Mar 142017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Grimsby Town

 

Blues ease to home victory

Pompey brought their fine away form back to Fratton Park with a rout of Grimsby under the floodlights.

There was a touch of fortune about the first two goals, with Kyle Bennett and Danny Rose both benefiting from wicked deflections.

But it was more than luck that saw the Blues strengthen their promotion credentials, as they put their foot on the accelerator.

The points were secured with a couple more strikes either side of the interval, as first Carl Baker and then Kal Naismith got in on the fun.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that cruised to victory against Colchester at the weekend.

And he was almost rewarded with an early goal, as Baker flashed a shot narrowly over the bar soon after kick-off.

But it was Grimsby who looked more dangerous in the opening stages and Akwasi Asante saw a shot deflected narrowly wide following an untimely slip by Matt Clarke.

They went even closer moments later, with Zak Mills’ fierce long-range drive cannoning against the post.

And David Forde was soon called into action to push another decent attempt by Asante over the crossbar.

But the Blues scored against the run of play on 12 minutes, as BENNETT tried his luck from the edge of the box and the ball took a huge deflection to loop over Mariners keeper James McKeown and into the net.

From that point on the hosts dominated and Eoin Doyle could not quite connect with Gareth Evans’ dangerous low delivery.

A back-pedalling Naismith then got on the end of another Evans cross and watched as his header flew inches past the post.

The advantage was doubled on 35 minutes, however, when Bennett dummied Evans’ pass and ROSE hit a shot that took another deflection to beat McKeown.

Pompey kept pouring forward and when Baker slipped a fine ball through to Naismith, the winger’s cut-back was diverted just behind the onrushing Eoin Doyle.

There was a blow for the Blues just before the break, though, as Bennett went down injured and had to be replaced by Gary Roberts.

But the mood soon picked up and there was a third goal in stoppage-time, with BAKER collecting Evans’ pass and beating McKeown at his near post with a ferocious finish.

Half Time: Pompey 3 Grimsby 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

And it got even better for the hosts just 30 seconds after the restart when McKeown failed to hold Baker’s drive and NAISMITH slotted home the loose ball.

Pompey’s players were full of confidence and lining up to shoot against a stunned opposition defence, but the next effort from Baker ended up high in the Fratton End.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, some of the intensity went out of their performance as the half progressed.

Evans hit a clean shot on target just past the hour mark, but this time the ball was safely held by McKeown.

Pompey were dealt another injury blow on 68 minutes when Naismith signalled to come off after hurting his hamstring, with Jamal Lowe replacing him.

That failed to dampen the hosts’ dominance, though, and McKeown dived to his left to beat away Baker’s 25-yard drive.

Lowe then whipped in a cross from the right that was just behind Eoin Doyle and the on-loan striker could only head wide.

There was a jovial feel inside the stadium, with the Fratton End asking for a song from each stand – who duly obliged.

And the Blues saw out the closing stages in complete comfort to secure a third successive victory, with a third successive clean sheet.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith (Lowe 68), Bennett (Roberts 45); E.Doyle (Chaplin 86)
Goals: Bennett 12, Rose 35, Baker 45+1, Naismith 46
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Hunt

Grimsby (3-5-2): McKeown; Mills, Pearson (c), Collins; Davies, Jones (Disley 57), Maxwell, Osborne (Comley 57), Andrew; Vernon, Asante (Yussuf 81)
Subs not used: Boyce, Bolarinwa, Vose, Dyson

Referee: Mark Haywood

Attendance: 16,492 (527 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 102016
 
League 2
Grimsby Town 0 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Naismith grabs later winner

Kal Naismith came off the bench to score a fine free-kick and secure a deserved victory for Pompey at Grimsby.

The visitors dominated for long periods of the Blundell Park contest, only to be frustrated by the stubborn Mariners.

But, with time running out, Naismith curled a fine shot over the wall and into the net to delight the large travelling army of supporters.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that were beaten at home by Stevenage a fortnight earlier.

That meant the in-form Michael Smith continued to lead the line, with Conor Chaplin having to be content with a place on the bench.

Ben Davies was denied the opportunity to feature against his former club, with the former Fratton full-back sidelined by a calf problem.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off in memory of Grimsby legend Paul Futcher – who recently passed away – and the victims of the Chapecoense air disaster.

When the game got started it was the visitors who soon started to dominate, but there were not an abundance of clear-cut chances at either end of the pitch.

Kyle Bennett was looking lively and after he stole possession, it took a vital Josh Gowling interception to stop his pass finding Smith.

The winger then had a chance of his own, firing in a curling effort that James McKeown had to tip over the bar.

Carl Baker whipped the resulting corner into the box from wide on the right, but Matt Clarke was unable to send his header on target.

It was Danny Rose who was next to try his luck on nine minutes, with a 25-yard effort that bent narrowly wide.

There was not much to report at the opposite end, although Omar Bogle did curl a shot over after Grimsby had been awarded a soft free-kick.

It was soon the Blues back on the attack and Baker had a couple of sighters, one of which flew straight into McKeown’s arms, while the second was blazed over.

Enda Stevens then delivered a dangerous low cross into the box that had to be hacked to safety by the hosts.

And Gary Roberts also had a couple of effort just before the break, but the first was blocked and the follow-up trickled wide.

Half Time: Grimsby 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was Pompey who were first to threaten following the interval and McKeown did well to keep out Smith’s powerful low drive after Christian Burgess had threaded a pass to the striker.

Stevens then delivered another teasing low cross from the left that flashed invitingly across the face of goal.

But Grimsby almost broke the deadlock with their first decent chance on 54 minutes, with Ashley Chambers’ cushioned volley clawed to safety by David Forde.

Pompey were soon back on the attack, however, and Baker embarked on a fine run into the box, only to see his effort saved by McKeown.

Zak Mills was perhaps fortunate to remain on the pitch when he brought down a rampaging Bennett right on the edge of the box.

But referee Andy Haines decided that a yellow card was appropriate punishment and Bennett curled the resulting free-kick wide.

Cook made a double substitution on 76 minutes, with Conor Chaplin and Naismith brought on for Gary Roberts and Bennett.

There was a nervy moment for McKeown soon after when he dropped Rose’s cross, but Gowling came to his keeper’s rescue by scrambling the ball clear.

But Grimsby were looking more adventurous than before the break and Clarke had deal with the danger following a spot of pinball in the visitors’ box.

Just as a goalless draw was looking the likely outcome, however, Pompey snatched a late winner.

Baker was brought down by Kayden Jackson 25 yards out and NAISMITH stepped up to curl an exquisite free-kick past McKeown’s grasp and into the net.

But there was an immediate scare at the other end when Forde failed to hold Scott Vernon’s ferocious shot, only to react quickly and smother the loose ball.

The Blues stayed strong at the back, however, and saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to secure a valuable victory.

Grimsby (4-2-3-1): McKeown; Mills, Gowling, Collins, Andrew; Comley (Vernon 72), Summerfield; Chambers (Bolarinwa 58), Berrett, Jackson; Bogle
Booked: Gowling, Mills, Berrett
Subs not used: Henderson, Pearson, Boyce, Disley, Venney

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 76), Bennett (Chaplin 76); Smith (Hunt 89)
Goals: Naismith 86
Booked: Stevens, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 6,560 (1,110 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC