Apr 262016
 
League 2
AFC Wimbledon 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: AFC Wimbledon 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 4,799 (911 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 152015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 0 AFC Wimbledon

 

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: Pompey 0 AFC Wimbledon 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
Jul 312015
 

Paul Robinson has made a shock Pompey exit.

The 33-year-old central defender joined the club on loan from Millwall at the start of last season and joined the club on a permanent basis in January.

He enjoyed a fine season at the heart of the defence, despite Pompey’s inconsistency, but then missed the final two months with the fractured cheekbone he suffered in the win over Luton Town in March.

After making a full recovery, it appeared that he was set to be named club captain by boss Paul Cook for the forthcoming campaign.

But he has now been deemed surplus to requirements and has left the club by mutual consent.

There will no shortage of takers for his services with several clubs in League One and League Two having expressed an interest in him previously. And his departure will be a big surprise to many Blues fans who thought he would be a pivotal figure this season.

Robinson joined AFC Wimbledon on trial

Portsmouth FC
Jul 012015
 

Andy Barcham has left Pompey by mutual consent – and signed for AFC Wimbledon.

The winger had 12 months remaining on the deal he signed in 2013, yet it was agreed he could leave Fratton Park to pursue his career.

Barcham suffered an injury-ravaged time with the Blues after arriving under Guy Whittingham from Scunthorpe.

In total he made 53 appearances and scored five times, yet has not played since picking up an injury against Cheltenham in March.

As revealed by The News on Monday, he has now completed a switch to League Two rivals Wimbledon after inking a two-year deal at Kingsmeadow.

Portsmouth FC