Apr 012017
 
League 2
Hartlepool United 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

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.

Half Time: Hartlepool 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
Booked: Alessandra
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
Booked: Rose
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Whatmough, Linganzi

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 4,500 (977 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 172016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

Carson to the rescue for visitors

Pompey had to settle for a draw in the final Fratton fixture of 2016 after failing to breach a stubborn Hartlepool defence.

They created all the chances of note, but when the visitors’ back-line was found wanting, goalkeeper Trevor Carson came to the rescue with some superb saves.

There was little going on at the other end of the pitch as Pools showed a lack of attacking ambition, although they were ultimately able to make the long trip home with a point in the bag.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Grimsby the previous week – meaning that Pompey were unchanged for a fourth successive fixture.

But there was a flat opening to proceedings, with very few clear-cut chances to liven up the Fratton faithful.

Gary Roberts did cut inside from the right and drag a shot narrowly past the post, although that was as exciting as it got in the early stages.

The hosts started to inject more urgency into proceedings as the half progressed and former Blues loanee Carson had to get down quickly to keep out Michael Smith’s glancing header.

Then, after Danny Rose had done well to steal possession, Kyle Bennett played a neat one-two with Smith and fired inches wide.

And a teasing left-sided cross from Carl Baker somehow evaded everyone as it flew past the post on 24 minutes.

There was nothing much for David Forde to deal with at the other end of the pitch, as Pompey continued to dominate without making a breakthrough.

Smith used his strength to climb above Scott Harrison and meet Bennett’s cross, but was unable to guide the ball on target.

And Harrison then made a vital clearance from the line to deny Smith a simple close-range finish on 37 minutes.

There was one more chance before the interval, with Carson superbly tipping over a fierce Gareth Evans drive, although the officials somehow missed the keeper’s intervention and awarded a goal-kick.

Half-Time: Pompey 0 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was still the Blues looking more likely to break the deadlock once play resumed and Baker surged into the box before sending a dipping shot wide.

The midfielder’s cross following a short corner was then heading straight for Matt Clarke at the far post until Carson made a timely intervention.

Pompey continued to knock at the door and an effort from Baker was deflected wide following a neat passing move.

But with Hartlepool holding firm, Cook made a double substitution on 68 minutes, as Roberts and Bennett made way for Conor Chaplin and Kal Naismith.

The former almost immediately missed an opportunity to open the scoring when he failed to make a connection with Enda Stevens’ fine low delivery.

But it was Smith who almost provided a goal moments later when he met Naismith’s cross, only for Carson to make a superb stop.

Chaplin thought he should have had a penalty on 80 minutes after being bundled over by Harrison, but referee Graham Horwood adjudged it a fair challenge.

A short corner routine then led to a ferocious Naismith shot that smashed Billy Paynter straight in the face and knocked him to the turf.

Pompey were trying their best to find a breakthrough, but Michael Doyle’s half-volley was brilliantly kept out by Carson.

The hosts kept pouring forward in search of a late winner and eight minutes of stoppage-time gave them hope.

But Carson ensured there was a sense of frustration rather than Christmas cheer by making another great save, this time keeping out Chaplin’s header from point-blank range.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Hunt 90+4), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Chaplin 68), Bennett (Naismith 68); Smith
Booked: Baker, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Carson; Donnelly, Bates, Harrison, Carroll; Featherstone; Hawkins, Oates (Deverdics 73), Laurent, Alessandra (Nsiala 90+5); Paynter (c) (Amond 90+6)
Booked: Donnelly, Bates, Featherstone
Subs not used: Bartlett, Pollock, Woods, Walker

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 17,081 (132 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Apr 302016
 
League 2
Hartlepool United 0 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Naismith and Chaplin on target for Blues

Goals from Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin saw Pompey secure victory against Hartlepool at Victoria Park.

But results elsewhere ensured their slim hopes of automatic promotion evaporated, with a spot in the play-offs against Plymouth now confirmed.

The game was a turgid affair before the break, but Naismith’s back-flick provided the spark needed to ignite the contest.

Both sides created plenty of chances after that, although it was Chaplin who came off the bench to wrap things up with a neat finish.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at AFC Wimbledon earlier in the week.

Paul Jones – who came off with a thigh injury against the Dons – made way for Brian Murphy between the sticks.

That meant there was no keeper on the bench, while Jack Whatmough made a welcome return to the squad after more than a year out following a knee injury.

The weather before kick-off was certainly unpredictable with hail and snow eventually making way for warm and sunny conditions.

Unfortunately, there was nothing to get particularly excited about once the football got underway.

It began promisingly enough, with Gary Roberts’ effort cannoning into Naismith and deflecting just wide.

But the game soon entered a lull, with the hosts – who had nothing but pride to play for – not showing too much ambition.

There was a free-kick from Nathan Thomas that clipped the top of the wall and flew behind for a corner.

The home fans started to grow frustrated, however, as there was nobody getting into the box to meet some dangerous crosses.

Roberts was doing his best to inject some urgency into proceedings, with a couple of incisive balls that were cleared by the Pools defence.

Pompey suddenly had a couple of decent openings just before the break, as Michael Smith met Christian Burgess’ cross and sent a header looping over the bar.

Roberts then put Gareth Evans away with a fine threaded pass, but he was denied twice in quick succession by former Blues loanee Trevor Carson.

Half Time: Hartlepool 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The second half initially failed to see an increase in entertainment, with both sides appearing to go through the motions.

A long-range effort from Luke James that rolled comfortably into Murphy’s arms was as close as either came to breaking the deadlock early on.

But the Blues did forge ahead as the game finally conjured up a moment of quality on 57 minutes.

Roberts played a fine pass across to Evans, whose low cross into the box was nonchalantly flicked home by NAISMITH in front of the delighted travelling support

It was almost the home fans celebrating moments later, though, as Billy Paynter burst through on goal and was brilliantly denied by Murphy.

There were suddenly chances galore and Roberts fired a shot into the side netting, while Carson stood his ground to make a save after Smith went one-on-one with the keeper.

Cook made his first chance on 64 minutes, as goal hero Naismith made way for Adam McGurk in the Blues’ attack.

It was a Hartlepool sub that almost scored soon after, though, as – just seconds after entering the pitch – Rhys Oates was denied by another super stop from Murphy.

The hosts were starting to look dangerous and Jones got the ball caught under his feet before his eventual shot was blocked.

A second switch followed on 73 minutes as Chaplin replaced Smith, with the latter given a rousing reception as the curtain came down on his loan spell.

But Hartlepool were still causing a threat and Oates should at least have found the target from close range when he met Thomas’ cross.

CHAPLIN wrapped up the victory on 85 minutes, however, when Enda Stevens cut the ball back for him to coolly steer into the bottom corner.

And there was more good news when Whatmough made his long-awaited return by replacing Christian Burgess for the final few minutes.

Hartlepool (4-1-4-1): Carson; Magnay, Bates (R.Jones 50), Jackson, D.Jones; Featherstone; James, Woods (Gray 76), Hawkins, Thomas; Paynter (c) (Oates 68)
Booked: D.Jones
Subs not used: Bartlett, Walker, Richards, Bingham

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Freeman, Burgess (Whatmough 89), Barton, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (McGurk 64); Smith (Chaplin 73)
Goals: Naismith 57, Chaplin 85
Booked: Freeman
Subs not used: Davies, Haunstrup, Close, Tollitt

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 5,046 (933 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 122015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Hartlepool United

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Half Time: Pompey 2 Hartlepool 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

Attendance: 15,610 (145 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 132015
 

The Blues winger has joined League Two rivals Hartlepool until January 3 after boss Paul Cook decided he needed regular first-team football.

It’s been a difficult start to life at Fratton Park for the former Accrington man, who picked up an injury in pre-season and has struggled to make an impact since then.

After making his debut in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Exeter, the 23-year-old has made six appearances in total but has started just two of those games.

He made a substitute appearance in last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Macclesfield but Cook maintains a loan deal away from Fratton does not spell the end of the road for any of his players.

He said: ‘It’s not a case of me not seeing them as part of the plans.

‘If I wanted someone to leave the club, they wouldn’t go out on loan. Every deal is a different deal.

‘We have some lads who are still finding their way in the game and eventually you have to find the level that you play at and what you are supposed to be.

‘Some lads can get caught in no-man’s land, they end up being here for three or four months and haven’t played enough games.

‘Players need to be playing games and I would prefer to move people out so I have smaller numbers to work with.’

Portsmouth FC