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
Feb 022016
 

Morecombe 1 v 1 Portsmouth

Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche headed home a last-gasp leveller to cruelly deny Pompey victory at a gusty Globe Arena.

The Blues were seconds away from brushing off their FA Cup disappointment by returning to winning ways in the league.

Gareth Evans struck late in the first half and it looked like it would be enough to secure all three points in a game of few chances.

But Roche came up for a corner in the final minute of stoppage-time to grab an unlikely equaliser.

Paul Cook made four changes from the outfit that were narrowly beaten by Bournemouth at the weekend.

Deadline day loan signing Michael Smith was thrown straight into a side that was set-up in a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Winger Kal Naismith was a surprise inclusion, making his first Pompey appearance for almost three months.

There were also starts for Adam Webster and Evans, as Christian Burgess, Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett and Adam McGurk all dropped to the bench.

The visitors made a bright start and Andy Parrish was well-placed to clear Marc McNulty’s low cross before it could reach a blue-shirted player.

Evans then stole possession in a dangerous position, but could not quite thread a pass through to McNulty.

Webster was grateful to Ryan Fulton at the other end on 13 minutes after his sliced clearance was claimed by the teenage keeper.

But Pompey were soon back on the attack and Smith could not get enough power on his shot to trouble Roche after collecting Enda Stevens’ free-kick and turning sharply in the box.

The Morecambe keeper then almost gave Morecambe the lead in farcical fashion when his goal-kick caught a strong gust of wind.

A back-pedalling Fulton just about managed to grab the ball under his crossbar and had to palm it away to stop his momentum taking it over the line.

The conditions were making life difficult for both sides, with the gusts and bobbly pitch not exactly conducive for the Blues’ usual passing game.

But they almost forged ahead on 28 minutes when Webster met Naismith’s corner and saw his angled volley cleared from the line by Kevin Ellison.

Debutant Smith then went close with a curling effort that was deflected narrowly past the post.

The wind aside, Fulton was not being overly troubled and a long-range strike from Tom Barkhuizen flew straight into his arms.

Pompey were looking more threatening, however, and the hardy bunch of travelling fans soon had something to celebrate.

Their side might have taken the lead on 39 minutes, but McNulty blazed over after being sent through by Ben Close.

They only had to wait a few more seconds for a goal, however, as Naismith did well to tee-up EVANS for a cool finish.

Smith tried to add another before the break, but his fierce effort from distance fizzed narrowly past the post.

Half Time: Morecambe 0 Pompey 1

Pompey continued to look the more dangerous side once the second half started and soon had a couple of openings.

First McNulty burst into the box, only to see his low centre cut out by Parrish before it could reach a team-mate.

And the wind was then playing its old tricks when Close’s corner landed on the crossbar and was bundled away by Roche.

The Blues kept up the pressure and Naismith’s free-kick clipped the top of the wall after Andrew Fleming had been booked for handling just outside the box.

Morecambe were not doing enough to threaten the visitors’ lead, but Luke Conlan finally found space down the left 70 minutes, only for his low cross to evade everyone on its way out of play.

Cook made a double switch moments later, with Naismith and Smith making way for Bennett and Roberts.

But the tide was starting to turn in the Shrimps’ favour and they were forcing their opponents into some sloppy passing.

And the hosts were not too far away from an equaliser on 81 minutes when Jamie Devitt curled a shot onto the roof of the net.

McGurk came on for McNulty for the closing stages as Cook decided to freshen up his forward line.

Pompey looked to have hung on for the win when Fulton flung himself to the left and kept out Lee Molyneux’s strike in the fourth minute of stoppage-time.

But there was still time for Roche to rush forward for the resulting corner and grab a point for Morecambe.

Morecambe (4-2-3-1): Roche; Beeley (c), Dugdale, Parrish, Conlan; Goodall, Fleming; Barkhuizen, Devitt (Molyneux 82), Ellison (Mullin 75); Miller
Goals: Roche 90+4
Booked: Fleming, Beeley
Subs not used: O’Hara, Edwards, Wilson, Doyle

Pompey (4-4-2): Fulton; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Evans, Close, Doyle (c), Naismith (Bennett 72); Smith (Roberts 72), McNulty (McGurk 83)
Goals: Evans 40
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Barton, Chaplin

Referee: Richard Clark

Attendance: 1,399 (479 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 262015
 

Leyton Orient 3 v 2 Portsmouth

Pompey were unable to break into the automatic promotion places after losing at Leyton Orient in a bruising Boxing Day clash.

They took an early lead through Connor Essam’s own-goal, but the tide turned when Adam Webster was sent off and Jay Simpson scored the resulting penalty.

Ollie Palmer then added two more for the hosts, who had skipper Mathieu Baudry dismissed in between.

Gareth Evans reduced the deficit to spark hopes of a comeback, but the Blues were unable to find a late leveller.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Northampton before Christmas.

Michael Doyle was fit enough to feature after injuring his ankle, while Gary Roberts returned from more than two months on the sidelines to take his place among the substitutes.

The hosts selected former Fratton loanees Alex Cisak and Cole Kpekawa in their line-up, with John Marquis on the bench.

Pompey made a storming start and Caolan Lavery’s persistence almost paid off in the opening seconds as he tried to chase down Cisak’s clearance.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on four minutes when Evans failed to get a decent connection on Kyle Bennett’s cross and the ball ricocheted off Essam and into the net.

They almost doubled their advantage soon after, but Cisak made a fine double save to first keep out Bennett’s fierce drive and then Lavery’s diving header.

Lavery was unable to make contact with the resulting corner and Webster headed wide, as the visitors continued to dominate.

But all their good work was undone midway through the first half when Webster was sent off.

The defender failed to control Danny Hollands’ heavy back-pass and then bundled over Jobi McAnuff inside the box.

Referee Graham Horwood immediately pointed to the spot and brandished a red card, while League Two top scorer Simpson stepped up to convert the penalty.

With no recognised defender on the bench, Adam Barton was brought on to partner Matt Clarke at the back, with Marc McNulty the man to make way.

The dismissal also impacted on Pompey’s ability to play their normal pressing, passing game and they were under the cosh for the rest of the half.

Brian Murphy prevented them from falling immediately behind when he dived to his left to palm away McAnuff’s strike.

Palmer then spun neatly and cut inside from the right before hitting a tame effort straight into the keeper’s arms.

And the Blues also survived late in the half when a Kpekawa free-kick led to the ball pinging around their area.

But they did fall behind deep into stoppage-time, with Palmer finding it far too easy to convert a hopeful cross from Kpekawa.

Half Time: Leyton Orient 2 Pompey 1

Pompey appeared destined for defeat at the break, but there was a spark of hope when Leyton Orient were also reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

Baudry did not react well to a challenge on him by Doyle, lashing out at the Blues skipper and then receiving his marching orders.

The visiting fans were not celebrating for too long, however, as from Sean Clohessy’s free-kick, Palmer arrived at the far post to head into the bottom corner.

Pompey were not too far away from reducing the deficit on 55 minutes, with Barton’s cross agonisingly out of reach for Hollands.

Evans then met Ben Davies’ corner and the ball was heading for the top corner until Cisak got across to pluck it from the air.

The hosts had an opportunity on 66 minutes when Simpson cut inside from the right, but his weak effort was comfortably claimed by Murphy.

And the Blues then went straight up the other end of the pitch to reduce their deficit.

Bennett was the architect, turning Jack Payne and then playing a magnificent pass through to EVANS, who calmly slotted the ball past Cisak.

It almost got even better moments later, as the visitors were denied three times in the space of a few seconds.

First Jean-Yves M’Voto did well to prevent Lavery from getting a shot away and then Enda Stevens flashed a dangerous pass across goal that just evaded Bennett.

Davies picked up the loose ball on the right and hit a powerful angled drive that Cisak managed to push clear.

Cisak was again involved on 72 minutes, doing enough to deny Lavery from close-range before Evans volleyed narrowly over.

The keeper then just about beat Clarke to Davies’ corner as Pompey kept knocking on the door in search of another goal.

Roberts and Conor Chaplin were thrown on for the closing stages as Cook made one last roll of the dice.

But it was the hosts who almost scored late on when Marquis latched onto a poor back-pass from Stevens.

The Orient substitute could only find the post with his first effort, however, while Stevens recovered to clear his follow-up attempt from the line.

Pompey’s left-back then sent in a low cross that was met by Evans, but Cisak made a fine save as the Londoners saw out seven minutes of stoppage-time to claim all three points.

Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Cisak; Baudry (c), M’Voto, Essam, Kpekawa; Clohessy, Pritchard, Payne, McAnuff (Turgott 88); Palmer (Marquis 82), Simpson (Shaw 72)
Goals: Simpson 23 (pen), Palmer 45+1, 52
Sent off: Baudry
Booked: Essam, Palmer, Pritchard, Shaw
Subs not used: Grainger, Dunne, Kashket, Moncur

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands (Roberts 87), Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Barton 24), Bennett (Chaplin 87); Lavery
Goals: Essam 4 (og), Evans 66
Sent off: Webster
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Close, Tollitt, McGurk

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 5,848 (1,316 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
Dec 122015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

Pompey gave the Fratton faithful a perfect early Christmas present with a comfortable victory over Hartlepool.

After a slow start, the hosts took the lead through Caolan Lavery’s impressive finish and an Adam Jackson own-goal soon lifted the home support further.

Gareth Evans then slotted in another after the interval and Marc McNulty added a fourth late on to stretch the Blues’ unbeaten run to seven matches.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that progressed to the third round of the FA Cup by beating Accrington the previous week.

Lavery – who had been ineligible to feature against Stanley – replaced Adam McGurk, while Matt Clarke made way for Christian Burgess.

Former Pompey keeper Trevor Carson received a warm round of applause when he took up position in the Fratton End goal for Hartlepool.

The game was slow to get going, with the strong winds making passing football difficult for both sides.

Ben Davies swung in an early corner that none of his team-mates were able to make a connection with.

Then, after Adam Webster was dispossessed in the centre, Brian Murphy had to get down to hold Rakish Bingham’s shot.

And Bingham soon took advantage of heavy touch from Christian Burgess, but was unable to find the target.

There were nothing more than half-chances to warm up the crowd, with McNulty drawing a comfortable save from Carson and Davies fizzing a free-kick past the post.

Kyle Bennett livened things up on 32 minutes, however, with a fierce 20-yard effort that flew narrowly wide.

And the Fratton faithful were buoyant moments later, when LAVERY broke the deadlock with a fine strike from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner.

The visitors then gifted Pompey a second goal on 37 minutes, as Jackson was only able to divert Davies’ low cross into his own net.

Matthew Bates almost copied his central defensive partner and would have breathed a sigh of relief when his mis-cued header flew safely into Carson’s arms.

Murphy had enjoyed a quiet afternoon at the other end, but was called into action just before the break with a diving save to keep out Scott Fenwick’s sweetly-struck volley.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Evans should have extended the hosts’ advantage early in the second half, but fired wide after McNulty had embarked on a mazy run to tee him up.

They received a let-off at the other end, though, when Enda Stevens conceded a free-kick that Jake Carroll curled narrowly wide.

A corner then led to an almighty scramble in the Blues box before Evans eventually got the ball to safety.

And EVANS soon made up for his earlier miss by scoring Pompey’s third goal just past the hour mark.

Stevens did well down the left and fed McNulty, who showed quick feet to beat a couple of challenges and get a shot away.

His effort was well saved at point-blank range by Carson, but Evans popped up to confidently tuck away the loose ball.

Cook made his first switch on 75 minutes, with Bennett making way to allow Ben Tollitt a run-out, while McGurk came on for Lavery soon after.

It took a fine last-gasp challenge in the box from Stevens to prevent Nicky Featherstone from reducing the deficit.

Pools substitute Mikael Mandron was then booked for a late challenge on Christian Burgess, which saw the defender limp off and be replaced by Clarke.

The closing stages passed by without much incident, but McNULTY added a fourth goal at the death, calmly slotting home after being sent through by Stevens.

It meant there was plenty of cheer when the final whistle was blown, with the hosts delivering a festive feast.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess (Clarke 85), Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty, Bennett (Tollitt 75); Lavery (McGurk 80)
Goals: Lavery 33, Jackson 37 (og), Evans 61, McNulty 90
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Close, Chaplin

Hartlepool (4-3-2-1): Carson; Duckworth, Bates, Jackson, Carroll; Gray, Featherstone, Magnay (c) (Walker 75); Oates, Fenwick (Mandron 75); Bingham
Booked: Bingham, Mandron
Subs not used: Bartlett, Harrison, Woods, Richards, Smith

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 15,610 (145 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Oct 102015
 

League Two


 

Cambridge United    1

 


 

Portsmouth    3

 


Pompey continued their impressive away record by battling from behind to claim all three points in an eventful game at Cambridge.

Robbie Simpson controversially fired the hosts ahead early on and that led to frayed tempers which boiled over at the break.

United captain Mark Roberts were dismissed following a scuffle and the Blues made good use of their numerical advantage.

They did the damage with two goals in under two minutes, with Leon Legge inadvertently beating his own keeper before Matt Tubbs fired Pompey ahead.

And it was Tubbs who netted again just before the end to make sure that the visitors returned home with a maximum haul, although Gareth Evans soured the mood slightly when he was sent off late on.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that drew with Yeovil at Fratton Park the previous week.

The hosts named Sam Beasant – son of former Pompey stopper Dave – between the sticks in their starting line-up.

And Gary Roberts tried to catch him out straight from kick-off with a shot from inside his own half that the keeper was wise to.

Aaron McCarey then had come off his line at the other end to punch clear a dangerous Cambridge cross.

But the hosts did take the lead on four minutes – although the Blues were furious that the goal was allowed to stand.

A flag was raised when Simpson raced onto Luke Berry’s pass and slotted home, but – after speaking with his assistant – referee Sebastian Stockbridge ruled in favour of the hosts.

Pompey soon settled into their usual patient passing game and a number of precise crosses were causing United problems, with Ben Davies a particular threat.

But they were unable to make that pressure count by testing Beasant, who had no more than a couple of half-chances from distance to deal with.

The cheers from the travelling supporters were instead of the ironic variety whenever an offside decision went their way.

Roberts was doing his best to find a way through and also tried his luck with a 35-yard pile-driver that fizzed over the crossbar.

He created a promising opportunity by dispossessing Elliot Omozusi on 32 minutes, only for Evans to waste it by firing wildly across the face of goal.

But there were to be no more major moments of drama until after the half-time whistle was blown.

A scuffle then broke out between the two teams and assistant manager Leam Richardson came onto the pitch to usher his players away and down the tunnel.

In the melee, Cambridge skipper Roberts pushed McCarey to the ground and was sent off by Stockbridge, while Richardson was ordered to watch the rest of the game from the stands.


Half Time

(1 – 0)


It was the 10-man hosts who were first to threaten when the game restarted and McCarey was down quickly to smother Ryan Donaldson’s effort.

Pompey immediately had a chance down at the other end, but Kyle Bennett could not guide Enda Stevens’ cross on target.

Cambridge were sitting increasingly deeper as the Blues tried to find a way through and Bennett forced a decent stop from Beasant just past the hour mark.

Cook made his first switch on 66 minutes and it was certainly an unusual move, with Adam Webster replacing Matt Clarke and Burgess moving up front.

And, within the space of just a few seconds, Pompey had scored twice to turn the game completely on its head.

The first came when United defender LEGGE, under pressure from Tubbs, steered a decent Evans cross into his own net.

And the large away following were in dreamland moments later, as TUBBS showed his poacher’s instinct to convert Roberts’ pass from close range.

Burgess immediately dropped back into defence and a second substitution followed on 75 minutes, with Kal Naismith replacing Bennett.

Pompey did not have too much to deal with at the other end as they looked to see out the rest of the game.

And they even managed to grab a third goal in fortunate fashion late on, with a clearance hitting Naismith and rebounding off the bar for TUBBS to head home.

The only sour note was a stoppage-time dismissal for Evans, who was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Omozusi.

Cambridge (4-4-2): Beasant; Omozusi, Legge, Roberts (c), Demetriou; Donaldson (Newton 73), Berry, Hughes, Dunk (Morrissey 83); Corr, Simpson (Taft 46)
Goals: Simpson 4
Sent off: Roberts
Booked: Corr, Newton
Subs not used: Taylor, Hughes, Gaffney, Akintunde

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies, Burgess, Clarke (Webster 65), Stevens; Barton (Atangana 89), Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 75); Tubbs
Goals: Legge 67 (og), Tubbs 68, 87
Sent off: Evans
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Hollands, Chaplin

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge

Attendance: 6,607 (1,866 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Sep 262015
 

League Two

1 – 2


Pompey’s impressive start to the season continued as they took all three points away from Bristol Rovers.

Gareth Evans headed home midway through the first half as the Blues dominated the opening part of the game.

But the hosts improved after the interval and forced an Aaron McCarey own-goal during a period of pressure.

That kicked the visitors back into life, however, and Jayden Stockley – who was not even supposed to be starting – grabbed the winner.

Paul Cook made three enforced changes from the side that drew at Oxford the previous week.

Loan signing McCarey came straight into the team in place of injured keeper Paul Jones.

There were also spaces for Danny Hollands and Adam Barton in midfield, with Nigel Atangana (back) and Michael Doyle (suspended) both out.

But another switch had to be made once the sides had been named – with Adam McGurk picking up a knock in the warm-up and being replaced by Stockley.

After a slow start to proceedings, it was Pompey who soon started to control possession and trouble their opponents.

Their first decent opening arrived on 15 minutes when Evans charged into the box and shot with the outside of his boot, only to be denied by onrushing Rovers keeper Lee Nicholls.

Tom Lockyer then had to race across the box and clear the danger when Stockley quickly flicked Evans’ pass on to Conor Chaplin.

And it was Chaplin who should have broken the deadlock moments later, with the teenager somehow heading Kyle Bennett’s cross wide from just a couple of yards out.

The Blues continued to torment their hosts and their pressure finally paid off on 29 minutes.

It was the impressive pairing of Bennett and EVANS who combined to open the scoring, with the latter meeting the former’s cross and guiding a header into the corner.

Debutant McCarey had been a virtual bystander for much of the half, but was called into action twice before the interval.

First he had to adjust his feet quickly to stop Lee Brown’s deflected cross from sneaking in at the near post.

Then he made a smart stop to deny Jermaine Easter after Christian Burgess’ unfortunate slip had gifted an opening to the Rovers striker.

It was the visitors who had the final say, however, with a quick counter-attack, but Evans could only divert Chaplin’s pass straight at Nicholls.


Half Time

(0 – 1)


Pompey had been in almost total control before the break, but the hosts found themselves level early in the second half.

They enjoyed a spell of pressure before grabbing the equaliser – although there was a hint of fortune about the goal.

The Blues failed to deal with a cross and although Easter’s shot came back off the bar, the ball ricocheted off McCarey and into the net.

Pompey were struggling to find any sort of rhythm and they almost fell behind on 56 minutes when Easter’s long-range drive cannoned back off the post.

But the hosts then had two penalty appeals from skipper Ben Davies and Chaplin turned down, with referee Jeremy Simpson deciding the latter had dived and brandishing a yellow card.

Cook made his first substitution on 68 minutes, with Gary Roberts – who has been suffering with an ankle problem – replacing Chaplin.

But it was Bennett who immediately had a chance to restore the Blues’ advantage when he surged down the right and into the box, only to fire wide when a pass to Stockley was arguably the better option.

STOCKLEY soon had his chance to score, however, and took it when he poked home a fine Davies cross to end a patient passing move from Pompey.

Rovers tried to find another leveller, but the Blues were looking dangerous on the break, with Cook opting to bring on Kal Naismith and Matt Tubbs rather than shut up shop.

That attacking mentality almost paid off on 82 minutes when Roberts played a clever pass to Evans, but Nicholls kept out his fierce drive.

The hosts tried desperately to get the ball forward in search of a last-gasp point, but Pompey held firm to go top of the League Two table.

Bristol Rovers (3-5-2): Nicholls; J.Clarke (Gosling 46), Lockyer, Parkes; Leadbitter, Sinclair, Lines (c), O.Clarke (Bodin 46), Brown; Harrison, Easter (Taylor 72)
Goals: McCarey 48 (og)
Booked: Lines, Gosling, Lockyer
Subs not used: Mildenhall, McChrystal, Montano, Mansell

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies (c), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Barton, Hollands; Evans, Chaplin (Roberts 68), Bennett (Naismith 74); Stockley (Tubbs 79)
Goals: Evans 29, Stockley 71
Booked: Stockley, Chaplin
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, May

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 8,555 (1,188 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Aug 292015
 

Luton Town 1 v 2 Portsmouth

Matt Tubbs came off the bench to grab a late winner at Luton as Pompey continued their unbeaten start to the league campaign.

Gareth Evans had given the Blues an early lead, only for Craig Mackail-Smith to cancel it out from the penalty spot.

It looked like the game was heading for a stalemate, until Tubbs popped up late on to send the large travelling support wild with delight.

Jayden Stockley came in as the lone striker in the Blues’ usual 4-2-3-1 system, with Tubbs dropping to the bench.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening stages, without being able to carve out a decent opening.

But they broke the deadlock with their first proper chance on eight minutes – although there was a slice of fortune involved.

Enda Stevens’ cross was cleared by former Pompey trainee Luke Wilkinson, but the ball ricocheted straight into his team-mate Scott Cuthbert and fell kindly for EVANS to slam home.

The lead did not last long, however, as Nigel Atangana barged into Josh McQuoid in the box and referee Peter Bankes pointed straight to the spot.

Mackail-Smith stepped up to take the penalty and confidently slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

After that frenetic opening, the game suddenly fell a bit flat, with the Blues unable to find the attacking fluidity that had been so evident in previous games.

Kyle Bennett did look dangerous when he burst down the left on 21 minutes, but Elliot Justham was quickly off his line to prevent Stockley from making a connection.

They soon received a let-off at the other end, though, when a poor touch from Christian Burgess forced Brian Murphy to exit his area and head clear.

Ryan Hall picked up the loose ball and surged into the box, only for Pompey’s keeper to make a quick recovery and smother the danger.

Bankes would then have breathed a sigh of relief on 34 minutes when he inadvertently intercepted Evans’ pass, but Cameron McGeehan fired wide to spare the official’s blushes.

The game suddenly livened up just before the break and Justham held a curling effort from Bennett before Mackail-Smith headed a Stephen O’Donnell cross wide.

Justham then did well to deny Stockley from close range, but had a simpler task in keeping out Gary Roberts’ angled shot.

Half Time: Luton 1 Pompey 1

It was the hosts who started the second half brighter, although it took until 54 minutes for them to create a serious scoring opportunity.

Pompey would have been responsible for their own downfall, however, after a mix-up between Burgess and his defensive partner Matt Clarke.

Mackail-Smith picked up the loose ball as Luton bore down on goal, but his pass for McGeehan was not quite right and the midfielder fired wide.

The Blues soon carved out a chance of their own as Stockley bent in a dangerous low cross that was just out of reach for the onrushing Evans.

Evans then met a Bennett corner with a glancing header that was heading for the bottom corner until a well-placed Olly Lee cleared it from the line.

Both sides looked capable of grabbing a winner, although it was Pompey who had the next opportunity when Evans was crudely felled by Hall.

Roberts stepped up to take the free-kick from 25 yards out and his effort struck the top of the wall and looped narrowly over the bar.

Cook made his first substitution on 73 minutes as Stockley made way for Tubbs, with Conor Chaplin replacing Bennett moments later.

Both sides continued to show plenty of attacking intent, although some resolute defending meant the goalkeepers were not being overly tested.

But there was still time for a late winner as Chaplin latched on to a long ball and held off a defender to get a shot away.

Justham stuck out an arm to palm clear the teenager’s effort, but TUBBS was on hand to convert the loose ball.

Luton (4-1-4-1): Justham; O’Donnell, Cuthbert (c), Wilkinson, Griffiths; O’Brien (Lee 46); McQuoid, McGeehan, Smith, Hall (Ruddock 82); Mackail-Smith (Marriott 71)
Goals: Mackail-Smith 15 (pen)
Booked: Smith, McGeehan, Wilkinson
Subs not used: Tyler, McNulty, McCourt, Green

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Atangana, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (McGurk 82), Bennett (Chaplin 75); Stockley (Tubbs 73)
Goals: Evans 8, Tubbs 90
Subs not used: Jones, Webster, Haunstrup, Hollands

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 9,083 (1,032 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 082015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 3 – 0 Dagenham & Redbridge

 

The Paul Cook era at Pompey began in spectacular fashion as three second half goals secured a comfortable victory over Dagenham.

A packed crowd saw the Blues dominate the first half without managing to open the scoring.

But that all changed after the interval when Gareth Evans headed home the opener to get the Fratton party started.

And Kyle Bennett then took over with a couple of fine strikes to ensure the home fans left the ground in buoyant mood.

Cook handed debuts to nine players, with Nigel Atanagana and Matt Tubbs the only starters to have ended last season at Fratton Park.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, however, with former Pompey loanees Josh Passley and Nyron Nosworthy in the Dagenham side.

Before kick-off both sets of supporters heartily took part in a minute’s applause in memory of PST chairman Ken Malley, who sadly passed away earlier in the summer.

When the game got underway in glorious sunshine it was the hosts who immediately looked the more threatening.

A lovely chipped pass from Gary Roberts had to be cleared behind by Matt Richards, while Christian Burgess headed wide from the resulting corner.

Nosworthy then did well to intercept Tubbs’ centre following a quick break up the pitch by Bennett.

Another incisive pass from Bennett was just out of reach for Tubbs on 11 minutes, while Roberts saw his effort deflected behind moments later.

Pompey were doing all the pressing and Bennett was next to go close after being fed by skipper Michael Doyle, but saw his shot curl narrowly over.

And it took a superb save from Mark Cousins to keep the scores level on 19 minutes, with the Daggers keeper flinging out a hand to stop Tubbs’ fierce drive flying into the bottom corner.

The game started to quieten down after that frantic opening and there was a bizarre moment midway through the half when referee Carl Boyeson allowed the players a break for drinks.

Pompey started to move through the gears again afterwards and a Roberts free-kick was headed clear before Nosworthy was forced to turn a dangerous low Bennett cross behind for a corner.

The visitors finally had an opening on 36 minutes when the ball bounced around the Blues box before being hacked to safety by Atangana.

But the action was soon back up the other end of the pitch and Evans dragged a shot inches past the post.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Both sides had long-range sighters at the start of the second half, with first Bennett and then Jodi Jones narrowly missing the target.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 51 minutes when Bennett’s corner found EVANS at the far post and he headed back into the opposite corner.

Dagenham came close to hitting back immediately, with Ashley Hemmings’ drive deflected into the side netting by Ben Davies.

At the other end, Burgess was proving an aerial threat from set-pieces and twice he headed behind after meeting corners from Bennett and Roberts.

But it was BENNETT who doubled the advantage on 62 minutes, collecting Enda Stevens’ throw, cutting inside from the left and smashing an emphatic finish off the underside of the bar.

Pompey were forced into a change on 68 minutes when the impressive Atangana limped off and was replaced by Danny Hollands.

Tubbs almost added a third goal seconds later when he met Roberts’ cross with a looping header that was clawed away by Cousins.

Instead it was BENNETT who strengthened the lead on 74 minutes with another stunning strike from 25 yards after collecting the ball from Roberts.

That was the winger’s last involvement, however, as he soon made way for Jayden Stockley in the Blues attack, receiving a standing ovation as he left the pitch.

Pompey kept pushing forward in search of more goals, with Roberts and Burgess both coming close in the final few minutes.

But the Blues – and their supporters – seemed more than satisfied with their three-goal haul when the final whistle blew.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Atangana (Hollands 68), Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Stockley 76); Tubbs (Chaplin 84)
Goals: Evans 51, Bennett 62, 74
Subs not used: Jones, Webster, Haunstrup, McGurk

Dag & Red (4-4-2): Cousins; Passley, Partridge, Nosworthy, Widdowson; Jones, Boucaud (c), Richards, Hemmings; McClure (Ferdinand 46), Cureton
Subs not used: O’Brien, Connors, Hamalainen, Chambers, Doidge

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 16,948 (279 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jul 282015
 

Pompey have signed Gareth Evans on a one-year deal.

The 27-year-old winger has been training with the Blues throughout pre-season and netted in the friendly victories against Coventry and Woking.

But he is thrilled to have secured a contract at Fratton Park and is targeting a successful 2015/16 campaign.

Evans said: “The manager wanted me to come in so he could have a look at me and I was happy to do that.

“There were a few other offers from the league above and I turned them down to come and train with Pompey.

“So I’m delighted to have put pen to paper and now I’ve got to knuckle down and concentrate on playing well.

“It’s worked out well because I already know everyone and I’m just looking forward to the start of the season.

“The aim is promotion – it’s as simple as that. It’s an honour to be at this club, but I’ve come here for success and I’m confident we are capable of that.”

Pompey start the season with a home clash against Dagenham & Redbridge on August 8 and Evans cannot wait to perform in front of the Fratton faithful.

He said: “I’ve played here before with Fleetwood, but I was on the other side then. To have all those fans on my side is very exciting.”

Evans started his career at Crewe and later turned out for Macclesfield, Bradford and Rotherham.

He moved to Fleetwood in January 2013 and scored 12 goals in 106 appearances, helping them win promotion into League One.

Portsmouth FC