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
Nov 282015
 
League 2
Wycombe Wanderers 2 – 2 Portsmouth

 

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: Wycombe 2 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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 212015
 
League 2
Carlisle United 2 – 2 Portsmouth

Carlisle United 2 v 2 Portsmouth

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: Carlisle 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second half

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
Oct 312015
 
League 2
Notts County 2 – 1 Portsmouth

Pompey’s long unbeaten away record finally came to an end as Notts County fought from behind to claim all three points at Meadow Lane.

It looked like being a familiar tale for the Blues when Caolan Lavery fired them ahead midway through the first half.

But the Magpies soon levelled through Graham Burke’s fine strike and a second half Alan Sheehan free-kick somehow found its way into the net.

The visitors could feel somewhat hard done by, however, as they contributed plenty to a chance-filled contest.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew with Mansfield at Fratton Park the previous week.

Gareth Evans returned from suspension to take his place wide on the right, while there was also a start for the fully-fit Adam McGurk, with Kal Naismith and Rommy Boco the men to make way.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of all those who have lost their lives in conflict.

When the game got underway it quickly turned into an open affair, with both sides contributing to an entertaining affair.

Pompey came close to breaking the deadlock on seven minutes, but Adam Webster could not quite divert Ben Davies’ corner on target.

The home support were then cheering when former Blues striker Izale McLeod had the ball in the net moments later, although referee Andy Haines had long since blown his whistle for offside.

And the action soon switched back down to the other end of the pitch, where Sheehan was on hand to hack clear after Roy Carroll had slowed down Evans’ drive.

County then enjoyed a spell of possession in Pompey’s half and Brian Murphy denied McLeod before beating away a curling effort from Burke.

But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 20 minutes, as LAVERY opened his account for the club.

Kyle Bennett and Enda Stevens combined well down the left and the latter delivered a low cross that Lavery deftly turned into the bottom corner.

They were only ahead for a matter of minutes, however, as a free-kick was cleared as far as Burke, who struck a fine volley into the net from the edge of the box.

Lavery tried to restore the visitors’ advantage on 30 minutes, only to see his low angled drive kept out by Carroll, while Evans was then millimetres away from connecting with Bennett’s dangerous cross.

But it was Webster who went closest to scoring again before the break, surging forward from the halfway line before firing a shot against the inside of the post.

There were half-chances for both sides as the seconds ticked down, with Liam Noble and McGurk both unable to find the target from long-range.

But it took fine headed clearance from Mike Edwards to prevent Lavery from converting Davies’ cross in stoppage-time.

Half Time: Notts County 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half started in the same way that the first had finished – with both sides keen to get forward.

And the hosts survived when Bennett’s effort cannoned off a defender and was just about kept in play by Carroll.

Then, at the other end, McLeod opted to lay the ball off for Burke rather than shoot, with Danny Hollands gratefully nipping in to intercept.

McGurk was next to go close on 57 minutes, only to see his effort inadvertently blocked by Evans at close range.

Lavery then collected Bennett’s sweeping pass and curled in a shot that Sheehan did well to get in the way of.

Bennett had penalty appeals turned down just past the hour mark after the winger felt he had been tripped in the area, while Evans’ follow-up was deflected into the side netting.

Cook made his first change on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Conor Chaplin.

But the hosts then enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure and won a couple of corners before Murphy had to come charging from his box to clear the danger.

Pompey responded with a second substitution on 76 minutes, as Ben Tollitt made his first league appearance in place of Bennett.

But the hosts were ahead within seconds, with Sheehan’s long-range free-kick – won for a foul on McLeod – evading everyone on its way into the net.

Matt Tubbs was immediately brought on as the shell-shocked Blues went in search of a late leveller.

Notts County held firm at the back for the final few minutes, however, as Pompey were finally vanquished on the road.

Notts County (4-1-4-1): Carroll (c); Hewitt, Edwards, Sheehan, Barmby; Aborah; Stead, Noble (Thompson 86), Smith (De Silva 72), Burke (Campbell 60); McLeod
Goals: Burke 23, Sheehan 77
Subs not used: Loach, Amevor, Jenner, Spencer

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Chaplin 67), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Tubbs 80)
Goals: Lavery 20
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Naismith

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 6,917 (2,162 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Oct 122015
 

Pompey have signed Sheffield Wednesday striker Caolan Lavery on a three-month loan deal.

The 22-year-old – who was born in Canada, but has represented Northern Ireland up to under-21 level – will wear the number 13 shirt during his time at Fratton Park.

Lavery said: “I had offers from other places a lot closer to Sheffield and in higher divisions, but I know Paul and Leam very well.

“Their ambition is fantastic, as is the way they like football to be played and when you look at the size of this club, I couldn’t really say no.

“I’d like to be part of the success that I’m sure Pompey will have this season and I’m looking forward to getting started.

“At the age I’m at now, I need to be playing games on a regular basis and scoring goals.”

Lavery has progressed through the ranks at Sheffield Wednesday and scored six goals in 39 appearances.

He has also spent time out on loan at Southend and Plymouth prior to a spell working under Paul Cook at Chesterfield last season.

Portsmouth FC