Football

Jan 312017
 

Eoin Doyle

Loan : Preston NE – Portsmouth



Blues bring in striker on deadline day

Pompey have signed Eoin Doyle on loan from Championship side Preston North End for the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign.

The 28-year-old Irish striker will wear the number 17 shirt during his time at Fratton Park.

He played under Paul Cook at both Sligo and Chesterfield, and the Blues boss said: “Having worked with Eoin previously at two clubs, I am delighted with this signing.

“He knows what I want as a manager and I know that I can rely on him to give 100 per cent on the pitch.

“Eoin brings commitment and quality to our side and I’m sure he’ll be popular with all our supporters.

“We’re extremely pleased with his signing and are very grateful to Preston for loaning him to us.”

Doyle moved south of the border from Hibs to join Chesterfield in 2013 and also featured for Cardiff prior to signing for Preston last summer following a successful loan spell.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 312017
 

Ben Close

Loan : Portsmouth – Eastleigh



Midfielder joins National League side

Ben Close has joined Eastleigh on loan for the rest of the season.

The 20-year-old midfielder has made four appearances for Pompey this term, most recently skippering the side to an EFL Trophy victory over Bristol Rovers.

He also featured against Yeovil and Reading in the same competition, as well as in the FA Cup defeat to Wycombe.

Eastleigh – managed by ex-Blues midfielder Martin Allen – are currently sitting 13th in the National League table ahead of their next game at Guiseley


Portsmouth FC

Jan 312017
 

Adam Buxton

Mutual Consent



Defender departs Fratton Park

Pompey and Adam Buxton have mutually agreed to cancel the defender’s contract with Pompey.

The 24-year-old full-back made eight appearances for the Blues after signing from Accrington last summer.

He made his debut in an EFL Cup defeat at Coventry in August, also featuring in cup contests against Reading, Wycombe and Bristol Rovers.

Everyone at the club would like to thank Adam for his service and wish him well for the future.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 282017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Exeter City    1

 


Wheeler goal downs Blues

Pompey were unable to halt Exeter’s resurgence as they fell to defeat against their in-form visitors.

The goal that proved the difference between the sides from David Wheeler owed a lot of good fortune, with a ricochet aiding the Devon outfit.

But the Blues struggled to create many chances of note in their ultimately futile search for a leveller.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Leyton Orient on the south coast a fortnight earlier.

That meant Conor Chaplin continued to lead the line alongside Michael Smith in a 4-4-2 formation.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of title-winning forward Lindy Delapenha, who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

There was little to excite another large Fratton crowd once the action got underway, with clear-cut chances at a premium throughout the first half.

The hosts dominated possession, although a well-marshalled defence meant they were not able to test Christy Pym in the Grecians goal.

Chaplin showed some neat invention to try to convert Carl Baker’s cross with a back-flick, but the ball flew wide.

David Forde flung himself to the left to deny Reuben Reid at the other end, then grabbed the loose ball at the second attempt.

Ollie Watkins was looking the most threatening player for the visitors and the sought-after striker drilled a low effort narrowly past the post on 16 minutes.

And Christian Burgess was enjoying a personal tussle with Reid, with the defender making a couple of key challenges inside the box to frustrate his opponent.

There was one more opportunity for Baker to break the deadlock before the break, but his effort was fumbled behind by Pym as a drab opening 45 minutes came to a close.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Exeter City 0


Pompey were first to threaten at the start of the second half, but a poor attempt from Kal Naismith flew over the bar.

The visitors went closer moments later and Enda Stevens had to turn Ryan Harley’s cross behind before Watkins could pounce.

And the Grecians did forge ahead on 57 minutes – although they were aided by a huge slice of fortune.

Reid burst down the centre and when he was dispossessed, the ball ricocheted off Danny Rose and straight into the path of Wheeler, who lashed it into the net.

Cook immediately responded with a double substitution, bringing on Jamal Lowe and Gary Roberts in place of Smith and Baker.

And Lowe tried to add a spark to the hosts’ performance with some tricky footwork, while his cross was headed wide by Matt Clarke.

It was Gareth Evans who forced Pym into action on 72 minutes, however, with a fierce left-footed effort that the keeper did well to smother.

But Exeter then came close to doubling their advantage when Troy Brown met a corner and glanced a header inches wide.

Pompey pushed forward in search of an equaliser and some fans thought a penalty had been awarded when Stevens went down under Jack Stacey’s challenge, although referee Dean Whitestone was instead pointing for a goal-kick.

There were also a host of late corners, which saw Forde come up to provide a different threat, but despite five minutes of added time and the Grecians starting to sit back, the hosts were unable to provide some late drama.

Pompey (4-4-2): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker (Roberts 59), Rose, Doyle (c), Naismith; Chaplin, Smith (Lowe 59)
Booked: Clarke, Forde
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Bennett, Hunt

Exeter (4-4-2): Pym; Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor (c), Woodman; Wheeler, Taylor, James, Harley; Reid (McAlinden 81), Watkins
Goals: Wheeler 57
Booked: Reid
Subs not used: Olejnik, Sweeney, Tillson, Croll, Oakley, Simpson

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 17,195 (1,010 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 182017
 

Nicke Kabamba

Transfer : Hampton & Richmond Borough – Portsmouth



Pompey have signed striker Nicke Kabamba from Hampton & Richmond for an undisclosed fee

The 23-year-old – who has netted 16 National League South goals this season – has penned an 18-month deal with the Blues, with the club holding an option for a further year.

Kabamba said: “I’m really grateful for this opportunity and hopefully I can bring my scoring ratio into this league.

“Coming from non-league and now signing for a club like Pompey, life’s going to completely change.

“I’ve quit my job as a car salesman after four years and I will be moving down to the area.

“Playing in front of 17,000 people will be the strangest thing. I’ve seen it on TV, but it’s not until I’m out there and am able to soak in the atmosphere for myself first-hand that it will all sink in.”

Kabamba has previously turned out for Burnham and Hemel Hempstead, and scored at Bath in his last appearance for Hampton & Richmond


Portsmouth FC

Jan 142017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    2

 


 

Leyton Orient    1

 


Chaplin double secures win

Conor Chaplin bagged a brace as Pompey got their promotion challenge back on track by beating Leyton Orient.

It was a display of almost total dominance by the Blues and the margin of victory probably should have been greater.

Chaplin saw a penalty saved, but quickly put that out of his mind to open the scoring, only for Gavin Massey to grab an impressive leveller.

There was to be no shock outcome, however, as Chaplin grabbed his second of the afternoon – and seventh of the season – early in the second half.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that were beaten at table-topping Doncaster nine days earlier.

That saw Chaplin replace Kyle Bennett, as the hosts switched to a more traditional 4-4-2 system.

There were plenty of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with former Blues Alex Cisak, Nigel Atangana and Paul McCallum all selected.

Both sets of fans held a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of former Pompey and Orient defender Paul Went, as well as ex-England boss Graham Taylor.

On the pitch it was a totally dominant first half display from the hosts, who set about attacking their struggling opponents straight from kick-off.

Chaplin could not quite get a touch to Kal Naismith’s clever free-kick after nipping in between a couple of defenders.

Tom Parkes then made a mess of trying to clear Carl Baker’s cross and Cisak had to intervene to stop the ball dipping under the crossbar.

Naismith soon played a neat one-two with Michael Smith and burst into the box, only to then fire over the top.

The hosts had an even better chance to break the deadlock on 22 minutes when Sammy Moore tripped Enda Stevens just inside the box.

Referee Brett Hutxtable pointed to the spot, but Cisak guessed the right way to palm Chaplin’s shot wide – the fifth penalty that Pompey have missed this season.

It was only a brief respite for the beleaguered visitors, however, as CHAPLIN made amends just seconds later by arriving at the far post to turn home Baker’s low cross.

The Blues immediately set about trying to add to their lead and Baker sent an effort curling narrowly past the post.

And Smith was unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet when he met Naismith’s corner, only to see his header cleared from the line by Parkes.

David Forde might as well have been sat in the Fratton End such was Pompey’s dominance in the early stages.

But his first involvement was to pick the ball out of the net, as Orient levelled with their maiden chance on 38 minutes.

Not that the keeper could have done much to stop a stunning strike from Massey that flew into the top corner.

And the action was soon back down the other end of the pitch, with Stevens’ cut-back going behind three of his waiting team-mates in the box.

There was still time for one more chance in stoppage-time, with Teddy Mezague making a brilliant block to deny Baker before Naismith drove the loose ball wide.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Leyton Orient 1


There was a surprise switch at the start of the second half, with Jamal Lowe introduced in place of Gareth Evans – who had picked up an injury before the break – to make his Blues debut.

That saw Baker drop to right-back, but it did not stop his attacking intent as he soon provided the assist for a second Pompey goal.

It was a fine cross in from the right and CHAPLIN showed his usual poaching instincts to arrive and head the hosts back into the lead.

There might have been another soon after when Cisak fumbled Stevens’ low cross, but the keeper grabbed the loose ball before Smith could pounce.

Orient were unsurprisingly showing more ambition than prior to the interval, but it was still the Blues controlling possession as the half progressed.

Naismith, in particular, was looking full of confidence, showcasing some silky skills to jink his way past challenges.

But there was almost a disaster for Pompey on 66 minutes when Christian Burgess did not spot Forde coming to collect the ball and headed narrowly past his own post.

It was soon back to normal, though, and only a slight deflection prevented Smith from turning in Naismith’s free-kick.

Amine Linganzi replaced the Scottish winger on 76 minutes, as Cook looked to inject more steel into the midfield.

But that did not mean the Blues were looking to sit on their lead and a sliding Smith was agonisingly close to reaching Chaplin’s centre.

Stevens then surged into the box from wide on the left and sent a powerful effort fizzing past the post.

Chaplin received a standing ovation as he left the pitch to be replaced by Bennett for the closing stages.

And it was a deserved reception for the diminutive striker, as Pompey saw out the final few minutes to secure a valuable victory.

Pompey (4-4-2): Forde; Evans (Lowe 46), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker, Rose, Doyle (c), Naismith (Linganzi 76); Smith, Chaplin (Bennett 87)
Goals: Chaplin 23
Booked: Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Roberts, Hunt

Leyton Orient (5-1-2-1-1): Cisak; Judd, Hunt (c), Mezague, Parkes, Semedo (Palmer 89); Moore (Bowery 69); Atangana, Collins; Massey; McCallum
Goals: Massey 38
Booked: Atangana
Subs not used: Sargeant, Pollock, Kennedy, Nnomo, Koroma

Referee: Brett Huxtable

Attendance: 16,564 (607 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 052017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Doncaster Rovers    3

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Blues lose at league leaders

Pompey missed out on the chance to close in on the automatic promotion places with a 3-1 defeat at Doncaster.

Former Fratton loanee John Marquis gave the hosts an early lead, only for Kal Naismith to level late in the first half.

But the Blues failed to build on that after the break, with Tommy Rowe rocketing Rovers back ahead before Marquis wrapped things up.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that beat Luton at Fratton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

That meant an attacking midfield trio of Carl Baker, Naismith and Kyle Bennett were deployed behind lone frontman Michael Smith.

Pompey started poorly against the league leaders and looked particularly susceptible on the counter-attack.

And it came as no surprise when Doncaster broke the deadlock after just five minutes, with James Coppinger’s delivery flicked on by Matty Blair for Marquis to head home.

Rovers immediately set about trying to build on their lead and David Forde denied Conor Grant before another dangerous Coppinger cross had to be hooked clear by Michael Doyle.

But the Blues almost levelled with their first decent chance soon after, as keeper Marko Marosi only just managed to keep out Matt Clarke’s header from a Baker corner.

The visitors grew stronger as the half progressed, but Doncaster still looked threatening on the break and one ended with Niall Mason firing into the side netting.

Marquis was then inches away from extending their advantage, meeting Craig Alcock’s cross, but seeing his header hit the woodwork.

A couple of Naismith corners caused problems at the other end of the pitch, while Marosi did well to gobble up Enda Stevens’ low cross before Smith could pounce.

Pompey were starting to pile on some pressure, however, and they deservedly found themselves back on level terms just before the break.

Former Rovers winger Bennett – who was roundly booed by the home support throughout – intercepted the ball and threaded a neat pass to NAISMITH, who coolly slid the ball past Marosi.


Half Time

Doncaster Rovers 1

Portsmouth 1


Both sides had looked capable of adding more goals before the interval, but the second half took longer to provide any inspiration.

An Evans shot from long-range that forced Marosi down to his left was as close as either side came in the opening stages.

But Doncaster suddenly brought the game back to life by restoring their advantage on 58 minutes.

It was a fine effort from Rowe, who collected a pass from Coppinger and beat Evans before rifling a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

Cook soon responded by making his first substitution, with Milan Lalkovic given an opportunity to impress in place of Baker.

And Bennett then made way for Gary Roberts, as Pompey tried to add fresh attacking impetus into their side.

But it was Rovers who looked the more dangerous going forward and they extended their lead on 71 minutes.

It was Marquis who found the target once again after a cross from Rowe was deflected kindly into his path.

Cook made one final throw of the dice soon after, with Naismith making way so Conor Chaplin could partner Smith up front.

It was Lalkovic who almost reduced the deficit, however, meeting Evans’ excellent cross with a close-range header that Marosi dived across goal to keep out.

But the keeper almost cost his side moments later when he failed to hold a cross under pressure from Smith.

The loose ball fell to Chaplin, who did not have long to react, and his effort was hacked clear by a well-placed Alcock.

An injury to Marosi – which saw the keeper stretchered off – meant there were seven minutes of injury-time.

But that failed to provide the inspiration for an unlikely comeback as Doncaster saw out the final moments to increase their title hopes.

Doncaster (4-3-2-1): Marosi (Etheridge 86); Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason; Blair (Williams 55), Houghton, Grant; Coppinger (c) (Middleton 67), Rowe; Marquis
Goals: Marquis 5, 71, Rowe 58
Booked: Alcock
Subs not used: Wright, Keegan, Beestin, May

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Lalkovic 62), Naismith (Chaplin 75), Bennett (Roberts 67); Smith
Goals: Naismith 41
Booked: Burgess, Evans, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Linganzi, Hunt

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 5,568 (669 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 022017
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Luton Town    0

 


Burgess header secures victory

Pompey got 2017 off to a great start by beating Luton to close the gap on the automatic promotion places.

Christian Burgess grabbed the only goal of the game by heading home from a first half free-kick.

The hosts dominated before the break, but there were a few nervy moments after it and Gary Roberts missed a penalty before the victory could finally be celebrated.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew at a foggy Yeovil in the final game of last year.

Noel Hunt dropped to the bench to make way for Kyle Bennett, as the Blues switched back to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 system.

The visitors’ line-up suggested they would play with more ambition than most sides who visit Fratton Park.

But it was the Blues who made the brighter start, without really testing Christian Walton in the Hatters goal.

There was then a lengthy break in play when Cameron McGeehan went down injured following a challenge with Michael Doyle and had to be stretchered from the pitch.

The game took a while to gather pace once it restarted, but Pompey soon started to impose themselves.

Gareth Evans sent a snap-shot narrowly over the bar from 30 yards, while an unmarked Carl Baker then completely mis-hit his effort from inside the box.

Bennett was next to go close when he collected a pass from Enda Stevens and sent a low drive inches past the post.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 31 minutes after Bennett had been fouled by Stephen O’Donnell wide on the left.

Baker stepped up to send a sumptuous delivery into the box, where BURGESS rose highest to send a thumping header into the net.

He then made an important intervention at the other end of the pitch to dispossess Danny Hylton inside the area.

But most of the action was still taking place in and around the Luton box, with Scott Cuthbert forced to make a vital challenge when Evans collected Baker’s incisive pass.

And Burgess almost doubled the advantage just before the break, only to divert Kal Naismith’s corner wide.


Half Time

Portsmouth 1

Luton Town 0


Pompey started the second half as they had finished the first – and an unmarked Evans should really have done better than guiding Baker’s free-kick straight at Walton.

Naismith then delivered a dangerous cross that was just behind the onrushing Michael Smith, as the Blues looked to make their pressure count.

But Luton almost levelled when Burgess was caught in possession seconds later. Hylton stole the ball and neatly chipped David Forde, but it bounced back off the crossbar.

The visitors were certainly looking more of a threat since the interval and Forde made a comfortable stop to deny Jonathan Smith before a free-kick was nervously dealt with by Stevens.

And it was Smith who should have at least tested Forde when Hylton ran along the byline and teed-up him up, only for the midfielder to fire wide from a few yards out.

Cook made his first substitution on 68 minutes, with a refreshed Roberts coming on for Bennett.

It was a nervy period for Pompey and Forde had to palm the ball clear when James Justin took advantage of Evans’ slip to fire in a shot.

The visitors were being hampered by an injury to Hylton, however. Boss Nathan Jones had already made all his changes, so the striker was forced to carry on, cutting a forlorn figure as he hobbled around the pitch.

Pompey tried to make the most of that and one attack looked particularly promising on 75 minutes.

They broke quickly up the pitch, but Smith picked the ball up when he probably should have left it for Naismith and when his path was blocked, Baker fired high over the bar.

There was certainly a feeling of tension around Fratton Park as the clock ticked down towards a much-needed home triumph.

Roberts then missed a chance to let everyone breathe out when he fired over from the spot after Noel Hunt had been tripped in the box by Olly Lee in stoppage-time.

But the Blues saw out the final few moments to ensure there was plenty of New Year cheer on the south coast.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Linganzi 84), Doyle (c); Baker (Hunt 80), Naismith, Bennett (Roberts 68); Smith
Goals: Burgess 31
Booked: Forde, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Lalkovic, Chaplin

Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Walton; O’Donnell, Cuthbert (c), Mullins, Justin; Rea; Gilliead (Lee 54), Smith; McGeehan (Mpanzu 20); Cook (Vassell 54), Hylton
Booked: McGeehan, Smith, Vassell, Mpanzu
Subs not used: King, Senior, Marriott, McQuoid

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 17,402 (1,547 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 302016
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Yeovil Town    0

 


 

Portsmouth    0

 


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 Town 0

Portsmouth 0


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
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Newport County    2

 


 

Portsmouth    3

 


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 County 1

Portsmouth 0


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 Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Hartlepool United    0

 


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

(0 – 0)


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 Two


 

Grimsby Town    0

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


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

(0 – 0)


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