Feb 252017
 
League 2
Carlisle United 0 – 3 Portsmouth

 

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.

Half Time: Carlisle 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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)

Portsmouth FC
May 072016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Northampton Town

 

Freeman sent off as Blues lose to champions

Pompey will host Plymouth in the first leg of the play-offs on Thursday evening after losing 2-1 to Northampton.

The champions took the lead through Jack Whatmough’s unfortunate own-goal in the opening stages.

Kieron Freeman then received his marching orders for a late challenge, only for a Kal Naismith stunner to draw the hosts level.

A series of attacking substitutions were made as the Blues searched for a winner, but instead James Collins secured all three points for the Cobblers.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side that won at Hartlepool the previous week.

Whatmough was handed his first start for more than a year in the centre of defence, with fellow academy graduates Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close also featuring.

Ben Davies returned and skippered the side in place of Michael Doyle, while Adam McGurk came in up front.

Meanwhile, former Pompey players Ricky Holmes and John Marquis led the line for the visitors, who were afforded a guard of honour as they entered the pitch.

There were a plethora of awards handed out before kick-off, with Ben Davies picking up six from various supporters’ groups.

But it was Doyle who was named The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season – and the reaction from the fans indicated that it was deserved recognition.

Both sets of supporters then paid their respects to all the Blues fans who have sadly passed away over the past year with a minute’s applause.

Once the action got underway at a warm and sunny – and packed – Fratton Park, it was the visitors who looked more threatening.

Whatmough had to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses as a new-look Pompey side struggled for fluency.

But they were not too far away from opening the scoring on 12 minutes, with Adam McGurk flinging himself at Naismith’s cross and not quite making a clean connection.

Almost immediately, however, they found themselves behind as Whatmough inadvertently sliced Nicky Adams’ cross into his own net.

Pompey were not really playing with a recognised striker, as Gary Roberts occupied a ‘false number nine’ role, flanked by Naismith and McGurk.

They did start to create more as the half progressed, though, with McGurk curling a shot over and Naismith steering narrowly wide.

But Northampton still looked dangerous themselves and Marquis might have done better than firing wildly over after being picked out by Holmes.

Pompey should have been level on 33 minutes following a good move that started with a poor clearance from Cobblers keeper Adam Smith.

Roberts picked the ball up and it soon found its way, via Freeman, to Davies down the right flank.

The full-back sent in a low cross, but Smith redeemed himself by somehow denying Naismith from point-blank range.

Roberts then collected a lovely pass over the top from Close and spotted Smith off his line, although he could not quite chip the ball over the back-pedalling keeper.

Both sides picked up a booking before the break, with Davies and Lawson D’Ath penalised for fouls on Holmes and Haunstrup respectively.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Northampton 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey’s hopes of getting anything from the game were dealt a massive blow just after the restart when they were reduced to 10 men.

Freeman slid in to try to win the ball and although he did not really catch John-Joe O’Toole, referee Mark Brown decided it was dangerous.

He immediately brandished a red card to rule the on-loan Sheffield United utility man out of the play-offs.

But the hosts found themselves level just seconds later – thanks to a strike right out of the top drawer.

There did not look much on when NAISMITH advanced goalwards, but he hit a stunning, swerving 35-yard strike that arrowed into the net.

Cook was forced to make his first substitution on the hour mark, as Close limped off to be replaced by Adam May.

Haunstrup then had the ball in the back of the net, but Brown had already blown his whistle for a foul on Smith by McGurk.

Northampton soon enjoyed a period of pressure, with Marquis denied by Brian Murphy before Alfie Potter fired into the side netting.

Cook made an attacking switch on 69 minutes, as Conor Wilkinson replaced Whatmough for his debut.

That resulted in a defensive reshuffle which saw Gareth Evans drop to right-back and Davies move into the centre.

And Naismith was soon employed at left-back when Haunstrup made way for Ben Tollitt on 77 minutes.

Pompey now had an abundance of attack-minded players on the pitch, but the visitors soon made their numerical advantage count to retake the lead.

Cobblers skipper David Buchanan swung the ball into the box and Collins got a faint touch to turn it home.

Naismith tried to draw the Blues level with another attempt from long-range, but this time Smith dived across goal to make the save.

And Pompey were unable to find a late leveller as the visitors secured victory to cap a memorable campaign.

But plenty of fans still stayed behind to salute the Blues as they returned to the pitch after the final whistle for a lap of appreciation.

Pompey (4-3-3): Murphy; Davies (c), Whatmough (Wilkinson 69), Barton, Haunstrup (Tollitt 77); Freeman, Close (May 60), Evans; McGurk, Roberts, Naismith
Goals: Naismith 48
Sent off: Freeman
Booked: Davies, McGurk, Evans
Subs not used: Jones, Stevens, Doyle, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Lelan, Diamond, Prosser, Buchanan (c); D’Ath (Hoskins 80), O’Toole, Rose, Adams (Potter 62); Marquis (Collins 67), Holmes
Goals: Whatmough 13 (og), Collins 81
Booked: D’Ath
Subs not used: Clarke, Cresswell, Taylor, Byrom

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 18,746 (2,807 away fans)

Portsmouth FC