Gary Roberts and advanced forward, only to see his shot blocked.

But the hosts immediately broke up the other end and thought they should have won a penalty when Danny Wright hit the turf.

The striker was surrounded by three blue-shirted players, but referee John Brooks decided there had been no infringement.

It was end-to-end stuff in the early stages of the game, with both sides showing plenty of attacking intent.

The chances did dry up to an extent after such a lively opening, although there were still opportunities for the deadlock to be broken.

Kyle Bennett was released into the box on 14 minutes, but it was always going to be tough for him to beat Robins keeper Russell Griffiths from a tight angle.

Meanwhile, a promising move for the hosts ended with Dan Holman blazing over, while the same player later bent a free-kick into the arms of David Forde.

Rose soon hit a cleanly-struck effort on target at the other end, but his shot flew straight at a grateful Griffiths.

Harry Pell wasted a good opportunity for Cheltenham on 32 minutes, dragging wide from the edge of the box after Christian Burgess’ clearance landed at his feet.

But it was the Blues who ended the first half on the ascendency and Griffiths superbly kept out Baker’s diving header after the midfielder had met Gareth Evans’ pin-point delivery.

Roberts then saw a shot bending off target and an onrushing Evans could not quite get there in time to turn the ball back on the right path.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


Pompey had two great chances to forge ahead straight after the restart, but Griffiths denied them on both occasions.

First the keeper stayed on his feet to save Roberts’ shot after the midfielder had stayed onside to collect Baker’s threaded pass.

Then he prevented Conor Chaplin from heading home Evans’ cross from just a couple of yards out at the far post.

And when Griffiths was unable to frustrate the Blues, the woodwork came to his rescue, with Bennett’s strike coming back off the post.

But the keeper was soon called back into action, quickly smothering the ball before Bennett could reach Roberts’ pass.

Cheltenham had a decent opening of their own just before the hour mark when the visitors failed to deal with a ball sent into their box, but Wright volleyed over from close range.

And it was the Robins who took the lead on 65 minutes after Burgess had been booked for a late challenge on Holman near the halfway line.

James Rowe’s free-kick ricocheted around the Pompey box before eventually landing at the feet of O’Shaughnessy to fire home.

They should have doubled their advantage soon after, but an unmarked Rob Dickie fired wide when the ball found him unmarked in the box.

Cook made an attacking switch to try to inspire a change of fortunes on 75 minutes, with Bennett making way for Smith.

A double substitution then followed moments later, as Noel Hunt and Kal Naismith replaced Chaplin and Roberts.

And Pompey almost immediately found themselves level when the otherwise impressive Griffiths failed to hold Baker’s cross and SMITH reacted quickly to tuck away the loose ball.

Both sides tried their best to find a winner, but with all their previous meetings ending in a draw, it perhaps came as no surprise to see the game end all square.

Cheltenham (3-4-1-2): Griffiths; Dickie, Downes (c), Parslow; Barthram (Suliman 90+1), Pell, Rowe, O’Shaughnessy (Cranston 90+1); Waters; Holman, Wright
Goals: O’Shaughnessy 65
Booked: Pell, Downes
Subs not used: Kitscha, Munns, Whitehead, Morgan-Smith, Arthur

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 81), Bennett (Smith 75); Chaplin (Hunt 81)
Goals: Smith 82
Booked: Chaplin, Burgess, Baker
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Lalkovic

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 4,702 (1,537 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 122016
 

League Two


 

Portsmouth    4

 


 

Mansfield Town    0

 


Stags tamed in Fratton rout

Pompey roared back to winning ways at Fratton Park in the league with a comfortable victory over nine-man Mansfield.

Gary Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but despite dominating, they struggled to extend their advantage.

Mansfield put up a strong fight, even after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti had both been dismissed in the second half.

But Noel Hunt came off the bench to make sure of the three points before Carl Baker added a gloss to the scoreline with a late brace.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly made a host of changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.

Kyle Bennett was the only survivor, with Michael Doyle, Roberts and Conor Chaplin among those recalled to the line-up.

Before kick-off, Pompey paid tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, with D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode to Remembrance and the Last Post being played.

It was the hosts who made the brighter start in the wet conditions, with their high pressing forcing Mansfield to make errors.

Chaplin had an early chance after he met Roberts’ cross, but was unable to divert his header on target.

But there was an even better opportunity when a corner was only cleared as far as Bennett, whose first touch into the box fooled Matt Green.

His clumsy challenge saw the Blues winger dumped onto the turf and referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.

ROBERTS stepped up to take the penalty and slammed a powerful effort right down the middle to give Pompey the lead.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, and a misunderstanding between David Forde and Christian Burgess led to Green firing into the side netting.

James Baxendale then did well to get on the end of an Ashley Hemmings cross and send a header crashing against the post.

Pompey thought they should have had a second spot-kick on 33 minutes when Roberts stole possession and saw his cross hit Jamie McGuire’s hand, but East was not interested.

And the hosts soon came close to doubling their advantage, with Baker beating his man and firing in a rocket that cannoned back off the woodwork.

But they received a let-off just before the break when Bennett was harshly penalised for a challenge outside the box.

Chris Clements stepped up to take the free-kick and the Fratton faithful breathed a sigh of relief as he curled the ball over.


Half Time

(1 – 0)


Pompey continued their search for more goals once the second half got underway, with Scott Shearer just about managing to tip over Bennett’s dipping shot from distance.

The same player then exchanged neat passes with Roberts, whose low ball into the box was agonisingly out of reach for Gareth Evans.

And Mansfield were reduced to illegal methods of halting the hosts’ surge, with Howkins booked for cynically hauling down Chaplin on the edge of the box.

It was Chaplin who should have doubled the advantage after being slipped through by Doyle’s clever pass, only to then drag his shot wide.

The Stags’ challenge was soon made harder when Howkins – who had only received his yellow card four minutes earlier – needlessly slid in on Bennett and was promptly dismissed.

Pompey immediately set about trying to make their numerical advantage count and when Shearer failed to hold Baker’s effort, he had to dive on the loose ball before the lively Danny Rose could pounce.

Roberts then did well to dig the ball out from his feet inside the area, only to prod wide from just a few yards out.

And there was more woe for the beleaguered visitors on 74 minutes when substitute Iacovitti dived into a challenge on Doyle and was immediately shown his marching orders.

Cook looked to turn the screw by bringing on some fresh attacking players, with Hunt and Kal Naismith replacing Roberts and Bennett.

The two combined to secure the three points on 84 minutes when a period of patient passing play was ended by Naismith squaring for HUNT to convert from close range.

And BAKER ensured it was an even more enjoyable afternoon when he tricked his way into the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

But there was still time for BAKER to add another deep into stoppage-time, with a fine left-footed finish from long-range that flew into the net.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86)
Goals: Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5
Booked: Baker, Chaplin
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic

Mansfield (4-1-2-1-2): Shearer; Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D.Rose 69); McGuire; Clements (c), Gobern; Baxendale (Iacovitti 59); Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
Sent off: Howkins (two yellow cards), Iacovitti
Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, Hoban

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 16,393 (326 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 082016
 

EFL Trophy


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Bristol Rovers    0

 


Naismith scores late cup winner

Pompey’s hopes of progressing in the Checkatrade Trophy remain alive thanks to a late winner against Bristol Rovers.

Kal Naismith’s long-range strike settled the group stage encounter after Michael Smith had seen his early penalty saved.

The Blues must now hope that Reading under-21s beat Yeovil on Wednesday night to bring the fight for second place down to either goal difference or goals scored.

But the game attracted a crowd of just 1,200 – the lowest attendance at Fratton Park for a competitive post-war fixture.

Paul Cook rung the changes from the side that exited the FA Cup against Wycombe at the weekend.

Adam Buxton, Milan Lalkovic and Ben Close were the only players to keep their place, with the latter handed the captain’s armband.

Those coming into the line-up included a fit-again Drew Talbot and Amine Linganzi, whose suspension does not include games in this competition.

Rovers technically stuck to the rules by only making six changes, although they did replace keeper Kelle Roos with Will Puddy after just 142 seconds.

And the first meaningful piece of action for the new man between the sticks was to give away a penalty.

Smith took advantage of a heavy touch to steal possession and Puddy brought him down, with referee James Adcock pointing straight to the spot.

It was Smith who stepped up to take the penalty and it was certainly not the worst attempt, but the keeper guessed the right way and saved low to his right.

The visitors soon had a chance to make Pompey pay for their profligacy, but Luke James’ shot was deflected wide.

Rory Gaffney then missed an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock after being picked out by Daniel Leadbitter.

He was in space and just a couple of yards out, but headed the ball into the turf and watched as it bounced narrowly over the crossbar.

And James went close for Rovers with an opportunistic long-range strike that bounced back off the woodwork.

But the match settled down after all that early action, with neither keeper given too much to do for the rest of the half.

Liam O’Brien made a regulation stop to deny Jermaine Easter, while Naismith curled a free-kick wide in stoppage-time.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


The second half began at the same pedestrian pace, but the Blues should have forged ahead on 55 minutes.

Naismith’s free-kick found Linganzi in the box, but the midfielder – like Gaffney before the break – directed his header into the ground and it bounced over.

And Naismith sent in another decent delivery moments later following a foul on Buxton, only for the ball to fly just out of reach for Jack Whatmough.

There was a chance at the other end when Adcock waved play on following a foul on James by Tom Davies.

Leadbitter went charging through on goal, but before he could get a shot away, Whatmough made a superb tackle inside the box to clear the danger.

The game soon turned back into a somewhat turgid encounter, however, and Cook made a double switch on 73 minutes to try to liven things up.

Buxton and Close were the two to make way, with Danny Rose and Gareth Evans coming on to replace them.

The third and final substitution arrived soon after, with Kyle Bennett swapped for Noel Hunt, as Smith was given a partner up front.

And he might have grabbed an immediate goal, only to get tangled up with Rose as the duo both tried to get on the end of Smith’s low cross.

Once again it was a Naismith free-kick that saw Pompey go close on 87 minutes, as Puddy went too far to the right and almost got caught out.

But NAISMITH did grab the winner just seconds later, courtesy of an ambitious 35-yard drive with enough swerve to deceive the keeper.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): O’Brien; Talbot, Whatmough, T.Davies, Buxton (Rose 73); Linganzi, Close (c) (Evans 73); Naismith, Lalkovic, Bennett (Hunt 77); Smith
Goals: Naismith 88
Booked: Bennett, T.Davies
Subs not used: Hall, Hyam, Clarke, Chaplin

Bristol Rovers (4-1-2-1-2): Roos (Puddy 3); Leadbitter, McChrystal (c), Hartley, Roberts; Boateng; Mansell, Colkett; Easter (Clarke 78); James, Gaffney (Harrison 80)
Booked: Mansell, McChrystal
Subs not used: Lockyer, Montano, Lines, Moore

Referee: James Adcock

Attendance: 1,200 (65 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 052016
 

FA Cup 1


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Wycombe Wanderers    2

 


Early cup exit for Blues

Pompey crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle with a home defeat to fellow League Two outfit Wycombe.

They were poor before the break and deservedly trailed to Paris Cowan-Hall’s close-range finish.

There was a marked improvement after it, though, and Gareth Evans drew the hosts level following the restart.

The tie appeared to be heading for a replay, only for Adebayo Akinfenwa to strike late on and book Wanderers a place in Monday’s second round draw.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side that won at Cambridge in the league the previous week.

Noel Hunt was handed a first start in attack, while Adam Buxton, Ben Close, Danny Rose and Milan Lalkovic all returned.

Conor Chaplin, Carl Baker and Kyle Bennett dropped to the bench and Pompey were missing the suspended duo of Michael Doyle and Amine Linganzi.

The hosts started brightly on a crisp afternoon on the south coast and won a number of corners that caused the Chairboys problems.

But Wycombe soon started to take control and almost forged ahead when Matt Bloomfield drilled in a low shot that cannoned back off the post.

They went close again moments later, with David Forde just about getting a leg to Cowan-Hall’s effort and diverting the ball wide.

And Wanderers were unable to make it third time lucky when Dominic Gape struck a long-range shot past the post.

But it seemed like only a matter of time before the visitors breached the Blues’ goal and the opener did arrive on 27 minutes.

There was a slight touch of fortune about it, however, with Forde punching clear Michael Harriman’s free-kick, only for the ball to ricochet off the back of Christian Burgess.

Former Pompey youth player Cowan-Hall was in the right place to follow up and head home from just a few yards out.

That failed to spark an upturn in the attacking fortunes of the Blues, though, with Wycombe still looking the more threatening.

There were half-chances for Cowan-Hall and Luke O’Nien, but their best chance of doubling the lead came in stoppage-time.

A corner found Akinfenwa at the far post, only for the imposing striker to head wide from close range.


Half Time

(0 – 1)


Pompey had failed to trouble Jamal Blackman before the break, but the keeper was picking the ball out of his net just a couple of minutes after the restart.

Enda Stevens whipped in a teasing cross from the left and EVANS found space in the box to deftly tuck home.

They might have scored another moments later, but Blackman tore from his line to beat Gary Roberts to Close’s threaded pass.

Cook made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Lalkovic and Buxton withdrawn for Bennett and Baker.

But it was Wycombe who almost retook the lead 65 minutes, with Akinfenwa seeing one shot blocked and then the second saved by Forde.

Baker went close himself moments later, however, with a fierce 30-yard strike that was brilliantly palmed over by Blackman.

Cook then made a final throw of the dice on 75 minutes, with the in-form Chaplin replacing Hunt up front.

But the Blues were indebted to Forde for keeping them on a level pegging with two key saves soon after.

The first saw him just about get something to a shot from Myles Weston that took a wicked deflection to divert it off course.

Then, for the second, he dived backwards to palm over Akinfenwa’s cleanly-struck dipper from outside the box.

Both sides appeared keen to avoid a replay, showing plenty of attacking intent as the seconds ticked down.

But it was the hardy band of travelling supporters celebrating late on when Akinfenwa converted Garry Thompson’s cross.

There was hope of another leveller when the fourth official displayed an additional six minutes to be played.

The Chairboys held on to their slender lead, however, to ensure that cup magic was in short supply for Pompey.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Buxton (Baker 64), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Close, Rose; Evans, Roberts (c), Lalkovic (Bennett 64); Hunt (Chaplin 75)
Goals: Evans 47
Booked: Close
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Naismith, Smith

Wycombe (4-3-3): Blackman; Harriman, Stewart, Pierre, Jacobson; O’Nien, Gape, Bloomfield; Hayes (c) (Thompson 77), Akinfenwa (Bean 89), Cowan-Hall (Weston 72)
Goals: Cowan-Hall 27, Akinfenwa 84
Booked: O’Nien
Subs not used: Brown, Jombati, De Havilland, Kashket

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 8,130 (510 away fans)


Portsmouth FC