Aug 202016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 0 Colchester United

 

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.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Colchester 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
Booked: Doyle
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

Attendance: 15,967 (442 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jul 232016
 
Friendly
Portsmouth 3 – 3 AFC Bournemouth

 

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.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Bournemouth 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

Attendance: 5,153 (531 away fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jul 192016
 
Friendly
Salisbury 2 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Hunt and Roberts net for Blues

Pompey were twice pegged back by Salisbury and had to settle for a draw in their latest pre-season outing at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

They created a host of chances and finally forged ahead through Noel Hunt, only for Justin Bennett to immediately equalise.

Gary Roberts’ restored the lead after the interval, but the Whites – despite rarely posing a threat – levelled again when Eddie Perrett headed home.

On a sweltering evening in Wiltshere, it was the hosts who made the brighter start and Pompey had to deal with a couple of free-kicks.

But Paul Cook’s side soon started to take control and Milan Lalkovic saw a shot deflected wide following a quick counter-attack.

Jack Whatmough then missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock on eight minutes, heading Gary Roberts’ cross wide after being left unmarked in the box.

Carl Baker has already shown that he is unafraid to have a pop, but appeared to leave his shooting boots at home with a couple of efforts that failed to find the target.

And Lee Angel then made a superb diving block to deny the midfielder as the Blues continued to threaten.

Hunt was looking a danger up front for the visitors and lifted a shot narrowly wide following a fine through ball by Roberts.

One fine flowing move involved Hunt and Baker, but Enda Stevens was unable to beat Whites keeper Charlie Searle after being teed-up.

Searle then made a stunning save to keep out a close-range Roberts header that seemed destined for the net.

But Pompey’s pressure finally paid dividends on 42 minutes when HUNT collected Stevens’ low cross and steered a shot inside the near post.

The lead lasted for just a minute, however, as a corner from Lewis Benson was emphatically headed home by Bennett.

There was still time for the Blues to go close before the break, but another superb Angel block denied Lalkovic.

Half Time: Salisbury 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey continued to look bright after the interval and Roberts’ header was deflected wide after the midfielder had met Drew Talbot’s cross.

Baker then slid a pass across the face of goal that was just out of the reach of substitute Michael Smith.

It was Smith who probably should have restored the Blues’ lead on 54 minutes, but he failed to find the target with a close-range header.

Pompey were dominating and it came as no surprise when they did score a second soon after.

Lalkovic slid a pass through to ROBERTS in the box and the midfielder’s shot creeped over the line, despite the best efforts of the Salisbury back-line to get the ball clear.

Salisbury were not doing much to test trialist keeper Chris Kanopka at the other end, with an effort from Tony Lee almost going out for a throw.

But they found themselves level on 72 minutes with another goal from a corner, as Benson’s cross was headed back for Perrett to flick home.

Pompey had an immediate chance to restore their advantage, but Smith could not quite squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.

Kyle Bennett then fired over the bar after Stevens had been released down the left by Roberts and delivered a low cross into the box.

Pompey continued to dominate possession as the game drew to a conclusion, but were unable to convert that into a winning goal.

Salisbury (4-4-2): Searle (Childs 62); Colson, Wheeler (c) (Leigh 74), Angel, Perrett; Herbert (Jones 46), Whelan, Benson, Young (Masterton 59); Wright (Lee 46), Bennett (Flint 67)
Goals: Bennett 43, Perrett 72

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Konopka; Talbot, Whatmough, Burgess, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Lalkovic (Bennett 62); Hunt (Smith 46)
Goals: Hunt 42, Roberts 59
Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Haunstrup, Close, May, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Linganzi, Tollitt, Chaplin

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 1,124

Portsmouth FC
Jul 132016
 
Friendly
Havant & Waterlooville 0 – 5 Portsmouth

 

Blues ease to friendly victory

Carl Baker bagged a brace as Pompey hit five unanswered goals past non-league neighbours Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park.

The midfielder struck either side of the interval to give the Blues a commanding lead after Gary Roberts had opened the scoring.

Trialist Noel Hunt and Curtis Main then both came off the bench to cap a comfortable victory for Paul Cook’s side.

There was good news for the hosts before kick-off, as they announced the return of former Pompey midfielder Wes Fogden on a two-year deal.

But it was the visitors who had most of the joy once the action belatedly got underway, following a 15-minute delay to allow all the fans to get into the ground.

Danny Rose and Conor Chaplin went close in the opening stages, with the pair both narrowly failing to find the target.

In between was the Hawks’ only decent chance of the evening, with a crisp effort from ex-Fratton youngster Bradley Tarbuck superbly tipped around the post by Michael Crowe.

And Pompey broke the deadlock on 12 minutes when Milan Lalkovic slid a fine pass through to ROBERTS, who neatly lifted the ball over keeper Ryan Young and into the net.

The Blues continued to dominate and Baker had a hat-trick of efforts – the first clearing the ground, the second fizzing narrowly over and the third hit straight at Young.

Rose was next to go close midway through the first half, firing into the side netting following good build-up play from Michael Doyle and Lalkovic.

Baker was not afraid to try his luck from distance and another attempt from the summer signing had to be pushed to safety by Young.

And his persistence paid off just before the break with a strike that was most definitely worth the wait.

BAKER picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and hit a stunning shot that flew in off the underside of the crossbar, leaving Young rooted to the spot.

Half Time: Hawks 0 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey picked up where they left off after the restart and Young had to come charging from his line to stop Chaplin racing onto Lalkovic’s pass.

The Hawks keeper then kept out Lalkovic’s stinging drive, but was unable to stop the Blues from grabbing a third goal.

He could only parry the ball as far as Roberts, who cut it back for BAKER to tap home from just a couple of yards out.

The usual pre-season flurry of substitutions meant that chances began to dry up and the pace started to slow.

But two of those late arrivals managed to find the net and give the scoreline an added gloss for the visitors.

First trialist HUNT slid in to convert Enda Stevens’ low cross from wide on the left after the full-back had picked up Doyle’s raking pass.

Then, after Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain had stolen possession and seen his shot parried by Young, MAIN followed-up to poke home.

He almost scored again late on, but a thunderous effort from 30-yards hit the inside of the post and flew clear.

There was a bit of needle between Main and Ben Swallow late on that would normally have received a harsher punishment than the ticking off dished out by referee Dean Treleaven.

But that was a rare moment of petulance in a good-natured contest that saw the Blues continue their preparations for the 2016/17 campaign in fine style.

Hawks (4-4-2): Young (Searle 65); Strugnell (Miller 89), Woodford (Molyneaux 54), Robinson, Williams (Medway 65); Swallow, Lewis (Ridge 65), Stock (c) (Whittingham 84), Tarbuck (Barker 54); Prior (Hayter 65), Paterson (Rutherford 54)

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe; Talbot (Sessegnon 74), Whatmough (Bradbury 85), Burgess (Barton 78), Stevens (Haunstrup 76); Rose (Widdrington 74), Doyle (c) (Bedford 74); Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71), Roberts (Main 69), Lalkovic (Tollitt 60); Chaplin (Hunt 57)
Goals: Roberts 12, Baker 45, 56, Hunt 69, Main 73

Referee: Dean Treleaven

Attendance: 2,300

Portsmouth FC
Jul 062016
 
Friendly
Sligo Rovers 3 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Draw for Blues in Irish testimonial

Conor Chaplin bagged a brace as Pompey drew 3-3 at Sligo in their opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

Gary Roberts also found the target in a testimonial match for long-serving Rovers favourite Gavin Peers.

That saw the visitors coast to a three-goal lead, only for the Irish outfit to hit back with three of their own after the break – including a spot-kick from man-of-the-moment Peers.

It was still an enjoyable return to The Showgrounds for Cook, though, who won three trophies when he managed the Irish club between 2007 and 2012.

There was certainly a testimonial feel to the first half, as the hosts fielded a side made up former team-mates of Peers.

One of them was Kieran Djilali – who had a short spell with the Blues in 2012 – while the brother of Westlife star Mark Feehily also featured.

Pompey, unsurprisingly, dominated before the break and they took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock.

Chaplin did well down the right and was able to pull the ball back for ROBERTS to tap home from just a yard out.

And he was able to return the favourite soon after, with CHAPLIN free to capitalise when the midfielder’s path to goal was blocked by keeper Ciaran Kelly.

Trialist stopper Michael Crowe was largely untroubled at the other end and Christian Burgess stopped him from having to make a save by blocking Djilali’s effort.

Djilali soon made a sheepish exit, however, as following a flurry of substitutions, referee Alan Kelly had failed to spot that Sligo had 12 men on the pitch.

Jack Whatmough did well to deny the Irish side on 38 minutes, charging across to halt a quick counter-attack.

Instead it was Pompey who added to the scoring soon after, with Roberts and CHAPLIN again combining, and the latter neatly lifting the ball home.

There were two chances to increase the lead further before the interval, but Roberts and Milan Lalkovic both narrowly failed to find the target.

Half Time: Sligo 0 Pompey 3

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Peers remained on the pitch for the second half and was this time joined by 10 of his current team-mates.

Cook also rung the changes, with Roberts and Chaplin the only Blues players not to be given a rest.

Sligo almost pulled a goal back on the hour mark, but Kieran Sadlier’s drive was beaten away by replacement keeper Eric Grimes and the winger sent his follow-up effort into the side netting.

Raffaele Cretaro then wasted a great opportunity to get on the scoresheet, missing a free header at the far post.

But Sligo did have a goal on 70 minutes and – although it appeared rather soft – there were no complaints when a penalty was awarded for a challenge on Phil Roberts by Tom Davies.

That gave Peers the chance to score from the spot and he confidently slotted the ball into the bottom corner before being withdrawn to a standing ovation.

It was soon Pompey who were back on the attack and Chaplin saw an effort blocked at point-blank range following good work from Kyle Bennett and Carl Baker.

With a total of 52 players used, the game had understandably lost a bit of impetus as it coasted towards a conclusion.

But it sparked back into life towards the end as the impressive Sadlier scored twice in quick succession to draw the hosts level.

First he poked home from close range following good work down the right by Cretaro and then rifled home the equaliser seconds later.

But more important for Cook was the chance to see his squad get some minutes under the belt, while Peers was rightly lauded for his loyalty to Sligo.

Sligo first half (4-4-1-1): Kelly; Keane, Peers (c), Burns (Flannery 24), Foy (McCartney 24); Djilali (McTiernan 24), O’Grady (Judge 31), Ventre, Dillon (Mansaram 31); Ndo (Feehily 33); Elding (McNamara 24)

Sligo second half (4-4-2): Schlingermann; Adebayo-Rowling, Peers (c) (Trialist 70), Boylan, Keohane; Kearns, Roddan, Russell (Lines 79), Sadlier; Cretaro (Place 86), Roberts
Goals: Peers 69 (pen), Sadlier 85, 87

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Crowe (trialist) (Grimes (trialist) 46); Talbot (Sessegnon (trialist) 46), Whatmough (Davies 46), Burgess (Barton 46), Haunstrup (Stevens 46); May (Close 46), Doyle (c) (Rose 46); Tollitt (Baker 46), Roberts (Konsiembo (trialist) 62), Lalkovic (Bennett 46); Chaplin (Tollitt 79)
Goals: Roberts 9, Chaplin 17, 40

Referee: Alan Kelly

Attendance: 1,127

Portsmouth FC
May 122016
 
League 2 Play Off
Portsmouth 2 – 2 Plymouth Argyle

 

McNulty and Roberts on target

Pompey and Plymouth could not be separated in an absorbing first leg play-off contest at a packed Fratton Park.

Marc McNulty’s early strike got the Blues off to a dream opening, only for Jamille Matt’s brace to turn the game on its head.

Argyle’s forward escaped a red card following a tussle with Michael Doyle in between those two goals.

But the hosts grabbed an equaliser in the second half, courtesy of Gary Roberts’ confidently-taken spot-kick.

Paul Cook made seven changes from the side that narrowly lost to champions Northampton at the weekend.

One of them took everyone by surprise, with a goalkeeping injury crisis seeing Ryan Allsop signed on loan from Bournemouth and thrown straight into the team.

There were also returns for Christian Burgess and Enda Stevens at the back, Danny Hollands and skipper Doyle in midfield, and Kyle Bennett and McNulty in attack.

The game began at a frenetic pace and there was plenty of controversy to spice up the first half on the south coast.

But the Blues made an excellent start by breaking the deadlock after just three minutes.

Doyle stole possession from Curtis Nelson and the ball feel kindly for McNULTY to drive into the net.

The hosts set about trying to double their advantage, but Luke McCormick did well to claim a dangerous cross from Stevens.

Instead Plymouth found soon themselves level, with Gregg Wylde sending the ball into the mix and Matt beating Allsop to head home from close range.

The Argyle striker was arguably fortunate to stay on the pitch moments later, after appearing to headbutt Doyle following a scuffle between the pair.

Cook was livid on the sidelines and his reaction saw him sent to the stands by referee Oliver Langford, quickly followed by Plymouth first team coach Paul Wotton.

And Matt soon added salt to the wound by firing the visitors ahead, controlling Kelvin Mellor’s long throw and sending an acrobatic over-head effort looping into the net.

There were then half-chances at both ends as the game continued at a breathless pace, with Hollands firing wide before Graham Carey’s effort fizzed narrowly off target.

Pompey were pushing for a leveller and it took a fine challenge by Peter Hartley to dispossess Gareth Evans in the box as the winger prepared to shoot.

McNulty was next to go close, but his fierce effort flew narrowly wide following good link-up play between Burgess and Roberts.

Both sides certainly looked capable of adding to the scoring and some Pilgrims fans thought their side had when Carey’s free-kick hit the side netting.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Plymouth 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey went straight on the attack after the interval and Evans hit one effort over before Bennett saw his shot blocked.

And the hosts were level on 51 minutes after Langford pointed to the spot for a foul on McNulty by Hartley.

The Plymouth defender was shown a yellow card before ROBERTS stepped up to emphatically fire home the penalty.

McCormick then had to make sure he held Evans’ cross from the right, with Roberts waiting to pounce at the far post.

And the Argyle keeper also made a decent stop to deny McNulty following a quick Blues break, although an unmarked Bennett was screaming for the ball to his left.

The hosts made their first switch just past the hour mark and it was Bennett who was withdrawn for Kal Naismith.

He was soon involved in the action, but could not quite get on the end of Evans’ teasing cross from the right.

Pompey were dominating possession by this point and forcing their opponents to sit deeper, but the Pilgrims defence were holding firm.

McNulty was withdrawn on 81 minutes, with Adam McGurk given a chance to impress up front.

It was Ben Davies who had a chance to fire them in front soon after, however, with McCormick forced to save at his near post.

But, with the game ending 2-2, the outcome was still very much up in the air as the sides prepare to do battle once more at Home Park on Sunday.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Davies, Burgess, Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 62); McNulty (McGurk 81)
Goals: McNulty 3, Roberts 51 (pen)
Booked: Hollands, Barton
Subs not used: Whatmough, Haunstrup, Close, Tollitt, Wilkinson

Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Mellor, Nelson (c), Hartley, Sawyer; McHugh, Boateng (Purrington 80); Jervis, Carey, Wylde; Matt (Tanner 90+1)
Goals: Matt 9, 19
Booked: Carey, Hartley, Sawyer, Purrington
Subs not used: Dorel, Forster, Harvey, Rooney, Reid

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 17,622 (1,902 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 232016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 1 Wycombe Wanderers

 

Roberts and Chaplin secure victory

Pompey have all but secured a place in the top seven following a 2-1 victory over Wycombe at Fratton Park.

The completely controlled the first half and the impressive Gary Roberts deservedly fired them ahead.

Conor Chaplin then came off the bench to double the advantage and seemingly wrap up all three points.

But Sido Jombati’s fine free-kick set-up a nervy finale and there were plenty of chewed fingernails by the time referee Dean Whitestone blew the final whistle.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side so comprehensively beaten at York earlier in the week.

Two of them were enforced, with the injured duo of Adam Webster and Kyle Bennett making way for a fit-again Christian Burgess and Roberts.

The other switch saw Michael Smith drop to the bench and Kal Naismith come in wide on the left.

Wycombe were first to threaten once the game got started and Paul Jones had to gather the ball on the edge of his box to deny the rampaging Gozie Ugwu.

But as the half progressed, the hosts began to take complete control of proceedings in front of another large crowd.

Michael Doyle fed a fine pass through to Roberts, although he then cut the ball back to absolutely no-one.

Roberts, however, was at the heart of everything the Blues did going forward, dictating play with a number of clever passes.

Pompey kept knocking at the door in search of an opening goal and Gareth Evans fired into the side netting before Naismith’s cross was nervously dealt with.

They almost broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Doyle dispossessed former Fratton loanee Marcus Bean in the centre to start an attack.

Roberts picked the ball up and his drive was parried clear by Ryan Allsop, while Danny Hollands’ follow-up was deflected safely into the keeper’s arms.

It was Roberts who went close again moments later, but after brilliantly controlling Christian Burgess’ pass and side-stepping a defender, he curled his shot over the bar.

Matt Clarke’s surging run then created a chance for the lively Marc McNulty and his effort was also narrowly off target.

Wycombe were struggling to hang on, with their rare attacks quickly blunted and their defence then having to deal with a wave of blue.

Naismith should have scored on 36 minutes, only to completely mis-hit his shot after being picked out in the box by Burgess.

The Fratton faithful did not have to wait long for a goal to celebrate, however.

It was ROBERTS who deservedly scored, sliding in to poke the ball home from close range following more excellent McNulty work down the right.

That failed to dampen Pompey’s attacking mentality and they continued to pour forward in search of more goals.

Naismith almost obliged just before the break after collecting a short corner, but his lashed effort cannoned back off the inside of the post.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Wycombe 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Despite the hosts’ almost total dominance in the first half, they almost found themselves back on level terms just after the restart.

Ugwu rose highest to flick on Jombati’s cross and Jones flung himself to the left to palm the ball behind.

But Pompey then had a chance to double their lead, only for Roberts to hit a tame effort straight at Allsop when a pass for McNulty looked the better option.

Cook made a double substitution on the hour mark, with McNulty and Ben Davies making way for Chaplin and Kieron Freeman.

And CHAPLIN only had to wait seven minutes to get his name on the scoresheet and halt the Chairboys’ revival.

The striker latched onto an excellent long pass from Doyle and although his shot was scuffed, the ball trickled into the bottom corner.

That appeared to settle the nerves, but the tension soon ramped up when Wycombe reduced the deficit on 73 minutes.

Doyle was penalised for a foul on Bean on the edge of the box and Jombati stepped up to curl the free-kick over the wall and into the net.

There was a sense of panic around the stadium and that only grew when Jason McCarthy drilled in a shot that had to be hacked from the line by a well-placed Freeman.

Pompey were soon looking dangerous on the break, however, and Allsop did well to deny Roberts following a sumptuous pass over the top by Chaplin.

Wycombe were pushing men forward in search of a leveller and Garry Thompson’s volley was pushed clear by Jones.

Burgess then did well to clear the ball from a crowded box after a corner had led to a nervy scramble.

There were a few groans when the fourth official announced an additional five minutes, but Pompey held on to secure the victory.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies (Freeman 60), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 77); McNulty (Chaplin 60)
Goals: Roberts 37, Chaplin 67
Booked: Chaplin
Subs not used: Murphy, Barton, Close, Smith

Wycombe (4-1-4-1): Allsop; McCarthy, Stewart, Pierre, Jombati; Rowe; Sellars (Liburd 82), Bean, Harriman (Kretzschmar 72), Hayes (c) (Thompson 67); Ugwu
Goals: Jombati 73
Booked: Stewart, Bean
Subs not used: Siegrist, Jacobson, McGinn, Sellers

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,187 (737 away fans)

Mar 122016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 3 Newport County

Pompey’s good run of form was abruptly halted as they lost at home to Newport.

Darren Jones headed the visitors in front during a first half that was extremely low on quality.

The Blues were then controversially reduced to 10 men when Gary Roberts was shown a second booking for alleged simulation.

And County ensured that they would take all three points back to south Wales, as Scott Boden and Dean Morgan increased their lead.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that won convincingly at Accrington earlier in the week.

The switch came up front, where on-loan Michael Smith made way for top scorer Marc McNulty.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon on the south coast, but there certainly was not a spring in the step of the players.

There was not much to lift the crowd in an incredibly low-tempo opening to the game, with shots thin on the ground.

McNulty dragged the ball wide from the edge of the box, while, at the other end, Boden hit a tame effort straight into Ryan Fulton’s arms.

With little footballing action to excite those in the stands, referee Ben Toner provided the only incidents of note by brandishing a flurry of yellow cards.

Mark Byrne probably deserved his for a cynical challenge on Gareth Evans, although the bookings for Enda Stevens and Danny Hollands looked harsh.

But that was the least of Pompey’s worries, as – despite County not offering much of a threat – they fell behind on 34 minutes.

Medy Elito’s free-kick was flicked on by Boden and Jones out-muscled Fulton to head home, with Toner ignoring the cries of foul from the Blues keeper.

The hosts tried to inject some more urgency into their play, but were finding it difficult to breach a well-organised Exiles defence.

Their best chance arrived in stoppage-time when Joe Day dropped Ben Davies’ cross, but McNulty was too close to the keeper to fire the loose ball past him.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Newport 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Cook, unsurprisingly, made an attacking switch at the break, with Evans the man to make way for Smith.

And there certainly seemed to be an increase in tempo as Pompey set about trying to find an equaliser.

Day was twice called into action in the opening stages, although was not overly troubled by a shot from Roberts and header from Smith.

But the Blues came agonisingly close to scoring on 57 minutes when Smith was inches away from meeting a fine low cross from Kyle Bennett.

Their hopes of getting anything from the game were dealt a severe blow moments later, however, when they were reduced to 10 men.

Roberts went down on the edge of the box and claimed a free-kick, but Toner decided he had dived.

Having already booked the midfielder for a trip on Elito, he displayed a second yellow card followed by a red – much to the ire of most of those inside Fratton Park.

Cook soon made his second substitution of the afternoon, withdrawing Bennett and bringing on Kal Naismith.

But Newport made their numerical advantage count on 69 minutes when they doubled their lead after Pompey had lost possession.

The ball was worked to Elito out on the left and the winger’s cross was headed home by Boden from close range.

Conor Chaplin was immediately brought on for McNulty and soon had a chance, but could only hook the ball over from 12 yards.

He then teed-up Smith with a neat pass, with Day getting down low to his right to save an angled drive.

Instead, it was Newport who scored to complete a miserable afternoon for the Blues, with substitute Morgan converting a low cross from Byrne.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Smith 46), Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 61); McNulty (Chaplin 70)
Sent off: Roberts (two yellow cards)
Booked: Stevens, Hollands, Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, McGurk

Newport (4-1-3-2): Day; Holmes, Donacien, Jones, Hughes; Byrne (c); Rodman, O’Sullivan, Elito (Gosling 74); Boden (Morgan 77), Ayina (Wilkinson 61)
Goals: Jones 34, Boden 69, Morgan 87
Booked: Byrne, O’Sullivan
Subs not used: Green, Partridge, Barrow, Klukowski

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 16,245 (386 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Feb 202016
 

Yeovil Town 1 v 1 Portsmouth

Pompey snatched a point at Yeovil, thanks to a late strike from Gary Roberts.

That came after Christian Burgess had been sent off for collecting a couple of bookings in the space of a few seconds.

Francois Zoko had earlier pounced to give the struggling Glovers hope of claiming all three points.

But the Blues were determined not to leave empty-handed and Roberts’ intervention ensured that would not be the case.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that eased to victory against Bristol Rovers at Fratton Park the previous week.

Kal Naismith was added to the list of substitutes, however, as Conor Chaplin nursed an ankle injury.

The game started brightly and both sides looked dangerous on the break, without either keeper being tested.

But it soon became an extremely disjointed affair, with Pompey struggling to find any fluidity going forward.

Kyle Bennett had a couple of half-chances, first unable to turn Michael Smith’s cross on target and then fizzing a low shot inches past the post.

And the winger went close again on 28 minutes, firing narrowly over after Artur Krysiak had punched clear a corner from Ben Davies.

Both sides were starting to grow frustrated by the lack of creativity and Smith and Connor Roberts received a talking to from referee Mark Haywood following a spot of handbags.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock arrived on 37 minutes – and it would have been a comical goal.

Burgess inadvertently diverted Liam Walsh’s poor effort towards its intended target, but the defender recovered well to hack the ball off the line.

And Cook was then forced into a change when Gareth Evans suffered a knock and was replaced by Ben Tollitt.

Half Time: Yeovil 0 Pompey 0

Pompey looked sharper once the second half got underway and came close to forging ahead on 51 minutes.

It was a neat move, with Smith picking out Tollitt with a fine cross-field ball and the substitute cutting along the edge of the box before sliding a pass through to Roberts.

The latter hit a low shot that was heading for the bottom corner before Krysiak stuck out a hand to push the ball clear.

Ben Close then came close to opening his Blues account with a low 30-yard shot that was inches off target.

However, the visitors almost fell behind after losing possession in the centre on 59 minutes.

The ball made its way to Zoko in the box, but Ryan Fulton was quickly off his line to make a vital save.

With the hosts starting to take control, Cook made his second switch of the afternoon, with Bennett making way for Marc McNulty.

But Yeovil broke the deadlock on 75 minutes when Walsh’s corner led to a scramble in the Blues box and Zoko eventually forced the ball home.

Pompey tried to find a route back into the game and Burgess saw his header deflected wide after meeting a free-kick from Davies.

But their afternoon got worse when Burgess was booked twice in the space of just a few seconds to leave the visitors with 10 men.

He was first punished for an off-the-ball tussle and then received his marching orders for bringing down Ryan Dickson on the edge of the box.

That looked to have ended the Blues’ hopes of getting anything from the game, but they found themselves level on 85 minutes.

It was a fine finish from inside the box from ROBERTS, who left Krysiak with no chance to send the large travelling support wild with delight.

McNulty then had a shot deflected wide in stoppage-time before a frantic second half was brought to a close.

Yeovil (4-1-4-1): Krysiak; Roberts, Ward (c), Sokolik, Dickson; Tozer; Cornick (Gillett 86), Walsh, Dolan, Campbell (Goodship 69); Zoko (Bird 90+2)
Goals: Zoko 75
Booked: Tozer
Subs not used: Weale, Lacey, Laird

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Close, Doyle (c); Evans (Tollitt 41), Roberts, Bennett (McNulty 73); Smith (McGurk 81)
Goals: Roberts 85
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Naismith

Referee: Mark Haywood

Attendance: 6,051 (2,088 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jan 302016
 
FA Cup 4
Portsmouth 1 – 2 AFC Bournemouth

 

Pompey lose to Premier opposition

Pompey were not quite able to cause an Emirates FA Cup upset against Premier League opposition at Fratton Park.

But the hosts can be proud of their efforts against Bournemouth – as well as their attractive passing football.

A shock looked on the cards when Gary Roberts deservedly fired the Blues ahead just before the interval.

But Joshua King and Marc Pugh were on target in the second half to ensure the Blues’ cup adventure ended at the fourth round.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side beaten by Oxford in the league the previous week.

Christian Burgess, Ben Close and Adam McGurk all came into the starting 11, with Adam Webster, Adam Barton and Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.

It was the League Two side who looked more threatening in the opening stages, with Marc McNulty causing plenty of problems.

One of his surges forward was only halted by the presence of former Fratton favourite Sylvain Distin, while a shot moments later flew narrowly wide.

Pompey also won a couple of corners in quick succession that caused problems in the Bournemouth back-line.

The visitors had to rely on Adam Federici to keep the scores level on 19 minutes, with the keeper getting down sharply to tip behind McNulty’s long-range effort.

Bournemouth, unsurprisingly, improved as the game progressed and Eunan O’Kane curled a free-kick wide after Burgess had been booked for a foul on Glenn Murray.

Ryan Fulton then made a super save, getting down low to his left to turn Juan Iturbe’s drive onto the post.

But it was the Blues who finished the half with a flourish and it was a patient passing move that led to them taking the lead on 43 minutes.

The Cherries could not win back possession as their opponents selfishly kept hold of the ball and the move ended with McNulty squaring for ROBERTS to slide home.

Fratton Park erupted with jubilation as the midfielder wheeled away to celebrate and there were more cheers when referee Mike Dean blew for the interval soon after.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Bournemouth 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey remained on the attack once the second half got started, although Dean was not convinced by Enda Stevens’ optimistic penalty appeals.

Ben Davies then curled a 30-yard free-kick over the wall, but Federici was able to keep hold of the ball.

And Kyle Bennett did brilliantly to skip past Shaun MacDonald’s challenge and feed Roberts, who was almost falling to the ground as he dragged a shot wide.

Bournemouth responded with a double change, with Matt Ritchie getting warm applause from all four sides of the ground as he came on alongside Pugh.

And Cook made two switches of his own, as Roberts and Burgess made way for Evans and Webster.

The latter was immediately involved in the action, making a vital interception to stop King’s low ball reaching its intended target.

But the Cherries were level on 71 minutes when Davies conceded a free-kick wide on the left and O’Kane’s delivery was glanced home by King.

Pompey had a chance to restore their lead through a set-piece of their own moments later when McNulty was felled.

Bennett stepped up to take the free-kick and his shot was claimed right underneath the crossbar by Federici.

Cook made his final throw of the dice on 77 minutes, with Ben Tollitt replacing McGurk on the wing.

Both sides seemed keen to avoid a replay and were not content to simply sit back and defend.

It took a fine challenge from Matt Clarke to stop Lewis Grabban from firing the Cherries ahead from just a couple of yards out on 83 minutes.

But they did score just seconds later when, after Fulton had saved superbly from Grabban, substitute Pugh was on hand to convert.

Pompey tried their best to find a late equaliser, but it was the Premier League side who held on to book their place in Sunday’s draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess (Webster 62), Clarke, Stevens; Close, Doyle (c); McGurk (Tollitt 77), Roberts (Evans 62), Bennett; McNulty
Goals: Roberts 43
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Jones, Barton, Naismith, Chaplin

Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Federici; Smith, Elphick (c) (Francis 77), Distin, Cargill; Iturbe (Pugh 62), O’Kane, MacDonald, King; Grabban; Murray (Ritchie 62)
Goals: King 71, Pugh 83
Booked: O’Kane
Subs not used: Allsop, Simpson, Wakefield, Butcher

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 18,901 (2,885 away fans)

Portsmouth FC