On This Day
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Portsmouth Football Club can announce that Gary Roberts has left the club by mutual consent.
The 33-year-old midfielder netted 20 goals in 80 appearances during his two seasons on the south coast.
He scored 10 times last term as the Blues secured the League Two title, including crucial strikes against Colchester, Exeter and Plymouth.
Chief executive Mark Catlin said: “I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Gary – both on a personal level and on behalf of everyone at the club.
“I hope that he will forever be remembered for what he achieved at Pompey, especially last season when we went on that fantastic run to win the title.
“His contribution over the past two years has been invaluable – he has been a fantastic player for this club. We all wish him every success for the future.”
Gary Roberts subsequently signed for Wigan Athletic
Roberts on target in Fratton stalemate
It finished all square at Fratton Park, as Pompey came from behind to secure a point in an Easter showdown with Plymouth.
They fell behind to Jake Jervis’ header, but then proceeded to dominate for most of the contest.
And the pressure paid off after the break when Gary Roberts capitalised on some uncertainty at the back to equalise.
It was the Blues who looked most likely to get a winner, but they could not find another path through to goal.
Paul Cook chose not to change the side that beat Yeovil on home soil the previous week.
There were three former Pompey players in the opposition line-up, with Sonny Bradley, Ryan Taylor and Jervis all starting.
And it was the visitors who were first to threaten when David Fox fired in a shot that was well blocked by Matt Clarke.
Carl Baker was then denied at the other end, as Bradley came charging across to make a tackle, injuring himself in the process.
The Blues forced Luke McCormick into action on 11 minutes, with the keeper showing good reactions to keep out Gareth Evans’ swerving shot.
But Argyle broke the deadlock just seconds later when Jervis met Gary Sawyer’s cross and firmly headed home at the far post.
Pompey were guilty of trying to rush things and it was only when they slowed things down and kept possession that they started to look dangerous.
The Pilgrims, however, were determined to keep hold of their lead and got plenty of men behind the ball to frustrate their hosts.
But they were indebted to McCormick on 33 minutes, with the skipper spilling Kal Naismith’s curler, only to quickly recover and stop Roberts from sliding in the loose ball.
Plymouth were still looking dangerous on the break, though, and Matty Kennedy fired into the side netting after skipping past a couple of challenges.
However, most of the action was happening at the other end of the pitch and Naismith saw a free-kick deflected narrowly over late in the half.
Plymouth Argyle 1
Pompey continued to show plenty of attacking intent after the interval and Naismith’s cleanly-struck effort forced McCormick into action.
A shot from Kyle Bennett then deflected off Yann Songo’o and flew narrowly wide, while a Naismith effort was also diverted past the post.
Plymouth were throwing themselves in front of everything and some brave defending was paying dividends.
But they contributed to the equalising goal on 57 minutes, as Pompey’s persistence finally paid off.
Baker slipped a fine pass through to Bennett and his delivery caused confusion between McCormick and Songo’o, allowing ROBERTS to nip in and score.
Pompey continued to push and an incisive passing move ended in Naismith winning a corner, from which Baker drilled wide.
Roberts became the first Blues player to be withdrawn on 67 minutes, with Conor Chaplin on to replace him.
And it was still Pompey looking the more adventurous going forward, as their opponents searched for chances on the break.
Jamal Lowe added some fresh impetus into the hosts’ attack when he was brought on for Baker on the right.
But it was Chaplin who had a great chance to give the Blues a lead on 86 minutes, only to head wide when Naismith chipped the ball up to him in the box.
Bennett then fired a free-kick narrowly over deep into stoppage-time, as Pompey had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 78), Roberts (Chaplin 67), Bennett; Naismith
Goals: Roberts 57
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi, Kabamba
Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick (c); Threlkeld, Songo’o, Bradley (Sokolik 46), Sawyer; Sarcevic, Fox; Jervis (Smith 68), Carey, Kennedy (Tanner 81); Taylor
Goals: Jervis 12
Booked: Sarcevic, Threlkeld
Subs not used: Dorel, Miller, Donaldson, Garita
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 18,625 (2,644 away fans)
Naismith and Roberts on target
Pompey moved another step closer to promotion with a 2-0 victory at Hartlepool.
A goal in either half from Kal Naismith and Gary Roberts ensured the Blues registered a fifth win from their past six games.
There were chances at either end of the pitch in an entertaining contest in the north-east, with both sides striking the woodwork.
Paul Cook made three changes from the side that beat Newport on home soil the previous week.
Christian Burgess returned from a one-match to replace Tom Davies at the heart of defence.
And with the injured duo of Carl Baker (hamstring) and Eoin Doyle (groin) both missing, there were returns for Jamal Lowe and Noel Hunt.
There was a breathless start to proceedings, with the ball quickly switching from one end of the pitch to the other.
It was the visitors who were first to threaten with a Naismith corner that was not properly dealt with, forcing Joe Fryer to leave his line and punch clear.
But Hartlepool then broke quickly following another Pompey set-piece, only for Lewis Alessandra’s surging run to eventually break down.
The ball soon found its way out to Liam Donnelly on the right and his cross was glanced wide by Nathan Thomas.
And the action then switched to the opposite end, as Kyle Bennett saw his effort blocked before Naismith dived to meet Enda Stevens’ delivery and send the ball flying narrowly past the post.
But the Blues did break the deadlock on 17 minutes when Stevens found NAISMITH in acres of space to send a smart volley into the back of the net.
The advantage might have been doubled soon after, but a sliding Hunt could not quite reach Gareth Evans’ low cross.
Hunt then tried a snap-shot from the edge of the box, although the ball flew comfortably into Fryer’s arms.
It was the hosts who soon began to dominate possession as they searched for an equaliser without being able to test David Forde.
There were a few shots blocked by the Blues back-line, but Hartlepool were largely guilty of looking for the perfect final pass instead of trying their luck.
The display of one additional minute for stoppages seemed to signal an incident-free end to the first half.
But the players remained on the pitch for a lot longer, with Hunt landing awkwardly after challenging for the ball.
He was treated on the pitch before eventually being stretched down the tunnel and replaced by Roberts.
Hartlepool United 0
Naismith was now leading the line for Pompey, but it was still Hartlepool looking the most likely side to score.
And, shortly after Forde had commandingly punched clear a cross, they had their best chance yet to draw level.
It was a cleanly-struck effort from Thomas that curled around the keeper’s grasp and cannoned back off the post, with Rhys Oates’ follow-up blocked by Matt Clarke.
But Roberts then missed a great opportunity to double the Blues’ advantage, diving to meet Stevens’ cross, but sending the ball over from close range.
The substitute made up for that miss, however, by finding the target on the hour mark and sparking wild scenes of celebration in the away end.
Naismith was the provider, staying calm when his initial effort was cut out and unselfishly slipping a pass through to ROBERTS, who slammed the ball into the roof of the net from a few yards out.
And Naismith almost had another goal of his own soon after, surging forward and sending a low shot against the base of the post.
Conor Chaplin replaced Lowe for the closing stages, as Cook decided to reintroduce a more traditional striker.
There was even a late cameo for Nicke Kabamba, as Pompey saw out the final few moments with ease to secure the points.
Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Fryer; Donnelly (Magnay 90+2), Walker, Harrison, Deverdics; Featherstone (c); Oates (Rodney 75), Woods, Alessandra, Thomas; Amond
Subs not used: Dudzinski, Bates, Hawkins, Richardson, Rooney
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Chaplin 80), Naismith (Kabamba 90), Bennett; Hunt (Roberts 45+5)
Goals: Naismith 17, Roberts 60
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi
Referee: Mark Brown
Attendance: 4,500 (977 Pompey fans)
Roberts, Linganzi and Whatmough on target
A scintillating second half performance from Pompey saw them beat promotion rivals Carlisle at Brunton Park.
Goals from Gary Roberts, Amine Linganzi and Jack Whatmough ensured it was an enjoyable afternoon for the Blues in the north-west.
Neither side managed to take advantage of their chances in a first half that had plenty of talking points, but was short on quality.
It was the visitors who moved through the gears after the interval, however, and a fine strike from Roberts gave them a deserved lead.
Linganzi then opened his account for the club with another impressive strike to end Carlisle’s hopes of a comeback.
And Whatmough wrapped things up deep into stoppage-time with his first ever senior goal for the club.
Paul Cook made one change from the side that draw at Barnet the previous week.
Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench to make way for Carl Baker on the right hand side of Pompey’s attacking midfield trio.
The hosts had the ball in the net inside the first minute, but there were no celebrations from Jamie Proctor, as the linesman had long since raised his flag for offside.
Baker then tried his luck with a low shot at the other end, with Mark Gillespie getting down to beat the ball away.
Both sides were showing plenty of attacking intent, although the quality was lacking in the final third.
A slip from Christian Burgess almost let Reggie Lambe through on goal, but David Forde came charging from his area to reach the ball first.
United were then forced to make a change on 15 minutes, as a clash of heads saw Shaun Brisley replaced by Tom Miller.
There continued to be space for both sides to expose and Forde got down well to parry clear Nicky Adams’ angled drive.
The hosts then managed to work the ball across to the unmarked Miller on the right, only for Roberts to get a vital block in.
There was another piece of bad news for Carlisle on 36 minutes, however, when Michael Raynes picked up an injury and joined central defensive partner Brisley on the sidelines.
Pompey were looking more threatening as the first half progressed and Roberts curled a free-kick narrowly wide from just outside the box.
But the home support were outraged that their side were not awarded a penalty a few moments later.
Forde failed to collect a cross for the first time and in the ensuing scramble, the ball bounced up and hit Gareth Evans on the arm.
Referee Richard Clark ignored the desperate cries for a spot-kick to be awarded, agreeing with the Blues’ right-back that it had not been a deliberate offence.
And Pompey almost rubbed salt into the wounds by breaking the deadlock just before the interval.
Carlisle failed to deal with Evans’ low delivery into the box and the ball ricocheted into Eoin Doyle’s path, only for the striker to somehow clear the crossbar with the goal gaping.
Carlisle United 0
Whatever Cook said to his players at the break appeared to do the trick as the visitors came charging out of the blocks.
And they had three excellent chances to open the scoring within the first three minutes of the second half.
First Enda Stevens got free down the left and his low cross was almost diverted into his own net by Gary Liddle.
Roberts teed-up Eoin Doyle to slot the ball home from close-range a few seconds later, but the striker had strayed into an offside decision.
And another effort from the loanee then took a massive deflection and was looping in until a back-pedalling Gillespie managed to tip it over.
It was not all one-way traffic, though, and Proctor should have guided the ball on target when he met Luke Joyce’s pin-point cross.
Pompey were then back on the attack and when Gillespie fumbled Linganzi’s header, Kyle Bennett’s follow-up was blocked.
The action continued at a hectic pace as the action once again switched to the other end, with Forde getting down to brilliantly turn Lambe’s shot around the post.
Cook made a double substitution – and a change of system – on 72 minutes, as he went in search of a breakthrough.
Whatmough and Conor Chaplin replaced Baker and Bennett, with Pompey switching to a 3-5-2 formation.
And the move paid dividends within seconds, although it was a man already on the pitch who fired the visitors ahead.
It was a fine solo effort for ROBERTS, who burst clear through the centre and beat Gillespie with an exquisite finish.
The midfielder received a warm round of applause as he made way for Kal Naismith for the final 10 minutes.
And the points were then wrapped up late on, courtesy of a 25-yard strike from LINGANZI that arrowed into the bottom corner.
There was a mixture of delight and relief from the 1,209 travelling fans, who had plenty to cheer in the stands.
But they had even more to celebrate in stoppage-time when Naismith picked out WHATMOUGH to drill his first goal for the club into the bottom corner.
Carlisle (4-2-3-1): Gillespie; Liddle, Raynes (c) (McQueen 36), Brisley (Miller 15), Gillesphey; Joyce, Jones; O’Sullivan (Ibehre 60), Lambe, Adams; Proctor
Booked: O’Sullivan, Miller
Subs not used: Crocombe, Bailey, Devitt, Waring
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Whatmough 72), Roberts (Naismith 80), Bennett (Chaplin 72); E.Doyle
Goals: Roberts 73, Linganzi 86, Whatmough 90+2
Subs not used: O’Brien, Rose, Lowe, Hunt
Referee: Richard Clark
Attendance: 7,197 (1,209 Pompey fans)
Stags tamed in Fratton rout
Pompey roared back to winning ways at Fratton Park in the league with a comfortable victory over nine-man Mansfield.
Gary Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but despite dominating, they struggled to extend their advantage.
Mansfield put up a strong fight, even after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti had both been dismissed in the second half.
But Noel Hunt came off the bench to make sure of the three points before Carl Baker added a gloss to the scoreline with a late brace.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly made a host of changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.
Kyle Bennett was the only survivor, with Michael Doyle, Roberts and Conor Chaplin among those recalled to the line-up.
Before kick-off, Pompey paid tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, with D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode to Remembrance and the Last Post being played.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start in the wet conditions, with their high pressing forcing Mansfield to make errors.
Chaplin had an early chance after he met Roberts’ cross, but was unable to divert his header on target.
But there was an even better opportunity when a corner was only cleared as far as Bennett, whose first touch into the box fooled Matt Green.
His clumsy challenge saw the Blues winger dumped onto the turf and referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.
ROBERTS stepped up to take the penalty and slammed a powerful effort right down the middle to give Pompey the lead.
It was not all one-way traffic, however, and a misunderstanding between David Forde and Christian Burgess led to Green firing into the side netting.
James Baxendale then did well to get on the end of an Ashley Hemmings cross and send a header crashing against the post.
Pompey thought they should have had a second spot-kick on 33 minutes when Roberts stole possession and saw his cross hit Jamie McGuire’s hand, but East was not interested.
And the hosts soon came close to doubling their advantage, with Baker beating his man and firing in a rocket that cannoned back off the woodwork.
But they received a let-off just before the break when Bennett was harshly penalised for a challenge outside the box.
Chris Clements stepped up to take the free-kick and the Fratton faithful breathed a sigh of relief as he curled the ball over.
Mansfield Town 0
Pompey continued their search for more goals once the second half got underway, with Scott Shearer just about managing to tip over Bennett’s dipping shot from distance.
The same player then exchanged neat passes with Roberts, whose low ball into the box was agonisingly out of reach for Gareth Evans.
And Mansfield were reduced to illegal methods of halting the hosts’ surge, with Howkins booked for cynically hauling down Chaplin on the edge of the box.
It was Chaplin who should have doubled the advantage after being slipped through by Doyle’s clever pass, only to then drag his shot wide.
The Stags’ challenge was soon made harder when Howkins – who had only received his yellow card four minutes earlier – needlessly slid in on Bennett and was promptly dismissed.
Pompey immediately set about trying to make their numerical advantage count and when Shearer failed to hold Baker’s effort, he had to dive on the loose ball before the lively Danny Rose could pounce.
Roberts then did well to dig the ball out from his feet inside the area, only to prod wide from just a few yards out.
And there was more woe for the beleaguered visitors on 74 minutes when substitute Iacovitti dived into a challenge on Doyle and was immediately shown his marching orders.
Cook looked to turn the screw by bringing on some fresh attacking players, with Hunt and Kal Naismith replacing Roberts and Bennett.
The two combined to secure the three points on 84 minutes when a period of patient passing play was ended by Naismith squaring for HUNT to convert from close range.
And BAKER ensured it was an even more enjoyable afternoon when he tricked his way into the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
But there was still time for BAKER to add another deep into stoppage-time, with a fine left-footed finish from long-range that flew into the net.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86)
Goals: Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5
Booked: Baker, Chaplin
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic
Mansfield (4-1-2-1-2): Shearer; Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D.Rose 69); McGuire; Clements (c), Gobern; Baxendale (Iacovitti 59); Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
Sent off: Howkins (two yellow cards), Iacovitti
Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, Hoban
Referee: Roger East
Attendance: 16,393 (326 away fans)
Five goal Blues fight back
Pompey returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they crushed Barnet at Fratton Park.
But they had to fight from behind after John Akinde fired the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.
Gary Roberts teed-up Conor Chaplin to draw them level before the break and then got on the scoresheet himself early in the second half.
The Blues were rampant by this point and goals from Carl Baker, Milan Lalkovic and Danny Rose secured a comfortable victory.
Roberts should have added another in the midst of all that, only to see his penalty saved after Bira Dembele had been sent off for a foul on Chaplin.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that were beaten at Accrington the previous week.
There were starts for Chaplin up front and Kal Naismith out wide, with Michael Smith and Kyle Bennett both dropping to the bench.
Pompey started brightly and Chaplin had a shot blocked by Curtis Weston before Enda Stevens’ cross had to be turned behind.
The duo were both involved in the next opening on 12 minutes, with a low Stevens delivery just out of reach for the Blues’ striker sliding in at the near post.
Gareth Evans then got free down the right, but his cross landed behind Baker, who could only hook over the crossbar.
Barnet were causing problems themselves, however, and David Forde charged from his area to beat Akinde to the ball.
Weston then got past Christian Burgess and into the Blues box, but the defender recovered well to avert the danger.
Tom Davies almost opened his Pompey account at the other end, as Baker’s cross hit him in the chest and landed safely in the arms of Bees keeper Josh Vickers.
But the centre-back conceded a penalty soon after, with referee Darren England deciding he had used his hand to clear Ryan Watson’s corner.
Akinde stepped up to take the spot-kick and although the former Blues striker’s shot was poor, it crept under Forde’s dive and into the net.
The same player might have doubled their advantage on 32 minutes, only to head Watson’s corner over from close range.
Instead it was the home fans celebrating as their side drew level, with Roberts acting as the magician and CHAPLIN the assassin.
The former did well to steal possession and then played a sumptuous pass through to the latter, who coolly slid the ball home.
Pompey had another chance before the break, but when Baker’s effort was blocked, an audacious over-head strike from Chaplin flew wide.
Barnet came flying out of the traps after the restart and it took a great challenge from Burgess to halt Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s surging run.
But the Blues should then have forged ahead, with Roberts somehow failing to connect with Stevens’ teasing low cross.
ROBERTS certainly made amends moments later, however, turning Michael Nelson and leaving him on the floor before hammering home.
And it soon got even better for the hosts, as BAKER collected the ball on the right, cut inside and curled an exquisite left-foot shot past Vickers’ grasp and into the net.
Pompey should have extended their lead further on 65 minutes when England awarded them a penalty.
Chaplin charged into the box and went down under Dembele’s challenge, with the official signalling that he had been tugged to the floor.
It got worse for the beleaguered Bees, as a red card was harshly produced and the defender had to trudge back to the dressing room.
Roberts stepped up to try to continue his prolific scoring spell, but Vickers flung himself to the left to beat the ball clear.
Cook made a double switch on 73 minutes, with Naismith and Chaplin receiving standing ovations as they were replaced by Lalkovic and Curtis Main.
And it was LALKOVIC who soon put the icing on the cake, receiving the ball on the edge of the box and neatly bending it right into the bottom corner.
Pompey refused to sit back and kept pouring forward in search of more goals to heap further misery on Barnet.
And the fifth did arrive in stoppage-time, as a neat passing move cut open the Bees defence before ROSE slotted home to cap a memorable afternoon on the south coast.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Bennett 80), Roberts, Naismith (Lalkovic 73); Chaplin (Main 73)
Goals: Chaplin 34, Roberts 50, Baker 56, Lalkovic 78, Rose 90+2
Booked: Chaplin, Roberts
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Smith
Barnet (4-3-3): Vickers; Vilhete, Nelson (c), Dembele, Johnson; Watson (Batt 55), Weston, Taylor; Campbell-Ryce (N’Gala 64), Akinde, Akpa Akpro (Gambin 55)
Goals: Akinde 27 (pen)
Sent off: Dembele
Booked: Watson, Batt
Subs not used: Stephens, Sesay, Kyei, Nicholls
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 16,280 (275 away fans)
Pompey fought from behind against Wycombe to stretch their winning streak to four league matches.
Paul Hayes’ opener was not in the script, but Christian Burgess’ leveller lifted everyone and Gary Roberts then converted a penalty.
An equaliser from Hayes dampened the mood, but a superb Conor Chaplin strike restored the Blues’ lead before the break and Carl Baker made sure of the points after it.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat Crawley so convincingly the previous week.
It was the hosts who threatened first at a damp and gloomy Fratton Park, with showers frequently interrupting proceedings.
Gary Roberts slipped a quick free-kick through to Milan Lalkovic, but his cut-back was well claimed by Jamal Blackman with Curtis Main waiting to pounce.
The Wycombe keeper was pretty conspicuous with his bleached blonde hair and decked out in a garish pink and luminous green kit.
But it was his opposite number who was next called into action and David Forde denied Aaron Pierre after a Sam Wood cross had caused chaos in the Blues box.
And the visitors were ahead on 10 minutes, with Hayes left in too much space to convert Garry Thompson’s volleyed delivery.
That appeared to spark Pompey into life, although they were growing frustrated at the Chairboys’ attempts to slow things down.
There were cries from the crowd and bench that the visitors were spending too long over set-pieces and referee Tim Robinson was forced to calm an irate Cook down.
And the Blues soon started doing their talking on the pitch, with Main’s header deflected over by Pierre after Baker had picked the striker out.
Unfortunately, Main injured himself during the challenge and was forced to disappear down the tunnel to be patched up.
But he failed to reappear, and Chaplin was brought on to replace him – but not before Wood had almost doubled Wanderers’ lead with an effort that bounced off the crossbar and into the arms of a grateful Forde.
The Blues were starting to take control of proceedings and the newcomer saw his curling effort blocked.
Lalkovic was then unable to dig the ball out from under his feet following a good Enda Stevens’ ball into the box.
But the hosts were level on 34 minutes as Baker picked up a Lalkovic corner and although his shot was saved by Blackman, BURGESS was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
Chaplin and Baker then both saw strikes blocked as Pompey tried to turn up the pressure and forge ahead.
And that is exactly what they did late in the half after Gareth Evans met Baker’s cross and saw his header blocked by the arm of Sido Jombati.
Robinson pointed straight to the spot and ROBERTS stepped up to emphatically continue his prolific streak with a rocket into the roof of the net.
But, amazingly, there was still time for both sides to add a further goal each in a breathless end to the first half.
First, there was no Blues defender picking up Hayes, who was able to volley a fine curling finish past Forde.
It looked like the sides would go in level at the break, only for a moment of genius from CHAPLIN to lift the Fratton faithful.
The striker ran onto Roberts’ pass, lifted the ball over Anthony Stewart and then, with Blackman off his line, calmly sent a header looping over the keeper and into the net.
Wycombe Wanderers 2
Lalkovic did not return following the interval, with Kal Naismith instead taking up the attacking role wide on the left.
Wycombe had a chance to level soon after the restart, but Stewart was unable to guide Wood’s cross on target.
There was immediately an even better chance at the other end, with Roberts somehow failing to turn home Chaplin’s cross from just a few yards out.
But the Blues did increase their advantage on 53 minutes, as Stevens sent the ball to the far post, where BAKER was waiting to squeeze in a volley at Blackman’s near post.
That did not stop Pompey from trying to add to the lead, however, and Naismith bent a shot narrowly over
Blackman then made a mess of dealing with a couple of routine Chaplin efforts, only to escape any punishment.
Wycombe threw on a couple of strikers in Dayle Southwell and Adebayo Akinfenwa to try to find a way back into the game.
It was still Pompey looking more likely to add to the scoring, though, and Stevens was not quite able to beat Blackman from an acute angle following a flowing passing move.
Ultimately, there were to be no more goals, but that mattered not as the Blues saw the rest of the game out to move up to second in the table.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 88), Lalkovic (Naismith 46); Main (Chaplin 25)
Goals: Burgess 34, Roberts 43 (pen), Chaplin 45+3, Baker 53
Booked: Roberts, Baker, T.Davies
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Smith
Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Blackman; Jombati (Akinfenwa 80), Stewart, Pierre, Harriman; Rowe (McGinn 86); Thompson, Bloomfield, Gape, Wood; Hayes (c) (Southwell 80)
Goals: Hayes 10, 45
Booked: Pierre, Jombati, Thompson, Gape, Rowe, Blackman, Stewart
Subs not used: Richardson, De Havilland, Kashket, Freeman
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 16,262 (489 away fans)
Blues good run continues
Pompey eased to a third successive league win, courtesy of three first half goals against a hapless Crawley side at Fratton Park.
The damage was done inside the first 12 minutes, with Curtis Main breaking the deadlock before Gary Roberts continued his prolific scoring spell.
It was Main who added a third goal before the break, allowing the Blues to comfortably see out the second half and claim their three points.
Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at Exeter in the last league outing.
Drew Talbot was suffering from a hamstring injury and with Adam Buxton and Calvin Davies also sidelined, Gareth Evans had to deputise at right-back.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause for Pompey Ladies president Dave Coyle, who sadly passed away recently.
The hosts immediately launched into an energetic attacking display, looking to get forward at every opportunity and play with a high tempo.
Roberts tried to take advantage of some uncertain defending by chasing down a poor back-pass in the opening seconds, but Crawley keeper Yusuf Mersin just about beat him to the ball.
The Red Devils then had their best chance of the half, only for James Collins to hit his shot into the ground and watch it fly wide.
Most of the action was taking place at the other end of the pitch, however, and Michael Doyle was not quite able to dig the ball from out of his feet and test Mersin.
But the deadlock was broken on eight minutes, as MAIN opened his Fratton Park account.
Enda Stevens latched onto a pass down the left and then cut the ball back for the striker to lash into the roof of the net.
That certainly got the home fans off their seats and they were in dreamland moments later when the Blues doubled their advantage.
And it was no surprise who scored it either, with Danny Rose stealing possession from Alex Davey and ROBERTS picking up the loose ball to rifle home his fourth goal in three games.
Pompey refused to sit back and protect their lead, though, as they set about trying to find a third.
Mark Connolly was clever enough to spot Roberts’ cute pass through to Main and make a vital interception.
Roberts tried to pick out the striker again soon after, only this time Davey rose highest to clear the danger.
MAIN did add a third goal before the interval, however, being in the right place to convert from close range after Mersin could only parry away a deflected effort from Milan Lalkovic.
There was still time for Crawley to launch a rare attack, but, under pressure from Christian Burgess, Jason Banton could only fire wide.
Crawley Town 0
It was a more sedate pace at the start of the second half, although Carl Baker wasted a good opening by dragging his shot wide.
Main then had a chance to seal his hat-trick, but spun and fired wide after Roberts’ neat flick had released Evans down the right.
Cook made his first switch just past the hour mark, with Main receiving warm applause as he made way for Conor Chaplin.
Crawley had a chance at the other end when Tom Davies was booked for a foul on Banton, with Burgess sticking out a leg to clear Jimmy Smith’s free-kick.
There was a definite sense of the game winding down as the heavens opened and heavy rain began to fall.
That might have contributed to a spot of sloppy defending from the hosts, who survived through some last-gasp defending before Smith’s shot was saved by David Forde.
Roberts was then given a deserved rest and replaced by Kal Naismith for his first home appearance of the season.
The final switch saw Michael Smith come on for the lively Lalkovic and he almost netted in stoppage-time following a quick break, but hit his shot agonisingly past the post.
It mattered little, however, as Pompey had, in truth, wrapped the game up by half-time to seal yet another league triumph.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 72), Lalkovic (Smith 82); Main (Chaplin 65)
Goals: Main 9, 37, Roberts 12
Booked: Main, T.Davies
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Linganzi, Hunt
Crawley (4-2-3-1): Mersin; Young, Connolly, Davey, Blackman (Arthur 52); Smith (c), Yorwerth (Payne 52); Boldewijn, Banton, Yussuf (Bawling 68); Collins
Subs not used: Beeney, McNerney, Clifford, Tajbakhsh
Referee: Ben Toner
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.
Exeter City 0
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
Roberts brace secures victory
Pompey collected their first victory of the season thanks to a late Gary Roberts brace against Colchester.
The visitors did not offer much in attack, but looked like they might be leaving the south coast with a point after frustrating the Blues.
Roberts won and scored a penalty to relieve the tension, however, and then grabbed a second moments later to secure all three points.
Paul Cook made one change from the side that were beaten at Morecambe earlier in the week.
That came up front, where Michael Smith missed out completely and was replaced by Curtis Main.
The blustery conditions made things difficult for both sides early on, with several passes going astray.
But it was the Blues who settled the quickest and carved out the majority of the chances before the break.
The first of those arrived after six minutes when Roberts swung in a cross that Main flicked narrowly past the post.
Kyle Bennett then played a neat one-two with Roberts down the left, only to see his low delivery cleared by Doug Loft.
Pompey were dominating possession without really troubling United keeper Sam Walker and Carl Baker headed wide after being found in the box.
The hosts were winning plenty of corners, however, and one from Bennett caused a scramble in the box before eventually being hacked clear.
Despite being penned back in their own half, Colchester looked dangerous on the break, although David Forde was not exactly being overworked.
It was the Blues still doing most of the attacking, however, and they started to put more pressure on the opposition back-line as the break drew closer.
Their best chance came on 40 minutes and it was Roberts who once again started the move.
He cut the ball back for Main, but Walker made a fine save to keep out the striker’s shot and then used his feet to stop Danny Rose from converting the loose ball.
Colchester United 0
Pompey started the second half on the front foot and, with Main waiting to pounce, Walker had to quickly recover after fumbling Baker’s shot.
The keeper looked more assured moments later, however, when he gathered a Roberts cross-shot at his near post.
But the chances began to dry up and Cook attempted to inject some fresh impetus into proceedings with a double switch.
The crowd had been calling for Conor Chaplin and he was brought on alongside Noel Hunt, with Bennett and Main making way.
Walker immediately came for – and missed – a Roberts corner, but got away with it as there was no-one at the far post to capitalise.
Forde might have been a virtual spectator, but he had not let his concentration slip and made a key save on 70 minutes to deny Craig Slater.
Chaplin did well soon after, beating his man and chipping the ball up to the far post, where it was just out of reach for a stretching Baker.
But the Blues did finally break the deadlock on 80 minutes, thanks to a penalty that was won and converted by ROBERTS.
He was clearly tripped inside the box by Drey Wright before stepping up and sliding the ball straight down the middle.
And the Fratton faithful were soon celebrating a second goal when ROBERTS raced onto a fine pass from Chaplin.
He just about beat the onrushing Walker to the ball, which looped up and landed in the net to double the Blues’ advantage.
Colchester tried to find a route back into the game, but Forde made a decent double save to deny Chris Porter and Doug Loft late on and preserve the clean sheet.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, Burgess, Barton, Stevens; Rose (Linganzi 86), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Hunt 62); Main (Chaplin 62)
Goals: Roberts 80 (pen), 84
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Evans, Lalkovic
Colchester (4-2-3-1): Walker; Brindley, Eastman, Prosser (c), Kinsella; Lapslie, Loft; Guthrie (Wright 59), Slater (Bonne 82), Dickenson; Johnstone (Porter 71)
Booked: Guthrie, Kinsella
Subs not used: Bransgrove, Wynter, Vincent-Young, Szmodics
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Plenty of goals for Macca benefit
Pompey twice led against Bournemouth in Alan McLoughlin’s benefit match, but had to settle for a 3-3 draw in the only Fratton friendly of the summer.
Gary Roberts fired the hosts into an early lead and although Lewis Grabban levelled, Michael Smith immediately restored the advantage.
But the usual flood of second half substitutions left the Blues a bit ragged, with Jordan Ibe and Dan Gosling appearing to secure victory for the Premier League visitors.
There was still time for Adam May to snatch a late leveller, however, and cap an entertaining afternoon on the sunny south coast.
The man of the moment greeted the crowd before kick-off and received warm applause from the Fratton faithful.
It was the visitors who were first to threaten once the game got underway, with Alex Bass getting down low to keep out Ryan Fraser’s drive.
But the Blues broke the deadlock after just five minutes, courtesy of a fine effort from ROBERTS.
The midfielder collected a pass and showed fancy footwork to beat Simon Francis before curling the ball into the bottom corner.
Pompey were passing the ball around nicely and Rhoys Wiggins did well to stop Smith getting a shot away after a corner had only been partially cleared.
But the Cherries soon started to settle and Grabban drilled inches past the post after being teed-up by Lewis Cook.
Roberts came close to scoring again at the other end, this time curling wide after playing a neat one-two with Carl Baker.
It was Bournemouth who got the next goal on 24 minutes, however, as Fraser burst into the box and cut the ball back for Grabban to slide past Bass.
But it took the hosts just a minute to restore their lead, with SMITH on hand to calmly stroke home after Enda Stevens’ effort was deflected into his path.
The Cherries tried to restore parity and an acrobatic effort from Marc Pugh was deflected behind before the same player headed over at the far post.
As well as enjoying an entertaining contest on the pitch, the crowd were keen on showing their support for a certain former player, with chants of ‘Alan McLoughlin’ and ‘sign him up’ ringing out.
AFC Bournemouth 1
Paul Cook introduced a couple of trialists for the second half, with Chris Konopka taking over between the sticks and Amine Linganzi coming on soon after the restart.
But it was a contracted player who threatened for Pompey, as Smith had a shot deflected behind before heading over from the resulting corner.
Cherries substitute Joshua King had the ball in the back of the net before then, but his celebrations were interrupted by the linesman’s flag.
The changes kept flowing and Noel Hunt was denied by a superb Adam Federici save from point-blank range after Roberts had sent a teasing cross into the box.
But the Cherries found themselves level on 70 minutes when Ibe dropped his shoulder and finished at the near post.
Pompey came close to restoring their advantage once more when Hunt charged down Federici’s clearance, only for the keeper to recover and deny his opponent from a tight angle.
The Cherries forged ahead for the first time on 79 minutes, though, as Wiggins squared for Gosling to poke in from close range.
With Cook changing the entire squad, the Blues had lost their shape somewhat, but there was still time for MAY to scramble home an untidy late equaliser.
Pompey had shown plenty of encouraging moments against their top-flight visitors and, more importantly, the fans were able to pay tribute to a Blues legend.
Thanks for the memories, Macca
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass (Konopka 46); Talbot (May 82), Whatmough (Davies 78), Burgess (Barton 78), Stevens (Haunstrup 78); Rose (Hunt 61), Doyle (c) (Close 69); Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 80), Roberts (Tollitt 80), Lalkovic (Linganzi 52); Smith (Main 61)
Goals: Roberts 5, Smith 25, May 88
Subs not used: Bennett, Chaplin
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Federici; O’Kane, Francis (c), Daniels, Wiggins (Butcher 84); Cook (MacDonald 46), Arter; Fraser (Ibe 46), Grabban (Mousset 46), Pugh (Gosling 46); Wilson (King 46)
Goals: Grabban 24, Ibe 70, Gosling 79
Subs not used: Stanton, Cornick, Jordan, Harfield, Buckley, Lee, Travers
Referee: James Linington