Jan 282017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 1 Exeter City

 

Wheeler goal downs Blues

Pompey were unable to halt Exeter’s resurgence as they fell to defeat against their in-form visitors.

The goal that proved the difference between the sides from David Wheeler owed a lot of good fortune, with a ricochet aiding the Devon outfit.

But the Blues struggled to create many chances of note in their ultimately futile search for a leveller.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Leyton Orient on the south coast a fortnight earlier.

That meant Conor Chaplin continued to lead the line alongside Michael Smith in a 4-4-2 formation.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of title-winning forward Lindy Delapenha, who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

There was little to excite another large Fratton crowd once the action got underway, with clear-cut chances at a premium throughout the first half.

The hosts dominated possession, although a well-marshalled defence meant they were not able to test Christy Pym in the Grecians goal.

Chaplin showed some neat invention to try to convert Carl Baker’s cross with a back-flick, but the ball flew wide.

David Forde flung himself to the left to deny Reuben Reid at the other end, then grabbed the loose ball at the second attempt.

Ollie Watkins was looking the most threatening player for the visitors and the sought-after striker drilled a low effort narrowly past the post on 16 minutes.

And Christian Burgess was enjoying a personal tussle with Reid, with the defender making a couple of key challenges inside the box to frustrate his opponent.

There was one more opportunity for Baker to break the deadlock before the break, but his effort was fumbled behind by Pym as a drab opening 45 minutes came to a close.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Exeter 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey were first to threaten at the start of the second half, but a poor attempt from Kal Naismith flew over the bar.

The visitors went closer moments later and Enda Stevens had to turn Ryan Harley’s cross behind before Watkins could pounce.

And the Grecians did forge ahead on 57 minutes – although they were aided by a huge slice of fortune.

Reid burst down the centre and when he was dispossessed, the ball ricocheted off Danny Rose and straight into the path of Wheeler, who lashed it into the net.

Cook immediately responded with a double substitution, bringing on Jamal Lowe and Gary Roberts in place of Smith and Baker.

And Lowe tried to add a spark to the hosts’ performance with some tricky footwork, while his cross was headed wide by Matt Clarke.

It was Gareth Evans who forced Pym into action on 72 minutes, however, with a fierce left-footed effort that the keeper did well to smother.

But Exeter then came close to doubling their advantage when Troy Brown met a corner and glanced a header inches wide.

Pompey pushed forward in search of an equaliser and some fans thought a penalty had been awarded when Stevens went down under Jack Stacey’s challenge, although referee Dean Whitestone was instead pointing for a goal-kick.

There were also a host of late corners, which saw Forde come up to provide a different threat, but despite five minutes of added time and the Grecians starting to sit back, the hosts were unable to provide some late drama.

Pompey (4-4-2): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker (Roberts 59), Rose, Doyle (c), Naismith; Chaplin, Smith (Lowe 59)
Booked: Clarke, Forde
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Bennett, Hunt

Exeter (4-4-2): Pym; Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor (c), Woodman; Wheeler, Taylor, James, Harley; Reid (McAlinden 81), Watkins
Goals: Wheeler 57
Booked: Reid
Subs not used: Olejnik, Sweeney, Tillson, Croll, Oakley, Simpson

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 17,195 (1,010 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 272016
 
League 2
Exeter City 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Roberts the penalty hero

Gary Roberts fired home a late penalty as Pompey won at Exeter to secure a second successive victory.

They had seen plenty of the ball without carving out too many clear-cut openings, but a third goal in two games from Roberts was enough to settle the contest.

Exeter poured forward in search of a leveller and the Blues were forced to hold on to claim a maximum haul in Devon.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that beat Colchester the previous week.

Milan Lalkovic replaced Kyle Bennett wide on the left, while Adam Barton dropped to the bench to make way for Tom Davies in the centre of defence.

The game started at a frantic pace, with both sides looking to get forward whenever possible.

There was a scary moment for the visitors when David Forde failed to hold Lloyd James’ free-kick, but referee Gavin Ward spotted a push on the keeper.

Pompey soon settled, though, and began to assert themselves on the Grecians, with a slip from 15-year-old defender Ethan Ampadu almost letting in Curtis Main.

Roberts then found space to burst forward, but he dragged his shot wide of the post to let Exeter off the hook.

Enda Stevens was sending in some decent crosses from the left and one was brilliantly held by keeper Bobby Olejnik, with Roberts waiting to pounce at the far post.

The Blues were beginning to dominate proceedings without really carving out anything clear-cut and when space opened up for Main, the striker drilled straight into Olejnik’s arms.

It was a similar story when Carl Baker cut inside from the right and then fired a shot into the side netting.

But one fine move almost resulted in an opener on 18 minutes, starting with Stevens nutmegging Jake Taylor down the left.

Lalkovic picked the ball up out wide and his low cross was met by Main, only for a sweeping effort to be blocked by Troy Brown.

There was another golden opportunity midway through the first half when Roberts delivered a superb free-kick, only for Christian Burgess to glance it wide.

Danny Rose was given the chance to break forward at regular intervals and his fierce long-range strike appeared to be heading for the net until Brown bravely got his face in the way.

Exeter had offered little at the other end of the pitch, but did carve open one good chance before the break.

Connor Riley-Lowe’s cross was helped on by Joel Grant, with Forde doing well to deny Liam McAlinden from close range.

It was Pompey who had the final say, however, as Rose shot narrowly over before Roberts – at full stretch – was unable to convert Stevens’ ball with a diving header.

Half Time: Exeter 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half was slow to get going, but it was the Blues who carved out the first decent opening on 56 minutes.

A quickly-taken free-kick found its way to Lalkovic on the left and his pin-point delivery was headed narrowly wide by Main.

Michael Doyle then fed the ball to Main on the edge of the box, only for an excellent Ampadu block to deny the striker.

Pompey made their first switch just past the hour mark and it was a popular one with the travelling support as Conor Chaplin replaced Baker.

The teenager made an immediate impact, as he latched onto Roberts’ pass, beat Ampadu and saw a curling shot deflected narrowly past the post.

It was Exeter who came close to celebrating a goal on 68 minutes, however, following a quick break up the pitch.

Ollie Watkins did well to pick out Grant inside the box and Burgess was forced to divert the ball behind for a corner.

The Blues then made their final two changes, with Main and Lalkovic making way for Noel Hunt and Kal Naismith.

The former almost improvised a goal just moments after entering the fray, using his body to turn Chaplin’s shot on target, but seeing the effort blocked.

And Naismith was then just about able to reach Roberts’ corner and send the ball back into the mix, but it was just out of reach for Chaplin to get a shot away.

But the pressure finally produced a goal on 85 minutes and it was Naismith who created it.

The substitute latched onto a long Burgess pass forward and charged into the box, only to be brought down by Pierce Sweeney.

Ward immediately pointed to the spot and ROBERTS stepped up to slam the ball straight down the middle, with James and Sweeney both booked for complaining about the decision.

But Sweeney almost made amends at the other end of the pitch, with a deflection taking the power out of his shot and allowing Forde to save.

The keeper then made another key stop to deny Watkins in stoppage-time, while Doyle kept out an effort from the same player with a brilliant block as Pompey held on to claim all three points.

Exeter (3-4-3): Olejnik; Sweeney, Brown, Ampadu (Oakley 76); Taylor, James (c), Tillson (Grant 21), Riley-Lowe; Watkins, McAlinden (Simpson 57), Harley
Booked: Harley, James, Sweeney, Riley-Lowe
Subs not used: Pym, Egan, Byrne, Jay

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Chaplin 64), Roberts, Lalkovic (Naismith 74); Main (Hunt 74)
Goals: Roberts 85 (pen)
Subs not used: O’Brien, Barton, Linganzi, Evans

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 4,512 (1,215 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
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
Sep 292015
 

League Two


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Exeter City    2

 


Possession counts for nothing as Blues slip

Pompey’s stay at the League Two summit was short-lived as they lost 2-1 at home to Exeter.

There was plenty of energy from a Blues side who dominated possession and created a host of chances.

But the Grecians left them stunned with a sucker-punch in each half, with first David Wheeler and then Arron Davies getting the goals.

And the visitors made sure they ended Pompey’s unbeaten run with some stoic defending to repel the attacking charge.

The only bright point for the hosts was a stoppage-time consolation for substitute Gary Roberts.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that went top of the table by beating Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

Pompey came roaring out of the blocks and Exeter struggled to deal with their quick counter-attacks in the early stages.

The hosts had three good chances to open the scoring in the space of a few seconds in the third minute.

Two of them fell to Gareth Evans, with the winger denied first by a Bobby Olejnik save and then a brave Jordan Moore-Taylor block.

Skipper Ben Davies sent the ball back into the box, where Jayden Stockley was waiting to head wide of the post.

Kyle Bennett was next to go close with a cleanly-struck free-kick from 25 yards that he bent narrowly off target.

The Grecians were finding it tough to stifle Pompey’s attacking verve, although their defenders well doing well to fling themselves in front of any balls into the box.

That happened on 18 minutes when Bennett broke brilliantly up the pitch and fed Stockley. His low cross was met by Chaplin, but again there was a red-and-white-shirted man to get in the way.

Then, from nowhere, the Blues suddenly found themselves behind, as Danny Hollands was caught in possession and Wheeler drove an accurate drive into the bottom corner.

The goal seemed to puncture Pompey’s spirit, although the lively Bennett was still tormenting the visitors with his trickery out wide.

And he had a shot saved by Olejnik just before the break after Hollands and Conor Chaplin had combined well to tee him up.


Half Time

(0 – 1)


Pompey were soon on the attack once the second half got underway and Bennett tested Olejnik’s handling with a long-range effort.

A stretching Evans was then millimetres from making a connection after Enda Stevens’ cross had been touched on by Stockley.

Cook decided to make his first switch on 55 minutes, with Chaplin making way for Matt Tubbs.

But it was Exeter who were next to threaten, with Stockley forced to hack clear after Aaron McCarey had kept out Christian Ribeiro’s close-range shot.

It was only a brief reprieve for the Blues, however, as despite offside appeals, Holmes delivered a dangerous ball into the box.

McCarey got a hand to it, but the ball sat up kindly for Davies to head past the Blues bodies stationed on the line.

Pompey now faced an uphill challenge, although they almost reduced the deficit on 65 minutes.

Stockley met a precision corner from Bennett, but Danny Butterfield was well-placed on the line to clear the danger.

Cook responded with his second switch, as Roberts replaced Evans to try to add a spark to the Blues’ attack.

And the Blues continued to apply plenty of pressure, only to see every foray forward or ball into the box repelled by a resolute Grecians back-line.

Stevens sent the ball across the face of goal on 85 minutes, but none of his team-mates were able to force it home.

Pompey certainly were not prepared to throw in the towel as they kept pumping the ball forward in the closing stages.

And a long-range effort from ROBERTS was deflected past Olejnik in stoppage-time to at least give the home support something to cheer.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies (c), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Barton, Hollands (Doyle 81); Evans (Roberts 66), Chaplin (Tubbs 55), Bennett; Stockley
Goals: Roberts 90+3
Booked: Burgess, Bennett
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, Atangana, Naismith

Exeter (4-3-3): Olejnik; Ribeiro, Brown, Tillson, Moore-Taylor; Oyeleke (Hoskins 79), Noble (c) (Butterfield 46), Davies; Grant (McCready 72), Wheeler, Holmes
Goals: Wheeler 20, Davies 56
Subs not used: Pym, Nicholls, Nichols, Morrison

Referee: Nicholas Kinseley

Attendance: 15,822 (313 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Sep 012015
 

JP Trophy

2 – 0


Young Blues exit Trophy

A fresh-faced Pompey side were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in the first round at Exeter.

The Blues looked bright before the break, with Adam McGurk and Conor Chaplin both coming close to firing them ahead.

But Ryan Harley opened the scoring for Exeter from the penalty spot after the interval before Alex Nicholls secured their safe passage into the next stage.

Paul Cook handed debuts to three players as he selected a youthful side with only three players aged over 20.

One of those was fit-again summer signing Adam Barton, although the midfielder was handed a role in the centre of defence.

Academy starlets Calvin Davies and Brandon Joseph-Buadi also made their senior bows, while there were maiden starts for both Adam May and Ben Tollitt.

But the inexperienced outfit were unfazed and should have broken the deadlock after just 14 seconds.

A defensive error sent McGurk one-on-one with Bobby Olejnik, but the Grecians keeper got down quickly to parry the ball clear.

Pompey played with plenty of freedom in the opening stages, with Davies looking particularly keen to get forward down the right.

The hosts unsurprisingly started to see more of the ball as the half progressed, but Barton brought one dangerous move to an end, while Danny Butterfield then fired wildly over the bar.

David Wheeler did have the ball in the back of the net on 18 minutes, although referee Lee Swabey had long since blown his whistle for a shove on Adam Webster.

Alex Nicholls came closest to breaking the deadlock for Exeter with a swerving cross that a back-pedalling Paul Jones just about managed to prevent from dipping into the net.

Pompey were creating chances of their own, however, and Chaplin forced another decent stop from Olejnik after latching onto May’s threaded pass.

Tollitt then fired over when well-placed to test Olejnik before Craig Woodman made a vital clearance to stop Chaplin converting McGurk’s cross.

Then, with the interval approaching, Davies won a free-kick wide on the right and Chaplin stepped up to curl the ball against the bar.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


It was the hosts who were first to threaten when Manny Oyeleke sent in a low cross that Ryan Harley turned narrowly wide.

But the Blues soon started to settle and there were half-chances for Tollitt and McGurk to trouble Exeter.

It was the Grecians who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes, however, after Joseph-Buadi brought down Tom McCready in the box.

Referee Lee Swabey pointed straight to the spot and Harley stepped up to emphatically slam home the penalty.

Cook soon made his first switch, with Kal Naismith becoming the latest debutant in place of Joseph-Buadi.

Chances were proving much more difficult to come by in the second half, although skipper Ben Close did have a long-range drive blocked.

But Exeter doubled their advantage on 72 minutes when Nicholls’ shot from out wide flew past Jones’ grasp and into the net.

Another youngster was then handed his senior bow as Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced McGurk.

And Brandon Haunstrup made way on 82 minutes as Kaleem Haitham became the next player off the production line.

The young guns were unable to inspire an unlikely comeback, but the travelling fans still seemed pleased with their glimpse of what the future might hold for Pompey.

Exeter (4-3-3): Olejnik; McCready, Tillson (c), Moore-Taylor, Woodman; Oyeleke, Butterfield, Harley (Jay 60); Nicholls, Wheeler (Morrison 60), Holmes (Reid 75)
Goals: Harley 54 (pen), Nicholls 72
Subs not used: Hamon, Brown

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; C.Davies, Webster, Barton, Haunstrup (Haitham 82); May, Close (c); Tollitt, Chaplin, Joseph-Buadi (Naismith 66); McGurk (Oxlade-Chamberlain 77)
Subs not used: Bass, Yates

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 2,323 (515 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC