Oct 042016
 
EFL Trophy
Portsmouth 2 – 2 Reading U23

 

Blues lose penalty shoot out

Curtis Main bagged a brace as Pompey fought from two goals down to draw with Reading U23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

But it was the visitors who claimed a bonus point by winning a marathon penalty shoot-out, despite the heroics of goalkeeper Liam O’Brien.

Andrija Novakovich’s early finish and a Joseph Mendes penalty looked to have secured victory for the visitors.

But Main struck twice – the second of which was a fine first time finish – to haul the Blues level at a sparsely-populated Fratton Park.

The match attracted a crowd of just 1,355 – comfortably Pompey’s lowest post-war attendance for a competitive home fixture.

Paul Cook rung the changes for their second group stage fixture, with Matt Clarke the only player to keep his place from Saturday’s league defeat to Doncaster.

But they got off to a poor start, with the visitors breaking the deadlock after just six minutes.

Mendes showed blistering pace to latch onto Liam Kelly’s pass and coolly laid the ball back for Novakovich to slot home.

Most of the first half action then took place at the other end of the pitch, although the Blues never really tested keeper Anssi Jaakkola.

Thomas McIntyre did well to nip in and intercept a threaded pass from skipper Kyle Bennet before it could reach Michael Smith.

The two Blues players combined well again moments later, but after swapping neat passes the striker scuffed his shot wide.

Bennett then teed-up Adam Buxton down the right and the full-back’s cross had to be diverted behind by Danzell Gravenberch with Main waiting to pounce.

Pompey’s best chance of the half fell to Milan Lalkovic on 23 minutes, with his goal-bound effort just about scrambled to safety.

The Royals did threaten at the other end moments later, but O’Brien was able to gather Dominic Samuel’s fierce low drive at the other end.

And Ben Close hit a similarly powerful shot of his own, only for the ball to narrowly clear the crossbar.

But the Blues were dealt a blow just before the break when Buxton went down following a 50/50 challenge and had to be replaced by Gareth Evans.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Reading U23 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey had a chance to level moments after the restart, but Jaakkola was wise to Evans’ neat flick after Bennett had sent a corner towards the near post.

Instead, they found themselves further behind when referee Oli Langford spotted an Amine Linganzi handball in the box.

Mendes stepped up to take the spot-kick and smashed the ball high into the net, giving O’Brien – who guessed the right way – no chance.

It did not take long for the hosts to reduce their deficit, however, as MAIN slid in to squeeze Evans’ cross past Jaakkola.

And it was MAIN who drew the Blues level just past the hour mark, converting Bennett’s pass with a fine first time finish into the bottom corner.

The striker was denied the chance to complete his hat-trick, though, as he was soon withdrawn for Kal Naismith.

Reading still had chances of their own as the game entered its closing stages and O’Brien got down well to save Novakovich’s deflected effort.

It was Pompey looking the more threatening, however, and Smith was inches away from meeting Naismith’s teasing cross.

Jaakkola then failed to hold substitute Adam May’s thumping strike and was relieved to see the ball land safe.

And it took a vital last-gasp challenge from Gravenberch to prevent Smith from being sent clear by Bennett’s incisive pass.

But the Royals wasted a glorious opportunity to snatch a stoppage-time winner when an unmarked Tyler Frost fired straight at O’Brien from just a few yards out.

That meant a penalty shoot-out would be held to see which team walked away with an additional point.

Smith, Naismith and Evans all scored, but Jaakkola denied both Bennett and Lalkovic and it looked like that was that.

O’Brien made a couple of stops of his own to take it to sudden death, however – and made another fine save to keep out Tennai Watson’s effort.

But May and Jack Whatmough both failed to beat Jaakkola, allowing Frost the chance to secure Reading an additional point.

Pompey (4-4-2): O’Brien; Buxton (Evans 44), Whatmough, Clarke, Haunstrup; Bennett (c), Linganzi, Close (May 73), Lalkovic; Smith, Main (Naismith 69)
Goals: Main 57, 63
Subs not used: Hall, T.Davies, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Reading U23 (4-4-2): Jaakkola (c); Watson, Gravenberch, McIntyre (Griffin 18), Blackett; Rinomhota, Frost, Kelly, Samuel; Novakovic (Richards 78), Mendes
Goals: Novakovic 6, Mendes 52 (pen)
Booked: Rinomhota
Subs not used: Moore, Vancooten, East, Bennett, Cardwell

Referee: Oli Langford

Attendance: 1,355 (133 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Sep 032016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 3 – 0 Crawley Town

 

Blues good run continues

Pompey eased to a third successive league win, courtesy of three first half goals against a hapless Crawley side at Fratton Park.

The damage was done inside the first 12 minutes, with Curtis Main breaking the deadlock before Gary Roberts continued his prolific scoring spell.

It was Main who added a third goal before the break, allowing the Blues to comfortably see out the second half and claim their three points.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at Exeter in the last league outing.

Drew Talbot was suffering from a hamstring injury and with Adam Buxton and Calvin Davies also sidelined, Gareth Evans had to deputise at right-back.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Pompey Ladies president Dave Coyle, who sadly passed away recently.

The hosts immediately launched into an energetic attacking display, looking to get forward at every opportunity and play with a high tempo.

Roberts tried to take advantage of some uncertain defending by chasing down a poor back-pass in the opening seconds, but Crawley keeper Yusuf Mersin just about beat him to the ball.

The Red Devils then had their best chance of the half, only for James Collins to hit his shot into the ground and watch it fly wide.

Most of the action was taking place at the other end of the pitch, however, and Michael Doyle was not quite able to dig the ball from out of his feet and test Mersin.

But the deadlock was broken on eight minutes, as MAIN opened his Fratton Park account.

Enda Stevens latched onto a pass down the left and then cut the ball back for the striker to lash into the roof of the net.

That certainly got the home fans off their seats and they were in dreamland moments later when the Blues doubled their advantage.

And it was no surprise who scored it either, with Danny Rose stealing possession from Alex Davey and ROBERTS picking up the loose ball to rifle home his fourth goal in three games.

Pompey refused to sit back and protect their lead, though, as they set about trying to find a third.

Mark Connolly was clever enough to spot Roberts’ cute pass through to Main and make a vital interception.

Roberts tried to pick out the striker again soon after, only this time Davey rose highest to clear the danger.

MAIN did add a third goal before the interval, however, being in the right place to convert from close range after Mersin could only parry away a deflected effort from Milan Lalkovic.

There was still time for Crawley to launch a rare attack, but, under pressure from Christian Burgess, Jason Banton could only fire wide.

Half Time: Pompey 3 Crawley 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was a more sedate pace at the start of the second half, although Carl Baker wasted a good opening by dragging his shot wide.

Main then had a chance to seal his hat-trick, but spun and fired wide after Roberts’ neat flick had released Evans down the right.

Cook made his first switch just past the hour mark, with Main receiving warm applause as he made way for Conor Chaplin.

Crawley had a chance at the other end when Tom Davies was booked for a foul on Banton, with Burgess sticking out a leg to clear Jimmy Smith’s free-kick.

There was a definite sense of the game winding down as the heavens opened and heavy rain began to fall.

That might have contributed to a spot of sloppy defending from the hosts, who survived through some last-gasp defending before Smith’s shot was saved by David Forde.

Roberts was then given a deserved rest and replaced by Kal Naismith for his first home appearance of the season.

The final switch saw Michael Smith come on for the lively Lalkovic and he almost netted in stoppage-time following a quick break, but hit his shot agonisingly past the post.

It mattered little, however, as Pompey had, in truth, wrapped the game up by half-time to seal yet another league triumph.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 72), Lalkovic (Smith 82); Main (Chaplin 65)
Goals: Main 9, 37, Roberts 12
Booked: Main, T.Davies
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Hunt

Crawley (4-2-3-1): Mersin; Young, Connolly, Davey, Blackman (Arthur 52); Smith (c), Yorwerth (Payne 52); Boldewijn, Banton, Yussuf (Bawling 68); Collins
Booked: Blackman
Subs not used: Beeney, McNerney, Clifford, Tajbakhsh

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 16,347 (435 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 092016
 
EFL Cup 1
Coventry City 3 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Extra time defeat for Blues

Pompey produced a brave performance, but were beaten after extra-time to exit the EFL Cup at Coventry.

They were certainly not over-awed against their League One opponents and took the lead courtesy of a Curtis Main penalty.

But the hosts were much better after the break and goals from Ryan Haynes and Vladimir Gadzhev looked to have secured safe passage into the second round.

Kal Naismith levelled late on with a free-kick to ensure another 30 minutes, however, before Andy Rose finally won it for Coventry.

Paul Cook changed the entire side that started Saturday’s draw with Carlisle in the league.

He handed debuts to summer signings Adam Buxton, Tom Davies, Amine Linganzi and Main, while there was also a first appearance for teenage keeper Alex Bass.

Adam Barton was handed the captain’s armband against his former club, while Naismith featured in an unfamiliar left-back role.

But there was no sign of nerves from the visitors against their higher-ranked hosts in a half that was low on clear-cut chances.

Bass was able to steady any nerves by holding onto a couple of ambitious Coventry efforts from long-range.

Ben Tollitt scuffed a shot wide at the other end, while a Kyle Bennett cross was headed clear after the midfielder had done well to beat his man down the right.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 19 minutes – and it was down to more good work from Bennett.

He tricked his way into the box and after being brought down by Marcus Tudgay, referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot.

It was MAIN who stepped up to take the penalty and he confidently hammered it home, giving Reice Charles-Cook no chance.

But the keeper prevented the same player from having a chance to double the lead moments later, racing from his line to get to the ball first.

And it was Main who came close again on 22 minutes, forcing a decent stop from Charles-Cook after being teed-up by Bennett.

The hosts’ best chance of the first half arrived soon after, with Bass adjusting well to keep out Tudgay’s close-range header.

But Pompey were still proving to be an attacking threat themselves and Gareth Evans fizzed a shot narrowly over following good work from Tollitt and Adam May.

Half Time: Coventry 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Coventry looked sharper after the restart, but were still finding it difficult to breach the Blues back-line and test Bass.

Ben Stevenson decided it would be better to try his luck from long-range on 54 minutes and saw the ball fly wide.

Ruben Lameiras had a better chance moments later, firing over the bar following an almighty scramble in the box.

And the hosts finally made the pressure count by levelling the tie on the hour mark.

Davies could only head Lameiras’ cross as far as Haynes, who drilled a precise low shot past the grasp of Bass and into the bottom corner.

Pompey had looked ragged since the break, so Cook freshened things up by replacing Evans with Conor Chaplin on 64 minutes.

He immediately made an impact by getting free down the right, but his cut-back fell in between Bennett and Tollitt and the chance disappeared.

It was still Coventry looking more dangerous, however, and Lameiras skipped past Naismith, but could not beat Bass from an acute angle.

Kyel Reid then sent in a dangerous cross from the right that was inches too high for Jodi Jones, who was only able to head over.

And the hosts did go ahead on 82 minutes when Gadzhev collected Lameiras’ threaded pass and confidently tucked the ball home.

The lead did not last long, though, as NAISMITH was fouled by Stevenson just outside the box and picked himself up to curl a stunning free-kick into the top corner.

There might have even been a late winner before the full-time whistle when Chaplin and Noel Hunt exchanged passes, but the latter dragged his shot wide.

The duo combined again in stoppage-time and this time it was Chaplin who was off target with a looping header.

After 90 Minutes: Coventry 2 Pompey 2

Extra-time took a while to get going, but both sides had opportunities to score in the first period.

Bass made a couple of key saves, stopping Jones from sliding one in at the near post and also keeping out a drive from Lameiras.

Pompey’s best chance came when Tollitt released Hunt down the right and the striker squared for Bennett, who could not take it round Charles-Cook with just the keeper to beat.

But Coventry scored just moments into the second period, with Rose pouncing to tuck home the loose ball after Bass had pushed clear Haynes’ attempt.

They almost added another, only for Bass to produce a stunning stop to deny Lameiras from point-blank range.

And Pompey were unable to find a late moment of inspiration to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out.

Coventry (3-4-3): Charles-Cook; Willis (Finch 76), Ricketts (c), Harries; Rose, Gadzhev, Stevenson, Haynes; Thomas (Jones 46), Tudgay (Reid 68), Lameiras
Goals: Haynes 60, Gadzhev 82, Rose 106
Booked: Gadzhev, Stevenson, Lameiras
Subs not used: Burge, Page, Kelly-Evans, Thomas

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Buxton (Talbot 77), T.Davies, Barton (c), Naismith; May, Linganzi; Tollitt, Bennett, Evans (Chaplin 64); Main (Hunt 84)
Goals: Main 19 (pen), Naismith 85
Booked: Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Doyle, Baker

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 4,976 (722 Pompey 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 132016
 
Friendly
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 5 Portsmouth

 

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.

Half Time: Hawks 0 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

Attendance: 2,300

Portsmouth FC
Jul 042016
 
IN
Curtis Main

(24)
Doncaster Rovers


Blues bring in Doncaster striker

Pompey have signed striker Curtis Main from Doncaster for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old has penned a two-year deal at Fratton Park, with the club having an option for a third year.

And he is hoping to help the Blues climb out of League Two in his first season on the south coast.

“I’m really happy and excited that it’s all been sorted and that I’m now a Pompey player,” said Main.

“I had my first training session with the lads on Saturday. I already knew a few of them and the rest have all been brilliant, so I’ve settled in effortlessly.

“I’ve come here to hopefully achieve promotion and I think that has to be the aim when you join a club like this.

“The fans know that we belong at a higher level and I think everyone agrees with that, so we’re all working in the same direction.

“I can’t wait to play in front of such large and passionate crowds at Fratton Park – that was a big draw for me signing here.”

Main started his career with Darlington, where he made his senior debut at the age of just 15.

He soon attracted the attention of Middlesbrough, spending three years with the Teesside club and making 48 Championship appearances.

Doncaster signed Main in the summer of 2014 and he scored 11 goals in 58 games for them, while also spending time on loan at Oldham last season.

Portsmouth FC