Match Report

Aug 132016
League 2,,,,
,Crewe Alexandra,0 – 0,Portsmouth,


Stalemate at Crewe

Pompey collected their second successive league draw with a goalless stalemate at Crewe.

Both sides had chances to turn one point into three on a nippy August afternoon at Alexandra Stadium.

Chris Dagnall missed the best of the chances for the hosts, while Curtis Main had several openings after coming off the bench.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that drew with Carlisle in the last league outing.

That came at left-back where Kal Naismith deputised for Enda Stevens, who missed out with a groin problem.

The game was only a few seconds old when Carl Baker attempted a long-range effort that flew narrowly over.

Naismith then whipped in a dangerous cross that was just out of reach for Michael Smith running in at the far post.

The stand-in defender was looking an attacking threat and when his run was illegally halted, Baker curled in a free-kick that was comfortably dealt with by Alex keeper Ben Garratt.

Pompey had started brightly and a Naismith delivery had to be turned over his own bar by Jon Guthrie, while Milan Lalkovic saw a shot blocked after exchanging intelligent passes with Baker.

It was the visitors dominating possession, but some unsure moments at the back allowed Crewe chances to score before the break.

Dagnall was first to go close, only to see his header deflected wide after being picked out from a corner.

Then, after Lalkovic wasted a decent opportunity by firing a free-kick straight into the wall, Drew Talbot was caught out of position, but recovered well to deny Charlie Kirk.

Dagnall proved wasteful again on 26 minutes, opting to head the ball back to no-one rather than test David Forde when he was found unmarked in the box.

There were still openings at the other end and a cross-shot from Lalkovic looped over Garratt and narrowly cleared the crossbar.

But Crewe were gifted another chance late in the half when Christian Burgess collected a throw and hit the ball straight at Ryan Lowe.

The striker spotted Forde off his line and had an audacious effort from long-range, but the ball flashed wide.

Half Time: Crewe 0 Pompey 0


Second Half

The second half began in a very open fashion, with both sides keen to get forward whenever they could.

Neither goalkeeper was being overworked, although Burgess did well to mop up the danger after Dagnall had been picked out by a fine Billy Bingham pass.

And Cook clearly wanted to see more from his attacking players as he made a double switch on 54 minutes, with Smith and Lalkovic making way for Main and Kyle Bennett.

The duo immediately looked lively, with the former doing good work to win a corner and the latter looking to test Crewe right-back Oliver Turton.

But it was Michael Doyle who came close to breaking the deadlock just past the hour mark. The skipper’s shot was deflected wide after Bingham had lost the ball to Gary Roberts.

Bennett then did well to cut inside from the left and put the ball into the box, but it would not sit up kindly for Roberts and the hosts were able to clear.

Alex substitute Alex Kiwomya was looking a real threat and, after breaking clear down the right, his cut-back somehow evaded everyone on its journey across the box.

Cook was then forced to make his third and final change when Jack Whatmough went down injured on 74 minutes.

It looked worrying when he lay on the ground clutching his leg, but the defender was able to hobble off and be replaced by Adam Barton.

The Blues soon had a chance to take the lead, but Main could not guide his header on target after a header had been flicked into his path.

It was Main who was involved again moments later when he could not quite make a clean connection with Talbot’s low cross.

And the striker should have done better on 81 minutes, but he failed to turn home Naismith’s low delivery at the near post.

Main did have the ball in the back of net soon after, but referee Dean Whitestone had already blown for a foul before his crisp finish.

Crewe were after a late winner themselves, though, and Talbot threw himself into the path of a Bingham drive.

The same player then drew a smart stop from Forde in the closing stages, while Main’s header failed to beat Garratt at the other end.

It was a frantic end to proceedings, but neither side was able to find a winner and the spoils were shared.

Crewe (4-4-2): Garratt; Turton, Davies, Guthrie, Bakayogo; Cooper (Kiwomya 59), Jones, Bingham, Kirk (Ainley 66); Lowe (c), Dagnall
Booked: Dagnall
Subs not used: Richards, Ray, Nugent, Saunders, Udoh

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, Whatmough (Barton 74), Burgess, Naismith; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Lalkovic (Bennett 54); Smith (Main 54)
Booked: Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Buxton, Chaplin, Hunt

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 4,742 (1,257 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 092016
EFL Cup 1,,,,
,Coventry City,3 – 2,Portsmouth,


Extra time defeat for Blues

Pompey produced a brave performance, but were beaten after extra-time to exit the EFL Cup at Coventry.

They were certainly not over-awed against their League One opponents and took the lead courtesy of a Curtis Main penalty.

But the hosts were much better after the break and goals from Ryan Haynes and Vladimir Gadzhev looked to have secured safe passage into the second round.

Kal Naismith levelled late on with a free-kick to ensure another 30 minutes, however, before Andy Rose finally won it for Coventry.

Paul Cook changed the entire side that started Saturday’s draw with Carlisle in the league.

He handed debuts to summer signings Adam Buxton, Tom Davies, Amine Linganzi and Main, while there was also a first appearance for teenage keeper Alex Bass.

Adam Barton was handed the captain’s armband against his former club, while Naismith featured in an unfamiliar left-back role.

But there was no sign of nerves from the visitors against their higher-ranked hosts in a half that was low on clear-cut chances.

Bass was able to steady any nerves by holding onto a couple of ambitious Coventry efforts from long-range.

Ben Tollitt scuffed a shot wide at the other end, while a Kyle Bennett cross was headed clear after the midfielder had done well to beat his man down the right.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 19 minutes – and it was down to more good work from Bennett.

He tricked his way into the box and after being brought down by Marcus Tudgay, referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot.

It was MAIN who stepped up to take the penalty and he confidently hammered it home, giving Reice Charles-Cook no chance.

But the keeper prevented the same player from having a chance to double the lead moments later, racing from his line to get to the ball first.

And it was Main who came close again on 22 minutes, forcing a decent stop from Charles-Cook after being teed-up by Bennett.

The hosts’ best chance of the first half arrived soon after, with Bass adjusting well to keep out Tudgay’s close-range header.

But Pompey were still proving to be an attacking threat themselves and Gareth Evans fizzed a shot narrowly over following good work from Tollitt and Adam May.

Half Time: Coventry 0 Pompey 1


Second Half

Coventry looked sharper after the restart, but were still finding it difficult to breach the Blues back-line and test Bass.

Ben Stevenson decided it would be better to try his luck from long-range on 54 minutes and saw the ball fly wide.

Ruben Lameiras had a better chance moments later, firing over the bar following an almighty scramble in the box.

And the hosts finally made the pressure count by levelling the tie on the hour mark.

Davies could only head Lameiras’ cross as far as Haynes, who drilled a precise low shot past the grasp of Bass and into the bottom corner.

Pompey had looked ragged since the break, so Cook freshened things up by replacing Evans with Conor Chaplin on 64 minutes.

He immediately made an impact by getting free down the right, but his cut-back fell in between Bennett and Tollitt and the chance disappeared.

It was still Coventry looking more dangerous, however, and Lameiras skipped past Naismith, but could not beat Bass from an acute angle.

Kyel Reid then sent in a dangerous cross from the right that was inches too high for Jodi Jones, who was only able to head over.

And the hosts did go ahead on 82 minutes when Gadzhev collected Lameiras’ threaded pass and confidently tucked the ball home.

The lead did not last long, though, as NAISMITH was fouled by Stevenson just outside the box and picked himself up to curl a stunning free-kick into the top corner.

There might have even been a late winner before the full-time whistle when Chaplin and Noel Hunt exchanged passes, but the latter dragged his shot wide.

The duo combined again in stoppage-time and this time it was Chaplin who was off target with a looping header.

After 90 Minutes: Coventry 2 Pompey 2

Extra-time took a while to get going, but both sides had opportunities to score in the first period.

Bass made a couple of key saves, stopping Jones from sliding one in at the near post and also keeping out a drive from Lameiras.

Pompey’s best chance came when Tollitt released Hunt down the right and the striker squared for Bennett, who could not take it round Charles-Cook with just the keeper to beat.

But Coventry scored just moments into the second period, with Rose pouncing to tuck home the loose ball after Bass had pushed clear Haynes’ attempt.

They almost added another, only for Bass to produce a stunning stop to deny Lameiras from point-blank range.

And Pompey were unable to find a late moment of inspiration to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out.

Coventry (3-4-3): Charles-Cook; Willis (Finch 76), Ricketts (c), Harries; Rose, Gadzhev, Stevenson, Haynes; Thomas (Jones 46), Tudgay (Reid 68), Lameiras
Goals: Haynes 60, Gadzhev 82, Rose 106
Booked: Gadzhev, Stevenson, Lameiras
Subs not used: Burge, Page, Kelly-Evans, Thomas

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Buxton (Talbot 77), T.Davies, Barton (c), Naismith; May, Linganzi; Tollitt, Bennett, Evans (Chaplin 64); Main (Hunt 84)
Goals: Main 19 (pen), Naismith 85
Booked: Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Doyle, Baker

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 4,976 (722 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 062016
League 2,,,,
,Portsmouth,1 – 1,Carlisle United,


Baker hits debut equaliser

Pompey had to settle for a point on the opening day of the season after coming from behind to draw with 10-man Carlisle.

They created plenty and had their visitors pinned back for most of the match, but could not quite manage to find a winner.

United had taken an early lead through Reggie Lambe, only to be reduced to 10 men when Jamie Devitt collected a couple of bookings.

Carl Baker fired in an equaliser on his Blues bow, but a string of fine saves from Mark Gillespie frustrated the hosts.

Paul Cook handed full debuts to five players, with David Forde, Drew Talbot, Danny Rose, Milan Lalkovic and Baker all starting.

There was a raucous atmosphere to accompany the opening stages, as Pompey set about trying to attack their opponents.

And it was the hosts who were first to threaten when Baker broke quickly up field and teed-up Lalkovic, whose shot had to be beaten away by Gillespie.

It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Enda Stevens was forced to head clear a dangerous Danny Grainger cross.

But Pompey were looking the more likely to forge ahead and Gary Roberts curled narrowly wide after cutting inside.

Baker then had an effort blocked from the edge of the box, before Lalkovic’s free-kick somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

So Fratton was left stunned when Carlisle broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, as Lambe raced onto Shaun Miller’s pass and slotted past Forde.

That was the cue for the visitors to sit back and try to waste as much time as legally possible.

Referee Graham Salisbury was soon forced to issue the first booking of the afternoon after Devitt crudely brought down Talbot.

And it was Devitt who also received the second following a tug on Roberts on 28 minutes, reducing United to 10 men.

Pompey immediately sought to make their numerical advantage count and Macaulay Gillesphey did well to get in the way of Talbot’s well-struck volley.

Baker then forced a smart save from Gillespie following some encouraging build-up play from Roberts.

But the Blues did find themselves level just before the break, with BAKER firing a fierce drive under the keeper’s body after once again receiving a pass from Roberts.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Carlisle 1


Second Half

Roberts and Baker had combined effectively before the break and it was the same when the second half got underway.

The former did well to set-up his fellow midfielder in the area, but Baker took too long and his effort was blocked.

Michael Smith then turned a Lalkovic cross wide from close range, only to see his blushes spared by the linesman’s flag.

Roberts was soon back on the ball, though, and his cut-back was agonisingly out of reach for Baker in the box.

Pompey came close again just past the hour mark when Roberts was able to nick the ball away from the onrushing Gillespie and find Smith, who did not have time to get a shot away before a Carlisle defender came to the rescue.

Then, from the resulting corner, Jack Whatmough was left alone to glance a header narrowly past the post.

It was Baker’s turn to try his luck again on 64 minutes and after turning a defender inside-out, his shot was saved by the outstretched foot of Gillespie.

The midfielder was certainly not afraid to have a crack and one long-range effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar.

Cook made a double substitution on 68 minutes to add some attacking impetus, with Smith and Lalkovic making way for Conor Chaplin and Kyle Bennett.

The latter immediately combined well with Stevens down the left, leading to a chance for Rose that went wide.

But the midfielder went a lot closer moments later, sending a shot cannoning off the inside of the post after being given time to drive forward.

Gillespie then had to get quickly down low to his left to stop an effort from Bennett creeping inside the post.

Cook threw on an extra striker for the closing stages, with Rose making way to give Noel Hunt is first taste of competitive action in a Blues shirt.

But it was still Baker looking most likely to score and his shot was again kept out by the legs of Gillespie.

And skipper Michael Doyle then had two long-range attempts in the space of a few seconds that were both superbly palmed behind by the over-worked keeper.

Pompey continued to pour forward in search of a late winner, but Carlisle held on for a share of the spoils.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, Whatmough, Burgess, Stevens; Rose (Hunt 83), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Lalkovic (Bennett 68); Smith (Chaplin 68)
Goals: Baker 42
Subs not used: Bass, T.Davies, Barton, Main

Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; T.Miller, Raynes, Gillesphey, Grainger (c); Kennedy, Jones; Lambe (Joyce 58), Devitt, Adams; S.Miller (Ellis 70)
Goals: Lambe 14
Sent off: Devitt (two yellow cards)
Booked: Gillespie
Subs not used: Crocombe, Penn, Brough, Wyke

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 17,570 (481 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jul 302016
,Bristol City,0 – 0,Portsmouth,


Blues look bright in Ashton Gate stalemate

Pompey impressed in a goalless draw at Bristol City in their final dress rehearsal for the 2016/17 campaign.

They more than held their own against a City side who were skippered by Blues academy graduate Marlon Pack.

Paul Cook’s side created plenty of chances against higher-ranked opposition, but were not quite able to find a winner at the impressively-renovated Ashton Gate.

Pompey did not look over-awed against their Championship hosts and were passing the ball around confidently.

But despite enjoying plenty of possession in the opposition half, there were not too many clear-cut chances for either side before the break.

A stretching Aden Flint could not quite get enough on Joe Bryan’s free-kick to divert the ball on target.

Carl Baker had a couple of attempts at the other end of the pitch, only to clear the crossbar on each occasion.

Pompey’s best opening arrived on 14 minutes when Milan Lalkovic sent in a teasing cross that Christian Burgess could only glance wide of the post.

David Forde was not being overworked on his first appearance in a Blues shirt, but made a regulation save to deny Bryan from an acute angle.

He also looked confident when coming off his line to palm a Bobby Reid corner to safety amidst a sea of bodies.

It was generally positive stuff from Pompey, but that was a sour note on 34 minutes when Jack Whatmough went down injured.

The centre-back walked gingerly to the sidelines and had to be replaced in the Blues back-line by Tom Davies.

Half Time: Bristol City 0 Pompey 0


Second Half

Pompey continued to impress after the interval, with Michael Smith not quite able to chase down dithering Robins keeper Richard O’Donnell.

The lively Lalkovic then went close when his shot caught a deflection and fizzed narrowly past the post.

It was the visitors who looked the more threatening side, although they were not quite able to really test O’Donnell.

There was a scary moment at the other end just past the hour mark when Forde failed to hold a corner, but the visitors were able to scramble the ball behind.

And Bristol City suddenly came alive, creating three chances in the space of a breathless minute.

First Forde came tearing off his line to deny Jonathan Kodija after the forward had been sent through on goal.

Substitute Luke Freeman then saw a shot deflected inches wide before Forde made a super stop to keep out Hordur Magnusson’s close-range header.

It was soon Pompey’s turn to threaten and O’Donnell had to fly across his goal to tip Baker’s cleanly-struck effort over the bar.

Gary Roberts was next to try his luck, with his shot hitting Kodjia, looping up in the air and having to be cleared from the line by a well-placed Luke Ayling.

And Michael Doyle twice went close to grabbing a late winner, first seeing his low drive turned past the post by O’Donnell, who then just about kept out the skipper’s volley.

But the home keeper soon dropped the ball at the feet of Conor Chaplin, only to see his blushes spared by Magnusson, who made a key block to ensure a stalemate.

Bristol City (4-3-3): O’Donnell; Matthews (Ayling 60), Flint, Magnusson, Golbourne (Smith 83); Reid (Brownhill 60), Pack (c), Bryan; O’Dowda (Freeman 61), Kodjia (Agard 77), Tomlin (Wilbraham 77)
Subs not used: Lucic, Williams, De Girolamo

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde (Bass 85); Talbot (Oxlade-Chamberlain 87), Whatmough (T.Davies 34), Burgess, Stevens (Naismith 87); Rose (Close 83), Doyle (c); Baker (Tollitt 83), Roberts (Main 83), Lalkovic (Bennett 68); Smith (Chaplin 68)
Subs not used: May, Linganzi, Evans, Hunt

Referee: Kevin Friend

Attendance: 5,317 (721 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jul 272016
,Bognor Regis Town,1 – 4,Portsmouth,


Chaplin, Main, Smith and May on target

Pompey eased to victory in their penultimate pre-season test against Isthmian League outfit Bognor at Nyewood Lane.

They created plenty of openings before the break, with Conor Chaplin and Curtis Main both finding the target.

Harvey Whyte reduced the deficit early in the second half, but Michael Smith then scored from the spot before Adam May wrapped things up.

Chaplin started particularly brightly and after one early shot was saved, Ben Close wastefully fired over the bar.

He was then sent through on goal, but Billy Granger was quickly off his line to make a crucial save.

The Rocks keeper was almost single-handedly keeping the Blues at bay and made another key stop to deny Ben Tollitt from long-range on 15 minutes.

Main was next to try to break the deadlock, but could not find the target after Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain had laid the ball into his path.

It was Chaplin with another go on 19 minutes and his deflected shot was heading for the net until Granger showed superb reflexes to divert it over the bar.

Tollitt’s set-piece delivery was also causing trouble, with Amine Linganzi and Tom Davies not quite able to take advantage.

Pompey finally got the goal their attacking dominance deserved on 23 minutes after CHAPLIN was brought down just outside the box.

The teenage forward stepped up to take the free-kick and expertly curled it over the wall and beyond Granger’s grasp.

Bognor then enjoyed their best spell of the game and should really have bagged an equaliser.

Paul Jones did well to deny Dylan Barnett from point-blank range and when the ball popped up nicely for James Fraser, he could only fire against the woodwork.

Pompey then made the hosts pay for their profligacy just before the break, as MAIN got above his marker to convert Chaplin’s teasing cross.

Half Time: Bognor 0 Pompey 2


Second Half

Jones was called into action early in the second half, flinging himself to the right to keep out Barnett’s effort.

But he was unable to keep hold of the ball from the resulting corner, giving Whyte the chance to poke home.

The chances were not arriving as frequently as they had before the break, although one good move involving May and Main ended with Close firing over.

Paul Cook gave his two scorers a breather just past the hour mark, as Main and Chaplin made way for Smith and trialist Dean O’Halloran.

And it was SMITH who restored the Blues’ two-goal lead on 67 minutes, sending substitute stopper Joe Taylor the wrong way from the penalty spot after Darren Budd had brought down Tollitt.

The game was meandering towards its conclusion, but MAY livened things up again with a fourth goal, driving a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner.

A couple of academy starlets entered the fray late on and Tommy Scutt came close to adding his name to the scorers, meeting Theo Widdrington’s cross and volleying into the side netting.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain denied the Rocks a late consolation when he cleared Jimmy Wild’s drive from the line.

Bognor (4-3-3): Granger (Taylor 56); Crane, Field (Wollers 70), El-Abd (Sanders 56), Barnett; Whyte (Budd 56), Beck (c) (Robinson 81), Tuck (Consaro 70); Davies, Pearce (Penfold 81), Fraser (Wild 56)
Goals: Whyte 48

Pompey (4-diamond-2): Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Davies, Barton (c), Widdringron; May, Linganzi (Yates 69), Tollitt, Close (Scutt 75); Main (Smith 62), Chaplin (O’Halloran 62)
Goals: Chaplin 27, Main 43, Smith 67 (pen), May 74
Sub not used: Bass

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 1,200

Portsmouth FC
Jul 232016
,Portsmouth,3 – 3,AFC Bournemouth,


Plenty of goals for Macca benefit

Pompey twice led against Bournemouth in Alan McLoughlin’s benefit match, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw in the only Fratton friendly of the summer.

Gary Roberts fired the hosts into an early lead and although Lewis Grabban levelled, Michael Smith immediately restored the advantage.

But the usual flood of second half substitutions left the Blues a bit ragged, with Jordan Ibe and Dan Gosling appearing to secure victory for the Premier League visitors.

There was still time for Adam May to snatch a late leveller, however, and cap an entertaining afternoon on the sunny south coast.

The man of the moment greeted the crowd before kick-off and received warm applause from the Fratton faithful.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten once the game got underway, with Alex Bass getting down low to keep out Ryan Fraser’s drive.

But the Blues broke the deadlock after just five minutes, courtesy of a fine effort from ROBERTS.

The midfielder collected a pass and showed fancy footwork to beat Simon Francis before curling the ball into the bottom corner.

Pompey were passing the ball around nicely and Rhoys Wiggins did well to stop Smith getting a shot away after a corner had only been partially cleared.

But the Cherries soon started to settle and Grabban drilled inches past the post after being teed-up by Lewis Cook.

Roberts came close to scoring again at the other end, this time curling wide after playing a neat one-two with Carl Baker.

It was Bournemouth who got the next goal on 24 minutes, however, as Fraser burst into the box and cut the ball back for Grabban to slide past Bass.

But it took the hosts just a minute to restore their lead, with SMITH on hand to calmly stroke home after Enda Stevens’ effort was deflected into his path.

The Cherries tried to restore parity and an acrobatic effort from Marc Pugh was deflected behind before the same player headed over at the far post.

As well as enjoying an entertaining contest on the pitch, the crowd were keen on showing their support for a certain former player, with chants of ‘Alan McLoughlin’ and ‘sign him up’ ringing out.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Bournemouth 1


Second Half

Paul Cook introduced a couple of trialists for the second half, with Chris Konopka taking over between the sticks and Amine Linganzi coming on soon after the restart.

But it was a contracted player who threatened for Pompey, as Smith had a shot deflected behind before heading over from the resulting corner.

Cherries substitute Joshua King had the ball in the back of the net before then, but his celebrations were interrupted by the linesman’s flag.

The changes kept flowing and Noel Hunt was denied by a superb Adam Federici save from point-blank range after Roberts had sent a teasing cross into the box.

But the Cherries found themselves level on 70 minutes when Ibe dropped his shoulder and finished at the near post.

Pompey came close to restoring their advantage once more when Hunt charged down Federici’s clearance, only for the keeper to recover and deny his opponent from a tight angle.

The Cherries forged ahead for the first time on 79 minutes, though, as Wiggins squared for Gosling to poke in from close range.

With Cook changing the entire squad, the Blues had lost their shape somewhat, but there was still time for MAY to scramble home an untidy late equaliser.

Pompey had shown plenty of encouraging moments against their top-flight visitors and, more importantly, the fans were able to pay tribute to a Blues legend.

Thanks for the memories, Macca

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass (Konopka 46); Talbot (May 82), Whatmough (Davies 78), Burgess (Barton 78), Stevens (Haunstrup 78); Rose (Hunt 61), Doyle (c) (Close 69); Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 80), Roberts (Tollitt 80), Lalkovic (Linganzi 52); Smith (Main 61)
Goals: Roberts 5, Smith 25, May 88
Subs not used: Bennett, Chaplin

Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Federici; O’Kane, Francis (c), Daniels, Wiggins (Butcher 84); Cook (MacDonald 46), Arter; Fraser (Ibe 46), Grabban (Mousset 46), Pugh (Gosling 46); Wilson (King 46)
Goals: Grabban 24, Ibe 70, Gosling 79
Subs not used: Stanton, Cornick, Jordan, Harfield, Buckley, Lee, Travers

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 5,153 (531 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 192016
,Salisbury,2 – 2,Portsmouth,


Hunt and Roberts net for Blues

Pompey were twice pegged back by Salisbury and had to settle for a draw in their latest pre-season outing at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

They created a host of chances and finally forged ahead through Noel Hunt, only for Justin Bennett to immediately equalise.

Gary Roberts’ restored the lead after the interval, but the Whites – despite rarely posing a threat – levelled again when Eddie Perrett headed home.

On a sweltering evening in Wiltshere, it was the hosts who made the brighter start and Pompey had to deal with a couple of free-kicks.

But Paul Cook’s side soon started to take control and Milan Lalkovic saw a shot deflected wide following a quick counter-attack.

Jack Whatmough then missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock on eight minutes, heading Gary Roberts’ cross wide after being left unmarked in the box.

Carl Baker has already shown that he is unafraid to have a pop, but appeared to leave his shooting boots at home with a couple of efforts that failed to find the target.

And Lee Angel then made a superb diving block to deny the midfielder as the Blues continued to threaten.

Hunt was looking a danger up front for the visitors and lifted a shot narrowly wide following a fine through ball by Roberts.

One fine flowing move involved Hunt and Baker, but Enda Stevens was unable to beat Whites keeper Charlie Searle after being teed-up.

Searle then made a stunning save to keep out a close-range Roberts header that seemed destined for the net.

But Pompey’s pressure finally paid dividends on 42 minutes when HUNT collected Stevens’ low cross and steered a shot inside the near post.

The lead lasted for just a minute, however, as a corner from Lewis Benson was emphatically headed home by Bennett.

There was still time for the Blues to go close before the break, but another superb Angel block denied Lalkovic.

Half Time: Salisbury 1 Pompey 1


Second Half

Pompey continued to look bright after the interval and Roberts’ header was deflected wide after the midfielder had met Drew Talbot’s cross.

Baker then slid a pass across the face of goal that was just out of the reach of substitute Michael Smith.

It was Smith who probably should have restored the Blues’ lead on 54 minutes, but he failed to find the target with a close-range header.

Pompey were dominating and it came as no surprise when they did score a second soon after.

Lalkovic slid a pass through to ROBERTS in the box and the midfielder’s shot creeped over the line, despite the best efforts of the Salisbury back-line to get the ball clear.

Salisbury were not doing much to test trialist keeper Chris Kanopka at the other end, with an effort from Tony Lee almost going out for a throw.

But they found themselves level on 72 minutes with another goal from a corner, as Benson’s cross was headed back for Perrett to flick home.

Pompey had an immediate chance to restore their advantage, but Smith could not quite squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.

Kyle Bennett then fired over the bar after Stevens had been released down the left by Roberts and delivered a low cross into the box.

Pompey continued to dominate possession as the game drew to a conclusion, but were unable to convert that into a winning goal.

Salisbury (4-4-2): Searle (Childs 62); Colson, Wheeler (c) (Leigh 74), Angel, Perrett; Herbert (Jones 46), Whelan, Benson, Young (Masterton 59); Wright (Lee 46), Bennett (Flint 67)
Goals: Bennett 43, Perrett 72

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Konopka; Talbot, Whatmough, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Lalkovic (Bennett 62); Hunt (Smith 46)
Goals: Hunt 42, Roberts 59
Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Haunstrup, Close, May, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Linganzi, Tollitt, Chaplin

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 1,124

Portsmouth FC
Jul 162016
,Sutton United,2 – 1,Portsmouth,


Oxlade-Chamberlain on target for Blues

Pompey’s unbeaten start to pre-season was ended by Sutton on a muggy afternoon at the Borough Sports Ground.

The hosts dominated the first half and deservedly led at the break thanks to goals from Roarie Deacon – who was on trial with the Blues earlier in the summer – and Bedsente Gomis.

But Paul Cook’s side looked much stronger following a host of second half substitutions and grabbed a consolation through Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.

After a slow start, it was the non-league side who were first to threaten – and they immediately forged ahead.

It was Deacon who opened the scoring on eight minutes, steering the ball into the bottom corner after Dan Spence’s low cross had been laid into his path.

The hosts were, unsurprisingly, looking more comfortable on their artificial surface and caused the Blues back-line a few problems.

Ross Worner was not being overly troubled in the United goal, although he made a regulation save to deny Conor Chaplin following good work by Adam May and Brandon Haunstrup.

Instead it was Sutton providing most of the attacking threat and Ryan Burge swung a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar.

Alex Bass then had to beat away a shot from Dan Wishart after the left-back had beaten Chris Sessegnon and burst into the box.

Gomis was next to go close when he met Deacon’s cross and sent a header crashing against the crossbar.

And it was the midfielder who doubled the hosts’ advantage on 33 minutes, arriving at the far post to convert Ross Stearn’s cross.

Half Time: Sutton 2 Pompey 0


Second Half

Sutton should have had a third goal early in the second half, but Craig Eastmond blazed over the bar after being picked out by Deacon.

Pompey were still struggling to find a way through at the other end, although Curtis Main was not too far away with an audacious long-range effort that flashed over the bar.

They had another opening after breaking quickly up the pitch moments later, but Ben Close was crowded out and Main’s neat flick landed on the bar.

Main was the pick of the bunch for the Blues and he went close again on 65 minutes, with an effort that was deflected narrowly over.

Jack Whatmough came on just past the hour mark, with a further nine changes following a few moments later as Cook looked to give his whole squad a run-out.

And the visitors immediately looked brighter, with only a brave block preventing Theo Widdrington from reducing the deficit.

Pompey were suddenly providing a real attacking threat, with Carl Baker keen to add to his brace at Havant & Waterlooville during the week.

The summer signing fired a free-kick just past the post and then saw a shot kept out by the feet of Worner.

In between those chances, Gary Roberts was also denied by the Sutton keeper as the Blues tried to reduce the deficit.

And that is exactly what they did on 81 minutes when trialist Noel Hunt played a quick free-kick to Baker, whose low cross was converted by OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN.

A resurgent Pompey tried to grab an equaliser, but it was last season’s National League South champions who able to celebrate the victory.

Sutton (4-1-4-1): Worner; Spence, Beckwith (John 69), Collins (c), Wishart (Amankwaah 63); Eastmond; Deacon, Gomis (Bailey 75), Burge (Downer 74), Stearn (Hudson-Odoi 66); Fitchett (Dundas 60)
Goals: Deacon 8, Gomis 33

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Sessegnon (Talbot 69), Burgess (c) (Whatmough 63), Barton (Widdrington 69), Haunstrup (Stevens 69); Close (Rose 69), May (Doyle 69); Tollitt (Baker 69), Chaplin (Roberts 69), Lalkovic (Oxlade-Chamberlain 69); Main (Hunt 69)
Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain 81

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 1,188

Portsmouth FC
Jul 132016
,Havant & Waterlooville,0 – 5,Portsmouth,


Blues ease to friendly victory

Carl Baker bagged a brace as Pompey hit five unanswered goals past non-league neighbours Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park.

The midfielder struck either side of the interval to give the Blues a commanding lead after Gary Roberts had opened the scoring.

Trialist Noel Hunt and Curtis Main then both came off the bench to cap a comfortable victory for Paul Cook’s side.

There was good news for the hosts before kick-off, as they announced the return of former Pompey midfielder Wes Fogden on a two-year deal.

But it was the visitors who had most of the joy once the action belatedly got underway, following a 15-minute delay to allow all the fans to get into the ground.

Danny Rose and Conor Chaplin went close in the opening stages, with the pair both narrowly failing to find the target.

In between was the Hawks’ only decent chance of the evening, with a crisp effort from ex-Fratton youngster Bradley Tarbuck superbly tipped around the post by Michael Crowe.

And Pompey broke the deadlock on 12 minutes when Milan Lalkovic slid a fine pass through to ROBERTS, who neatly lifted the ball over keeper Ryan Young and into the net.

The Blues continued to dominate and Baker had a hat-trick of efforts – the first clearing the ground, the second fizzing narrowly over and the third hit straight at Young.

Rose was next to go close midway through the first half, firing into the side netting following good build-up play from Michael Doyle and Lalkovic.

Baker was not afraid to try his luck from distance and another attempt from the summer signing had to be pushed to safety by Young.

And his persistence paid off just before the break with a strike that was most definitely worth the wait.

BAKER picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and hit a stunning shot that flew in off the underside of the crossbar, leaving Young rooted to the spot.

Half Time: Hawks 0 Pompey 2


Second Half

Pompey picked up where they left off after the restart and Young had to come charging from his line to stop Chaplin racing onto Lalkovic’s pass.

The Hawks keeper then kept out Lalkovic’s stinging drive, but was unable to stop the Blues from grabbing a third goal.

He could only parry the ball as far as Roberts, who cut it back for BAKER to tap home from just a couple of yards out.

The usual pre-season flurry of substitutions meant that chances began to dry up and the pace started to slow.

But two of those late arrivals managed to find the net and give the scoreline an added gloss for the visitors.

First trialist HUNT slid in to convert Enda Stevens’ low cross from wide on the left after the full-back had picked up Doyle’s raking pass.

Then, after Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain had stolen possession and seen his shot parried by Young, MAIN followed-up to poke home.

He almost scored again late on, but a thunderous effort from 30-yards hit the inside of the post and flew clear.

There was a bit of needle between Main and Ben Swallow late on that would normally have received a harsher punishment than the ticking off dished out by referee Dean Treleaven.

But that was a rare moment of petulance in a good-natured contest that saw the Blues continue their preparations for the 2016/17 campaign in fine style.

Hawks (4-4-2): Young (Searle 65); Strugnell (Miller 89), Woodford (Molyneaux 54), Robinson, Williams (Medway 65); Swallow, Lewis (Ridge 65), Stock (c) (Whittingham 84), Tarbuck (Barker 54); Prior (Hayter 65), Paterson (Rutherford 54)

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe; Talbot (Sessegnon 74), Whatmough (Bradbury 85), Burgess (Barton 78), Stevens (Haunstrup 76); Rose (Widdrington 74), Doyle (c) (Bedford 74); Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71), Roberts (Main 69), Lalkovic (Tollitt 60); Chaplin (Hunt 57)
Goals: Roberts 12, Baker 45, 56, Hunt 69, Main 73

Referee: Dean Treleaven

Attendance: 2,300

Portsmouth FC
Jul 092016
,Bohemians,0 – 2,Portsmouth,


Rose and Chaplin on target for Blues

Pompey brought their Irish tour to a close with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Bohemians.

Both goals arrived in the first half, with a couple of neat finishes from Danny Rose and Conor Chaplin.

Paul Cook’s side dominated proceedings and created enough chances to have won by a greater margin in Dublin.

A healthy number of Pompey fans were packed into one side of the dilapidated Dalymount Park.

And they saw their side control the first half, with plenty of openings carved out in the final game of the Blues’ Irish tour.

Bohemians keeper Shane Supple did well to keep the scores level early on, racing from his line to deny Carl Baker.

Chaplin then saw two shots blocked in quick succession before an effort from Kyle Bennett met the same fate.

The blue tide kept pouring forward and Milan Lalkovic’s drive was comfortable for Supple, while Baker could not avoid a visiting defender after rounding the Bohs keeper.

There was a nasty moment midway through the first half, however, as Stephen Best came off worse in a challenge with Bennett and had to be stretchered from the pitch.

Pompey soon broke the deadlock, with Lalkovic stealing possession and feeding ROSE, who neatly dinked the ball into the net.

Chaplin almost doubled the lead moments later, only for Supple to stick out a hand and divert his angled drive wide.

But the Blues did increase their advantage in stoppage-time, as CHAPLIN took advantage of a poor back-pass and kept his composure to round the keeper and slot home.

Half Time: Bohemians 0 Pompey 2


Second Half

Pompey picked up where they left off following the interval, although Chaplin was not quite able to force a shot through a packed six-year box.

But Bohemians did have a couple of chances of their own, even if efforts from Ayman Ben Mohamed and Mark Quigley failed to overly trouble Martin Crowe in the Blues goal.

When the action returned to the other end of the pitch, Bennett was crudely felled right on the edge of the box, only for Enda Stevens’ low free-kick to be cleared.

Baker was next to try his luck following good work from the lively Lalkovic, but saw his shot deflected wide.

A steady stream of substitutions from the visitors disrupted any fluidity, as the game began to drift towards it conclusion.

There was a shot from Brandon Haunstrup – playing in a more advanced role than usual – but it rolled comfortably into Supple’s arms.

And Pompey suddenly looked brighter in the closing stages, with Ben Tollitt denied by a fine save before Gary Roberts narrowly failed to find the target.

They could not find another goal to reward those who had made the trip across the Irish Sea.

But the travelling Blues fans would have seen their players make another step forward as they prepare for their opening League Two encounter next month.

Bohemians (4-4-2): Supple; O’Hora (Hollywood 78), Mulcahy (c), Best (Lopes 31), Fitzgerald (Kelly 17 (Akinade 78)); P.Kavanagh (Buckley 46), Morris, J.Kavanagh, Caffrey (Flynn 81); Mohamed (Graydon 74), Quigley

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe (Bass 69); Talbot (Sessegnon 72), Burgess, Barton (Whatmough 69), Stevens; Rose, Doyle; Bennett (Roberts 58), Baker (May 77), Lalkovic (Haunstrup 69); Chaplin (Tollitt 60)
Goals: Rose 33, Chaplin 45+1

Portsmouth FC
Jul 062016
,Sligo Rovers,3 – 3,Portsmouth,


Draw for Blues in Irish testimonial

Conor Chaplin bagged a brace as Pompey drew 3-3 at Sligo in their opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

Gary Roberts also found the target in a testimonial match for long-serving Rovers favourite Gavin Peers.

That saw the visitors coast to a three-goal lead, only for the Irish outfit to hit back with three of their own after the break – including a spot-kick from man-of-the-moment Peers.

It was still an enjoyable return to The Showgrounds for Cook, though, who won three trophies when he managed the Irish club between 2007 and 2012.

There was certainly a testimonial feel to the first half, as the hosts fielded a side made up former team-mates of Peers.

One of them was Kieran Djilali – who had a short spell with the Blues in 2012 – while the brother of Westlife star Mark Feehily also featured.

Pompey, unsurprisingly, dominated before the break and they took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

Chaplin did well down the right and was able to pull the ball back for ROBERTS to tap home from just a yard out.

And he was able to return the favourite soon after, with CHAPLIN free to capitalise when the midfielder’s path to goal was blocked by keeper Ciaran Kelly.

Trialist stopper Michael Crowe was largely untroubled at the other end and Christian Burgess stopped him from having to make a save by blocking Djilali’s effort.

Djilali soon made a sheepish exit, however, as following a flurry of substitutions, referee Alan Kelly had failed to spot that Sligo had 12 men on the pitch.

Jack Whatmough did well to deny the Irish side on 38 minutes, charging across to halt a quick counter-attack.

Instead it was Pompey who added to the scoring soon after, with Roberts and CHAPLIN again combining, and the latter neatly lifting the ball home.

There were two chances to increase the lead further before the interval, but Roberts and Milan Lalkovic both narrowly failed to find the target.

Half Time: Sligo 0 Pompey 3


Second Half

Peers remained on the pitch for the second half and was this time joined by 10 of his current team-mates.

Cook also rung the changes, with Roberts and Chaplin the only Blues players not to be given a rest.

Sligo almost pulled a goal back on the hour mark, but Kieran Sadlier’s drive was beaten away by replacement keeper Eric Grimes and the winger sent his follow-up effort into the side netting.

Raffaele Cretaro then wasted a great opportunity to get on the scoresheet, missing a free header at the far post.

But Sligo did have a goal on 70 minutes and – although it appeared rather soft – there were no complaints when a penalty was awarded for a challenge on Phil Roberts by Tom Davies.

That gave Peers the chance to score from the spot and he confidently slotted the ball into the bottom corner before being withdrawn to a standing ovation.

It was soon Pompey who were back on the attack and Chaplin saw an effort blocked at point-blank range following good work from Kyle Bennett and Carl Baker.

With a total of 52 players used, the game had understandably lost a bit of impetus as it coasted towards a conclusion.

But it sparked back into life towards the end as the impressive Sadlier scored twice in quick succession to draw the hosts level.

First he poked home from close range following good work down the right by Cretaro and then rifled home the equaliser seconds later.

But more important for Cook was the chance to see his squad get some minutes under the belt, while Peers was rightly lauded for his loyalty to Sligo.

Sligo first half (4-4-1-1): Kelly; Keane, Peers (c), Burns (Flannery 24), Foy (McCartney 24); Djilali (McTiernan 24), O’Grady (Judge 31), Ventre, Dillon (Mansaram 31); Ndo (Feehily 33); Elding (McNamara 24)

Sligo second half (4-4-2): Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Peers (c) (Trialist 70), Boylan, Keohane; Kearns, Roddan, Russell (Lines 79), Sadlier; Cretaro (Place 86), Roberts
Goals: Peers 69 (pen), Sadlier 85, 87

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe (trialist) (Grimes (trialist) 46); Talbot (Sessegnon (trialist) 46), Whatmough (Davies 46), Burgess (Barton 46), Haunstrup (Stevens 46); May (Close 46), Doyle (c) (Rose 46); Tollitt (Baker 46), Roberts (Konsiembo (trialist) 62), Lalkovic (Bennett 46); Chaplin (Tollitt 79)
Goals: Roberts 9, Chaplin 17, 40

Referee: Alan Kelly

Attendance: 1,127

Portsmouth FC
May 152016
League 2 Play Off,,,,
,Plymouth Argyle,1 – 0,Portsmouth,


Late goal denies Blues a Wembley trip

Peter Hartley struck deep into stoppage-time to condemn Pompey to another season in League Two.

The game seemed to be heading for an extra 30 minutes when the defender rose to head home a corner and break Blues hearts.

Both sides had earlier chances to score as the tie became increasingly ragged and open towards the end.

But it was Plymouth who were celebrating a 3-2 aggregate victory and trip to Wembley, while Pompey will have to go again in August.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that drew 2-2 with Argyle in the first leg at Fratton Park.

The only change came on the bench, where a fit-again Conor Chaplin replaced his namesake Wilkinson.

Both sets of supporters at a warm and sunny Home Park were anticipating another exciting, incident-packed affair following Thursday night’s drama.

But, in reality, it was much cagier contest, with the sides unwilling to take too many risks in search of a goal.

It was the hosts who started brighter, though, and Ryan Allsop pushed Graham Carey’s shot over before Jake Jervis hit a free-kick off target.

But Pompey began to get a grip as the half progressed and the lively Kyle Bennett found the side netting after cutting into the box.

Marc McNulty then latched onto a long ball forward, only to roll a tame shot straight into the arms of Luke McCormick.

The visitors were starting to dominate possession, but were unable to cause the Argyle keeper any more problems.

Gary Roberts’ cute pass for Gareth Evans was cut out, while McNulty’s effort from distance sailed high over the bar.

Pompey received a blow on 31 minutes when Evans was caught by a strong challenge from Carl McHugh.

The Plymouth midfielder was booked by referee Paul Tierney and Evans limped off to be replaced by Adam McGurk.

And the replacement was soon involved in the action, first just failing to beat McCormick to Roberts’ clever pass and then teeing-up Bennett for a shot that was scuffed wide.

The Pilgrims were struggling to see much of the ball and when they did create an opening, Jervis wasted it.

Then, with the interval approaching, Cook was forced to make another substitution. This time it was Danny Hollands who went down, with Ben Close coming on in his place.

Half Time: Plymouth 0 (2) Pompey 0 (2)


Second Half

Pompey were quickly out of the traps following the restart and after McNulty had bundled his way into the box, Roberts saw a shot deflected behind.

They then broke quickly up the pitch, with space opening up for the advancing McGurk, whose effort was comfortable for McCormick.

The visitors were starting to look a real threat and after Roberts was impeded 25 yards out, Ben Davies stepped up to curl a free-kick into the side netting.

It was Roberts who was next to have a go when McCormick raced from his box and made a poor clearance, but Pompey’s talisman could not steer the ball home.

Plymouth then enjoyed a decent spell of their own, with Jervis bending a shot past the post before Hiram Boateng steered Gregg Wylde’s low cross wide.

And they should have broken the deadlock on 58 minutes after McNulty over-ran the ball and Michael Doyle’s attempted clearance ricocheted into Jamille Matt’s path.

The striker bore down on goal, but went for power over accuracy and blazed his shot over the crossbar.

It was certainly more open than the first half and McGurk fired over after attempting to capitalise on a poor clearance.

And the action soon switched to the other end of the pitch, where Matt headed Carey’s corner wide from just a few yards out.

Pompey received another let off on 73 minutes when Carey’s header cannoned off Adam Barton and had to be cleared from the line by a well-placed McNulty.

They were struggling to keep hold of the ball, but did enjoy a spell of pressure late on, as Bennett beat a couple of challenges before seeing his shot deflected behind.

Plymouth could only partially clear the resulting corner and when the ball was sent back into the box, Close volleyed over.

But the hosts almost grabbed a winner on 89 minutes, only for an unmarked Jervis to head against the post after being picked out by Craig Tanner.

It was only a brief respite, however, as with just seconds remaining, Carey swung in a corner and Hartley arrived at the far post to head home.

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Mellor, Nelson (c), Hartley, Sawyer; Boateng, McHugh; Jervis, Carey, Wylde (Tanner 75); Matt
Goals: Hartley 90+2
Booked: McHugh
Subs not used: Dorel, Forster, Purrington, Harvey, Rooney, Reid

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Davies, Burgess, Barton, Stevens; Hollands (Close 44), Doyle (c); Evans (McGurk 31), Roberts, Bennett (Chaplin 90+3); McNulty
Booked: Close
Subs not used: Whatmough, Haunstrup, Tollitt, Naismith

Referee: Paul Tierney

Attendance: 15,011 (1,696 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC