May 062017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 6 – 1 Cheltenham Town

 

We are CHAMPIONS!

Pompey thrashed Cheltenham 6-1 to secure the League Two title on a memorable afternoon on the south coast.

They became only the fifth team to win all four divisions after both Plymouth and Doncaster failed to secure three points.

Daniel O’Shaughnessy’s own-goal opened the scoring at Fratton Park, but the lead was a slender one at the break.

It all changed in the second half, however, as Kyle Bennett, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans found the target – the latter from the penalty spot – while Kal Naismith bagged a brace.

Fans then flooded onto the pitch at full-time to begin a party that will likely last for quite a while.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Mansfield the previous week, meaning that it was Conor Chaplin who again led the line.

But it was a Robins player who inadvertently gave the hosts a welcome lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.

Enda Stevens – who collected The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season award before kick-off – delivered a low cross that O’Shaughnessy deflected into his own net.

Chaplin had a chance to double the advantage soon after, but his fierce drive was kept out by Scott Brown.

Cheltenham were not creating too much at the other end, although David Forde got down to his left to keep out Harry Pell’s effort.

The Blues were looking more threatening, meanwhile, and when a free-kick was played to Carl Baker, his curling shot was deflected inches past the post by the knee of Danny Wright.

The visitors grew stronger as the first half progressed and Forde made a comfortable save to deny Billy Waters.

Then, after the keeper did well to keep out Dan Holman’s strike, Danny Rowe curled the ball narrowly wide.

Bennett had a shot saved by Brown, while a stretching Chaplin could not quite reach Naismith’s centre.

But Cheltenham almost grabbed a leveller just before the interval, Dan Holman finding Rowe and the midfielder firing in a shot that was deflected narrowly over.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Cheltenham 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was also a great chance for the visitors moments after the restart, but Danny Wright could only head Kyle Storer’s cross wide from close range.

Holman then had a shot that was racing towards the net before Forde dived to his right to push the ball clear.

But the Blues almost had a second when Danny Rose unleashed a fierce volley that cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar.

Cook made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Baker and Chaplin making way for Lowe and Gary Roberts.

And Pompey soon doubled their advantage, as BENNETT fired in a shot that took a wicked deflection to leave Brown stranded.

That was the cue for the floodgates to open and, following a quick counter, Bennett slipped the ball through for NAISMITH to calmly slip home.

It was substitute LOWE who was next to get in on the act on 72 minutes when he found the bottom corner from a tight angle.

And when Roberts was tripped in the box by Liam Davis, referee Christopher Sarginson pointed to the spot, with EVANS stepping up to slam home the resulting penalty.

The fans were celebrating in the stands with news coming through that both Doncaster and Plymouth were being held.

Pompey had certainly done their job, although Cheltenham pulled a goal back through substitute James Dayton.

That failed to stop the hosts’ attacking charge, however, and Bennett’s strike was superbly saved by Brown.

NAISMITH did grab a sixth goal on 85 minutes, with Michael Doyle sending a ball over the top and Pompey’s top scorer calmly slotting into the net.

All the attention now was to what was happening at Grimsby and Hartlepool, with plenty of fingernails being chewed.

Fans ran onto the pitch in celebration at the final whistle, with news filtering through that Plymouth could only draw.

And when Doncaster’s match at Hartlepool finished in defeat, it was confirmed that Pompey were League Two champions.

We’re on our way.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Aborah 71), M.Doyle; Baker (Lowe 61), Naismith, Bennett; Chaplin (Roberts 61)
Goals: O’Shaughnessy 13 (og), Bennett 62, Naismith 66, 85, Lowe 72, Evans 75 (pen)
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Linganzi , Lowe, Roberts, Kabamba

Cheltenham (4-4-2): Brown; Cranston (Barthram 66), O’Shaughnessy, Boyle, Davies; Pell (Dayton 54), Storer (c), Rowe, Waters; Wright, Holman (Munns 71)
Goals: Dayton 78
Booked: Storer
Subs not used: Kitscha, Winchester, Downes, Wootton

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 17,956 (545 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 172017
 
League 2
Notts County 1 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Blues win promotion to League One

Pompey secured promotion to League One with three games to spare after winning at Notts County.

The result – coupled with Luton’s failure to beat Mansfield – ensured the Blues ended their four-season exile in the fourth tier.

Gareth Evans fired them into the lead from the penalty spot, only for Jorge Grant to level after the break.

But Jamal Lowe came off the bench to add two goals and the referee’s final whistle was the cue for the party to really begin.

Paul Cook made two enforced changes from the side that drew with Plymouth on Good Friday.

With Matt Clarke and Danny Rose both nursing knocks, it opened up spaces in the starting 11 for Jack Whatmough and Amine Linganzi.

The sides emerged to a sea of ticker tape from the 4,366 travelling fans crammed into the Jimmy Sirrel Stand to the side of the pitch.

And although there was a slow start to proceedings on the pitch, there was certainly a jovial atmosphere off it.

Pompey supporters were in fine voice as they sang the Herman’s Hermits hit I’m Into Something Good, with the lyrics adjusted to reveal they had promotion on their minds.

It was the visitors who looked more threatening in the early stages and Gary Roberts was blocked off after being slipped through by Kal Naismith.

And they were awarded a penalty when Michael Doyle’s incisive pass released Naismith, the stand-in striker burst into the box and former Blues defender Richard Duffy was drawn into making a clumsy challenge.

Referee Graham Salisbury had a simple decision to make and EVANS stepped up to coolly send County keeper Adam Collin the wrong way from the spot.

Pompey fans had further reason to celebrate soon after, when it emerged that Luton had fallen behind at Mansfield.

But the visitors were certainly not home and dry, with Jon Stead not able to get a decent connection on Adam Campbell’s cross and the ball flying into David Forde’s arms.

A free-kick then led to a scramble in the Blues box before Carl Baker was eventually able to hack to safety.

There were certainly not an abundance of clear-cut openings at either end of the pitch, however, as the half drifted along.

Forde tried to launch an attack when he claimed a cross and picked out Naismith with a fine clearance, but the Scotsman was crowded out.

Half Time: Notts County 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The hosts looked more lively once the game restarted and Matt Tootle found Campbell unmarked in the box, only for the forward to volley over the bar.

And there was more reason to feel tense, as a couple of goals were soon scored to put Pompey’s promotion party on ice.

First news began to filter through that Luton had equalised at Field Mill and then Notts County grabbed a leveller of their own.

Elliott Hewitt sent a lofted pass into the area and Grant met it to send a fine curling finish past Forde’s grasp and into the net.

A more traditional striking option was introduced for the visitors just past the hour mark, as Roberts made way for Conor Chaplin.

There had not been much pressure applied by Pompey since the restart, although Baker’s incisive pass found Enda Stevens down the left and his low centre was just behind Kyle Bennett.

And Baker could then only chip the ball into Collin’s arms after struggling to dig the ball out on the edge of the box.

The visitors were pushing for another goal and when a couple of fine passes from Baker and Chaplin created a chance for Naismith, his angled drive was kept out by the feet of Collin.

Another attacking player was thrown into the mix on 69 minutes, with Baker withdrawn for Lowe.

Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and the lively Bennett surged forward before seeing his stinging drive superbly tipped over by Collin.

And their pressure paid off on 77 minutes when LOWE collected Naismith’s pass, cut onto his right foot and curled home a shot.

Home fans thought they should have had a penalty soon after when Mark Yeates’ cross appeared to strike the hand of Christian Burgess, although there did not look to be much intent from the defender.

And Lowe made a vital block to deny Rob Milsom as fingernails were chewed among the expectant away fans.

But they had cause to celebrate late on when LOWE burst clear and confidently lifted home his second goal of the afternoon.

There was also a roar when those supporters learned that it had finished all square between Mansfield and Luton.

And when Salisbury blew the final whistle, it was the cue for Pompey fans to pour onto the pitch and mob their heroes.

Three more games and then the Blues’ League Two stay is at an end.

Notts County (4-2-3-1): Collin; Tootle, Duffy, Hollis, Bola; O’Connor (c) (Yeates 45+1), Milson; Hewitt, Grant, A.Campbell (T.Campbell 75); Stead
Goals: Grant 51
Booked: O’Connor, Bola
Subs not used: Searson-Smithard, Dickinson, Clackstone, Smith, Forte

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Whatmough, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 69), Roberts (Chaplin 62), Bennett (Aborah 90+2); Naismith
Goals: Evans 14 (pen), Lowe 77, 90
Booked: Linganzi, Chaplin, Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, T.Davies, Main

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 12,184 (4,366 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 082017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 3 – 1 Yeovil Town

 

Evans, Naismith and Lowe on target

Pompey strengthened their grasp on automatic promotion with a 3-1 victory over Yeovil.

Gareth Evans opened the scoring from the spot, as the Blues finally managed to break their penalty curse.

But an unfortunate own-goal drew the Glovers level after the break and threatened to spoil the party.

Top scorer Kal Naismith restored the advantage, however, and Jamal Lowe came off the bench to net his first goal for the club.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that won at Hartlepool the previous week.

Lowe dropped to the bench to make way for a fit-again Carl Baker, while Gary Roberts replaced the injured Noel Hunt.

That meant Naismith was employed as a makeshift striker – a role he performed so effectively in the second half at Victoria Park.

Pompey made a bright start in the south coast sunshine and Bevis Mugabi had to be alert to beat Roberts to Evans’ cross.

But it was Yeovil who should have forged ahead moments later, with an unmarked Tom Eaves sending Kevin Dawson’s cross over the bar.

It was generally the hosts looking more threatening, however, and a dangerous low Roberts centre had to be cleared behind by Alex Lacey.

Then, from the resulting corner, Matt Clarke rose highest to meet the ball, only for Liam Shephard to clear from the line.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 15 minutes – and finally bring an end to their penalty hoodoo.

Roberts did well to nip in and steal the ball from the dithering Mugabi, drawing a clumsy challenge from the centre-back.

Referee Graham Horwood immediately pointed to the spot and EVANS coolly steered his shot into the bottom corner.

They kept pushing forward and Artur Krysiak denied Naismith before Roberts’ cross hit the hapless Mugabi and ricocheted against the inside of the post.

Pompey continued to send some dangerous deliveries into the box that caused the Glovers defence problems.

There was also one at the other end, however, and Mugabi should at least have turned Matty Dolan’s corner on target from just a few yards out.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Yeovil 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey were keen to build on their narrow advantage once the second half got underway, with Naismith and Kyle Bennett proving a nuisance down the left.

Roberts then found Naismith in the box and a glancing header from the hosts’ top scorer was superbly palmed clear by Krysiak.

Instead, the Glovers drew level in bizarre circumstances on 51 minutes. Francois Zoko, Clarke and Stevens were all competing for the ball and the latter two conspired to inadvertently lob it into their own net.

That was the signal for the Blues to camp out in their opponents’ half, with the visitors having to deal with several corners.

Evans and Bennett also had shots blocked, as Pompey – backed by a noisy crowd – tried to restore their advantage.

Stevens then tried to catch Krysiak out at his near post with a low drive, as the Glovers struggled to contain their hosts.

Cook made his first change on 67 minutes, as Conor Chaplin replaced Roberts to give the strikeforce a more conventional look.

But it was the stand-in who fired the Blues back into the lead just seconds later, as Stevens teed-up NAISMITH and Krysiak could not get a strong enough hand to the Scotsman’s shot.

Yeovil boss Darren Way quickly brought on Otis Khan and his effort flew narrowly over the bar, rippling the top of the net in the process.

Baker then made way for Lowe and within two minutes of his introduction, the January signing opened his account for the club.

It was a decent individual effort from LOWE, who bundled his way past a challenge before finding the net from the tightest of angles.

That ensured Pompey could see the game out relatively free of nerves and take another stride towards a place in League One.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 76), Roberts (Chaplin 67), Bennett; Naismith (Kabamba 90)
Goals: Evans 15 (pen), Naismith 68, Lowe 78
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi

Yeovil (3-4-3): Krysiak; Mugabi (Smith 57), Lacey, Butcher; Shephard, Dawson (c), Dolan, James; Goodship (Khan 70), Zoko, Eaves (Akpa Akpro 50)
Goals: Stevens 51 (og)
Subs not used: Maddison, Sowunmi, Lawless, Jones

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 17,564 (443 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Feb 142017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 0 Blackpool

 

Evans and Doyle fire Blues to victory

Goals from Gareth Evans and Eoin Doyle ensured Pompey beat Blackpool to record a second successive victory.

They totally dominated the first half and probably deserved to lead by more than Evans’ clinical finish.

It was a tighter affair after the break, however, and there were a few nervy moments before the hard-working Doyle opened his account deep into stoppage-time to secure another three-point haul.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that had beaten Accrington at the same venue less than four days earlier.

And he was rewarded with a bright start for the Blues, who looked to attack their mid-table opponents from the off.

They almost broke the deadlock after just five minutes, only for Gary Roberts to turn Eoin Doyle’s cut-back against the crossbar.

And Roberts then combined well with Kyle Bennett, but the former’s pass was cut-out before it could reach Pompey’s lone striker.

Eoin Doyle did connect with a cross – again from Roberts – moments later and sent a header flying just past the post.

The hosts’ attacking quartet were linking up extremely well, while the impressive Amine Linganzi saw a shot saved by Blackpool keeper Sam Slocombe.

There was not too much happening at the other end, although David Forde was at his commanding best to claim a couple of dangerous balls into the box.

The keeper then had to get down low to his right to push a drive from Kyle Vassell behind for a corner.

But it was the Blues who looked the more threatening side throughout the first half and they deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes.

Enda Stevens’ delivery from the left was missed by Linganzi, but fell for EVANS to lash into the roof of the net.

The advantage was almost doubled a few moments later, with Roberts not quite able to guide a cross on target with his head.

And Eoin Doyle was then inches away from connecting with a superb low cross from Evans that dissected the visitors’ defence.

It was the Irishman who might have added another goal just before the break, but he fired over after Roberts had brilliantly cushioned a long ball forward.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Blackpool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey continued to push forward following the interval and Slocombe was just able to beat Eoin Doyle to Matt Clarke’s long pass.

The visitors did start to have more of an impact as the second half progressed and one corner led to a scramble in the Blues box before Evans eventually hacked clear.

Chances were certainly harder to find since the restart, though, and one acrobatic effort from Christian Burgess flew high over the bar.

Cook made his first change on 68 minutes and it was like for like, as Jamal Lowe made way for Carl Baker.

Blackpool then carved out an excellent opening when Jordan Flores’ low cross found Brad Potts at the far post.

It looked like the midfielder would draw the visitors level, but Stevens launched himself at the ball to make a brilliant block.

Evans had received treatment for a shoulder injury earlier in the half and had to be withdrawn on 75 minutes, with Kal Naismith taking his place at right-back.

Pompey then had a chance to strengthen their lead following a quick break, but Baker was dispossessed before he could shoot.

Jack Whatmough came on for Bennett in the Blues’ final change late on, although for the second game in a row the fourth official initially displayed the wrong number.

And Blackpool then went close to levelling from a corner, but Tom Aldred’s bullet header flew narrowly wide.

The atmosphere understandably grew tenser as the seconds ticked down and Blackpool delivered more crosses into the box.

But with the Seasiders committing men forward, the hosts took advantage to make sure of all three points.

Eoin DOYLE did well to hold off a couple of challenges and find Baker, before collecting the return pass and slotting home his first goal for the club.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans (Naismith 75), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Baker 68), Roberts, Bennett (Whatmough 83); E.Doyle
Goals: Evans 27, E.Doyle 90+5
Booked: Burgess, Roberts, Bennett
Subs not used: O’Brien, Rose, Chaplin, Hunt

Blackpool (3-5-2): Slocombe; Aimson, Aldred (c), Robertson; Mellor, Potts (Osayi-Samuel 81), Payne (Matt 81), Flores, Daniel; Delfouneso, Vassell (Odelusi 81)
Booked: Mellor
Subs not used: Lyness, Nolan, Gnanduillet, Cullen

Referee: Darren Deadman

Attendance: 15,132 (216 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 222016
 
League 2
Luton Town 1 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Portsmouth fight back aginst Hatters

Pompey stretched their unbeaten away run to five matches by coming from behind to beat Luton at Kenilworth Road.

It looked like being a tough night for the Blues when Danny Hylton gave the visitors an early lead and then had another effort disallowed.

But Michael Smith soon evened things up with his second goal in as many games and Gareth Evans turned the match on its head just before the break.

The Hatters did not put apply too much pressure in the second half, but there was still a sense of relief when Kal Naismith came off the bench to wrap things up.

Paul Cook made one enforched change from the side that drew with Cheltenham at the weekend.

Conor Chaplin was suspended after collecting his fifth booking at Whaddon Road, so was replaced by Smith up front.

Pompey almost found themselves ahead after just four minutes, with Christian Walton superbly saving Matt Clarke’s header before Alan Sheehan hacked the ball clear.

But instead it was the hosts who took an early lead when Evans was lying on the turf with an injury.

Sheehan took advantage of the space that created on the Luton left, whipping in a cross that Hylton expertly guided into the top corner.

Hylton had the ball in the net again just seconds later, but this time his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

And it was the opposition fans feeling jubilant on 11 minutes after seeing their side grab an equaliser.

SMITH fed the ball to Carl Baker and when he was tackled, the striker guided the ball in off the post from the edge of the box.

It was a breathless, end-to-end encounter, with both sides showcasing fine attacking flair and also some sloppy play.

A couple of Luton free-kicks caused a few nerves among the travelling supporters, but one was saved by David Forde and the other headed clear by Christian Burgess.

Gary Roberts then missed an excellent opportunity at the other end by heading Baker’s cross straight at Walton.

Olly Lee went close for the Hatters on 32 minutes, volleying narrowly past the post after being picked out on the edge of the box by Sheehan’s corner.

Both sides seemed keen to get forward whenever possible and a crisp effort from Michael Doyle flew into the side netting.

Roberts came close to firing the Blues ahead before the break, drawing a fine stop from Walton after his initial effort had been blocked.

And when the midfielder won a free-kick it finally did lead to Pompey taking the lead in stoppage-time.

His short pass to Baker led to a 20-yard drive that deflected off the Luton wall and flew behind for a corner.

Roberts stepped up to take the corner and when the visitors failed to deal with his dangerous cross, the ball landed at the feet of EVANS to hook home.

Half Time: Luton 1 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey started the second half as they had ended the first – on the attack.

Bennett found space to shoot on the edge of the box, but scuffed his effort wide, while Roberts could not quite bring down a clever chipped pass from Doyle.

The Blues were enjoying plenty of possession and the home support started to grow frustrated as the chances dried up.

They won a free-kick when Danny Rose was booked for illegally stopping a counter-attack, only for Pompey to immediately break up the field and threaten themselves.

And the visitors were agonisingly close to extending their advantage with a third goal just past the hour mark.

It was good work down the right from Smith to chip the ball into the centre, where Burgess rose highest to head against the crossbar.

There was then more frustration a few moments later when Baker swung in a free-kick that Evans glanced inches past the post.

Pompey were soaking up any Hatters pressure at the other and when Sheehan got a shot away on 70 minutes, Forde was there to make a comfortable save.

Cook made his first switch soon after, with Roberts departing to a rousing reception from the travelling fans as he made way for Naismith.

And Luton almost snatched a leveller on 82 minutes when Forde punched clear a corner and Sheehan’s follow-up had to be cleared from the line by Clarke.

But there was a big sigh of relief moments later when the Blues scored again to secure all three points.

It was a fine solo effort from NAISMITH, with the substitute bundling his way into space before steering a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

And Pompey saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to send the travelling army of almost 1,000 fans back home with smiles on their faces.

Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Walton; Justin (Mackail-Smith 85), Rea, Mullins, Sheehan (c); Lee; Gilliead (Cook 58), Mpanzu; McGeehan; Hylton, Vassell (Marriott 79)
Goals: Hylton 7
Booked: Sheehan, Lee
Subs not used: King, O’Donnell, Cuthbert, Smith

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 74), Bennett (Whatmough 88); Smith (Hunt 90+1)
Goals: Smith 11, Evans 45+2, Naismith 84
Booked: Evans, Rose, Stevens, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 8,805 (975 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 052016
 
FA Cup 1
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Wycombe Wanderers

 

Early cup exit for Blues

Pompey crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle with a home defeat to fellow League Two outfit Wycombe.

They were poor before the break and deservedly trailed to Paris Cowan-Hall’s close-range finish.

There was a marked improvement after it, though, and Gareth Evans drew the hosts level following the restart.

The tie appeared to be heading for a replay, only for Adebayo Akinfenwa to strike late on and book Wanderers a place in Monday’s second round draw.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side that won at Cambridge in the league the previous week.

Noel Hunt was handed a first start in attack, while Adam Buxton, Ben Close, Danny Rose and Milan Lalkovic all returned.

Conor Chaplin, Carl Baker and Kyle Bennett dropped to the bench and Pompey were missing the suspended duo of Michael Doyle and Amine Linganzi.

The hosts started brightly on a crisp afternoon on the south coast and won a number of corners that caused the Chairboys problems.

But Wycombe soon started to take control and almost forged ahead when Matt Bloomfield drilled in a low shot that cannoned back off the post.

They went close again moments later, with David Forde just about getting a leg to Cowan-Hall’s effort and diverting the ball wide.

And Wanderers were unable to make it third time lucky when Dominic Gape struck a long-range shot past the post.

But it seemed like only a matter of time before the visitors breached the Blues’ goal and the opener did arrive on 27 minutes.

There was a slight touch of fortune about it, however, with Forde punching clear Michael Harriman’s free-kick, only for the ball to ricochet off the back of Christian Burgess.

Former Pompey youth player Cowan-Hall was in the right place to follow up and head home from just a few yards out.

That failed to spark an upturn in the attacking fortunes of the Blues, though, with Wycombe still looking the more threatening.

There were half-chances for Cowan-Hall and Luke O’Nien, but their best chance of doubling the lead came in stoppage-time.

A corner found Akinfenwa at the far post, only for the imposing striker to head wide from close range.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Wycombe 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey had failed to trouble Jamal Blackman before the break, but the keeper was picking the ball out of his net just a couple of minutes after the restart.

Enda Stevens whipped in a teasing cross from the left and EVANS found space in the box to deftly tuck home.

They might have scored another moments later, but Blackman tore from his line to beat Gary Roberts to Close’s threaded pass.

Cook made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Lalkovic and Buxton withdrawn for Bennett and Baker.

But it was Wycombe who almost retook the lead 65 minutes, with Akinfenwa seeing one shot blocked and then the second saved by Forde.

Baker went close himself moments later, however, with a fierce 30-yard strike that was brilliantly palmed over by Blackman.

Cook then made a final throw of the dice on 75 minutes, with the in-form Chaplin replacing Hunt up front.

But the Blues were indebted to Forde for keeping them on a level pegging with two key saves soon after.

The first saw him just about get something to a shot from Myles Weston that took a wicked deflection to divert it off course.

Then, for the second, he dived backwards to palm over Akinfenwa’s cleanly-struck dipper from outside the box.

Both sides appeared keen to avoid a replay, showing plenty of attacking intent as the seconds ticked down.

But it was the hardy band of travelling supporters celebrating late on when Akinfenwa converted Garry Thompson’s cross.

There was hope of another leveller when the fourth official displayed an additional six minutes to be played.

The Chairboys held on to their slender lead, however, to ensure that cup magic was in short supply for Pompey.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Buxton (Baker 64), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Close, Rose; Evans, Roberts (c), Lalkovic (Bennett 64); Hunt (Chaplin 75)
Goals: Evans 47
Booked: Close
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Naismith, Smith

Wycombe (4-3-3): Blackman; Harriman, Stewart, Pierre, Jacobson; O’Nien, Gape, Bloomfield; Hayes (c) (Thompson 77), Akinfenwa (Bean 89), Cowan-Hall (Weston 72)
Goals: Cowan-Hall 27, Akinfenwa 84
Booked: O’Nien
Subs not used: Brown, Jombati, De Havilland, Kashket

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 8,130 (510 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 192016
 
League 2
York City 3 – 1 Portsmouth

 

York and Pompey made a mockery of their respective league positions as the former stormed to a convincing victory at Bootham Crescent

The Blues were well off the pace before the break and trailed to strikes from Bradley Fewster and Lewis Alessandra.

A stunning effort from Luke Summerfield then gave the destined-to-be-relegated Minstermen a three-goal advantage.

Gareth Evans pulled one back as Pompey finally started to click and both sides might have added to the scoring as the game became extremely stretched.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that were beaten at home by Plymouth at the weekend.

With Christian Burgess and Gary Roberts both nursing knocks, there were starts for Adam Webster and Marc McNulty.

The other switch saw Evans come in wide on right, with Adam McGurk dropping to the bench.

There was a comical moment in the opening stages when referee Nigel Miller awarded a Pompey goal-kick – despite the ball clearly striking Ben Davies on its way out of play.

But there was little else to cheer the large travelling support in a contest that the struggling hosts dominated.

There were a couple of half-chances early on, with Evans’ cross drifting onto the roof of the net and Webster heading wide from a corner.

But it was York looking the more threatening and Paul Jones did well to deny Fewster following a fine surging run from Luke Hendrie.

The keeper was called into action again on 25 minutes, this time preventing Summerfield from finding the net from a free-kick wide on the left.

And there was a further scare when McNulty lost possession, with the ball eventually scrambled behind from a corner.

But it was from that set-piece that the hosts broke the deadlock, as Summerfield’s delivery was headed back by Scot Bennett for Fewster to convert from close range.

Pompey were looking extremely sloppy and were guilty of gifting their opponents the ball on a number of occasions.

York, meanwhile, did not look like a side destined for non-league and doubled their lead on 34 minutes following a quick counter-attack.

Hendrie eventually received the ball wide on the right and sent in a fine low cross that Alessandra slotted home from a few yards out.

There was brief respite at the other end of the pitch when Kyle Bennett shrugged off a couple of challenges and sent a shot flying narrowly over the bar.

But there was still time for the Blues’ evening to get even worse, as Webster went down off the ball and had to be replaced just before the break.

There was no recognised centre-back among the substitutes, so Adam Barton was once again called upon to deputise in defence.

Half Time: York 2 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

York continued to impress after the restart and Ben Davies was called into action to block Galbraith’s drive.

But the hosts did forge further ahead on 48 minutes – not that there was much the Blues could do to prevent it.

It was a stunning strike from Summerfield, who picked up the ball 30 yards out and sent it arrowing into the net.

Pompey came close to reducing the deficit soon after when Michael Smith collected a pass down the left, cut inside and curled a shot narrowly wide.

But they did have a goal in fortunate fashion on 55 minutes, when EVANS was fed by Davies and saw his shot fumbled over the line by Scott Flinders.

The keeper did better to keep out McNulty’s header a few seconds later, although the flag had already been raised for offside.

And the Blues were suddenly look a lot brighter, with Evans flicking Bennett’s corner into the side netting.

But they were still guilty of some sloppy play, with one turnover of possession resulting in Jones saving well to deny James Berrett.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, though, and when Bennett was fouled on the edge of the box, Davies stepped up to curl the free-kick just wide.

Cook made his second switch on 66 minutes, with Tollitt given a chance to impress as Bennett was withdrawn.

The winger was soon involved in the action, reacting quickly after his first effort was blocked and sending a second just over the bar.

But Fewster then missed two chances to wrap the points up as the game became extremely open, sending two shots wide when he should have found the target.

Conor Chaplin was introduced for the closing stages, although it was fellow substitute Tollitt who came close to setting up a grandstand finale on 78 minutes.

He beat his man in the box and drove the ball towards goal, only for a well-placed Hendrie to clear it from the line.

The match was now a breathless affair and it took a fine double save from Jones to stop first Fewster and then Galbraith grabbing a fourth for York late on.

York (4-3-3): Flinders; Hendrie, Bennett, Cameron, Carson; Summerfield, Berrett, Penn (c); Alessandra, Fewster, Galbraith (McEvoy 90+1)
Goals: Fewster 30, Alessandra 34, Summerfield 48
Booked: Summerfield, Carson
Subs not used: Ingham, Swan, Dixon, Riordan, Thompson

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Webster (Barton 45+1), Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Chaplin 74), Bennett (Tollitt 66); Smith
Goals: Evans 55
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Murphy, Freeman, Naismith, McGurk

Referee: Nigel Miller

Attendance: 3,214 (841 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 092016
 
League 2
Dagenham & Redbridge 1 – 4 Portsmouth

 

Doyle, Burgess, Evans and Bennett on target for Blues

Pompey fought from behind to beat Dagenham and charge right back into the automatic promotion race.

It looked like being a miserable afternoon in the capital when Ashley Hemmings’ goal ensured the hosts would go in ahead at the break.

But the mood improved in the second half, with Michael Doyle volleying in the equaliser before Christian Burgess headed the Blues into the lead.

Gareth Evans then came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet late on, with Kyle Bennett capping off a memorable 45 minutes of football.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat both Notts County and Carlisle at Fratton Park.

And there was plenty of anticipation among the 1,659 away fans who had made the journey up from the south coast.

But there was not much to excite them in a drab opening to the contest, with neither side looking particularly threatening.

The visitors had a couple of half chances and Daggers keeper Mark Cousins was forced to race from his line to stop Gary Roberts racing onto Adam McGurk’s hooked pass.

Bennett was then neatly released by Enda Stevens down the left, bursting into the box and seeing a shot blocked.

Their best opening arrived on 23 minutes, however, when the hosts failed to deal with a Ben Davies free-kick.

Bennett picked the ball up and floated a cross to the far post, where it was headed clear by Oliver Muldoon, only for Danny Hollands to send a 25-yard volley flying narrowly over the bar.

But that only seemed to spark Dagenham into life and finally create some chances of their own.

Paul Jones did well to deny Matty Cash from point-blank range after the ball had flown through a sea of bodies.

But he could not prevent League Two’s basement side from breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes.

Justin Hoyte’s free-kick was headed on by Christian Doidge for Hemmings, whose acrobatic over-head effort looped over the keeper and into the net.

Dagenham should really have doubled the advantage moments later, but an unmarked Hoyte headed Josh Passley’s cross over.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency in their forward play, although Michael Smith did hammer a shot narrowly wide just before the break.

Half Time: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The visitors had an early chance to draw level when former Blues loanee Passley was penalised for a handball.

Roberts sent a decent delivery into the box, but Matt Clarke could only head it over as he arrived at the far post.

Pompey were unsurprisingly now playing with a lot more urgency and one quick break ended in Davies’ cross having to be cleared behind by Clevid Dikamona.

And the travelling support finally had something to cheer as their side drew level with a fine goal just before the hour mark.

Roberts collected a long ball down the left from Stevens and pinged in a cross that DOYLE met with a fine low volley from just inside the box.

Pompey were not done there, however, and soon heaped more pressure on their shell-shocked opponents.

Bennett was next to threaten after being fed by Smith, but his effort caught a deflection and bobbled wide.

There was an almighty scramble from the resulting corner that ended with Davies sending in a fierce cross that nobody could connect with.

But Dagenham soon caused some concern at the other end, with Stevens forced to hack clear a corner from the line and Oliver Muldoon’s follow-up then held by Jones.

The mood of the Blues support soon switched from concern to joy, however, as the visitors took the lead on 68 minutes.

Davies was fouled wide on the right and Bennett’s free-kick was met by BURGESS, who glanced home a fine header.

Cook made his first switch with 10 minutes remaining, as Evans added some fresh legs to the attack by replacing McGurk.

And it was EVANS who secured the victory when he stole in to head home Bennett’s free-kick from close range.

But there was still time for the result to become even more emphatic as BENNETT deservedly got a goal of his own, jinking into the box before slamming a shot past Cousins.

Dagenham & Redbridge (4-1-4-1): Cousins; Hoyte, Hyam, Dikamona, Widdowson; Muldoon (Cureton 69); Passley (Hawkins 75), Labadie (c), Cash (Boucaud 75), Hemmings; Doidge
Goals: Hemmings 34
Booked: Passley, Doidge, Hoyte
Subs not used: Moore, Pennell, Chambers, McClure

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 80), Roberts (McNulty 89), Bennett (Naismith 89); Smith
Goals: Doyle 59, Burgess 68, Evans 85, Bennett 88
Booked: Doyle, Smith, Clarke
Subs not used: Murphy, Webster, Close, Chaplin

Referee: Lee Collins

Attendance: 3,122 (1,659 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Feb 132016
 

Portsmouth 3 v 1 Bristol Rovers

Pompey returned to form in stunning style as they romped to victory over promotion rivals Bristol Rovers.

They had already carved out a host of opportunities when Gareth Evans broke the deadlock midway through the first half.

Michael Smith then opened his Blues account by converting a cross from the excellent Ben Davies just before the interval.

And Marc McNulty came off the bench to add a third in the second half for the rampant hosts.

The margin of victory could – and perhaps should – have been greater, but a combination of wasteful finishing and superb goalkeeping denied them even more goals.

And a fine free-kick from Lee Brown late on for the visitors proved nothing more than a consolation.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side beaten by Leyton Orient the previous week.

Evans replaced McNulty, as Pompey reverted to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 system, with Smith leading the line.

There were also a couple of switches in the defence, as Kieron Freeman and Matt Clarke made way for Davies and Adam Webster.

The first half was an entertaining, end-to-end affair, although it was the hosts who carved out the better chances.

Pirates keeper Steve Mildenhall made a stunning save in the opening seconds, somehow managing to claw away Christian Burgess’ header.

That came from a Davies corner and the right-back delivered another cross moments later that was nervously dealt with by the visitors’ defence.

The Blues certainly looked hungry and one flowing passing move involved Smith, Kyle Bennett and Gary Roberts, but the latter’s cut-back was intercepted.

Mildenhall was then Rovers’ saviour once more, this time doing well to deny Bennett at his near post.

But the keeper could do nothing to prevent Pompey from taking a deserved lead on 19 minutes.

Smith played a superb cross-field pass to Davies and his ball into the box was deftly flicked home by EVANS.

Rory Gaffney came close to levelling when he rattled the crossbar at the other end, although it would have been a controversial goal, as Roberts was lying injured on the turf.

Rovers had certainly grown into the game and it took a fine challenge by Webster to halt Daniel Leadbitter’s dangerous run.

It was still Pompey looking most dangerous, however, and Smith could not quite sneak a shot past Mildenhall after collecting Webster’s raking pass.

Evans and Roberts should both have done better late in the half, with the duo failing to find the target from close range.

But any feelings of frustration were lifted when the hosts did double their advantage in the third minute of stoppage-time.

It was Davies who provided the assist once again, collecting the loose ball after his corner had been blocked and picking out SMITH to head home his first Blues goal.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Bristol Rovers 0

Evans had an early attempt once the second half got underway and Mildenhall had to tip the ball over the bar.

He then tried a more acrobatic effort after connecting with Bennett’s cross, but this time it flew wide.

The visitors were looking nervous and Tom Lockyer had to hack clear after Mildenhall and Tom Parkes made a mess of dealing with Davies’ low cross on 50 minutes.

And Smith really should have added to his goalscoring account soon after, somehow sliding wide from a few yards out when Roberts’ pass found him unmarked in the box.

The same duo then combined again, but this time Mildenhall came tearing off his line to deny Smith.

Cook made his first change on 69 minutes and it was the tiring Smith who made way for McNulty up front.

Adam McGurk then came on for the impressive Roberts as the game began to drift towards a conclusion.

But it exploded back into life on 77 minutes when McNULTY latched onto Bennett’s threaded pass and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

It almost got worse for the ailing Pirates, only for Mildenhall to once again make a stunning save to deny Evans from point-blank range.

McGurk almost got in act as well, but his curling effort was diverted over the bar by the head of Brown.

Instead it was Rovers who grabbed a late consolation when Brown hammered home a ferocious free-kick from the edge of the box.

But that failed to dampen the spirits of the Fratton faithful, who saw their side return to the top seven on a comfortable afternoon.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Close, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (McGurk 75), Bennett (Chaplin 86); Smith (McNulty 69)
Goals: Evans 19, Smith 45+3, McNulty 77
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Tollitt

Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): Mildenhall; Leadbitter, Lockyer, Parkes, Brown; Sinclair, Mansell (c) (Montano 55), Lawrence (Lines 77); Bodin, Gaffney, Easter (Taylor 55)
Goals: Brown 90+1
Booked: Easter, Brown, Montano, Lockyer
Subs not used: Puddy, McChrystal, Clarke, Fallon

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 17,808 (2,863 away fans)

Portsmouth FC