|Striker departs Pompey
Pompey and Adam McGurk have agreed a deal for the striker to leave Fratton Park.
The 27-year-old Northern Irishman has now signed for fellow League Two side Cambridge.
He joined the Blues last summer after two years with Burton, where he was a fourth tier title winner.
McGurk scored six goals in 36 appearances for Pompey, including a brace against Macclesfield in the first round of the FA Cup.
After the disappointment of the play off defeat Paul Cook has started to trim the squad for next season.
Brian Murphy, Chad Field and Snorre Nilsen have been released following the expiration of their contracts.
Adam McGurk, Kal Naismith and Matt Tubbs have been transfer listed. Options taken up on Tollitt, May and Close. Talks continue with Hollands and Davies.
Good to see Tollitt kept, the only real surprise in Naismith who was just starting to show some promise.
FA Cup 2nd Round
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.
Accrington Stanley 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)
FA Cup 1st Round
Pompey’s long wait for an FA Cup victory finally came to an end as they saw off Macclesfield to progress to the second round.
It looked like being a comfortable afternoon when Adam McGurk fired them ahead in the opening stages.
But Kristian Dennis took advantage of some sloppy defending to bring the non-league side level soon after.
The Blues created plenty of chances and the winner arrived in first half stoppage-time, with McGurk again on target.
Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side beaten at Notts County in the league the previous week.
With Caolan Lavery not given permission to play by parent club Sheffield Wednesday, Conor Chaplin came in to lead the line.
That meant that recent loan arrival Marc McNulty had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of former Pompey player and manager Bobby Campbell – who sadly passed away on Friday – as well as all those who have lost their lives in service of their country.
When the game got started it was the hosts – attacking the Fratton End in the first half – who looked more dangerous.
And they broke the deadlock after just three minutes when McGURK collected a fine pass from Kyle Bennett and fired home off the inside of the post.
Brian Murphy got down low to keep out Paul Turnbull’s long-range effort soon after, but most of the action was taking place at the other end of the pitch.
A dangerous cross from Ben Davies had to be cleared behind, while Adam Webster’s header from the resulting corner was comfortably saved by Shwan Jalal.
Chaplin then saw a shot swerve wide before Macclesfield levelled the tie in farcical fashion on 15 minutes.
Murphy took too long to clear when Enda Stevens threw the ball back to him, allowing Dennis to charge him down with the ball ricocheting into the net.
Pompey immediately set about trying to restore their advantage and Gareth Evans’ drive was punched clear by Jalal.
Murphy then atoned for his earlier error with an acrobatic save to deny Danny Whitehead from distance.
The Blues dominated the rest of the first half, however, and Chaplin drilled wide before Andy Halls made a vital interception to stop an unmarked McGurk collecting the ball inside the area.
David Fitzpatrick was then forced to clear Evans’ shot from the line after fine work from Bennett and McGurk down the left.
Pompey continued to pour forward and there were several more half chances as the clock ticked down on the first half.
But they did manage to forge ahead in stoppage-time when Stevens’ cross caused an almighty scramble in the Macclesfield box and McGURK kept his composure to stab home.
Macclesfield Town 1
It was the visitors who looked more eager immediately after the interval and Murphy had to be alert to keep out Danny Whitaker’s effort.
Stevens’ clearance then ricocheted off Michael Doyle and fell kindly for Dennis, but his shot flew over the bar.
Pompey carved open their first chance of the half on 56 minutes when Bennett and McGurk showed good perseverance to win possession and Chaplin’s shot was deflected narrowly wide.
Evans and Danny Hollands were unable to test Jalal from long-range as the hosts lacked the attacking threat that had been so evident before the break.
With that in mind, Cook made his first change on 66 minutes, handing McNulty his debut in place of Chaplin.
And a second switch soon followed as the inventive Bennett made way for Kal Naismith down the left.
McNulty looked lively, but was caught offside from Doyle’s pass and then there was no-one to meet his low centre.
The striker probably should have added a third goal on 83 minutes, only to head Evans’ pin-point cross over the bar.
And he then saw his fierce shot beaten away by Jalal after doing well to weave past a couple of challenges.
But it mattered not as the hosts comfortably held on for their first FA Cup win in five years to book their place in Monday night’s second round draw.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Boco 90), Bennett (Naismith 69); Chaplin (McNulty 66)
Goals: McGurk 3, 45+1
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Tollitt
Macclesfield (4-1-4-1): Jalal; Halls, Pilkington (Byrne 46), Diagne, Fitzpatrick; Turnbull (c) (Sampson 75); Holroyd, Whitehead (Lewis 75), Whitaker, Rowe; Dennis
Goals: Dennis 15
Subs not used: Branagan, Cowan, Churchman, Meikle
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 9,834 (411 away fans)
Adam McGurk’s stunning strike saw Pompey fight from behind to preserve their unbeaten league record at Oxford.
The forward fired home from long-range after the interval to cancel out Liam Sercombe’s first half opener.
But the Blues had to play out the closing stages with only 10 men after captain Michael Doyle was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that beat Barnet at Fratton Park the previous week.
With Gary Roberts and Brian Murphy both absent through injury, in came Gareth Evans wide on the right and Paul Jones between the sticks.
It was Pompey who made the brighter start, sending a few deliveries into the box for the hosts to deal with.
They were enjoying plenty of possession, but the final ball was lacking and Sam Slocombe remained untroubled in the Oxford goal.
And United started to grow into the game as the half progressed, finally having the first decent chance on 26 minutes.
Doyle was booked for a foul on Sercombe and Jones was quickly off his line to punch clear the resulting free-kick.
Pompey’s keeper was in action again moments later, this time preventing Danny Hylton from scoring with an angled close-range drive.
The visitors were soon forced into making a substitution, with Conor Chaplin limping off to be replaced by Matt Tubbs.
Hylton then saw his shot deflected behind and it was from the resulting corner that Oxford broke the deadlock.
Rose swung a dangerous cross into the box and Pompey were unable to properly deal with the delivery, leaving Sercombe in space to lash home the loose ball.
The Blues were still not creating much at the other end and a Ben Davies free-kick that curled wide was the closest they came to troubling Slocombe.
United were having more joy, however, and Roofe probably should have guided Callum O’Dowda’s cut-back on target.
Johnny Mullins then met a Rose free-kick on 43 minutes, but Jones palmed away his header and Pompey were able to hack clear.
And Jones came to the rescue again just before the interval, doing well to make himself large and deny Roofe.
Oxford United 1
Cook made a change at the break, with Adam Barton coming on for his first league appearance in place of the below-par Nigel Atangana.
Pompey soon had a chance to draw level when they broke quickly up the pitch and Slocombe did well to stop the onrushing Evans from meeting McGurk’s low cross.
Evans then hooked the ball into the box and McGurk sent a header looping narrowly over the crossbar.
But the Blues’ afternoon was perhaps best summed up on 58 minutes when Kyle Bennett did well to win a corner.
Evans placed the ball down to take what was clearly a well-rehearsed effort, only to roll it straight out of play.
But suddenly – and without looking particularly threatening – Pompey found themselves level.
There did not appear to be much on when McGURK received the ball 30 yards out, but he let fly with a fierce effort that beat Slocombe’s desperate dive and slammed into the net.
The goal seemed to give the visitors a massive lift, although Oxford arguably should have restored their advantage on 69 minutes.
Mullins met George Baldock’s cross with a firm header, but he could only direct the ball straight at Jones.
It was Pompey now looking the more assured side in possession, however, and they forged another good opening on 77 minutes.
A patient passing move ended with McGurk cutting the ball back for Bennett, who was unable to force his shot through a sea of bodies.
But, with the Blues firmly in control, they were reduced to 10 men after Doyle ended a brisk Oxford break by bringing down Sercombe.
Referee Iain Williamson immediately called Pompey’s skipper over and showed him his second yellow card of the afternoon, followed by a red.
However, the Blues saw out the final few minutes with relative ease to take a point back home to the south coast.
Oxford (4-4-2): Slocombe; Baldock, Mullins, Wright (c), Skarz; Rose (Ruffels 71), Sercombe, Lundstram, O’Dowda (MacDonald 40); Roofe (Hoban 82), Hylton
Goals: Sercombe 33
Booked: Hylton, Wright, Ruffels
Subs not used: Buchel, Dunkley, Roberts, Taylor
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Atangana (Barton 46), Doyle (c); Bennett (Hollands 82), Chaplin (Tubbs 30), Evans; McGurk
Goals: McGurk 61
Sent off: Doyle (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, Naismith, Stockley
Referee: Iain Williamson
Attendance: 9,093 (2,459 Pompey fans)
League One 1st Round
Conor Chaplin and Adam McGurk on target as Pompey fought from behind to beat Barnet.
They were slow to get going and some sloppy marking allowed Andy Yiadom to give the Londoners the lead.
But Chaplin and McGurk both displayed some clinical finishing either side of the break to turn the game on its head.
And the visitors’ misery was compounded when keeper Jamie Stephens was dismissed for two bookable offences.
Chaplin then grabbed his second of the afternoon just before the final whistle to complete an enjoyable afternoon for the Blues.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew with Accrington the previous week.
Chaplin and McGurk both came in for the first league starts of the season, with Gareth Evans dropping to the bench and Jayden Stockley absent after just becoming a parent.
There were plenty of familiar faces in the Barnet camp, with former Pompey midfielder Martin Allen naming both Bondz N’Gala and John Akinde in his side.
The Bees boss provided an animated performance on the sidelines and received a ticking off from referee Darren England after gesturing for a home player to be booked.
But there was not too much happening on the pitch in a half that was full of commitment, but lacking in quality.
Matt Clarke had the first decent chance on 20 minutes, but could not guide Gary Roberts’ corner on target.
Instead it was the visitors who broke the deadlock soon after, with Yiadom left alone to calmly slot home Mauro Vilhete’s cut-back.
Christian Burgess had a chance to equalise when he met a Kyle Bennett free-kick, but Stephens stopped his header on the line and Chaplin then blazed the loose ball over.
But the Blues were level on 37 minutes after Barnet failed to deal with a Roberts set-piece that was sent into the box.
CHAPLIN did well to pick the ball up and make space to shoot before rifling home a fine finish past a helpless Stephens.
Brian Murphy then had to come charging out of his goal just before the break, narrowing the angle for marauding right-back Gavin Hoyte and forcing him to fire wide.
Cook made a switch at the break, with Adam Webster replacing Roberts as Pompey switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
And the hosts should have forged ahead on 52 minutes when McGurk sent Bennett through on goal, only for the summer signing to blaze high over the bar.
But McGURK was much more clinical when he raced onto Webster’s pass moments later and calmly finished past Stephens.
The visitors were not happy that the goal was allowed to stand, however, as Bennett – who did not touch the ball – was flagged offside.
The advantage might have been extended on 57 minutes, but Webster was unable to divert Ben Davies’ dangerous free-kick on target.
Barnet’s task was made a lot harder when they were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half.
Stephens came racing off his line to try to beat Bennett to the ball, but only succeeded in clattering into the Pompey midfielder.
Having already been booked for time-wasting before the break, England had no choice but to show him his second yellow card, followed by a red.
Akinde was sacrificed so teenage keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle could come on, while Evans replaced Clarke for the hosts.
The academy stopper stopped his side from falling further behind on 82 minutes, though, tipping Chaplin’s header over the bar.
Substitute Matt Tubbs was then unable to find the target from an acute angle following a poor clearance from McKenzie-Lyle.
But it was CHAPLIN who added a gloss to the final score in stoppage-time, when a long Murphy ball was flicked on and he calmly slid the ball home.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Clarke (Evans 68), Stevens; Atangana, Doyle (c); Roberts (Webster 46), Chaplin, Bennett; McGurk (Tubbs 80)
Goals: Chaplin 37, 90+6, McGurk 54
Booked: Chaplin, Stevens, Evans, Bennett, Davies
Subs not used: Jones, Tollitt, Hollands, Naismith
Barnet (4-4-1-1): Stephens; Hoyte, N’Gala, Dembele, Johnson; Vilhete (Muggleton 59), Yiadom, Togwell, Gambin (Gash 59); Weston (c); Akinde (McKenzie-Lyle 67)
Goals: Yiadom 25
Sent off: Stephens (two yellow cards)
Booked: Yiadom, Dembele
Subs not used: Nelson, Champion, Tomlinson, McLean
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 16,217 (413 away fans)
Capital One Cup 1
After a positive first half had yielded no goals, Adam McGurk took advantage of some unsure goalkeeping to open the scoring.
Jason Shackell headed the second tier side level before substitute Conor Chaplin sent Fratton wild with a cool finish.
Paul Cook rung the changes, with seven players making way from the side that comfortably beat Dagenham in the league at the weekend.
In came McGurk, Jayden Stockley and Brandon Haunstrup for their full debuts, while there were also starts for Paul Jones, Adam Webster, Ben Close and Danny Hollands.
Only Ben Davies, who wore the captain’s armband, Matt Clarke, Gareth Evans and Kyle Bennett retained their places in the line-up.
Pompey were certainly not over-awed against their Championship opponents and immediately looked to get at Derby.
Haunstrup was finding plenty of joy down the left and saw one cross blocked before another just failed to find Stockley.
A ball then fell invitingly to McGurk inside the box, but he dragged his angled drive wide of the post.
Bennett also failed to find the target and was then involved in a neat passing move with Close and Stockley that ended with Alex Pearce heading clear.
It was the Blues looking more threatening without really testing Rams keeper Lee Grant and Bennett saw another couple of long-range efforts fly narrowly wide.
Derby created their first opening in between, with Craig Forsyth finding Andreas Weimann and the Austrian seeing his shot deflected behind by Webster.
Grant was called in to action on 32 minutes and did well to turn behind Haunstrup’s angled strike.
Despite Pompey’s dominance, it was the visitors who had two good opportunities to open the scoring late in the half.
First they got opened up at the back and a well-placed Clarke had to clear Johnny Russell’s low cross from the line.
Jeff Hendrick then did well to burst through the centre and advance on goal, but sent his shot inches past the post.
Derby County 0
It was Derby who were first to threaten after the restart and Weimann had an effort deflected into the side netting.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 49 minutes, with McGURK netting on his debut.
The goal owed a lot to the work of Stockley, who broke down the right and sent in a teasing cross for his team-mate.
McGurk met it well, but Grant should have done better, with the County stopper only able to help it into the net.
That’s was McGurk’s last meaningful contribution and he soon made way for Enda Stevens.
But that failed to blunt Pompey’s attacking verve and they almost doubled their lead on 56 minutes.
Bennett delivered the ball into the box and first Stockley and then Davies saw efforts well saved by Grant.
Chaplin then came on for Haunstrup as Cook decided to shuffle his pack once more.
However, Derby grabbed an equaliser on 74 minutes when Shackell found space at the far post to head home Russell’s corner.
But they were not level for long and Fratton erupted when Stevens sent in a low cross that CHAPLIN expertly guided past Grant’s grasp and into the net.
The breathless play continued and the visitors felt aggrieved when they were denied a spot-kick moments later.
Hollands appeared to foul Russell inside the box, but referee Paul Tierney felt otherwise and the victim’s free-kick went over.
Derby poured forward in search of an equaliser in the closing stages, but the Blues held firm to book their place in Thursday’s second round draw.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies (c), Webster, Clarke, Haunstrup (Chaplin 71); Close, Hollands; Evans, Bennett (Tollitt 74), McGurk (Stevens 55); Stockley
Goals: McGurk 49, Chaplin 76
Subs not used: Murphy, Burgess, Atangana, Tubbs
Derby (4-2-3-1): Grant; Ssewankambo (Thorne 70), Pearce, Shackell, Forsyth; Hendrick, Baird (c); Russell, Dawkins (Ince 60), Weimann; Bent (Martin 60)
Goals: Shackell 74
Subs not used: Carson, Keogh, Warnock, Hanson
Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 11,573 (1,134 away fans)
|Striker completes Fratton switch.
Pompey have signed striker Adam McGurk on a two-year deal.
The 26-year-old was available following the expiration of his Burton Albion contract.
He scored seven goals in 41 appearances last term – including one against Pompey – to help the Brewers lift the League Two title.
McGurk – who has represented Northern Ireland at under-21 level – played youth team football for Aston Villa before moving on to Hednesford and Tranmere.
He signed for Burton in the summer of 2013 and netted 19 goals in 83 games during his two years at the Pirelli Stadium