Sep 242016
 

League Two

5 – 1


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.


Half Time

(1 – 1)


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)


Portsmouth FC

Sep 102016
 

League Two

4 – 2


Blues move up to second

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.


Half Time

(3 – 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)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 272016
 
Friendly
Bognor Regis Town 1 – 4 Portsmouth

 

Chaplin, Main, Smith and May on target

Pompey eased to victory in their penultimate pre-season test against Isthmian League outfit Bognor at Nyewood Lane.

They created plenty of openings before the break, with Conor Chaplin and Curtis Main both finding the target.

Harvey Whyte reduced the deficit early in the second half, but Michael Smith then scored from the spot before Adam May wrapped things up.

Chaplin started particularly brightly and after one early shot was saved, Ben Close wastefully fired over the bar.

He was then sent through on goal, but Billy Granger was quickly off his line to make a crucial save.

The Rocks keeper was almost single-handedly keeping the Blues at bay and made another key stop to deny Ben Tollitt from long-range on 15 minutes.

Main was next to try to break the deadlock, but could not find the target after Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain had laid the ball into his path.

It was Chaplin with another go on 19 minutes and his deflected shot was heading for the net until Granger showed superb reflexes to divert it over the bar.

Tollitt’s set-piece delivery was also causing trouble, with Amine Linganzi and Tom Davies not quite able to take advantage.

Pompey finally got the goal their attacking dominance deserved on 23 minutes after CHAPLIN was brought down just outside the box.

The teenage forward stepped up to take the free-kick and expertly curled it over the wall and beyond Granger’s grasp.

Bognor then enjoyed their best spell of the game and should really have bagged an equaliser.

Paul Jones did well to deny Dylan Barnett from point-blank range and when the ball popped up nicely for James Fraser, he could only fire against the woodwork.

Pompey then made the hosts pay for their profligacy just before the break, as MAIN got above his marker to convert Chaplin’s teasing cross.

Half Time: Bognor 0 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Jones was called into action early in the second half, flinging himself to the right to keep out Barnett’s effort.

But he was unable to keep hold of the ball from the resulting corner, giving Whyte the chance to poke home.

The chances were not arriving as frequently as they had before the break, although one good move involving May and Main ended with Close firing over.

Paul Cook gave his two scorers a breather just past the hour mark, as Main and Chaplin made way for Smith and trialist Dean O’Halloran.

And it was SMITH who restored the Blues’ two-goal lead on 67 minutes, sending substitute stopper Joe Taylor the wrong way from the penalty spot after Darren Budd had brought down Tollitt.

The game was meandering towards its conclusion, but MAY livened things up again with a fourth goal, driving a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner.

A couple of academy starlets entered the fray late on and Tommy Scutt came close to adding his name to the scorers, meeting Theo Widdrington’s cross and volleying into the side netting.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain denied the Rocks a late consolation when he cleared Jimmy Wild’s drive from the line.

Bognor (4-3-3): Granger (Taylor 56); Crane, Field (Wollers 70), El-Abd (Sanders 56), Barnett; Whyte (Budd 56), Beck (c) (Robinson 81), Tuck (Consaro 70); Davies, Pearce (Penfold 81), Fraser (Wild 56)
Goals: Whyte 48

Pompey (4-diamond-2): Jones; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Davies, Barton (c), Widdringron; May, Linganzi (Yates 69), Tollitt, Close (Scutt 75); Main (Smith 62), Chaplin (O’Halloran 62)
Goals: Chaplin 27, Main 43, Smith 67 (pen), May 74
Sub not used: Bass

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 1,200

Portsmouth FC
Jul 092016
 
Friendly
Bohemians 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Rose and Chaplin on target for Blues

Pompey brought their Irish tour to a close with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Bohemians.

Both goals arrived in the first half, with a couple of neat finishes from Danny Rose and Conor Chaplin.

Paul Cook’s side dominated proceedings and created enough chances to have won by a greater margin in Dublin.

A healthy number of Pompey fans were packed into one side of the dilapidated Dalymount Park.

And they saw their side control the first half, with plenty of openings carved out in the final game of the Blues’ Irish tour.

Bohemians keeper Shane Supple did well to keep the scores level early on, racing from his line to deny Carl Baker.

Chaplin then saw two shots blocked in quick succession before an effort from Kyle Bennett met the same fate.

The blue tide kept pouring forward and Milan Lalkovic’s drive was comfortable for Supple, while Baker could not avoid a visiting defender after rounding the Bohs keeper.

There was a nasty moment midway through the first half, however, as Stephen Best came off worse in a challenge with Bennett and had to be stretchered from the pitch.

Pompey soon broke the deadlock, with Lalkovic stealing possession and feeding ROSE, who neatly dinked the ball into the net.

Chaplin almost doubled the lead moments later, only for Supple to stick out a hand and divert his angled drive wide.

But the Blues did increase their advantage in stoppage-time, as CHAPLIN took advantage of a poor back-pass and kept his composure to round the keeper and slot home.

Half Time: Bohemians 0 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey picked up where they left off following the interval, although Chaplin was not quite able to force a shot through a packed six-year box.

But Bohemians did have a couple of chances of their own, even if efforts from Ayman Ben Mohamed and Mark Quigley failed to overly trouble Martin Crowe in the Blues goal.

When the action returned to the other end of the pitch, Bennett was crudely felled right on the edge of the box, only for Enda Stevens’ low free-kick to be cleared.

Baker was next to try his luck following good work from the lively Lalkovic, but saw his shot deflected wide.

A steady stream of substitutions from the visitors disrupted any fluidity, as the game began to drift towards it conclusion.

There was a shot from Brandon Haunstrup – playing in a more advanced role than usual – but it rolled comfortably into Supple’s arms.

And Pompey suddenly looked brighter in the closing stages, with Ben Tollitt denied by a fine save before Gary Roberts narrowly failed to find the target.

They could not find another goal to reward those who had made the trip across the Irish Sea.

But the travelling Blues fans would have seen their players make another step forward as they prepare for their opening League Two encounter next month.

Bohemians (4-4-2): Supple; O’Hora (Hollywood 78), Mulcahy (c), Best (Lopes 31), Fitzgerald (Kelly 17 (Akinade 78)); P.Kavanagh (Buckley 46), Morris, J.Kavanagh, Caffrey (Flynn 81); Mohamed (Graydon 74), Quigley

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe (Bass 69); Talbot (Sessegnon 72), Burgess, Barton (Whatmough 69), Stevens; Rose, Doyle; Bennett (Roberts 58), Baker (May 77), Lalkovic (Haunstrup 69); Chaplin (Tollitt 60)
Goals: Rose 33, Chaplin 45+1

Portsmouth FC
Jul 062016
 
Friendly
Sligo Rovers 3 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Draw for Blues in Irish testimonial

Conor Chaplin bagged a brace as Pompey drew 3-3 at Sligo in their opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

Gary Roberts also found the target in a testimonial match for long-serving Rovers favourite Gavin Peers.

That saw the visitors coast to a three-goal lead, only for the Irish outfit to hit back with three of their own after the break – including a spot-kick from man-of-the-moment Peers.

It was still an enjoyable return to The Showgrounds for Cook, though, who won three trophies when he managed the Irish club between 2007 and 2012.

There was certainly a testimonial feel to the first half, as the hosts fielded a side made up former team-mates of Peers.

One of them was Kieran Djilali – who had a short spell with the Blues in 2012 – while the brother of Westlife star Mark Feehily also featured.

Pompey, unsurprisingly, dominated before the break and they took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

Chaplin did well down the right and was able to pull the ball back for ROBERTS to tap home from just a yard out.

And he was able to return the favourite soon after, with CHAPLIN free to capitalise when the midfielder’s path to goal was blocked by keeper Ciaran Kelly.

Trialist stopper Michael Crowe was largely untroubled at the other end and Christian Burgess stopped him from having to make a save by blocking Djilali’s effort.

Djilali soon made a sheepish exit, however, as following a flurry of substitutions, referee Alan Kelly had failed to spot that Sligo had 12 men on the pitch.

Jack Whatmough did well to deny the Irish side on 38 minutes, charging across to halt a quick counter-attack.

Instead it was Pompey who added to the scoring soon after, with Roberts and CHAPLIN again combining, and the latter neatly lifting the ball home.

There were two chances to increase the lead further before the interval, but Roberts and Milan Lalkovic both narrowly failed to find the target.

Half Time: Sligo 0 Pompey 3

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Peers remained on the pitch for the second half and was this time joined by 10 of his current team-mates.

Cook also rung the changes, with Roberts and Chaplin the only Blues players not to be given a rest.

Sligo almost pulled a goal back on the hour mark, but Kieran Sadlier’s drive was beaten away by replacement keeper Eric Grimes and the winger sent his follow-up effort into the side netting.

Raffaele Cretaro then wasted a great opportunity to get on the scoresheet, missing a free header at the far post.

But Sligo did have a goal on 70 minutes and – although it appeared rather soft – there were no complaints when a penalty was awarded for a challenge on Phil Roberts by Tom Davies.

That gave Peers the chance to score from the spot and he confidently slotted the ball into the bottom corner before being withdrawn to a standing ovation.

It was soon Pompey who were back on the attack and Chaplin saw an effort blocked at point-blank range following good work from Kyle Bennett and Carl Baker.

With a total of 52 players used, the game had understandably lost a bit of impetus as it coasted towards a conclusion.

But it sparked back into life towards the end as the impressive Sadlier scored twice in quick succession to draw the hosts level.

First he poked home from close range following good work down the right by Cretaro and then rifled home the equaliser seconds later.

But more important for Cook was the chance to see his squad get some minutes under the belt, while Peers was rightly lauded for his loyalty to Sligo.

Sligo first half (4-4-1-1): Kelly; Keane, Peers (c), Burns (Flannery 24), Foy (McCartney 24); Djilali (McTiernan 24), O’Grady (Judge 31), Ventre, Dillon (Mansaram 31); Ndo (Feehily 33); Elding (McNamara 24)

Sligo second half (4-4-2): Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Peers (c) (Trialist 70), Boylan, Keohane; Kearns, Roddan, Russell (Lines 79), Sadlier; Cretaro (Place 86), Roberts
Goals: Peers 69 (pen), Sadlier 85, 87

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe (trialist) (Grimes (trialist) 46); Talbot (Sessegnon (trialist) 46), Whatmough (Davies 46), Burgess (Barton 46), Haunstrup (Stevens 46); May (Close 46), Doyle (c) (Rose 46); Tollitt (Baker 46), Roberts (Konsiembo (trialist) 62), Lalkovic (Bennett 46); Chaplin (Tollitt 79)
Goals: Roberts 9, Chaplin 17, 40

Referee: Alan Kelly

Attendance: 1,127

Portsmouth FC
Apr 302016
 
League 2
Hartlepool United 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Naismith and Chaplin on target for Blues

Goals from Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin saw Pompey secure victory against Hartlepool at Victoria Park.

But results elsewhere ensured their slim hopes of automatic promotion evaporated, with a spot in the play-offs against Plymouth now confirmed.

The game was a turgid affair before the break, but Naismith’s back-flick provided the spark needed to ignite the contest.

Both sides created plenty of chances after that, although it was Chaplin who came off the bench to wrap things up with a neat finish.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week.

Paul Jones – who came off with a thigh injury against the Dons – made way for Brian Murphy between the sticks.

That meant there was no keeper on the bench, while Jack Whatmough made a welcome return to the squad after more than a year out following a knee injury.

The weather before kick-off was certainly unpredictable with hail and snow eventually making way for warm and sunny conditions.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to get particularly excited about once the football got underway.

It began promisingly enough, with Gary Roberts’ effort cannoning into Naismith and deflecting just wide.

But the game soon entered a lull, with the hosts – who had nothing but pride to play for – not showing too much ambition.

There was a free-kick from Nathan Thomas that clipped the top of the wall and flew behind for a corner.

The home fans started to grow frustrated, however, as there was nobody getting into the box to meet some dangerous crosses.

Roberts was doing his best to inject some urgency into proceedings, with a couple of incisive balls that were cleared by the Pools defence.

Pompey suddenly had a couple of decent openings just before the break, as Michael Smith met Christian Burgess’ cross and sent a header looping over the bar.

Roberts then put Gareth Evans away with a fine threaded pass, but he was denied twice in quick succession by former Blues loanee Trevor Carson.

Half Time: Hartlepool 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half initially failed to see an increase in entertainment, with both sides appearing to go through the motions.

A long-range effort from Luke James that rolled comfortably into Murphy’s arms was as close as either came to breaking the deadlock early on.

But the Blues did forge ahead as the game finally conjured up a moment of quality on 57 minutes.

Roberts played a fine pass across to Evans, whose low cross into the box was nonchalantly flicked home by NAISMITH in front of the delighted travelling support

It was almost the home fans celebrating moments later, though, as Billy Paynter burst through on goal and was brilliantly denied by Murphy.

There were suddenly chances galore and Roberts fired a shot into the side netting, while Carson stood his ground to make a save after Smith went one-on-one with the keeper.

Cook made his first chance on 64 minutes, as goal hero Naismith made way for Adam McGurk in the Blues’ attack.

It was a Hartlepool sub that almost scored soon after, though, as – just seconds after entering the pitch – Rhys Oates was denied by another super stop from Murphy.

The hosts were starting to look dangerous and Jones got the ball caught under his feet before his eventual shot was blocked.

A second switch followed on 73 minutes as Chaplin replaced Smith, with the latter given a rousing reception as the curtain came down on his loan spell.

But Hartlepool were still causing a threat and Oates should at least have found the target from close range when he met Thomas’ cross.

CHAPLIN wrapped up the victory on 85 minutes, however, when Enda Stevens cut the ball back for him to coolly steer into the bottom corner.

And there was more good news when Whatmough made his long-awaited return by replacing Christian Burgess for the final few minutes.

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Carson; Magnay, Bates (R.Jones 50), Jackson, D.Jones; Featherstone; James, Woods (Gray 76), Hawkins, Thomas; Paynter (c) (Oates 68)
Booked: D.Jones
Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Richards, Bingham

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Freeman, Burgess (Whatmough 89), Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 64); Smith (Chaplin 73)
Goals: Naismith 57, Chaplin 85
Booked: Freeman
Subs not used: Davies, Haunstrup, Close, Tollitt

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 5,046 (933 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 232016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 1 Wycombe Wanderers

 

Roberts and Chaplin secure victory

Pompey have all but secured a place in the top seven following a 2-1 victory over Wycombe at Fratton Park.

The completely controlled the first half and the impressive Gary Roberts deservedly fired them ahead.

Conor Chaplin then came off the bench to double the advantage and seemingly wrap up all three points.

But Sido Jombati’s fine free-kick set-up a nervy finale and there were plenty of chewed fingernails by the time referee Dean Whitestone blew the final whistle.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side so comprehensively beaten at York earlier in the week.

Two of them were enforced, with the injured duo of Adam Webster and Kyle Bennett making way for a fit-again Christian Burgess and Roberts.

The other switch saw Michael Smith drop to the bench and Kal Naismith come in wide on the left.

Wycombe were first to threaten once the game got started and Paul Jones had to gather the ball on the edge of his box to deny the rampaging Gozie Ugwu.

But as the half progressed, the hosts began to take complete control of proceedings in front of another large crowd.

Michael Doyle fed a fine pass through to Roberts, although he then cut the ball back to absolutely no-one.

Roberts, however, was at the heart of everything the Blues did going forward, dictating play with a number of clever passes.

Pompey kept knocking at the door in search of an opening goal and Gareth Evans fired into the side netting before Naismith’s cross was nervously dealt with.

They almost broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Doyle dispossessed former Fratton loanee Marcus Bean in the centre to start an attack.

Roberts picked the ball up and his drive was parried clear by Ryan Allsop, while Danny Hollands’ follow-up was deflected safely into the keeper’s arms.

It was Roberts who went close again moments later, but after brilliantly controlling Christian Burgess’ pass and side-stepping a defender, he curled his shot over the bar.

Matt Clarke’s surging run then created a chance for the lively Marc McNulty and his effort was also narrowly off target.

Wycombe were struggling to hang on, with their rare attacks quickly blunted and their defence then having to deal with a wave of blue.

Naismith should have scored on 36 minutes, only to completely mis-hit his shot after being picked out in the box by Burgess.

The Fratton faithful did not have to wait long for a goal to celebrate, however.

It was ROBERTS who deservedly scored, sliding in to poke the ball home from close range following more excellent McNulty work down the right.

That failed to dampen Pompey’s attacking mentality and they continued to pour forward in search of more goals.

Naismith almost obliged just before the break after collecting a short corner, but his lashed effort cannoned back off the inside of the post.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Wycombe 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Despite the hosts’ almost total dominance in the first half, they almost found themselves back on level terms just after the restart.

Ugwu rose highest to flick on Jombati’s cross and Jones flung himself to the left to palm the ball behind.

But Pompey then had a chance to double their lead, only for Roberts to hit a tame effort straight at Allsop when a pass for McNulty looked the better option.

Cook made a double substitution on the hour mark, with McNulty and Ben Davies making way for Chaplin and Kieron Freeman.

And CHAPLIN only had to wait seven minutes to get his name on the scoresheet and halt the Chairboys’ revival.

The striker latched onto an excellent long pass from Doyle and although his shot was scuffed, the ball trickled into the bottom corner.

That appeared to settle the nerves, but the tension soon ramped up when Wycombe reduced the deficit on 73 minutes.

Doyle was penalised for a foul on Bean on the edge of the box and Jombati stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall and into the net.

There was a sense of panic around the stadium and that only grew when Jason McCarthy drilled in a shot that had to be hacked from the line by a well-placed Freeman.

Pompey were soon looking dangerous on the break, however, and Allsop did well to deny Roberts following a sumptuous pass over the top by Chaplin.

Wycombe were pushing men forward in search of a leveller and Garry Thompson’s volley was pushed clear by Jones.

Burgess then did well to clear the ball from a crowded box after a corner had led to a nervy scramble.

There were a few groans when the fourth official announced an additional five minutes, but Pompey held on to secure the victory.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies (Freeman 60), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 77); McNulty (Chaplin 60)
Goals: Roberts 37, Chaplin 67
Booked: Chaplin
Subs not used: Murphy, Barton, Close, Smith

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, Stewart, Pierre, Jombati; Rowe; Sellars (Liburd 82), Bean, Harriman (Kretzschmar 72), Hayes (c) (Thompson 67); Ugwu
Goals: Jombati 73
Booked: Stewart, Bean
Subs not used: Siegrist, Jacobson, McGinn, Sellers

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,187 (737 away fans)

Mar 012016
 
League 2
Exeter City 1 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Late shock denies Blues

Pompey suffered more late heartache as Ollie Watkins snatched a 90th-minute leveller for Exeter at St James Park.

Conor Chaplin’s neat first half finish looked to have ensured that the visitors would be taking all three points home from Devon.

Jayden Stockley had been the biggest threat for the Grecians, but missed a hat-trick of chances to punish his former side.

Instead it was Watkins who found the target just before the end to break the hearts of the travelling support.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that beat Cambridge at Fratton Park at the weekend.

His Exeter counterpart Paul Tisdale – presented with an award before kick-off in recognition of passing 500 games in charge of the club – restored former Blues loanees Lee Holmes and Stockley to the starting line-up.

The game was just 22 seconds old when Chaplin missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock by mis-controlling Kal Naismith’s cross.

Christian Burgess was also off target with a header in the opening stages, while the ferocity of Holmes’ pass back to Bobby Olejnik almost caught the goalkeeper out.

There were not an abundance of clear-cut openings, but it was still Pompey looking the more likely to score as the first half progressed.

Doyle drew a smart stop from Olejnik with a 30-yard volley on 25 minutes after a corner had only been cleared as far as the visiting skipper.

But Stockley then should have punished his former side, only to guide Christian Ribeiro’s cross straight into the arms of Ryan Fulton.

And he was made to pay for his profligacy moments later, as Pompey went up the other end of the pitch to take the lead.

It was a fine effort from CHAPLIN, who neatly chested the ball down on the edge of the box before steering it into the bottom corner.

He might have had a second soon after, bursting inside to collect Marc McNulty’s cut-back, but failing to make a clean connection.

Exeter did enjoy a spell of pressure late in the half and Stockley again wasted a good opportunity by glancing another Ribeiro cross wide.

Watkins then cut inside and unleashed a curling drive that Fulton did well to parry clear before the ball was hacked to safety.

Half Time: Exeter 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half was slow to spark into life, although a corner for the hosts did lead to a melee in the Blues box.

Pompey were not offering too much at the other end either and Naismith’s long-range effort flew over after the winger had wriggled past a couple of challenges.

They almost doubled their lead in comical fashion on the hour mark, however, thanks to some wonderful improvisation by Chaplin.

The teenager was left on the floor after colliding with Olejnik in a race for the ball, but still managed to scramble a shot inches past the post.

That seemed to shake the Grecians into action and a Stockley header had to be cleared behind by Burgess.

The resulting corner then made its way to the striker’s feet inside the box, but his flicked effort just about went wide.

And that proved to be Stockley’s last chance to make an impact as he was withdrawn with Troy Brown in a double switch for Exeter on 65 minutes.

Pompey were next to go close after Naismith was barged over by Watkins right on the edge of the area.

Chaplin stepped up to take the free-kick, but although his effort curled over the wall, it also cleared the crossbar.

Cook looked to shore things up on 79 minutes, with goalscorer Chaplin making way for Gareth Evans.

And more valuable seconds were used up a few moments later as Adam Barton was introduced for Kyle Bennett.

There was a scary moment when the ball found its way to Alex Nicholls in the box late on, only for the midfielder to blaze his shot high over the bar.

But it looked like the Blues had done enough to hold off the Grecians until Watkins shimmied into space and angled home into the net.

Exeter might even have snatched a winner deep into stoppage-time, but Nicholls’ free-kick was turned around the post by Fulton.

Exeter (4-3-2-1): Olejnik; Ribeiro (Morrison 79), Brown (Grant 65), Moore-Taylor (c), Woodman; Nicholls, Oakley, Watkins; Wheeler, Holmes; Stockley (Noble 65)
Goals: Watkins 90
Subs not used: Pym, Tillson, McAllister, Taylor

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Naismith, Chaplin (Evans 79), Bennett (Barton 82); McNulty
Goals: Chaplin 31
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Freeman, Clarke, Haunstrup, Tollitt

Referee: Brendan Malone

Attendance: 3,855 (695 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jan 092016
 

Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Portsmouth

Pompey will take their place in the fourth round draw for the Emirates FA Cup following a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

They were totally on top against their Championship opponents in the opening 45 minutes and carved open a number of chances.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through Tommy Oar early in the second half.

The Blues hit back, though, and Kyle Bennett levelled before substitute Conor Chaplin’s strike looked to have secured a cup upset.

But there was still time for Ryan Fraser to grab a late leveller and ensure that the sides will have to do it all again at Fratton Park.

Paul Cook made four changes from the side that beat Crawley in the league the previous week.

Gary Roberts was handed his first start for more than two months and wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Michael Doyle.

Matt Clarke was unable to feature against his parent club, so Adam Barton was once again used as a makeshift defender.

There were also starts for Adam McGurk and Ben Close, with Caolan Lavery ineligible and Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.

Former Pompey striker Luke Varney started for the hosts, while Roberts and Brian Murphy were both featuring against their former club.

The visitors might play their league football two divisions below the Tractor Boys, but they were certainly not over-award.

It was the Blues who dominated from the start and it took a vital block from Paul Digby to deny Marc McNulty in the opening stages.

McGurk then climbed above his marker to reach Roberts’ cross at the far post, only to see his header deflected wide.

Ipswich were struggling to see much of the ball and their supporters grew increasingly frustrated as the first half progressed.

Roberts should have done better when he connected with Enda Stevens’ cross on 20 minutes, but could only guide the ball over the bar.

The large travelling support were enjoying themselves, chanting ‘ole’ with every completed pass.

One such period of play ended with Barton sending McNulty clear, but Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly down to his right to palm clear the striker’s low drive.

The keeper was called into action again moments later, this time doing well to keep out a Bennett snap-shot from the edge of the box.

Ipswich finally threatened with a counter-attacking move just before the break, but Barton kept his composure to cut out Oar’s through ball.

Half Time: Ipswich 0 Pompey 0

The hosts, unsurprisingly, looked sharper at the start of the second half – no doubt following a few harsh words from Mick McCarthy.

And they forged ahead on 53 minutes when Ben Davies was unable to keep out Oar’s effort on the line after Murphy had done well to keep out an initial shot from Brett Pitman.

If the home support thought that would trigger a landslide, though, they were to be disappointed.

Not even two minutes had passed when Pompey deservedly drew level, as Roberts and McNulty combined to tee-up BENNETT for a cool finish into the bottom corner.

And they almost forged ahead on 65 minutes, with Bialkowski only just keeping out McNulty’s fierce strike at the near post.

The game was certainly an open affair by now, as both sides sought to avoid a replay by finding a second goal.

Cook made his first change on 74 minutes, withdrawing Close and handing Adam May just a third senior appearance.

And a second switch soon followed as the tiring Roberts made way for Chaplin in Pompey’s forward line.

The Blues were then forced into making a final change on 81 minutes when Danny Hollands picked up a knock and was replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.

Ipswich came close to grabbing a late winner moments later, with Fraser only able to find the side netting from a tight angle.

But it was the Blues who were celebrating on 86 minutes when CHAPLIN collected the ball 20 yards out and steered a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

There was still time for the hosts to hit back, though, as Fraser swung a free-kick straight into the net from wide on the left.

Five minutes of stoppage-time meant that both sides still had the chance to increase the scoring, but an exciting game was not able to deliver one last twist.

Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (c), Malarczyk, Digby (Smith 63), Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Fraser 58), Skuse, Hyam, Oar; Pitman, Varney (Sears 74)
Goals: Oar 53, Fraser 88
Booked: Skuse
Subs not used: Gerken, Bru, Tabb, Kenlock

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Webster, Stevens; Close (May 74), Hollands (Haunstrup 81); Roberts (c) (Chaplin 78), McNulty, Bennett; McGurk
Goals: Bennett 55, Chaplin 86
Booked: Barton
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Evans

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,020 (2,494 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 192015
 
League 2
Northampton Town 1 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Pompey ensured it would be a very Merry Christmas by coming from behind to win at league leaders Northampton.

Conor Chaplin came off the bench to get the crucial late goal and give the 900-plus visiting fans the perfect present.

That came after Gareth Evans had headed home to cancel out Ryan Cresswell’s opener before the break.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that convincingly beat Hartlepool the previous week.

Christian Burgess injured his ankle ligaments in that game, so Matt Clarke replaced him at the heart of defence.

It was the side at the summit who made the brighter start and Clarke did well to clear Joel Byrom’s dangerous ball into the box.

But the visitors soon settled and came close to breaking the deadlock on 10 minutes, with Caolan Lavery’s low cross just out of reach for the onrushing Evans.

And Evans had another decent opportunity moments later, only to swipe at thin air after Marc McNulty had done brilliantly to tee him up.

The Blues received a let-off at the other end when Adam Webster’s poor touch sent Marc Richards through on goal, but Brian Murphy came to the defender’s rescue with a vital block.

It was only a brief reprieve, however, as from the resulting corner, Byrom’s cross was firmly headed home at the far post by Cresswell.

That left Pompey shell-shocked for a while, but they soon settled back into their patient passing play.

Lavery headed wide from a Ben Davies cross before McNulty’s low cross had to be cut out by Cresswell.

Then after Adam Smith came racing from his box to beat Lavery to the ball, McNulty was unable to catch the Cobblers keeper out from almost halfway.

But the Blues were level on 32 minutes – and it was the impressive McNulty who created it.

The forward did brilliantly to shake off a couple of challenges and stand up a fine cross that EVANS expertly headed into the top corner.

Northampton came close to extending their advantage soon after when a corner led to an almighty scramble in the box.

Cresswell inadvertently did Pompey’s job for them by clearing a shot off the line and Clarke eventually got the ball to safety.

But it was the visitors who finished the half on the ascendency and Smith did well to parry clear Lavery’s angled drive following good work from Kyle Bennett.

Then, in stoppage-time, Smith was again called into action to stop McNulty from converting Davies’ cross.

Half Time: Northampton 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey tried to continue where they had left off at the start of the second half and were looking to use the strong gusts to their advantage.

There were a couple of half-chances, although Lavery was offside when he tried to collect Bennett’s through ball

Zander Diamond then recovered quickly after his slip had threatened to send the lively McNulty away.

Bennett had two efforts blocked from the edge of the box in quick succession as the Blues continued to push for another goal.

They had another opening just past the hour mark when, with McNulty in an offside position, Lavery chased down his own pass and was only just beaten to the ball by Smith.

The keeper then made sure he got his body behind Evans’ fierce 30-yard drive following a surging run from the Pompey winger.

Northampton need to make a change to halt the one-way traffic and introduced former Blues midfielder Ricky Holmes.

It was the Blues who came close to forging ahead on 70 minutes, though, when after a poor Davies corner was partially cleared, Danny Hollands’ effort was deflected inches past the post.

Smith was still having to be alert between the sticks for the hosts and he was again quickly off his line to deny McNulty following good work from Michael Doyle and Lavery.

Evans was next to go close, but could only fire wide when Bennett’s cross came in at an awkward height.

It was Bennett who made way when Cook decided to make his first change and introduce Ben Tollitt on 76 minutes.

Despite struggling to make much of an attacking impact in the second half, the hosts then almost retook the lead.

Brendan Moloney’s effort was deflected behind and from the resulting corner, Diamond headed over from just a couple of yards out.

The tireless McNulty was then withdrawn for the final 10 minutes, with Adam McGurk given a chance to impress.

It was Northampton who were now looking dangerous, however, and the imposing Cresswell headed a corner against the crossbar.

Cook’s final throw of the dice saw Chaplin come on for Lavery – and it proved to be a masterstroke.

Fellow substitute Tollitt was the creator, bursting down the right and angling in a shot that was too hot for Smith to handle.

The ball fell kindly for CHAPLIN, who had the simple task of sliding in from a couple of yards out, sending the travelling fans wild with delight.

It was not quite game over, though, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin almost got an immediate equaliser with a header that left the crossbar shaking.

But the Blues saw out the final few minutes to leave themselves on the brink of the automatic promotion places.

Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Moloney, Diamond (Hoskins 89), Cresswell, Buchanan; O’Toole, Byrom; D’Ath, Potter (Holmes 65), Adams (Calvert-Lewin 57); Richards (c)
Goals: Cresswell 17
Booked: O’Toole, D’Ath, Cresswell
Subs not used: Clarke, Lelan, McDonald, Taylor

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (McGurk 80), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Evans 32, Chaplin 86
Booked: McNulty, McGurk
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Barton, Close

Referee: Fred Graham

Attendance: 5,859 (938 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC