Blues win final away game
Pompey won their final away game of the season at Mansfield to keep title hopes alive.
A fractious contest was settled just before the hour mark with a goal that Carl Baker and Conor Chaplin both claimed.
The Stags thought Matt Clarke should have been dismissed earlier in the second half and could not make their late pressure count.
Paul Cook made three changes from the side that beat Cambridge on home soil the previous week.
Chaplin, Christian Burgess and Danny Rose all returned, with Nicke Kabamba, Jack Whatmough and Stanley Aborah – the latter of whom had been struggling with a neck injury – dropping to the bench.
The hosts were desperately searching for a play-off spot, so it came as no surprise that they showed more urgency in the opening stages.
A free-kick led to a scramble in Pompey’s box and Lee Collins’ cross ricocheted off Rhys Bennett and straight into David Forde’s arms.
Another set-piece from the hosts was quickly given to the familiar-sounding Danny Rose, whose low drive was comfortably stopped by Forde.
In truth, however, neither side was able to get out of second gear in a drab half that yielded very few clear-cut chances.
Mansfield’s Rose had another effort easily dealt with by Forde, while Kal Naismith took a swipe at thin air and ended up on his backside – drawing laughter from Cook in the technical area.
Gareth Evans was looking lively for the Blues and he dragged a shot wide after stealing the ball from Alex MacDonald.
Naismith then had the best chance for the visitors with a fierce drive that was heading for the top corner until being beaten behind by Jake Kean.
Kyle Bennett also enjoyed an impressive run along the edge of the box, but his shot did not cause the Stags keeper too much trouble.
Mansfield Town 0
The first half might have been forgettable, but the second exploded into life in the opening few minutes.
Mansfield’s Danny Rose caught Clarke dithering and was brought down by the defender, who would have just had Forde to beat.
The home crowd – and players – were baying for a red card and left furious when referee Lee Swabey instead pulled a yellow one from his pocket.
There was more bad news for the Stags moments later when Rhys Bennett found the net, only to have his celebrations cut short by an offside flag.
But the Blues did break the deadlock on 57 minutes – even if there was some confusion about who should claim it.
BAKER played a neat one-two with Naismith and curled a shot past the grasp of Kean and into the net.
He was certainly credited with the goal, although it might have got a touch off Chaplin – not that it mattered to the celebrating travelling fans.
There was certainly a fractious atmosphere, not helped by a late challenge by Ben Whiteman on Bennett.
That led to some pushing and shoving, with Swabey booking both Whiteman and Bennett, as well as Enda Stevens.
Mansfield knew they needed at least a point, so poured forward in search of an equaliser and MacDonald should at least have hit the target after being picked out at the far post.
But Chaplin then had an opportunity at the other end of the pitch and dragged his shot narrowly past the post.
MacDonald aoon had another chance for the hosts, but his effort was well saved low to his left by Forde.
Whatmough replaced Chaplin on 69 minutes as Cook looked to shore things up at the back and was immediately called into action to head clear a free-kick.
Cook completed his changes with the introductions of Gary Roberts and Aborah for Baker and Bennett respectively.
But Mansfield substitute Matt Green should have levelled soon after when he was sent through on goal and lifted the ball over Forde – but also over the net.
It was backs to the wall for Pompey as their hosts poured forward in search of a leveller, but that left spaces at the other end.
Naismith should have taken one of them late on, but could not keep his shot down after being teed-up by Roberts.
It mattered not, however, as the Blues saw out six minutes of stoppage-time to maintain hopes of adding some silverware to their promotion party.
Mansfield (4-4-2): Kean; White, Pearce, Bennett, Benning; Whiteman, Collins (c) (Green 68), Byrom, MacDonald (Hoban 86); Coulthirst, Rose (Taft 83)
Booked: White, Whiteman, Bennett, Pearce
Subs not used: Jensen, McGuire, Potter, Hamilton
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Roberts 77), Naismith, Bennett (Aborah 77); Chaplin (Whatmough 69)
Goals: Baker 57
Booked: Baker, Clarke, Stevens, Bennett, Aborah
Subs not used: O’Brien, Linganzi, Lowe, Kabamba
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 6.819 (1,459 Pompey fans)
Baker and Naismith on target
Pompey ensured their promotion party did not fall flat with a 2-1 victory over Cambridge at Fratton Park.
Carl Baker fired them ahead before the break and Kal Naismith’s fine free-kick doubled the advantage in the second half.
An equally impressive strike from Luke Berry reduced the deficit, but the Blues saw out the closing stages to secure all three points.
Paul Cook made three changes from the side that won at Notts County to secure promotion on Easter Monday.
There were maiden starts for Nicke Kabamba and Stanley Aborah, with Gary Roberts and Amine Linganzi making way.
Matt Clarke also returned from injury to replace Christian Burgess at the heart of Pompey’s back-line.
There was a carnival atmosphere inside Fratton Park as the sides emerged from the tunnel to the tune of the Herman’s Hermits hit ‘I’m Into Something Good’.
And it was the hosts who looked more threatening in the early stages, with Naismith’s effort blocked before Baker drilled a low shot just past the post.
Enda Stevens then tried his luck after cutting inside from out wide, although his rising drive cleared the crossbar.
And Cambridge skipper Leon Legge managed to head clear a cross from the left-back before it could reach the waiting Kabamba.
Gareth Evans was next to have a pop and hit the ball cleanly enough from 25 yards, only for it to fly straight into the arms of Will Norris.
But the United keeper was beaten on 20 minutes, as Stevens got free down the left and cut the ball back for BAKER to side-foot home from inside the box.
That was the signal for the play-off chasing visitors to start showing some more ambition and try to chase an equaliser.
Medy Elito whipped in a free-kick from wide on the left, with David Forde was at his commanding best to punch clear.
But Cambridge almost drew level when the keeper failed to claim a cross on 35 minutes, as Michael Doyle initially cleared before Uche Ikpeazu’s effort was turned off the line by Jack Whatmough.
The danger was not over yet, however, and Liam O’Neil should have found the target after being picked out from the resulting corner.
And Forde did brilliantly to somehow claim a dangerous delivery by Piero Mingoia with just one hand in a crowded area.
But it was the Blues who almost snatched a goal to extend their advantage just moments before the break.
Naismith and Stevens combined well down the left and the latter’s centre was hooked back across goal by Baker, although just too high for Kabamba to divert on target at the far post.
Cambridge United 0
There was another great chance for the hosts following the restart as Norris spilled Kyle Bennett’s shot, only for Kabamba to slip before he could reach the loose ball.
It was only a brief respite for Cambridge, however, and Shaun Derry’s side did fall further behind on 51 minutes.
Aborah was brought down 25 yards from goal and top scorer NAISMITH stepped up to curl home a beauty of a free-kick.
The visitors needed some inspiration and quickly made all three of their substitutions, including introductions for former Blues players James Dunne and Adam McGurk.
And Cook made a couple of switches of his own, with Kabamba and Baker making way for Conor Chaplin and Monday’s goal hero Jamal Lowe.
That seemed to take the sting out of the game, although it was still Pompey playing with more attacking intent.
A dangerous low Stevens cross was turned into his own keeper’s arms by Legge, while a couple of fine passing moves were just lacking a final killer ball.
But Cambridge found a route back into the game on 80 minutes when Aborah conceded a free-kick that Berry superbly fired past Forde’s desperate grasp.
The same played had another sighter following a foul by Doyle soon after, although this time he smashed his shot straight into the wall.
A third free-kick from Berry in stoppage-time was then heading for the net, until Forde managed to push it to safety.
And United were unable to find an equaliser, meaning that Pompey still have slim hopes of catching leaders Doncaster.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Whatmough, Clarke, Stevens; Aborah, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 67), Naismith, Bennett (Roberts 72); Kabamba (Chaplin 63)
Goals: Baker 20, Naismith 51
Booked: Baker, Whatmough, Forde
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, T.Davies, Rose
Cambridge (4-1-4-1): Norris; Halliday, Legge (c), Taylor, Carroll; O’Neil (Dunk 57); Mingoia, Newton (Dunne 61), Berry, Elito; Ikpeazu (McGurk 63)
Goals: Berry 80
Subs not used: Gregory, Wharton, Maris, Lewis
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 18,165 (622 away fans)
Blues ease to home victory.
Pompey brought their fine away form back to Fratton Park with a rout of Grimsby under the floodlights.
There was a touch of fortune about the first two goals, with Kyle Bennett and Danny Rose both benefiting from wicked deflections.
But it was more than luck that saw the Blues strengthen their promotion credentials, as they put their foot on the accelerator.
The points were secured with a couple more strikes either side of the interval, as first Carl Baker and then Kal Naismith got in on the fun.
Paul Cook stuck with the same side that cruised to victory against Colchester at the weekend.
And he was almost rewarded with an early goal, as Baker flashed a shot narrowly over the bar soon after kick-off.
But it was Grimsby who looked more dangerous in the opening stages and Akwasi Asante saw a shot deflected narrowly wide following an untimely slip by Matt Clarke.
They went even closer moments later, with Zak Mills’ fierce long-range drive cannoning against the post.
And David Forde was soon called into action to push another decent attempt by Asante over the crossbar.
But the Blues scored against the run of play on 12 minutes, as BENNETT tried his luck from the edge of the box and the ball took a huge deflection to loop over Mariners keeper James McKeown and into the net.
From that point on the hosts dominated and Eoin Doyle could not quite connect with Gareth Evans’ dangerous low delivery.
A back-pedalling Naismith then got on the end of another Evans cross and watched as his header flew inches past the post.
The advantage was doubled on 35 minutes, however, when Bennett dummied Evans’ pass and ROSE hit a shot that took another deflection to beat McKeown.
Pompey kept pouring forward and when Baker slipped a fine ball through to Naismith, the winger’s cut-back was diverted just behind the onrushing Eoin Doyle.
There was a blow for the Blues just before the break, though, as Bennett went down injured and had to be replaced by Gary Roberts.
But the mood soon picked up and there was a third goal in stoppage-time, with BAKER collecting Evans’ pass and beating McKeown at his near post with a ferocious finish.
Grimsby Town 0
And it got even better for the hosts just 30 seconds after the restart when McKeown failed to hold Baker’s drive and NAISMITH slotted home the loose ball.
Pompey’s players were full of confidence and lining up to shoot against a stunned opposition defence, but the next effort from Baker ended up high in the Fratton End.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, some of the intensity went out of their performance as the half progressed.
Evans hit a clean shot on target just past the hour mark, but this time the ball was safely held by McKeown.
Pompey were dealt another injury blow on 68 minutes when Naismith signalled to come off after hurting his hamstring, with Jamal Lowe replacing him.
That failed to dampen the hosts’ dominance, though, and McKeown dived to his left to beat away Baker’s 25-yard drive.
Lowe then whipped in a cross from the right that was just behind Eoin Doyle and the on-loan striker could only head wide.
There was a jovial feel inside the stadium, with the Fratton End asking for a song from each stand – who duly obliged.
And the Blues saw out the closing stages in complete comfort to secure a third successive victory, with a third successive clean sheet.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith (Lowe 68), Bennett (Roberts 45); E.Doyle (Chaplin 86)
Goals: Bennett 12, Rose 35, Baker 45+1, Naismith 46
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Hunt
Grimsby (3-5-2): McKeown; Mills, Pearson (c), Collins; Davies, Jones (Disley 57), Maxwell, Osborne (Comley 57), Andrew; Vernon, Asante (Yussuf 81)
Subs not used: Boyce, Bolarinwa, Vose, Dyson
Referee: Mark Haywood
Attendance: 16,492 (527 away fans)
Stags tamed in Fratton rout.
Pompey roared back to winning ways at Fratton Park in the league with a comfortable victory over nine-man Mansfield.
Gary Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but despite dominating, they struggled to extend their advantage.
Mansfield put up a strong fight, even after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti had both been dismissed in the second half.
But Noel Hunt came off the bench to make sure of the three points before Carl Baker added a gloss to the scoreline with a late brace.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly made a host of changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.
Kyle Bennett was the only survivor, with Michael Doyle, Roberts and Conor Chaplin among those recalled to the line-up.
Before kick-off, Pompey paid tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, with D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode to Remembrance and the Last Post being played.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start in the wet conditions, with their high pressing forcing Mansfield to make errors.
Chaplin had an early chance after he met Roberts’ cross, but was unable to divert his header on target.
But there was an even better opportunity when a corner was only cleared as far as Bennett, whose first touch into the box fooled Matt Green.
His clumsy challenge saw the Blues winger dumped onto the turf and referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.
ROBERTS stepped up to take the penalty and slammed a powerful effort right down the middle to give Pompey the lead.
It was not all one-way traffic, however, and a misunderstanding between David Forde and Christian Burgess led to Green firing into the side netting.
James Baxendale then did well to get on the end of an Ashley Hemmings cross and send a header crashing against the post.
Pompey thought they should have had a second spot-kick on 33 minutes when Roberts stole possession and saw his cross hit Jamie McGuire’s hand, but East was not interested.
And the hosts soon came close to doubling their advantage, with Baker beating his man and firing in a rocket that cannoned back off the woodwork.
But they received a let-off just before the break when Bennett was harshly penalised for a challenge outside the box.
Chris Clements stepped up to take the free-kick and the Fratton faithful breathed a sigh of relief as he curled the ball over.
Mansfield Town 0
Pompey continued their search for more goals once the second half got underway, with Scott Shearer just about managing to tip over Bennett’s dipping shot from distance.
The same player then exchanged neat passes with Roberts, whose low ball into the box was agonisingly out of reach for Gareth Evans.
And Mansfield were reduced to illegal methods of halting the hosts’ surge, with Howkins booked for cynically hauling down Chaplin on the edge of the box.
It was Chaplin who should have doubled the advantage after being slipped through by Doyle’s clever pass, only to then drag his shot wide.
The Stags’ challenge was soon made harder when Howkins – who had only received his yellow card four minutes earlier – needlessly slid in on Bennett and was promptly dismissed.
Pompey immediately set about trying to make their numerical advantage count and when Shearer failed to hold Baker’s effort, he had to dive on the loose ball before the lively Danny Rose could pounce.
Roberts then did well to dig the ball out from his feet inside the area, only to prod wide from just a few yards out.
And there was more woe for the beleaguered visitors on 74 minutes when substitute Iacovitti dived into a challenge on Doyle and was immediately shown his marching orders.
Cook looked to turn the screw by bringing on some fresh attacking players, with Hunt and Kal Naismith replacing Roberts and Bennett.
The two combined to secure the three points on 84 minutes when a period of patient passing play was ended by Naismith squaring for HUNT to convert from close range.
And BAKER ensured it was an even more enjoyable afternoon when he tricked his way into the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
But there was still time for BAKER to add another deep into stoppage-time, with a fine left-footed finish from long-range that flew into the net.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86)
Goals: Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5
Booked: Baker, Chaplin
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic
Mansfield (4-1-2-1-2): Shearer; Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D.Rose 69); McGuire; Clements (c), Gobern; Baxendale (Iacovitti 59); Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
Sent off: Howkins (two yellow cards), Iacovitti
Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, Hoban
Referee: Roger East
Attendance: 16,393 (326 away fans)
Blues slip to first home defeat
Pompey suffered their first home defeat of the season despite a spirited fightback against Doncaster.
The visitors took advantage of their slow start to cruise into a two-goal lead, courtesy of strikes from John Marquis and Andy Williams.
But Carl Baker reduced the arrears before the interval and the Blues poured forward after it in search of a leveller.
They hit the woodwork and had another effort cleared from the line, but were unable to make another breakthrough.
Paul Cook made one change from the side beaten at Blackpool earlier in the week.
That came at the back, where Tom Davies dropped to the bench to make way for Matt Clarke.
Pompey looked to make a fast start, but Gary Roberts strayed narrowly offside when Conor Chaplin tried to send him through on goal.
Instead they fall behind on seven minutes after David Forde came tearing out of his area to mop up a long ball over the top.
It was former Blues loanee Marquis who got their first, however, taking the ball past the keeper and then slotting it into an empty net.
They might have doubled their advantage soon after, but Williams mis-cued his effort and Forde made a comfortable save.
Baker then went close at the other end, drawing a stop from Marko Marosi, despite being surrounded by three defenders the moment he was teed-up by Enda Stevens
And Chaplin wasted a decent opportunity by scuffing his shot after Kal Naismith had expertly brought the ball down on the edge of the box.
Pompey were looking sloppy, however, and guilty of gifting Doncaster possession on far too many occasions.
They fell further behind on 34 minutes, with Williams afforded to space to collect a deep free-kick, swivel and find the net.
The hosts finally clicked into gear towards the end of the first half and thought they should have won a penalty.
Gareth Evans went down in the box under pressure from Tommy Rowe, but referee Darren Deadman decided he had dived and brandished a yellow card, much to the chagrin of Pompey’s right-back.
Baker almost reduced the deficit on 38 minutes with a fierce 30-yard strike that was superbly tipped over by Marosi.
A low Roberts cross was then almost turned into his own net by Cedric Evina and the left-back must have breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the ball instead go behind for a corner.
But Pompey finally made a breakthrough just before the interval, although they did receive a slice of good fortune.
Evans’ cross appeared to be going behind, but Jordan Houghton inexplicably kept it in play, laying the ball on a plate for BAKER to emphatically fire into the roof of the net.
Doncaster Rovers 2
Chaplin started an attack when he stole the ball from Matty Blair and launched a quick counter-attack after the restart.
He then fed Roberts’ down the left, but the midfielder’s return pass to the far post was headed to safety.
It was then Doncaster’s turn to threaten, with Michael Doyle intercepting Marquis’ cross before the striker bent another effort narrowly wide.
Cook made a double switch on 54 minutes, with Naismith and Danny Rose making way for Milan Lalkovic and Amine Linganzi.
Rovers were still in the ascendency, though, and Doyle made a crucial block after Williams had skipped past a couple of challenges.
But Chaplin had an excellent opportunity to equalise just past the hour mark. He was picked out unmarked in the box by Roberts, but had to adjust his body and was unable to divert the ball on target.
Christian Burgess then headed wide from close range following another excellent delivery from Roberts.
Cook made his final throw of the dice on 71 minutes, with Curtis Main given a chance to impress against his former side in place of Chaplin.
It was Baker who almost levelled moments late, though, when he diverted Lalkovic’s shot against the crossbar.
And Main was then unable to beat Marosi from point-blank range after Evans’ cross had been turned back into the centre by Roberts.
Rovers soon had a chance at the other end when Clarke mis-hit the ball, but Forde came to the rescue with a smart save.
But it was largely one-way traffic and Pompey thought they had found an equaliser on 81 minutes.
Roberts met Baker’s cross with a firm header, only for it to be hacked clear by Andy Butler, despite blue-shirted appeals that the ball had crossed the line.
The display of six additional minutes provided some hope for the Fratton faithful, but the Blues were unable to salvage a point.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Linganzi 54), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Naismith (Lalkovic 54); Chaplin (Main 71)
Goals: Baker 42
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Bennett, Smith
Doncaster (4-1-2-1-2): Marosi; Richardson (Calder 29 (Mason 69)), Wright, Butler, Evina; Houghton; Blair, Rowe; Coppinger (c) (Middleton 76); Marquis, Williams
Goals: Marquis 7, Williams 34
Booked: Butler, Evina, Marquis
Subs not used: Etheridge, Baudry, Mandeville, Beestin
Referee: Darren Deadman
Attendance: 16,950 (449 away fans)
Five goal Blues fight back
Pompey returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they crushed Barnet at Fratton Park.
But they had to fight from behind after John Akinde fired the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.
Gary Roberts teed-up Conor Chaplin to draw them level before the break and then got on the scoresheet himself early in the second half.
The Blues were rampant by this point and goals from Carl Baker, Milan Lalkovic and Danny Rose secured a comfortable victory.
Roberts should have added another in the midst of all that, only to see his penalty saved after Bira Dembele had been sent off for a foul on Chaplin.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that were beaten at Accrington the previous week.
There were starts for Chaplin up front and Kal Naismith out wide, with Michael Smith and Kyle Bennett both dropping to the bench.
Pompey started brightly and Chaplin had a shot blocked by Curtis Weston before Enda Stevens’ cross had to be turned behind.
The duo were both involved in the next opening on 12 minutes, with a low Stevens delivery just out of reach for the Blues’ striker sliding in at the near post.
Gareth Evans then got free down the right, but his cross landed behind Baker, who could only hook over the crossbar.
Barnet were causing problems themselves, however, and David Forde charged from his area to beat Akinde to the ball.
Weston then got past Christian Burgess and into the Blues box, but the defender recovered well to avert the danger.
Tom Davies almost opened his Pompey account at the other end, as Baker’s cross hit him in the chest and landed safely in the arms of Bees keeper Josh Vickers.
But the centre-back conceded a penalty soon after, with referee Darren England deciding he had used his hand to clear Ryan Watson’s corner.
Akinde stepped up to take the spot-kick and although the former Blues striker’s shot was poor, it crept under Forde’s dive and into the net.
The same player might have doubled their advantage on 32 minutes, only to head Watson’s corner over from close range.
Instead it was the home fans celebrating as their side drew level, with Roberts acting as the magician and CHAPLIN the assassin.
The former did well to steal possession and then played a sumptuous pass through to the latter, who coolly slid the ball home.
Pompey had another chance before the break, but when Baker’s effort was blocked, an audacious over-head strike from Chaplin flew wide.
Barnet came flying out of the traps after the restart and it took a great challenge from Burgess to halt Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s surging run.
But the Blues should then have forged ahead, with Roberts somehow failing to connect with Stevens’ teasing low cross.
ROBERTS certainly made amends moments later, however, turning Michael Nelson and leaving him on the floor before hammering home.
And it soon got even better for the hosts, as BAKER collected the ball on the right, cut inside and curled an exquisite left-foot shot past Vickers’ grasp and into the net.
Pompey should have extended their lead further on 65 minutes when England awarded them a penalty.
Chaplin charged into the box and went down under Dembele’s challenge, with the official signalling that he had been tugged to the floor.
It got worse for the beleaguered Bees, as a red card was harshly produced and the defender had to trudge back to the dressing room.
Roberts stepped up to try to continue his prolific scoring spell, but Vickers flung himself to the left to beat the ball clear.
Cook made a double switch on 73 minutes, with Naismith and Chaplin receiving standing ovations as they were replaced by Lalkovic and Curtis Main.
And it was LALKOVIC who soon put the icing on the cake, receiving the ball on the edge of the box and neatly bending it right into the bottom corner.
Pompey refused to sit back and kept pouring forward in search of more goals to heap further misery on Barnet.
And the fifth did arrive in stoppage-time, as a neat passing move cut open the Bees defence before ROSE slotted home to cap a memorable afternoon on the south coast.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Bennett 80), Roberts, Naismith (Lalkovic 73); Chaplin (Main 73)
Goals: Chaplin 34, Roberts 50, Baker 56, Lalkovic 78, Rose 90+2
Booked: Chaplin, Roberts
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Smith
Barnet (4-3-3): Vickers; Vilhete, Nelson (c), Dembele, Johnson; Watson (Batt 55), Weston, Taylor; Campbell-Ryce (N’Gala 64), Akinde, Akpa Akpro (Gambin 55)
Goals: Akinde 27 (pen)
Sent off: Dembele
Booked: Watson, Batt
Subs not used: Stephens, Sesay, Kyei, Nicholls
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 16,280 (275 away fans)
Pompey fought from behind against Wycombe to stretch their winning streak to four league matches.
Paul Hayes’ opener was not in the script, but Christian Burgess’ leveller lifted everyone and Gary Roberts then converted a penalty.
An equaliser from Hayes dampened the mood, but a superb Conor Chaplin strike restored the Blues’ lead before the break and Carl Baker made sure of the points after it.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Crawley so convincingly the previous week.
It was the hosts who threatened first at a damp and gloomy Fratton Park, with showers frequently interrupting proceedings.
Gary Roberts slipped a quick free-kick through to Milan Lalkovic, but his cut-back was well claimed by Jamal Blackman with Curtis Main waiting to pounce.
The Wycombe keeper was pretty conspicuous with his bleached blonde hair and decked out in a garish pink and luminous green kit.
But it was his opposite number who was next called into action and David Forde denied Aaron Pierre after a Sam Wood cross had caused chaos in the Blues box.
And the visitors were ahead on 10 minutes, with Hayes left in too much space to convert Garry Thompson’s volleyed delivery.
That appeared to spark Pompey into life, although they were growing frustrated at the Chairboys’ attempts to slow things down.
There were cries from the crowd and bench that the visitors were spending too long over set-pieces and referee Tim Robinson was forced to calm an irate Cook down.
And the Blues soon started doing their talking on the pitch, with Main’s header deflected over by Pierre after Baker had picked the striker out.
Unfortunately, Main injured himself during the challenge and was forced to disappear down the tunnel to be patched up.
But he failed to reappear, and Chaplin was brought on to replace him – but not before Wood had almost doubled Wanderers’ lead with an effort that bounced off the crossbar and into the arms of a grateful Forde.
The Blues were starting to take control of proceedings and the newcomer saw his curling effort blocked.
Lalkovic was then unable to dig the ball out from under his feet following a good Enda Stevens’ ball into the box.
But the hosts were level on 34 minutes as Baker picked up a Lalkovic corner and although his shot was saved by Blackman, BURGESS was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Chaplin and Baker then both saw strikes blocked as Pompey tried to turn up the pressure and forge ahead.
And that is exactly what they did late in the half after Gareth Evans met Baker’s cross and saw his header blocked by the arm of Sido Jombati.
Robinson pointed straight to the spot and ROBERTS stepped up to emphatically continue his prolific streak with a rocket into the roof of the net.
But, amazingly, there was still time for both sides to add a further goal each in a breathless end to the first half.
First, there was no Blues defender picking up Hayes, who was able to volley a fine curling finish past Forde.
It looked like the sides would go in level at the break, only for a moment of genius from CHAPLIN to lift the Fratton faithful.
The striker ran onto Roberts’ pass, lifted the ball over Anthony Stewart and then, with Blackman off his line, calmly sent a header looping over the keeper and into the net.
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Lalkovic did not return following the interval, with Kal Naismith instead taking up the attacking role wide on the left.
Wycombe had a chance to level soon after the restart, but Stewart was unable to guide Wood’s cross on target.
There was immediately an even better chance at the other end, with Roberts somehow failing to turn home Chaplin’s cross from just a few yards out.
But the Blues did increase their advantage on 53 minutes, as Stevens sent the ball to the far post, where BAKER was waiting to squeeze in a volley at Blackman’s near post.
That did not stop Pompey from trying to add to the lead, however, and Naismith bent a shot narrowly over
Blackman then made a mess of dealing with a couple of routine Chaplin efforts, only to escape any punishment.
Wycombe threw on a couple of strikers in Dayle Southwell and Adebayo Akinfenwa to try to find a way back into the game.
It was still Pompey looking more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Stevens was not quite able to beat Blackman from an acute angle following a flowing passing move.
Ultimately, there were to be no more goals, but that mattered not as the Blues saw the rest of the game out to move up to second in the table.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 88), Lalkovic (Naismith 46); Main (Chaplin 25)
Goals: Burgess 34, Roberts 43 (pen), Chaplin 45+3, Baker 53
Booked: Roberts, Baker, T.Davies
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Smith
Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Blackman; Jombati (Akinfenwa 80), Stewart, Pierre, Harriman; Rowe (McGinn 86); Thompson, Bloomfield, Gape, Wood; Hayes (c) (Southwell 80)
Goals: Hayes 10, 45
Booked: Pierre, Jombati, Thompson, Gape, Rowe, Blackman, Stewart
Subs not used: Richardson, De Havilland, Kashket, Freeman
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 16,262 (489 away fans)
Baker hits debut equaliser
Pompey had to settle for a point on the opening day of the season after coming from behind to draw with 10-man Carlisle.
They created plenty and had their visitors pinned back for most of the match, but could not quite manage to find a winner.
United had taken an early lead through Reggie Lambe, only to be reduced to 10 men when Jamie Devitt collected a couple of bookings.
Carl Baker fired in an equaliser on his Blues bow, but a string of fine saves from Mark Gillespie frustrated the hosts.
Paul Cook handed full debuts to five players, with David Forde, Drew Talbot, Danny Rose, Milan Lalkovic and Baker all starting.
There was a raucous atmosphere to accompany the opening stages, as Pompey set about trying to attack their opponents.
And it was the hosts who were first to threaten when Baker broke quickly up field and teed-up Lalkovic, whose shot had to be beaten away by Gillespie.
It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Enda Stevens was forced to head clear a dangerous Danny Grainger cross.
But Pompey were looking the more likely to forge ahead and Gary Roberts curled narrowly wide after cutting inside.
Baker then had an effort blocked from the edge of the box, before Lalkovic’s free-kick somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.
So Fratton was left stunned when Carlisle broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, as Lambe raced onto Shaun Miller’s pass and slotted past Forde.
That was the cue for the visitors to sit back and try to waste as much time as legally possible.
Referee Graham Salisbury was soon forced to issue the first booking of the afternoon after Devitt crudely brought down Talbot.
And it was Devitt who also received the second following a tug on Roberts on 28 minutes, reducing United to 10 men.
Pompey immediately sought to make their numerical advantage count and Macaulay Gillesphey did well to get in the way of Talbot’s well-struck volley.
Baker then forced a smart save from Gillespie following some encouraging build-up play from Roberts.
But the Blues did find themselves level just before the break, with BAKER firing a fierce drive under the keeper’s body after once again receiving a pass from Roberts.
Carlisle United 1
Roberts and Baker had combined effectively before the break and it was the same when the second half got underway.
The former did well to set-up his fellow midfielder in the area, but Baker took too long and his effort was blocked.
Michael Smith then turned a Lalkovic cross wide from close range, only to see his blushes spared by the linesman’s flag.
Roberts was soon back on the ball, though, and his cut-back was agonisingly out of reach for Baker in the box.
Pompey came close again just past the hour mark when Roberts was able to nick the ball away from the onrushing Gillespie and find Smith, who did not have time to get a shot away before a Carlisle defender came to the rescue.
Then, from the resulting corner, Jack Whatmough was left alone to glance a header narrowly past the post.
It was Baker’s turn to try his luck again on 64 minutes and after turning a defender inside-out, his shot was saved by the outstretched foot of Gillespie.
The midfielder was certainly not afraid to have a crack and one long-range effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar.
Cook made a double substitution on 68 minutes to add some attacking impetus, with Smith and Lalkovic making way for Conor Chaplin and Kyle Bennett.
The latter immediately combined well with Stevens down the left, leading to a chance for Rose that went wide.
But the midfielder went a lot closer moments later, sending a shot cannoning off the inside of the post after being given time to drive forward.
Gillespie then had to get quickly down low to his left to stop an effort from Bennett creeping inside the post.
Cook threw on an extra striker for the closing stages, with Rose making way to give Noel Hunt is first taste of competitive action in a Blues shirt.
But it was still Baker looking most likely to score and his shot was again kept out by the legs of Gillespie.
And skipper Michael Doyle then had two long-range attempts in the space of a few seconds that were both superbly palmed behind by the over-worked keeper.
Pompey continued to pour forward in search of a late winner, but Carlisle held on for a share of the spoils.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, Whatmough, Burgess, Stevens; Rose (Hunt 83), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Lalkovic (Bennett 68); Smith (Chaplin 68)
Goals: Baker 42
Subs not used: Bass, T.Davies, Barton, Main
Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; T.Miller, Raynes, Gillesphey, Grainger (c); Kennedy, Jones; Lambe (Joyce 58), Devitt, Adams; S.Miller (Ellis 70)
Goals: Lambe 14
Sent off: Devitt (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Crocombe, Penn, Brough, Wyke
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 17,570 (481 away fans)
Blues ease to friendly victory
Carl Baker bagged a brace as Pompey hit five unanswered goals past non-league neighbours Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park.
The midfielder struck either side of the interval to give the Blues a commanding lead after Gary Roberts had opened the scoring.
Trialist Noel Hunt and Curtis Main then both came off the bench to cap a comfortable victory for Paul Cook’s side.
There was good news for the hosts before kick-off, as they announced the return of former Pompey midfielder Wes Fogden on a two-year deal.
But it was the visitors who had most of the joy once the action belatedly got underway, following a 15-minute delay to allow all the fans to get into the ground.
Danny Rose and Conor Chaplin went close in the opening stages, with the pair both narrowly failing to find the target.
In between was the Hawks’ only decent chance of the evening, with a crisp effort from ex-Fratton youngster Bradley Tarbuck superbly tipped around the post by Michael Crowe.
And Pompey broke the deadlock on 12 minutes when Milan Lalkovic slid a fine pass through to ROBERTS, who neatly lifted the ball over keeper Ryan Young and into the net.
The Blues continued to dominate and Baker had a hat-trick of efforts – the first clearing the ground, the second fizzing narrowly over and the third hit straight at Young.
Rose was next to go close midway through the first half, firing into the side netting following good build-up play from Michael Doyle and Lalkovic.
Baker was not afraid to try his luck from distance and another attempt from the summer signing had to be pushed to safety by Young.
And his persistence paid off just before the break with a strike that was most definitely worth the wait.
BAKER picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and hit a stunning shot that flew in off the underside of the crossbar, leaving Young rooted to the spot.
Havant & Waterlooville 0
Pompey picked up where they left off after the restart and Young had to come charging from his line to stop Chaplin racing onto Lalkovic’s pass.
The Hawks keeper then kept out Lalkovic’s stinging drive, but was unable to stop the Blues from grabbing a third goal.
He could only parry the ball as far as Roberts, who cut it back for BAKER to tap home from just a couple of yards out.
The usual pre-season flurry of substitutions meant that chances began to dry up and the pace started to slow.
But two of those late arrivals managed to find the net and give the scoreline an added gloss for the visitors.
First trialist HUNT slid in to convert Enda Stevens’ low cross from wide on the left after the full-back had picked up Doyle’s raking pass.
Then, after Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain had stolen possession and seen his shot parried by Young, MAIN followed-up to poke home.
He almost scored again late on, but a thunderous effort from 30-yards hit the inside of the post and flew clear.
There was a bit of needle between Main and Ben Swallow late on that would normally have received a harsher punishment than the ticking off dished out by referee Dean Treleaven.
But that was a rare moment of petulance in a good-natured contest that saw the Blues continue their preparations for the 2016/17 campaign in fine style.
Hawks (4-4-2): Young (Searle 65); Strugnell (Miller 89), Woodford (Molyneaux 54), Robinson, Williams (Medway 65); Swallow, Lewis (Ridge 65), Stock (c) (Whittingham 84), Tarbuck (Barker 54); Prior (Hayter 65), Paterson (Rutherford 54)
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe; Talbot (Sessegnon 74), Whatmough (Bradbury 85), Burgess (Barton 78), Stevens (Haunstrup 76); Rose (Widdrington 74), Doyle (c) (Bedford 74); Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71), Roberts (Main 69), Lalkovic (Tollitt 60); Chaplin (Hunt 57)
Goals: Roberts 12, Baker 45, 56, Hunt 69, Main 73
Referee: Dean Treleaven