Football

Jan 142016
 

James Dunne has left Pompey by mutual consent.

The 26-year-old midfielder – who has spent the past two months on loan at Dagenham – has now signed for Cambridge.

He joined the Blues in the summer of 2014 and scored one goal in 39 appearances during his time at Fratton Park.

But his only game this season was as a late substitute in the Capital One Cup defeat to Reading.

Portsmouth FC
Jan 092016
 

Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Portsmouth

Pompey will take their place in the fourth round draw for the Emirates FA Cup following a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

They were totally on top against their Championship opponents in the opening 45 minutes and carved open a number of chances.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through Tommy Oar early in the second half.

The Blues hit back, though, and Kyle Bennett levelled before substitute Conor Chaplin’s strike looked to have secured a cup upset.

But there was still time for Ryan Fraser to grab a late leveller and ensure that the sides will have to do it all again at Fratton Park.

Paul Cook made four changes from the side that beat Crawley in the league the previous week.

Gary Roberts was handed his first start for more than two months and wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Michael Doyle.

Matt Clarke was unable to feature against his parent club, so Adam Barton was once again used as a makeshift defender.

There were also starts for Adam McGurk and Ben Close, with Caolan Lavery ineligible and Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.

Former Pompey striker Luke Varney started for the hosts, while Roberts and Brian Murphy were both featuring against their former club.

The visitors might play their league football two divisions below the Tractor Boys, but they were certainly not over-award.

It was the Blues who dominated from the start and it took a vital block from Paul Digby to deny Marc McNulty in the opening stages.

McGurk then climbed above his marker to reach Roberts’ cross at the far post, only to see his header deflected wide.

Ipswich were struggling to see much of the ball and their supporters grew increasingly frustrated as the first half progressed.

Roberts should have done better when he connected with Enda Stevens’ cross on 20 minutes, but could only guide the ball over the bar.

The large travelling support were enjoying themselves, chanting ‘ole’ with every completed pass.

One such period of play ended with Barton sending McNulty clear, but Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly down to his right to palm clear the striker’s low drive.

The keeper was called into action again moments later, this time doing well to keep out a Bennett snap-shot from the edge of the box.

Ipswich finally threatened with a counter-attacking move just before the break, but Barton kept his composure to cut out Oar’s through ball.

Half Time: Ipswich 0 Pompey 0

The hosts, unsurprisingly, looked sharper at the start of the second half – no doubt following a few harsh words from Mick McCarthy.

And they forged ahead on 53 minutes when Ben Davies was unable to keep out Oar’s effort on the line after Murphy had done well to keep out an initial shot from Brett Pitman.

If the home support thought that would trigger a landslide, though, they were to be disappointed.

Not even two minutes had passed when Pompey deservedly drew level, as Roberts and McNulty combined to tee-up BENNETT for a cool finish into the bottom corner.

And they almost forged ahead on 65 minutes, with Bialkowski only just keeping out McNulty’s fierce strike at the near post.

The game was certainly an open affair by now, as both sides sought to avoid a replay by finding a second goal.

Cook made his first change on 74 minutes, withdrawing Close and handing Adam May just a third senior appearance.

And a second switch soon followed as the tiring Roberts made way for Chaplin in Pompey’s forward line.

The Blues were then forced into making a final change on 81 minutes when Danny Hollands picked up a knock and was replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.

Ipswich came close to grabbing a late winner moments later, with Fraser only able to find the side netting from a tight angle.

But it was the Blues who were celebrating on 86 minutes when CHAPLIN collected the ball 20 yards out and steered a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

There was still time for the hosts to hit back, though, as Fraser swung a free-kick straight into the net from wide on the left.

Five minutes of stoppage-time meant that both sides still had the chance to increase the scoring, but an exciting game was not able to deliver one last twist.

Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (c), Malarczyk, Digby (Smith 63), Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Fraser 58), Skuse, Hyam, Oar; Pitman, Varney (Sears 74)
Goals: Oar 53, Fraser 88
Booked: Skuse
Subs not used: Gerken, Bru, Tabb, Kenlock

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Webster, Stevens; Close (May 74), Hollands (Haunstrup 81); Roberts (c) (Chaplin 78), McNulty, Bennett; McGurk
Goals: Bennett 55, Chaplin 86
Booked: Barton
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Evans

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,020 (2,494 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jan 022016
 

Portsmouth 3 v 0 Crawley Town

Pompey got 2016 off to an excellent start with a convincing victory over Crawley at Fratton Park.

A couple of loanees ensured they had a two-goal advantage at the break, with Matt Clarke heading the opener before Marc McNulty doubled the advantage.

The Blues dominated for most of the afternoon and got a deserved third when Gary Roberts found the target following excellent work from fellow substitute Ben Tollitt.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew with Luton five days earlier.

Adam Webster returned from suspension to take his place in the centre of defence, with Adam Barton dropping to the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey keeper Pavel Srnicek, who sadly passed away before Christmas at the age of just 47.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Darryl Flahavan and Sonny Bradley both starting for the Reds.

The hosts made a bright start and Caolan Lavery could not quite guide Ben Davies’ cross on target with a diving header.

Enda Stevens then delivered a dangerous low centre from the left that Bradley was forced to clear behind.

And the Blues broke the deadlock from the resulting corner, with CLARKE rising highest in the box to guide home Davies’ cross on 13 minutes.

McNulty tried to double the advantage moments later, but sent an angled effort whizzing past the post.

Pompey were totally on top and Kyle Bennett saw his strike blocked after meeting Lavery’s cut-back, while Danny Hollands blazed the loose ball over.

Clarke then met another corner from Davies, although this time his radar was off and the ball flew wide.

Lavery thought he should have been awarded a penalty midway through the first half after tangling with Lewis Young, but referee Dean Whitestone was not quite so convinced.

Stevens was providing a real threat down the left and twice saw low crosses somehow evade his team-mates.

But it proved to be third time lucky on 26 minutes when the left-back picked out McNULTY, who took a touch before sliding the ball past Flahavan.

Crawley were struggling to keep the Blues at bay and it took brave blocks from Young and Bradley to keep out goal-bound efforts from McNulty and Bennett respectively.

The visitors finally carved out an opening on 39 minutes, but after beating Clarke, Roarie Deacon hit his shot straight at Brian Murphy.

Bennett then made a vital challenge to dispossess Luke Rooney on the edge of the box, while Simon Walton hit a long-range free-kick safely into Murphy’s arms.

But most of the action was still happening at the other end of the pitch and Flahavan did well to keep out a strike from Bennett that took a heavy deflection off Jon Ashton.

Then, in stoppage-time, an unmarked Gareth Evans somehow failed to connect with Davies’ cross from just a few yards out.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Crawley 0

Pompey picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Stevens drilled a low shot narrowly wide.

Bennett was next to go close, cutting inside and sending a fierce effort fizzing inches over from the edge of the box.

But the visitors came close to reducing the deficit just past the hour mark, when Davies conceded a free-kick that Gwion Edwards curled against the crossbar.

Crawley were then thankful to Young, who prevented them from falling further behind when he cleared Lavery’s bullet header off the line.

Cook made a double substitution on 67 minutes, with McNulty and Evans making way for Roberts and Tollitt.

Lavery then had a chance to extend the hosts’ advantage when he met a cross from Tollitt, only to send his header sneaking past the far post.

Pompey were not having much to deal with at the other end, although Matt Harrold should at least have found the target when he collected Young’s pass.

And the hosts wrapped up a comfortable victory on 83 minutes after their two substitutes combined to devastating effect.

Tollitt picked the ball up from a Crawley corner and surged almost the full length of the pitch before teeing-up ROBERTS for a cool finish.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Tollitt 67), McNulty (Roberts 67), Bennett; Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Clarke 13, McNulty 26, Roberts 83
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Atangana, McGurk

Crawley (4-1-4-1): Flahavan; Young, Yorwerth (Ashton 23), Bradley (c), Hancox; Walton; Deacon, Rooney (Tomlin 77), Smith (Emmanuel 46), Edwards; Harrold
Booked: Walton
Subs not used: Preston, Bawling, Jenkins, Fenelon

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,606 (567 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 282015
 

Portsmouth 0 v 0 Luton Town

Pompey were unable to break down Luton and had to settle for a point in their final game of 2015.

It was the hosts who had the better chances to earn a victory, but they found Hatters keeper Mark Tyler in decent form.

The result ensured that the Blues finished the year just outside of the automatic promotion places in League Two.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side beaten at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day.

Adam Webster served a one-match ban following his red card, so midfielder Adam Barton replaced him at centre-back.

Pompey Hall of Fame inductee Andy Awford was in the opposition dug-out and he handed a start to former Fratton loanee Paul Benson.

The hosts started brightly and Ben Davies hit a free-kick that was deflected safely into the arms of Tyler.

Marc McNulty then fired over from an acute angle after collecting a precise pass from Enda Stevens.

The Scottish striker went even closer midway through the first half, but Tyler got down quickly to push the ball clear.

Luton almost capitalised on a defensive mix-up, but Stevens came to the rescue, getting across to clear the danger.

And the left-back immediately created an opening at the other end of the pitch, with McNulty just unable to connect with a low cross as he slid in at the far post.

Kyle Bennett was next to go close when he cut across the edge of the box and struck a fierce effort that Tyler did well to keep out.

The keeper then made an even better stop moments later to prevent McNulty from breaking the deadlock.

There was a comedy moment late in the half when Davies hit a free-kick narrowly past the post.

Plenty of fans thought it had gone in and so did the announcer, who declared a goal, resulting in plenty of laughter around Fratton Park.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Luton 0

It was Luton who came close to scoring early in the second half, but Brian Murphy raced from his line to deny Jack Marriott before pouncing at the feet of Ryan Hall to claim the loose ball.

But the action was soon back down the other end, with Bennett surging forward and seeing his shot deflected wide.

Davies sent a corner in to the near post and Michael Doyle met it with a diving header that flew narrowly over.

The right-back delivered another dangerous corner on 58 minutes, but this time Matt Clarke’s firm header flew safely into Tyler’s arms.

Cook made his first change just past the hour mark, with Gary Roberts replacing Caolan Lavery in Pompey’s attack.

But it was Luton who were next to threaten, although Magnus Okuonghae and Craig Mackail-Smith both wasted good opportunities.

Pompey were soon back on the attack and Tyler did well to deny Evans and Roberts in quick succession, having not spotted the linesman’s raised flag.

Adam McGurk entered the fray on 77 minutes as Cook made his second switch, with McNulty the man to make way.

The chances had dried up, however, and Conor Chaplin came on for the closing stages to try to inject some life back into the Blues.

But it was Clarke who had a great chance to grab the winner in stoppage-time, only for the unmarked defender to head wide from close range.

And the Hatters held firm for the final few minutes to ensure it was honours even on Awford’s return to Fratton Park.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (McGurk 77), Bennett (Chaplin 87); Lavery (Roberts 64)
Booked: Doyle
Subs not used: Bass, Close, Tollitt, Stockley

Luton (4-2-3-1): Tyler; O’Donnell, Cuthbert (c), Okuonghae, Howells; Lawless (Long 78), Smith; McQuoid (McGeehan 63), Marriott (Mackail-Smith 69), Hall; Benson
Booked: Lawless, Okuonghae, O’Donnell
Subs not used: Justham, Wilkinson, Guttridge, McCourt

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,668 (1,556 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 262015
 

Leyton Orient 3 v 2 Portsmouth

Pompey were unable to break into the automatic promotion places after losing at Leyton Orient in a bruising Boxing Day clash.

They took an early lead through Connor Essam’s own-goal, but the tide turned when Adam Webster was sent off and Jay Simpson scored the resulting penalty.

Ollie Palmer then added two more for the hosts, who had skipper Mathieu Baudry dismissed in between.

Gareth Evans reduced the deficit to spark hopes of a comeback, but the Blues were unable to find a late leveller.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Northampton before Christmas.

Michael Doyle was fit enough to feature after injuring his ankle, while Gary Roberts returned from more than two months on the sidelines to take his place among the substitutes.

The hosts selected former Fratton loanees Alex Cisak and Cole Kpekawa in their line-up, with John Marquis on the bench.

Pompey made a storming start and Caolan Lavery’s persistence almost paid off in the opening seconds as he tried to chase down Cisak’s clearance.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on four minutes when Evans failed to get a decent connection on Kyle Bennett’s cross and the ball ricocheted off Essam and into the net.

They almost doubled their advantage soon after, but Cisak made a fine double save to first keep out Bennett’s fierce drive and then Lavery’s diving header.

Lavery was unable to make contact with the resulting corner and Webster headed wide, as the visitors continued to dominate.

But all their good work was undone midway through the first half when Webster was sent off.

The defender failed to control Danny Hollands’ heavy back-pass and then bundled over Jobi McAnuff inside the box.

Referee Graham Horwood immediately pointed to the spot and brandished a red card, while League Two top scorer Simpson stepped up to convert the penalty.

With no recognised defender on the bench, Adam Barton was brought on to partner Matt Clarke at the back, with Marc McNulty the man to make way.

The dismissal also impacted on Pompey’s ability to play their normal pressing, passing game and they were under the cosh for the rest of the half.

Brian Murphy prevented them from falling immediately behind when he dived to his left to palm away McAnuff’s strike.

Palmer then spun neatly and cut inside from the right before hitting a tame effort straight into the keeper’s arms.

And the Blues also survived late in the half when a Kpekawa free-kick led to the ball pinging around their area.

But they did fall behind deep into stoppage-time, with Palmer finding it far too easy to convert a hopeful cross from Kpekawa.

Half Time: Leyton Orient 2 Pompey 1

Pompey appeared destined for defeat at the break, but there was a spark of hope when Leyton Orient were also reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

Baudry did not react well to a challenge on him by Doyle, lashing out at the Blues skipper and then receiving his marching orders.

The visiting fans were not celebrating for too long, however, as from Sean Clohessy’s free-kick, Palmer arrived at the far post to head into the bottom corner.

Pompey were not too far away from reducing the deficit on 55 minutes, with Barton’s cross agonisingly out of reach for Hollands.

Evans then met Ben Davies’ corner and the ball was heading for the top corner until Cisak got across to pluck it from the air.

The hosts had an opportunity on 66 minutes when Simpson cut inside from the right, but his weak effort was comfortably claimed by Murphy.

And the Blues then went straight up the other end of the pitch to reduce their deficit.

Bennett was the architect, turning Jack Payne and then playing a magnificent pass through to EVANS, who calmly slotted the ball past Cisak.

It almost got even better moments later, as the visitors were denied three times in the space of a few seconds.

First Jean-Yves M’Voto did well to prevent Lavery from getting a shot away and then Enda Stevens flashed a dangerous pass across goal that just evaded Bennett.

Davies picked up the loose ball on the right and hit a powerful angled drive that Cisak managed to push clear.

Cisak was again involved on 72 minutes, doing enough to deny Lavery from close-range before Evans volleyed narrowly over.

The keeper then just about beat Clarke to Davies’ corner as Pompey kept knocking on the door in search of another goal.

Roberts and Conor Chaplin were thrown on for the closing stages as Cook made one last roll of the dice.

But it was the hosts who almost scored late on when Marquis latched onto a poor back-pass from Stevens.

The Orient substitute could only find the post with his first effort, however, while Stevens recovered to clear his follow-up attempt from the line.

Pompey’s left-back then sent in a low cross that was met by Evans, but Cisak made a fine save as the Londoners saw out seven minutes of stoppage-time to claim all three points.

Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Cisak; Baudry (c), M’Voto, Essam, Kpekawa; Clohessy, Pritchard, Payne, McAnuff (Turgott 88); Palmer (Marquis 82), Simpson (Shaw 72)
Goals: Simpson 23 (pen), Palmer 45+1, 52
Sent off: Baudry
Booked: Essam, Palmer, Pritchard, Shaw
Subs not used: Grainger, Dunne, Kashket, Moncur

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands (Roberts 87), Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Barton 24), Bennett (Chaplin 87); Lavery
Goals: Essam 4 (og), Evans 66
Sent off: Webster
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Close, Tollitt, McGurk

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 5,848 (1,316 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 192015
 
League 2
Northampton Town 1 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Pompey ensured it would be a very Merry Christmas by coming from behind to win at league leaders Northampton.

Conor Chaplin came off the bench to get the crucial late goal and give the 900-plus visiting fans the perfect present.

That came after Gareth Evans had headed home to cancel out Ryan Cresswell’s opener before the break.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that convincingly beat Hartlepool the previous week.

Christian Burgess injured his ankle ligaments in that game, so Matt Clarke replaced him at the heart of defence.

It was the side at the summit who made the brighter start and Clarke did well to clear Joel Byrom’s dangerous ball into the box.

But the visitors soon settled and came close to breaking the deadlock on 10 minutes, with Caolan Lavery’s low cross just out of reach for the onrushing Evans.

And Evans had another decent opportunity moments later, only to swipe at thin air after Marc McNulty had done brilliantly to tee him up.

The Blues received a let-off at the other end when Adam Webster’s poor touch sent Marc Richards through on goal, but Brian Murphy came to the defender’s rescue with a vital block.

It was only a brief reprieve, however, as from the resulting corner, Byrom’s cross was firmly headed home at the far post by Cresswell.

That left Pompey shell-shocked for a while, but they soon settled back into their patient passing play.

Lavery headed wide from a Ben Davies cross before McNulty’s low cross had to be cut out by Cresswell.

Then after Adam Smith came racing from his box to beat Lavery to the ball, McNulty was unable to catch the Cobblers keeper out from almost halfway.

But the Blues were level on 32 minutes – and it was the impressive McNulty who created it.

The forward did brilliantly to shake off a couple of challenges and stand up a fine cross that EVANS expertly headed into the top corner.

Northampton came close to extending their advantage soon after when a corner led to an almighty scramble in the box.

Cresswell inadvertently did Pompey’s job for them by clearing a shot off the line and Clarke eventually got the ball to safety.

But it was the visitors who finished the half on the ascendency and Smith did well to parry clear Lavery’s angled drive following good work from Kyle Bennett.

Then, in stoppage-time, Smith was again called into action to stop McNulty from converting Davies’ cross.

Half Time: Northampton 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey tried to continue where they had left off at the start of the second half and were looking to use the strong gusts to their advantage.

There were a couple of half-chances, although Lavery was offside when he tried to collect Bennett’s through ball

Zander Diamond then recovered quickly after his slip had threatened to send the lively McNulty away.

Bennett had two efforts blocked from the edge of the box in quick succession as the Blues continued to push for another goal.

They had another opening just past the hour mark when, with McNulty in an offside position, Lavery chased down his own pass and was only just beaten to the ball by Smith.

The keeper then made sure he got his body behind Evans’ fierce 30-yard drive following a surging run from the Pompey winger.

Northampton need to make a change to halt the one-way traffic and introduced former Blues midfielder Ricky Holmes.

It was the Blues who came close to forging ahead on 70 minutes, though, when after a poor Davies corner was partially cleared, Danny Hollands’ effort was deflected inches past the post.

Smith was still having to be alert between the sticks for the hosts and he was again quickly off his line to deny McNulty following good work from Michael Doyle and Lavery.

Evans was next to go close, but could only fire wide when Bennett’s cross came in at an awkward height.

It was Bennett who made way when Cook decided to make his first change and introduce Ben Tollitt on 76 minutes.

Despite struggling to make much of an attacking impact in the second half, the hosts then almost retook the lead.

Brendan Moloney’s effort was deflected behind and from the resulting corner, Diamond headed over from just a couple of yards out.

The tireless McNulty was then withdrawn for the final 10 minutes, with Adam McGurk given a chance to impress.

It was Northampton who were now looking dangerous, however, and the imposing Cresswell headed a corner against the crossbar.

Cook’s final throw of the dice saw Chaplin come on for Lavery – and it proved to be a masterstroke.

Fellow substitute Tollitt was the creator, bursting down the right and angling in a shot that was too hot for Smith to handle.

The ball fell kindly for CHAPLIN, who had the simple task of sliding in from a couple of yards out, sending the travelling fans wild with delight.

It was not quite game over, though, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin almost got an immediate equaliser with a header that left the crossbar shaking.

But the Blues saw out the final few minutes to leave themselves on the brink of the automatic promotion places.

Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Moloney, Diamond (Hoskins 89), Cresswell, Buchanan; O’Toole, Byrom; D’Ath, Potter (Holmes 65), Adams (Calvert-Lewin 57); Richards (c)
Goals: Cresswell 17
Booked: O’Toole, D’Ath, Cresswell
Subs not used: Clarke, Lelan, McDonald, Taylor

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (McGurk 80), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Evans 32, Chaplin 86
Booked: McNulty, McGurk
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Barton, Close

Referee: Fred Graham

Attendance: 5,859 (938 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 122015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

Pompey gave the Fratton faithful a perfect early Christmas present with a comfortable victory over Hartlepool.

After a slow start, the hosts took the lead through Caolan Lavery’s impressive finish and an Adam Jackson own-goal soon lifted the home support further.

Gareth Evans then slotted in another after the interval and Marc McNulty added a fourth late on to stretch the Blues’ unbeaten run to seven matches.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that progressed to the third round of the FA Cup by beating Accrington the previous week.

Lavery – who had been ineligible to feature against Stanley – replaced Adam McGurk, while Matt Clarke made way for Christian Burgess.

Former Pompey keeper Trevor Carson received a warm round of applause when he took up position in the Fratton End goal for Hartlepool.

The game was slow to get going, with the strong winds making passing football difficult for both sides.

Ben Davies swung in an early corner that none of his team-mates were able to make a connection with.

Then, after Adam Webster was dispossessed in the centre, Brian Murphy had to get down to hold Rakish Bingham’s shot.

And Bingham soon took advantage of heavy touch from Christian Burgess, but was unable to find the target.

There were nothing more than half-chances to warm up the crowd, with McNulty drawing a comfortable save from Carson and Davies fizzing a free-kick past the post.

Kyle Bennett livened things up on 32 minutes, however, with a fierce 20-yard effort that flew narrowly wide.

And the Fratton faithful were buoyant moments later, when LAVERY broke the deadlock with a fine strike from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner.

The visitors then gifted Pompey a second goal on 37 minutes, as Jackson was only able to divert Davies’ low cross into his own net.

Matthew Bates almost copied his central defensive partner and would have breathed a sigh of relief when his mis-cued header flew safely into Carson’s arms.

Murphy had enjoyed a quiet afternoon at the other end, but was called into action just before the break with a diving save to keep out Scott Fenwick’s sweetly-struck volley.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Evans should have extended the hosts’ advantage early in the second half, but fired wide after McNulty had embarked on a mazy run to tee him up.

They received a let-off at the other end, though, when Enda Stevens conceded a free-kick that Jake Carroll curled narrowly wide.

A corner then led to an almighty scramble in the Blues box before Evans eventually got the ball to safety.

And EVANS soon made up for his earlier miss by scoring Pompey’s third goal just past the hour mark.

Stevens did well down the left and fed McNulty, who showed quick feet to beat a couple of challenges and get a shot away.

His effort was well saved at point-blank range by Carson, but Evans popped up to confidently tuck away the loose ball.

Cook made his first switch on 75 minutes, with Bennett making way to allow Ben Tollitt a run-out, while McGurk came on for Lavery soon after.

It took a fine last-gasp challenge in the box from Stevens to prevent Nicky Featherstone from reducing the deficit.

Pools substitute Mikael Mandron was then booked for a late challenge on Christian Burgess, which saw the defender limp off and be replaced by Clarke.

The closing stages passed by without much incident, but McNULTY added a fourth goal at the death, calmly slotting home after being sent through by Stevens.

It meant there was plenty of cheer when the final whistle was blown, with the hosts delivering a festive feast.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess (Clarke 85), Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty, Bennett (Tollitt 75); Lavery (McGurk 80)
Goals: Lavery 33, Jackson 37 (og), Evans 61, McNulty 90
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Close, Chaplin

Hartlepool (4-3-2-1): Carson; Duckworth, Bates, Jackson, Carroll; Gray, Featherstone, Magnay (c) (Walker 75); Oates, Fenwick (Mandron 75); Bingham
Booked: Bingham, Mandron
Subs not used: Bartlett, Harrison, Woods, Richards, Smith

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 15,610 (145 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 052015
 

FA Cup


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Accrington Stanley    0

 


Pompey saw off the challenge of Accrington to reach the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since they were relegated from the Championship in 2012.

Adam McGurk scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half to ensure the Blues would take their place in Monday evening’s draw.

The hosts were the more creative side throughout the contest and the impressive Marc McNulty also struck the woodwork.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that picked up a point at Wycombe in the league the previous week.

One was enforced with Gareth Evans replacing the ineligible Caolan Lavery, while Christian Burgess made way for Matt Clarke.

The tie was slow to get into gear, with the strong winds swirling around Fratton Park making life difficult for both sides.

Pompey were first to fashion an opening on seven minutes when Ben Davies delivered a free-kick that was diverted narrowly over by McNulty.

Michael Doyle then sent a shot flying inches past the post after Enda Stevens’ cut the ball back to him on the edge of the box.

But, in truth, it was not a cup clash that was providing much entertainment value for those who braved the cold.

There was plenty of warmth generated when the Blues broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, however.

Davies released McNulty down the right and although Kyle Bennett missed the striker’s low cross, McGURK arrived at the far post to slam the ball home.

Pompey suddenly looked a real threat every time they ventured forward to take on the Stanley defence.

McNulty almost doubled the advantage after racing onto Bennett’s pass, only to see his shot roll agonisingly wide of the post.

The on-loan Sheffield United striker went even closer on 33 minutes when he headed Davies’ free-kick against the crossbar.

Accrington then enjoyed a spell of pressure in the Pompey half, with Billy Kee sending a couple of efforts wide.

But their best chance arrived on 43 minutes, when Tom Davies met Sean McConville’s free-kick and the ball landed on the roof of the net.


Half Time

(1 – 0)


Pompey immediately set about trying to extend their lead when the game restarted and they forged a decent opening on 49 minutes.

The lively McNulty was eventually stopped after skipping past three challenges and Danny Hollands sent the loose ball flying just past the post.

But that did not herald a period of sparkling excitement as the game soon settled into a scrappy encounter.

Jason Mooney did make a regulation save low to his left to keep out Bennett’s 25-yard effort on 62 minutes.

But the Accrington keeper then almost handed the hosts a goal when his poor clearance found McNulty.

He in turn played the ball to McGurk, who was denied his second of the afternoon by Mooney’s trailing leg.

The second half – just like the first did – had now burst into life and Mooney was called into action again to keep out McNulty’s effort.

There was not too much happening at the other end of the pitch, although Brian Murphy was equal to Joe Wright’s volley on 70 minutes.

But Pompey were soon back on the attack and a long-range Bennett attempt almost caught out Mooney.

Cook made a switch on 75 minutes, with McGurk leaving to a standing ovation and Jayden Stockley coming on for his first appearance in more than two months.

There was then a stoppage when referee Kevin Johnson hurt his knee and had to be treated by Blues physio Sean Duggan – although the official did not receive much sympathy from the Fratton faithful.

He was able to carry on for a few more minutes before eventually being replaced by linesman Brett Huxtable.

That meant there were seven minute of stoppage-time displayed and Accrington sensed the opportunity to earn a replay.

But the Blues nervously saw out the closing stages – with Murphy saving Terry Gornell’s close-range header – to secure their progress and join the Premier League big boys in the third round draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Stockley 75), Bennett (Burgess 90+5); McNulty (Chaplin 90+3)
Goals: McGurk 21
Booked: Webster, McNulty, Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Barton, Boco

Accrington (4-2-3-1): Mooney; Halliday, Davies, Wright, Pearson; Barry (Buxton 67), Crooks (c); Mingoia (McCartan 76), Windass (Gornell 83), McConville; Kee
Booked: Halliday, Wright, Kee
Subs not used: Etheridge, Wakefield, Procter, Conneely

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Brett Huxtable 89)

Attendance: 9,258 (158 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 282015
 

League Two


 

Wycombe Wanderers    2

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Caolan Lavery and Adam Webster were on target as Pompey fought from two goals down to snatch a point at Wycombe.

It looked like they would leave empty-handed when Michael Harriman and Garry Thompson netted within the space of three first half minutes.

But Lavery grabbed a lifeline just before the interval before Webster levelled with a thumping header after it.

Paul Cook made one change to the side that romped to a 6-0 victory over York during the week.

Adam McGurk came into the attacking three behind lone striker Lavery, with Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.

Jayden Stockley was also named among the substitutes having missed the last nine games with an ankle injury.

There was not much excitement to warm the crowd up in the opening stages, with chances at a premium.

Marc McNulty could only head a Ben Davies free-kick wide, while Danny Hollands was forced to divert a corner over his own crossbar at the other end.

The hosts tried to liven things up with a clever free-kick routine midway through the first half, but after Sam Wood cheekily flicked the ball up, Paul Hayes could only fire into the wall.

Wycombe were gifted the lead on 28 minutes, however, when Brian Murphy charged from his box and sent a clearance straight to Luke O’Nien.

The midfielder’s effort was blocked, but the ball fell to Harriman, who calmly finished from 30 yards with Pompey’s keeper yet to get back into position.

And things soon got even worse for the visitors as, less than three minutes later, Harriman got clear down the right and swung in a dangerous cross that Thompson fired home.

The Blues tried to hit back, with Lavery and Kyle Bennett both denied by some last-gasp defending from the Chairboys.

But it took a fine stop from Murphy to stop them falling further behind on 38 minutes, with the keeper spreading himself to deny Wood from point-blank range.

Pompey had been well below-par, although they finished the half with a flourish and Aaron Pierre diverted Enda Stevens’ low cross just past his own post.

And the visitors grabbed a lifeline in stoppage-time after McNulty beat the offside trap to latch onto Christian Burgess’ threaded pass and unselfishly squared for LAVERY to slot home.


Half Time

(2 – 1)


Cook made a switch at the start of the second half, with Hollands making way for Adam Barton in midfield.

Pompey soon had a chance when Davies delivered a free-kick into the area, but Wycombe were able to scramble clear and referee Mark Haywood ignored Webster’s pleas for a penalty.

WEBSTER was celebrating on 55 minutes, however, when he was left unmarked to convert Davies’ corner with a bullet header that was too powerful for Chairboys keeper Matt Ingram to keep out.

Hayes had his own chance from a set-piece moments later, but he could only divert the ball straight into Murphy’s arms.

The Blues then surged straight down the other end and Pierre made a decent block to keep out McGurk’s effort.

Cook made his second switch on 67 minutes, with Evans getting a chance to impress in place of McGurk.

He soon made an impact, but after ghosting in at the near post, was unable to divert a corner from Davies on target.

And Evans was in the thick of action again moments later, only to be denied by a vital Anthony Stewart block after Lavery had done well to hold the ball up.

Bennett was next go close when he cut along the edge of the box before firing in a shot that Ingram did well to beat away.

And Burgess thought he should have been awarded a penalty on 84 minutes after going to ground under Pierre’s challenge while trying to attack a corner.

Pierre then fouled Lavery right on the edge of the box and Davies’ free-kick was pushed clear by Ingram.

It was Pompey who were doing all the attacking as the game entered its closing stages, but they were unable to find a late winner.

Wycombe (4-4-2): Ingram; McCarthy, Stewart, Pierre, Jombati; Harriman (Kretzschmar 90+3), Bloomfield, O’Nien, Wood; Hayes (c) (Amadi-Holloway 81), Thompson
Goals: Harriman 28, Thompson 30
Booked: McCarthy, Pierre
Subs not used: Richardson, Rowe, Banton, Sellers, Ugwu

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands (Barton 46), Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 67), McNulty, Bennett (Tollitt 89); Lavery
Goals: Lavery 45+2, Webster 55
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Chaplin, Stockley

Referee: Mark Haywood

Attendance: 5,816 (1,976 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 242015
 

League Two


 

Portsmouth    6

 


 

York City    0

 


Pompey scored six second half goals as the Fratton dam finally burst on a magical night on the south coast.

York held firm for the first 45 minutes, but Jonathan Greening’s red card just before the break was a huge blow.

And the Blues made the most of their extra man, with Ben Davies getting the ball rolling just after the restart.

Marc McNulty then endeared himself to the home fans with a hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt.

But the hosts were not done there and substitutes Conor Chaplin and Ben Tollitt added a further gloss to the already impressive scoreline.

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

McNulty was rewarded for his goal at Brunton Park with a place in the starting line-up, as Adam McGurk dropped to the bench.

Pompey showed plenty of attacking purpose straight from kick-off and Gareth Evans’ low cross was just behind the onrushing Caolan Lavery.

The visitors had an opportunity to break the deadlock on eight minutes, but Vadaine Oliver could not make a clean connection with Greening’s quickly-taken free-kick.

It was the Blues causing more trouble, however, and Kyle Bennett had a shot blocked before Christian Burgess saw his header deflected wide.

Lavery then showed great skill to control Bennett’s flick and lift the ball over a defender, but at full-stretch he could only poke wide.

Davies was, as ever, providing plenty of dangerous crosses and one of them was glanced narrowly past the post by McNulty on 14 minutes.

Pompey kept pouring forward and Michael Doyle sent a volley over the crossbar after Minstermen keeper Scott Flinders had failed to hold a corner.

McNulty then had cries for a penalty turned down by referee Iain Williamson after he went down under Eddie Nolan’s challenge.

Flinders was soon called into action once more, keeping out Evans’ angled drive after the winger had latched onto Lavery’s threaded pass.

When York did manage to get forward, the hosts were quick to catch them on the break and one such move ended with Lavery firing wide.

The Blues kept knocking on the door and Bennett was next to go close with a long-range snap-shot that was agonisingly off target.

But the big talking point came right at the end of the half when the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Greening clattered into Doyle extremely late and appeared to catch Pompey’s skipper with his elbow.

The challenge angered the home side and Williamson quickly put his hand in his pocket to pull out a red card.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


Pompey were soon back on the attack once the second half started and it took a fantastic save to stop them taking the lead within a minute.

Lavery met Davies’ cross from the right and his header appeared destined for the net until Flinders stuck out a hand to somehow tip the ball over.

But the Fratton faithful did not have to wait long to see their side open the scoring, as a cross from DAVIES somehow evaded everyone on its way into the net.

Doyle’s shot was then well held low down by Flinders as the Blues tried to make the most of their numerical advantage.

And they did extend the lead on 52 minutes when Doyle sent Evans’ low cross back into the box and McNULTY calmly diverted it home.

The rampant Blues soon added a third goal, as McNULTY doubled his tally for the evening by converting Bennett’s cut-back.

Pompey kept pouring forward in search of even more goals and Flinders just about managed to prevent Evans from getting in on the act on 63 minutes.

There was not too long to wait for the fourth to arrive, however, and it was McNULTY who got it, latching onto Doyle’s pass and coolly sliding home to complete his hat-trick.

He immediately left the pitch to a standing ovation, with Davies also departing, as Chaplin and Rommy Boco were invited to the party.

Chaplin immediately looked a threat and sent a free-kick dipping narrowly over before weaving his way into space and seeing a shot blocked by George Swan.

But it was fellow substitute TOLLITT who grabbed the fifth on 80 minutes, surging into the box to convert a fine low cross from Enda Stevens.

CHAPLIN did get in on the act moments later, though, following up to score after Flinders had failed to hold Evans’ effort.

“We want seven,” was the cry from the stands and although the Blues could not oblige, the home fans still left the ground with huge smiles on their faces.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies (Boco 73), Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Chaplin 73), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery
Goals: Davies 49, McNulty 52, 60, 71, Tollitt 80, Chaplin 84
Booked: Bennett
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, McGurk

York (4-2-3-1): Flinders; Nolan, Swan, Boyle, Ilesanmi; Greening, Berrett (c); Sinclair (Godfrey 56), Morris, Straker; Oliver (Hyde 75)
Sent off: Greening
Booked: Swan
Subs not used: Ingham, Hare, Tutonda, Turner

Referee: Iain Williamson

Attendance: 13,616 (141 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 212015
 

League Two


 

Carlisle United    2

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Pompey were cruelly denied a deserved victory at Carlisle after conceding in the last minute of stoppage-time

It looked like the points were heading back down to the south coast when Caolan Lavery and Marc McNulty found the target in quick succession after the break.

That turned the contest on its head after Danny Grainger had netted from the spot on the stroke of half-time.

But the United skipper ensured there would be a share of the spoils after scoring a fine strike right at the death.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew at home to AFC Wimbledon the previous week.

Kyle Bennett returned to the starting line-up and took up position wide on the left, with McNulty dropping to the bench.

Pompey – backed by almost 1,000 hardy travelling fans – immediately set about trying to find an early goal and it almost arrived after five minutes.

Lavery met Ben Davies’ cross from wide on the right, but his header was parried clear by Carlisle keeper Mark Gillespie.

Webster then tried a shot from the resulting corner and his effort bounced off the turf and was cleared from the line by Grainger.

The Blues were totally dominant and after Gillespie got a hand to Davies’ cross, the keeper recovered to twice prevent Enda Stevens from converting the loose ball.

And when Gareth Evans’ follow-up hit a body in the area, the visitors’ cries for a penalty were dismissed by referee Scott Duncan.

Webster surged forward and tried his luck from long-range on 14 minutes, but his shot flew over the bar.

And there were further half-chances for Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle as the Blues continued to apply plenty of pressure.

The home support were starting to grow frustrated at their side’s inability to keep hold of the ball, while Pompey passed it around neatly.

But for all of their possession, Gillespie was not exactly being overworked in the Cumbrians’ box as the final killer pass just eluded the visitors.

He had been more involved than Brian Murphy, however, with the Blues stopper a virtual spectator during the first half.

But his first task of note was to pick the ball out of the net just before the break after Burgess needlessly slid in on Grainger.

There was some debate about whether the foul took place inside or outside the box, but Duncan pointed to the spot.

Grainger dusted himself down to take the penalty and slammed it straight down the middle to leave Pompey stunned.


Half Time

(1 – 0)


The Blues continued to see more of the ball when the second half got started, but were still finding it difficult to penetrate the opposition defence.

Carlisle, meanwhile, had a chance when Alex Gilliead broke clear on 55 minutes, only for Murphy to palm his cross to safety.

Pompey had a good chance to level on the hour mark when Davies was bundled over by Luke Joyce.

The right-back insisted that the foul had taken place inside the box, but Duncan did not agree and the visitors had to settle for a free-kick.

Adam McGurk fired it straight into the wall, however, and after picking up the loose ball, his cross was claimed by Gillespie.

Cook responded with a double substitution on 64 minutes, as Evans and McGurk made way for Ben Tollitt and McNulty.

And the substitutes both made an immediate impact as Pompey turned the game on its head in the space of just two minutes.

It was Tollitt who delivered the ball that LAVERY slid in to convert at the near post to level the scores on 66 minutes.

Then, seconds later, McNULTY took advantage of some poor defending to steal possession and slam the ball past Gillespie.

It was only a brief cameo for the striker, however, as he was soon clattered while at the back to deal with a United corner and had to be replaced by Nigel Atangana.

Pompey’s patient passing game then started to come unstuck as they nervily tried to hold on for all three points.

Carlisle were understandably showing more urgency and forcing the visitors back deeper and deeper.

And they managed to snatch a leveller in the fifth minute of stoppage-time when Grainger fired impressively home from long-range.

Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; Miller, Raynes (Asamoah 73), Ellis, Atkinson; Joyce (Sweeney 78), Dicker; Gilliead, Kennedy, Grainger (c); Ibehre (Wyke 73)
Goals: Grainger 44 (pen), 90+5
Booked: Dicker
Subs not used: Hanford, McQueen, Hery, Brough

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Tollitt 64), McGurk (McNulty 64 (Atangana 74)), Bennett; Lavery
Goals: Lavery 66, McNulty 68
Booked: McNulty, Lavery
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Boco, Chaplin

Referee: Scott Duncan

Attendance: 5,503 (953 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 152015
 

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

AFC Wimbledon    0

 


There were more Fratton frustrations as Pompey were unable to break down AFC Wimbledon.

The hosts improved as the game wore on, but there were not an abundance of opportunities to get the crowd – or those watching on Sky Sports – excited.

Marc McNulty had the best of them after the interval, but was denied by a smart save as the Blues had to settle for another home draw.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that beat Macclesfield in the FA Cup eight days earlier, as he switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

Caolan Lavery and McNulty came in to lead the line, with Kyle Bennett and Conor Chaplin dropping to the bench.

With the match being Pompey’s designated Remembrance fixture, there was a minute’s silence before kick-off, with the Last Post played in front of an audience of veterans.

Also, in tribute to those who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris on Friday, Nigel Atangana and Rommy Boco carried out a French flag, while ‘La Marseillaise’ rang out over the PA system.

Pompey made a bright start when the game got underway and Lavery delivered a dangerous low cross that Gareth Evans could not quite convert in the opening seconds.

But it was the visitors who found the back of the net moments later when a George Francomb free-kick was headed home, only for their celebrations to be cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Brian Murphy then failed to hold a fierce long-range drive from Sean Rigg, but quickly recovered to pounce on the loose ball.

However, there were not too many other openings in a first half that saw both sides guilty of some sloppy passing.

Christian Burgess had to make a key interception to prevent Jon Meades latching onto an Ade Azeez ball.

Pompey, meanwhile, delivered a few dangerous crosses into the opposition box, although there was nothing to trouble Dons keeper Ben Wilson.

Azeez might have given the visitors a stoppage-time lead when a long throw was flicked into his path, but could not beat Murphy from an acute angle.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


As was the case in the first half, it was Pompey who were first to threaten after the interval.

McNulty collected the ball on the left, beat former Blues defender Paul Robinson, cut inside and then saw his powerful effort pushed over by Wilson.

The visitors were then gifted an opportunity at the other end when Adam Webster dwelt on the ball for too long and was forced to concede a corner.

It was Robinson who was there to meet the ball when it was whipped into the box, but he could only head over.

Cook made his first substitution on 58 minutes, switching to three at the back with Matt Clarke replacing Evans.

The atmosphere picked up as Pompey started to show more attacking intent, but they were still not doing enough to test Wilson.

Another change was made on 66 minutes as Adam McGurk made way for Bennett wide on the left.

The Blues had won a corner before the switch happened and, when play restarted, Ben Davies swung in a cross that Burgess headed over.

There was not too much action at the other end of the pitch, although substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa guided a header past the post.

Pompey tried a quick break up the pitch on 66 minutes, with skipper Michael Doyle surging forward and just unable to pick out Lavery with a curling pass.

Cook’s third and final change saw Lavery make way for Nigel Atangana, with Bennett pushed further up alongside McNulty.

But it was the memory of former Blues player and manager Bobby Campbell that got the Fratton faithful clapping when the clock turned to 83 minutes – the year he led the club to the Division Three title.

Unfortunately, there was not a late Pompey winner to give them something else to cheer.

Pompey (4-4-2): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Evans (Clarke 58), Hollands, Doyle (c), McGurk (Bennett 66); McNulty, Lavery (Atangana 79)
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Chaplin

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Wilson; Fuller (c), Robinson, Osborne, Meades; Frabncomb, Bulman, Reeves, Rigg (Kennedy 82); Taylor, Azeez (Akinfenwa 61)
Booked: Reeves
Subs not used: McDonnell, Toonga, Gallagher, Beere, Kaja

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Attendance: 15,892 (794 away fans)


Portsmouth FC