Football

Jan 052017
 
League 2
Doncaster Rovers 3 – 1 Portsmouth

 

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 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 0 Luton Town

 

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: Pompey 1 Luton 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
 
League 2
Yeovil 0 – 0 Portsmouth

 

Blues end the year with a draw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Yeovil 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

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

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

 

Blues win dramatic Boxing Day clash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Newport 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 3,714 (729 Pompey fans)

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

 

Carson to the rescue for visitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half-Time: Pompey 0 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 17,081 (132 away fans)

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

 

Naismith grabs later winner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Grimsby 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Andy Haines

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

Portsmouth FC
Dec 092016
 
OUT



Ben Tollitt

(22)
Tranmere Rovers


Winger makes loan move permanent

Ben Tollitt has left Pompey to sign a permanent deal with Tranmere for an undisclosed fee.

The 22-year-old winger has spent the last few months on loan with the National League leaders.

He joined the Blues from Skelmersdale in the summer of 2015 and scored once in 18 appearances during his time at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth FC
Nov 262016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Stevenage

 

Blues suffer home defeat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Pompey 0 Stevenage 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 15,987 (277 away fans)

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

 

Portsmouth fight back aginst Hatters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Luton 1 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 8,805 (975 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 192016
 
League 2
Cheltenham Town 1 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Smith grabs late leveller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Cheltenham 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: John Brooks

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

Portsmouth FC