Football

May 182016
 

The Hawks have swooped to sign striker Jason Prior from Bognor as manager Lee Bradbury looks to rebuild his side.

It is a clear statement of intent as the Hawks aim to bounce back into National League South at the first attempt.

Relegation has hit the club hard and Bradbury, who needs to put together a competitive squad accepts that will require a different approach.

He intends to include more local talent.

Prior scored 40 goals in 57 appearances for the Rocks last season.

And Bradbury believes he fits the bill perfectly.

With the Hawks dropping into the Ryman League, Bradbury admits he is changing the focus of the team.

He said: ‘Signing Jason is a no-brainer for us as he was out of contract at Bognor.

‘He lives in Portsmouth and I am looking to build a team based on hungry local players.

‘The player is at the right age, at 27, and with lots of experience in the league we find ourselves in.

‘I have tried to get him before and he is an old-school type of centre forward.

‘He holds the ball up well, is an intelligent player and knows where the goal is.

‘As a proven goalscorer he could make all the difference to the Hawks and I am sure he will be a big success.

‘For the past two seasons we have suffered through the lack of a regular goalscorer up front.

‘Next season in the Ryman League we will need strong-willed players prepared to go the extra distance.’

Bradbury was also interested in signing Gosport Borough goalscorer Justin Bennett.

He admits, however, that the Hawks were unable to compete with what another club are offering him.

Last season’s young striker Shamir Mullings has left Westleigh Park after being released by the club.

Central-defender Ed Harris, who missed the whole of last season, has received the all-clear and has signed again for next season.

Bradbury has also agreed a deal with winger Ben Swallow to keep him at the club.

May 172016
 

After the disappointment of the play off defeat Paul Cook has started to trim the squad for next season.

Brian Murphy, Chad Field and Snorre Nilsen have been released following the expiration of their contracts.

Adam McGurk, Kal Naismith and Matt Tubbs have been transfer listed. Options taken up on Tollitt, May and Close. Talks continue with Hollands and Davies.

Good to see Tollitt kept, the only real surprise in Naismith who was just starting to show some promise.

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)

HIGHLIGHTS

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
May 122016
 
League 2 Play Off
Portsmouth 2 – 2 Plymouth Argyle

 

McNulty and Roberts on target

Pompey and Plymouth could not be separated in an absorbing first leg play-off contest at a packed Fratton Park.

Marc McNulty’s early strike got the Blues off to a dream opening, only for Jamille Matt’s brace to turn the game on its head.

Argyle’s forward escaped a red card following a tussle with Michael Doyle in between those two goals.

But the hosts grabbed an equaliser in the second half, courtesy of Gary Roberts’ confidently-taken spot-kick.

Paul Cook made seven changes from the side that narrowly lost to champions Northampton at the weekend.

One of them took everyone by surprise, with a goalkeeping injury crisis seeing Ryan Allsop signed on loan from Bournemouth and thrown straight into the team.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess and Enda Stevens at the back, Danny Hollands and skipper Doyle in midfield, and Kyle Bennett and McNulty in attack.

The game began at a frenetic pace and there was plenty of controversy to spice up the first half on the south coast.

But the Blues made an excellent start by breaking the deadlock after just three minutes.

Doyle stole possession from Curtis Nelson and the ball feel kindly for McNULTY to drive into the net.

The hosts set about trying to double their advantage, but Luke McCormick did well to claim a dangerous cross from Stevens.

Instead Plymouth found soon themselves level, with Gregg Wylde sending the ball into the mix and Matt beating Allsop to head home from close range.

The Argyle striker was arguably fortunate to stay on the pitch moments later, after appearing to headbutt Doyle following a scuffle between the pair.

Cook was livid on the sidelines and his reaction saw him sent to the stands by referee Oliver Langford, quickly followed by Plymouth first team coach Paul Wotton.

And Matt soon added salt to the wound by firing the visitors ahead, controlling Kelvin Mellor’s long throw and sending an acrobatic over-head effort looping into the net.

There were then half-chances at both ends as the game continued at a breathless pace, with Hollands firing wide before Graham Carey’s effort fizzed narrowly off target.

Pompey were pushing for a leveller and it took a fine challenge by Peter Hartley to dispossess Gareth Evans in the box as the winger prepared to shoot.

McNulty was next to go close, but his fierce effort flew narrowly wide following good link-up play between Burgess and Roberts.

Both sides certainly looked capable of adding to the scoring and some Pilgrims fans thought their side had when Carey’s free-kick hit the side netting.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Plymouth 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey went straight on the attack after the interval and Evans hit one effort over before Bennett saw his shot blocked.

And the hosts were level on 51 minutes after Langford pointed to the spot for a foul on McNulty by Hartley.

The Plymouth defender was shown a yellow card before ROBERTS stepped up to emphatically fire home the penalty.

McCormick then had to make sure he held Evans’ cross from the right, with Roberts waiting to pounce at the far post.

And the Argyle keeper also made a decent stop to deny McNulty following a quick Blues break, although an unmarked Bennett was screaming for the ball to his left.

The hosts made their first switch just past the hour mark and it was Bennett who was withdrawn for Kal Naismith.

He was soon involved in the action, but could not quite get on the end of Evans’ teasing cross from the right.

Pompey were dominating possession by this point and forcing their opponents to sit deeper, but the Pilgrims defence were holding firm.

McNulty was withdrawn on 81 minutes, with Adam McGurk given a chance to impress up front.

It was Ben Davies who had a chance to fire them in front soon after, however, with McCormick forced to save at his near post.

But, with the game ending 2-2, the outcome was still very much up in the air as the sides prepare to do battle once more at Home Park on Sunday.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Davies, Burgess, Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 62); McNulty (McGurk 81)
Goals: McNulty 3, Roberts 51 (pen)
Booked: Hollands, Barton
Subs not used: Whatmough, Haunstrup, Close, Tollitt, Wilkinson

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Mellor, Nelson (c), Hartley, Sawyer; McHugh, Boateng (Purrington 80); Jervis, Carey, Wylde; Matt (Tanner 90+1)
Goals: Matt 9, 19
Booked: Carey, Hartley, Sawyer, Purrington
Subs not used: Dorel, Forster, Harvey, Rooney, Reid

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 17,622 (1,902 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
May 072016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Northampton Town

 

Freeman sent off as Blues lose to champions

Pompey will host Plymouth in the first leg of the play-offs on Thursday evening after losing 2-1 to Northampton.

The champions took the lead through Jack Whatmough’s unfortunate own-goal in the opening stages.

Kieron Freeman then received his marching orders for a late challenge, only for a Kal Naismith stunner to draw the hosts level.

A series of attacking substitutions were made as the Blues searched for a winner, but instead James Collins secured all three points for the Cobblers.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side that won at Hartlepool the previous week.

Whatmough was handed his first start for more than a year in the centre of defence, with fellow academy graduates Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close also featuring.

Ben Davies returned and skippered the side in place of Michael Doyle, while Adam McGurk came in up front.

Meanwhile, former Pompey players Ricky Holmes and John Marquis led the line for the visitors, who were afforded a guard of honour as they entered the pitch.

There were a plethora of awards handed out before kick-off, with Ben Davies picking up six from various supporters’ groups.

But it was Doyle who was named The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season – and the reaction from the fans indicated that it was deserved recognition.

Both sets of supporters then paid their respects to all the Blues fans who have sadly passed away over the past year with a minute’s applause.

Once the action got underway at a warm and sunny – and packed – Fratton Park, it was the visitors who looked more threatening.

Whatmough had to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses as a new-look Pompey side struggled for fluency.

But they were not too far away from opening the scoring on 12 minutes, with Adam McGurk flinging himself at Naismith’s cross and not quite making a clean connection.

Almost immediately, however, they found themselves behind as Whatmough inadvertently sliced Nicky Adams’ cross into his own net.

Pompey were not really playing with a recognised striker, as Gary Roberts occupied a ‘false number nine’ role, flanked by Naismith and McGurk.

They did start to create more as the half progressed, though, with McGurk curling a shot over and Naismith steering narrowly wide.

But Northampton still looked dangerous themselves and Marquis might have done better than firing wildly over after being picked out by Holmes.

Pompey should have been level on 33 minutes following a good move that started with a poor clearance from Cobblers keeper Adam Smith.

Roberts picked the ball up and it soon found its way, via Freeman, to Davies down the right flank.

The full-back sent in a low cross, but Smith redeemed himself by somehow denying Naismith from point-blank range.

Roberts then collected a lovely pass over the top from Close and spotted Smith off his line, although he could not quite chip the ball over the back-pedalling keeper.

Both sides picked up a booking before the break, with Davies and Lawson D’Ath penalised for fouls on Holmes and Haunstrup respectively.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Northampton 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey’s hopes of getting anything from the game were dealt a massive blow just after the restart when they were reduced to 10 men.

Freeman slid in to try to win the ball and although he did not really catch John-Joe O’Toole, referee Mark Brown decided it was dangerous.

He immediately brandished a red card to rule the on-loan Sheffield United utility man out of the play-offs.

But the hosts found themselves level just seconds later – thanks to a strike right out of the top drawer.

There did not look much on when NAISMITH advanced goalwards, but he hit a stunning, swerving 35-yard strike that arrowed into the net.

Cook was forced to make his first substitution on the hour mark, as Close limped off to be replaced by Adam May.

Haunstrup then had the ball in the back of the net, but Brown had already blown his whistle for a foul on Smith by McGurk.

Northampton soon enjoyed a period of pressure, with Marquis denied by Brian Murphy before Alfie Potter fired into the side netting.

Cook made an attacking switch on 69 minutes, as Conor Wilkinson replaced Whatmough for his debut.

That resulted in a defensive reshuffle which saw Gareth Evans drop to right-back and Davies move into the centre.

And Naismith was soon employed at left-back when Haunstrup made way for Ben Tollitt on 77 minutes.

Pompey now had an abundance of attack-minded players on the pitch, but the visitors soon made their numerical advantage count to retake the lead.

Cobblers skipper David Buchanan swung the ball into the box and Collins got a faint touch to turn it home.

Naismith tried to draw the Blues level with another attempt from long-range, but this time Smith dived across goal to make the save.

And Pompey were unable to find a late leveller as the visitors secured victory to cap a memorable campaign.

But plenty of fans still stayed behind to salute the Blues as they returned to the pitch after the final whistle for a lap of appreciation.

Pompey (4-3-3): Murphy; Davies (c), Whatmough (Wilkinson 69), Barton, Haunstrup (Tollitt 77); Freeman, Close (May 60), Evans; McGurk, Roberts, Naismith
Goals: Naismith 48
Sent off: Freeman
Booked: Davies, McGurk, Evans
Subs not used: Jones, Stevens, Doyle, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Lelan, Diamond, Prosser, Buchanan (c); D’Ath (Hoskins 80), O’Toole, Rose, Adams (Potter 62); Marquis (Collins 67), Holmes
Goals: Whatmough 13 (og), Collins 81
Booked: D’Ath
Subs not used: Clarke, Cresswell, Taylor, Byrom

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 18,746 (2,807 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 302016
 
League 2
Hartlepool United 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Naismith and Chaplin on target for Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Hartlepool 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 5,046 (933 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 302016
 

The Hawks were relegated after they failed to deliver the win they needed against Weston-super-Mare this afternoon.

Victory would have saved the Hawks as relegation rivals Margate lost, but in a disappointing second half they surrendered a first-half lead to the Seagulls as the game ended 1-1.

From being pre-season favourites they now face life in the Southern Premier League, if Lee Bradbury and Shaun Gale keep their jobs I for one will be very surprised

Apr 262016
 
League 2
AFC Wimbledon 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: AFC Wimbledon 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 4,799 (911 Pompey fans)

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

 

Roberts and Chaplin secure victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Pompey 1 Wycombe 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,187 (737 away fans)

Apr 192016
 
League 2
York City 3 – 1 Portsmouth

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: York 2 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Nigel Miller

Attendance: 3,214 (841 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC