Feb 112017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 0 Accrington Stanley

 

Clarke and Naismith secure victory

Matt Clarke and Kal Naismith were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways by beating Accrington at Fratton Park.

The centre-back headed home in just the second minute to ensure the Blues got their promotion challenge back on track.

But the hosts probably should have wrapped things up earlier, with some missed chances ensuring the finale was more stressful than it ought to have been.

Substitute Kal Naismith finally settled those nerves in stoppage-time following a quick break up the pitch.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that were narrowly beaten at Wycombe the previous week, meaning the Eoin Doyle made his Fratton bow.

The hosts came charging out of the blocks and Marek Rodak made a fantastic save to deny Gary Roberts after the midfielder had been slipped through by Enda Stevens.

But the Blues did break the deadlock from the resulting corner, with Roberts collecting the ball back from Eoin Doyle and whipping in a cross that CLARKE headed home to open his account for the season.

Accrington had an interesting way of trying to find an equaliser with a shot straight from the restart, but the ambitious effort flew well wide.

It was Pompey doing most of the attacking, however, and Kyle Bennett fired narrowly past the post after being afforded space to run through the centre.

The hosts were winning plenty of corners, as Stanley struggled to get the ball to safety and threaten at the other end of the pitch.

And Clarke had another chance to find the net on 20 minutes, but this time headed over from a Roberts free-kick.

The lively Jamal Lowe was next to try his luck following some neat footwork inside the area, but his deflected strike was grabbed by Rodak at the second attempt.

Stanley then finally carved open a decent opportunity of their own, only for Sean McConville to waste it by curling wide when well-placed to trouble David Forde.

It was Pompey who finished the half on a high, however, and Clarke improvised with a scooped shot that was not far off target.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Accrington 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The Blues did not sit back at the start of the second half and Gareth Evans’ excellent cross was flicked on by a defender, with the ball hitting Bennett and drifting wide.

And the winger then tricked his way past a couple of challenges, but his shot could not find a way through a sea of red shirts.

Rodak slipped as he tried to make a clearance on 54 minutes, with Amine Linganzi’s threaded pass for Roberts intercepted.

Stanley were trying their best to make inroads at the other end, but Sean Clare was off target, while Clarke blocked Billy Kee’s effort.

It was still the Blues looking most likely to add to the scoring, however, with Clarke somehow failing to convert another Roberts corner from close range.

Cook made a double switch on 66 minutes, with Bennett and Roberts withdrawn for Carl Baker and Naismith.

Accrington then came close to levelling moments later when Janoi Donacien’s header led to a scramble on the goal-line before the ball was eventually hacked to safety by Evans.

There were certainly a few more nerves as the clock ticked down and Pompey clung onto their slender advantage.

Evans made a couple of key clearances as Stanley, unsurprisingly, started to show more of an attacking threat.

The tiring Lowe was replaced by Noel Hunt for the closing stages, receiving a warm reception as he made his way off the pitch.

And Clarke had yet another chance to wrap things up late on, only to see his header saved by Rodak’s feet after meeting Baker’s corner.

But NAISMITH did secure the three points following a quick stoppage-time counter-attack, with Hunt releasing the winger, who surged up the pitch and coolly slotted home.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Hunt 85), Roberts (Naismith 66), Bennett (Baker 66); E.Doyle
Goals: Clarke 2, Naismith 90+2
Booked: E.Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Rose, Chaplin

Accrington (4-1-2-1-2): Rodak; Rodgers (McCartan 60), Beckles, Hughes, Donacien; Conneely (c); Clare (Clark 60), McConville; Husin (Boco 86); Kee, Edwards
Booked: Conneely, Donacien
Subs not used: Chapman, Sykes, Davies, Shaw

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 15,955 (48 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Jan 052017
 
League 2
Doncaster Rovers 3 – 1 Portsmouth

 

Blues lose at league leaders

Pompey missed out on the chance to close in on the automatic promotion places with a 3-1 defeat at Doncaster.

Former Fratton loanee John Marquis gave the hosts an early lead, only for Kal Naismith to level late in the first half.

But the Blues failed to build on that after the break, with Tommy Rowe rocketing Rovers back ahead before Marquis wrapped things up.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that beat Luton at Fratton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

That meant an attacking midfield trio of Carl Baker, Naismith and Kyle Bennett were deployed behind lone frontman Michael Smith.

Pompey started poorly against the league leaders and looked particularly susceptible on the counter-attack.

And it came as no surprise when Doncaster broke the deadlock after just five minutes, with James Coppinger’s delivery flicked on by Matty Blair for Marquis to head home.

Rovers immediately set about trying to build on their lead and David Forde denied Conor Grant before another dangerous Coppinger cross had to be hooked clear by Michael Doyle.

But the Blues almost levelled with their first decent chance soon after, as keeper Marko Marosi only just managed to keep out Matt Clarke’s header from a Baker corner.

The visitors grew stronger as the half progressed, but Doncaster still looked threatening on the break and one ended with Niall Mason firing into the side netting.

Marquis was then inches away from extending their advantage, meeting Craig Alcock’s cross, but seeing his header hit the woodwork.

A couple of Naismith corners caused problems at the other end of the pitch, while Marosi did well to gobble up Enda Stevens’ low cross before Smith could pounce.

Pompey were starting to pile on some pressure, however, and they deservedly found themselves back on level terms just before the break.

Former Rovers winger Bennett – who was roundly booed by the home support throughout – intercepted the ball and threaded a neat pass to NAISMITH, who coolly slid the ball past Marosi.

Half Time: Doncaster 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Both sides had looked capable of adding more goals before the interval, but the second half took longer to provide any inspiration.

An Evans shot from long-range that forced Marosi down to his left was as close as either side came in the opening stages.

But Doncaster suddenly brought the game back to life by restoring their advantage on 58 minutes.

It was a fine effort from Rowe, who collected a pass from Coppinger and beat Evans before rifling a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

Cook soon responded by making his first substitution, with Milan Lalkovic given an opportunity to impress in place of Baker.

And Bennett then made way for Gary Roberts, as Pompey tried to add fresh attacking impetus into their side.

But it was Rovers who looked the more dangerous going forward and they extended their lead on 71 minutes.

It was Marquis who found the target once again after a cross from Rowe was deflected kindly into his path.

Cook made one final throw of the dice soon after, with Naismith making way so Conor Chaplin could partner Smith up front.

It was Lalkovic who almost reduced the deficit, however, meeting Evans’ excellent cross with a close-range header that Marosi dived across goal to keep out.

But the keeper almost cost his side moments later when he failed to hold a cross under pressure from Smith.

The loose ball fell to Chaplin, who did not have long to react, and his effort was hacked clear by a well-placed Alcock.

An injury to Marosi – which saw the keeper stretchered off – meant there were seven minutes of injury-time.

But that failed to provide the inspiration for an unlikely comeback as Doncaster saw out the final moments to increase their title hopes.

Doncaster (4-3-2-1): Marosi (Etheridge 86); Alcock, Baudry, Butler, Mason; Blair (Williams 55), Houghton, Grant; Coppinger (c) (Middleton 67), Rowe; Marquis
Goals: Marquis 5, 71, Rowe 58
Booked: Alcock
Subs not used: Wright, Keegan, Beestin, May

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker (Lalkovic 62), Naismith (Chaplin 75), Bennett (Roberts 67); Smith
Goals: Naismith 41
Booked: Burgess, Evans, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Linganzi, Hunt

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 5,568 (669 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 262016
 
League 2
Newport County 2 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Blues win dramatic Boxing Day clash

Pompey ensured there was plenty of festive cheer in a Christmas cracker of a contest at Newport.

It looked like the Blues would be as miserable as Scrooge before a visit from the spirits as the hosts roared into a two-goal advantage.

Danny Rose then provided a spark of hope, only for it to be snuffed out again when Kal Naismith missed from the spot.

But Enda Stevens drew the Blues level with his first goal for the club before Naismith grabbed a late winner.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew with Hartlepool before Christmas.

Naismith and Noel Hunt were brought in for Kyle Bennett and Gary Roberts, as Pompey switched to a 4-4-2 system.

A more direct approach was adopted to cope with the poor surface and physicality of the opposition.

But it was the Welsh hosts who settled quickest and David Forde had to deal with a couple of dangerous balls into the box.

The Blues created most of the half’s clear-cut chances, however, and Michael Smith should have found the target from close range following good work from Naismith and Stevens.

Joe Day then had to come tearing from his box to beat Hunt to an under-hit back-pass and sweep the ball to safety.

But the County keeper lost the same race moments later, with the striker not quite able to guide his looping header on target.

Instead it was Newport who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when Josh Sheehan curled a fine free-kick over the wall and past Forde’s desperate dive.

There was almost an immediate equaliser, but after Day failed to hold Naismith’s long-range effort, Rose’s follow-up was hacked from the line by Jennison Myrie-Williams.

Scot Bennett then attempted to clear a low cross from Stevens and only just avoided sending the ball into his own net.

And it was Christian Burgess who was next to go close on 38 minutes when a Naismith free-kick was not properly cleared.

The centre-back did well to turn amidst a host of amber-shirted bodies, but his shot fizzed narrowly past the post.

Stevens then almost opened his Blues account just before the break with a deflected strike that Bennett just about stopped from sneaking inside the post.

Half Time: Newport 1 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was another opportunity for Smith early in the second half when Michael Doyle sent a ball into the box from deep, but the striker was unable to make a clean connection.

Newport were proving more clinical, though, and Rhys Healey doubled their advantage from close range after Forde could only parry a curling effort from Sheehan.

But the Blues soon hit back to reduce the deficit, with Gareth Evans getting free down the right and cutting the ball back for ROSE to slot home.

It was the visitors, unsurprisingly, looking the more threatening side by this point and Day was fortunate to parry Evans’ shot to safety, with Smith and Hunt both waiting to pounce.

But they were given an excellent opportunity to level just past the hour mark when Jazzi Barnum-Bobb pushed Naismith in the box and referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot.

It was Naismith who stepped up to take the penalty, only to blast the ball over the bar and turn the party in the away end sour.

The Scottish winger tried to make amends with an ambitious effort from long-range, but there was not quite enough dip on his shot.

Cook threw on an extra striker on 74 minutes as Pompey chased an equaliser, with Carl Baker making way for Conor Chaplin.

It was Naismith who was next to threaten, though, surging half the length of the pitch before drawing a save from Day.

But there was an unlikely provider of Pompey’s equaliser on 80 minutes, as STEVENS latched onto Rose’s pass and lashed home a neat finish.

And Evans was fuming that they did not have the chance to score again soon after, with Breakspear deciding that the right-back had not been pushed in the box.

The winning goal did arrive late on – even if there was a bit of confusion about who scored it.

NAISMITH whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right and it was unclear whether anyone else got a touch as the ball flew into the net.

Not that it mattered to the horde of travelling fans, who celebrated wildly – as did the players and those on the bench.

Newport (3-5-1-1): Day; Meite (Green 90), Jones, Bennett (c); Barnum-Bobb, Tozer (Randall 90), Owen-Evans (Jackson 85), Rigg, Myrie-Williams; Sheehan; Healey
Goals: Sheehan 25, Healey 51
Booked: Healey, Tozer, Barnum-Bobb
Subs not used: Bittner, Bignot, O’Hanlon, Butler

Pompey (4-4-2): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker (Chaplin 74), Rose, Doyle (c), Naismith; Hunt (Linganzi 89), Smith
Goals: Rose 56, Stevens 80, Naismith 87
Booked: Burgess, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Buxton, Whatmough, Lalkovic, Bennett

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 3,714 (729 Pompey 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
Nov 222016
 
League 2
Luton Town 1 – 3 Portsmouth

 

Portsmouth fight back aginst Hatters

Pompey stretched their unbeaten away run to five matches by coming from behind to beat Luton at Kenilworth Road.

It looked like being a tough night for the Blues when Danny Hylton gave the visitors an early lead and then had another effort disallowed.

But Michael Smith soon evened things up with his second goal in as many games and Gareth Evans turned the match on its head just before the break.

The Hatters did not put apply too much pressure in the second half, but there was still a sense of relief when Kal Naismith came off the bench to wrap things up.

Paul Cook made one enforched change from the side that drew with Cheltenham at the weekend.

Conor Chaplin was suspended after collecting his fifth booking at Whaddon Road, so was replaced by Smith up front.

Pompey almost found themselves ahead after just four minutes, with Christian Walton superbly saving Matt Clarke’s header before Alan Sheehan hacked the ball clear.

But instead it was the hosts who took an early lead when Evans was lying on the turf with an injury.

Sheehan took advantage of the space that created on the Luton left, whipping in a cross that Hylton expertly guided into the top corner.

Hylton had the ball in the net again just seconds later, but this time his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

And it was the opposition fans feeling jubilant on 11 minutes after seeing their side grab an equaliser.

SMITH fed the ball to Carl Baker and when he was tackled, the striker guided the ball in off the post from the edge of the box.

It was a breathless, end-to-end encounter, with both sides showcasing fine attacking flair and also some sloppy play.

A couple of Luton free-kicks caused a few nerves among the travelling supporters, but one was saved by David Forde and the other headed clear by Christian Burgess.

Gary Roberts then missed an excellent opportunity at the other end by heading Baker’s cross straight at Walton.

Olly Lee went close for the Hatters on 32 minutes, volleying narrowly past the post after being picked out on the edge of the box by Sheehan’s corner.

Both sides seemed keen to get forward whenever possible and a crisp effort from Michael Doyle flew into the side netting.

Roberts came close to firing the Blues ahead before the break, drawing a fine stop from Walton after his initial effort had been blocked.

And when the midfielder won a free-kick it finally did lead to Pompey taking the lead in stoppage-time.

His short pass to Baker led to a 20-yard drive that deflected off the Luton wall and flew behind for a corner.

Roberts stepped up to take the corner and when the visitors failed to deal with his dangerous cross, the ball landed at the feet of EVANS to hook home.

Half Time: Luton 1 Pompey 2

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey started the second half as they had ended the first – on the attack.

Bennett found space to shoot on the edge of the box, but scuffed his effort wide, while Roberts could not quite bring down a clever chipped pass from Doyle.

The Blues were enjoying plenty of possession and the home support started to grow frustrated as the chances dried up.

They won a free-kick when Danny Rose was booked for illegally stopping a counter-attack, only for Pompey to immediately break up the field and threaten themselves.

And the visitors were agonisingly close to extending their advantage with a third goal just past the hour mark.

It was good work down the right from Smith to chip the ball into the centre, where Burgess rose highest to head against the crossbar.

There was then more frustration a few moments later when Baker swung in a free-kick that Evans glanced inches past the post.

Pompey were soaking up any Hatters pressure at the other and when Sheehan got a shot away on 70 minutes, Forde was there to make a comfortable save.

Cook made his first switch soon after, with Roberts departing to a rousing reception from the travelling fans as he made way for Naismith.

And Luton almost snatched a leveller on 82 minutes when Forde punched clear a corner and Sheehan’s follow-up had to be cleared from the line by Clarke.

But there was a big sigh of relief moments later when the Blues scored again to secure all three points.

It was a fine solo effort from NAISMITH, with the substitute bundling his way into space before steering a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

And Pompey saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to send the travelling army of almost 1,000 fans back home with smiles on their faces.

Luton (4-1-2-1-2): Walton; Justin (Mackail-Smith 85), Rea, Mullins, Sheehan (c); Lee; Gilliead (Cook 58), Mpanzu; McGeehan; Hylton, Vassell (Marriott 79)
Goals: Hylton 7
Booked: Sheehan, Lee
Subs not used: King, O’Donnell, Cuthbert, Smith

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Naismith 74), Bennett (Whatmough 88); Smith (Hunt 90+1)
Goals: Smith 11, Evans 45+2, Naismith 84
Booked: Evans, Rose, Stevens, Hunt
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lalkovic

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 8,805 (975 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 082016
 

EFL Trophy


 

Portsmouth    1

 


 

Bristol Rovers    0

 


Naismith scores late cup winner

Pompey’s hopes of progressing in the Checkatrade Trophy remain alive thanks to a late winner against Bristol Rovers.

Kal Naismith’s long-range strike settled the group stage encounter after Michael Smith had seen his early penalty saved.

The Blues must now hope that Reading under-21s beat Yeovil on Wednesday night to bring the fight for second place down to either goal difference or goals scored.

But the game attracted a crowd of just 1,200 – the lowest attendance at Fratton Park for a competitive post-war fixture.

Paul Cook rung the changes from the side that exited the FA Cup against Wycombe at the weekend.

Adam Buxton, Milan Lalkovic and Ben Close were the only players to keep their place, with the latter handed the captain’s armband.

Those coming into the line-up included a fit-again Drew Talbot and Amine Linganzi, whose suspension does not include games in this competition.

Rovers technically stuck to the rules by only making six changes, although they did replace keeper Kelle Roos with Will Puddy after just 142 seconds.

And the first meaningful piece of action for the new man between the sticks was to give away a penalty.

Smith took advantage of a heavy touch to steal possession and Puddy brought him down, with referee James Adcock pointing straight to the spot.

It was Smith who stepped up to take the penalty and it was certainly not the worst attempt, but the keeper guessed the right way and saved low to his right.

The visitors soon had a chance to make Pompey pay for their profligacy, but Luke James’ shot was deflected wide.

Rory Gaffney then missed an excellent opportunity to break the deadlock after being picked out by Daniel Leadbitter.

He was in space and just a couple of yards out, but headed the ball into the turf and watched as it bounced narrowly over the crossbar.

And James went close for Rovers with an opportunistic long-range strike that bounced back off the woodwork.

But the match settled down after all that early action, with neither keeper given too much to do for the rest of the half.

Liam O’Brien made a regulation stop to deny Jermaine Easter, while Naismith curled a free-kick wide in stoppage-time.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


The second half began at the same pedestrian pace, but the Blues should have forged ahead on 55 minutes.

Naismith’s free-kick found Linganzi in the box, but the midfielder – like Gaffney before the break – directed his header into the ground and it bounced over.

And Naismith sent in another decent delivery moments later following a foul on Buxton, only for the ball to fly just out of reach for Jack Whatmough.

There was a chance at the other end when Adcock waved play on following a foul on James by Tom Davies.

Leadbitter went charging through on goal, but before he could get a shot away, Whatmough made a superb tackle inside the box to clear the danger.

The game soon turned back into a somewhat turgid encounter, however, and Cook made a double switch on 73 minutes to try to liven things up.

Buxton and Close were the two to make way, with Danny Rose and Gareth Evans coming on to replace them.

The third and final substitution arrived soon after, with Kyle Bennett swapped for Noel Hunt, as Smith was given a partner up front.

And he might have grabbed an immediate goal, only to get tangled up with Rose as the duo both tried to get on the end of Smith’s low cross.

Once again it was a Naismith free-kick that saw Pompey go close on 87 minutes, as Puddy went too far to the right and almost got caught out.

But NAISMITH did grab the winner just seconds later, courtesy of an ambitious 35-yard drive with enough swerve to deceive the keeper.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): O’Brien; Talbot, Whatmough, T.Davies, Buxton (Rose 73); Linganzi, Close (c) (Evans 73); Naismith, Lalkovic, Bennett (Hunt 77); Smith
Goals: Naismith 88
Booked: Bennett, T.Davies
Subs not used: Hall, Hyam, Clarke, Chaplin

Bristol Rovers (4-1-2-1-2): Roos (Puddy 3); Leadbitter, McChrystal (c), Hartley, Roberts; Boateng; Mansell, Colkett; Easter (Clarke 78); James, Gaffney (Harrison 80)
Booked: Mansell, McChrystal
Subs not used: Lockyer, Montano, Lines, Moore

Referee: James Adcock

Attendance: 1,200 (65 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Aug 092016
 
EFL Cup 1
Coventry City 3 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Extra time defeat for Blues

Pompey produced a brave performance, but were beaten after extra-time to exit the EFL Cup at Coventry.

They were certainly not over-awed against their League One opponents and took the lead courtesy of a Curtis Main penalty.

But the hosts were much better after the break and goals from Ryan Haynes and Vladimir Gadzhev looked to have secured safe passage into the second round.

Kal Naismith levelled late on with a free-kick to ensure another 30 minutes, however, before Andy Rose finally won it for Coventry.

Paul Cook changed the entire side that started Saturday’s draw with Carlisle in the league.

He handed debuts to summer signings Adam Buxton, Tom Davies, Amine Linganzi and Main, while there was also a first appearance for teenage keeper Alex Bass.

Adam Barton was handed the captain’s armband against his former club, while Naismith featured in an unfamiliar left-back role.

But there was no sign of nerves from the visitors against their higher-ranked hosts in a half that was low on clear-cut chances.

Bass was able to steady any nerves by holding onto a couple of ambitious Coventry efforts from long-range.

Ben Tollitt scuffed a shot wide at the other end, while a Kyle Bennett cross was headed clear after the midfielder had done well to beat his man down the right.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on 19 minutes – and it was down to more good work from Bennett.

He tricked his way into the box and after being brought down by Marcus Tudgay, referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot.

It was MAIN who stepped up to take the penalty and he confidently hammered it home, giving Reice Charles-Cook no chance.

But the keeper prevented the same player from having a chance to double the lead moments later, racing from his line to get to the ball first.

And it was Main who came close again on 22 minutes, forcing a decent stop from Charles-Cook after being teed-up by Bennett.

The hosts’ best chance of the first half arrived soon after, with Bass adjusting well to keep out Tudgay’s close-range header.

But Pompey were still proving to be an attacking threat themselves and Gareth Evans fizzed a shot narrowly over following good work from Tollitt and Adam May.

Half Time: Coventry 0 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Coventry looked sharper after the restart, but were still finding it difficult to breach the Blues back-line and test Bass.

Ben Stevenson decided it would be better to try his luck from long-range on 54 minutes and saw the ball fly wide.

Ruben Lameiras had a better chance moments later, firing over the bar following an almighty scramble in the box.

And the hosts finally made the pressure count by levelling the tie on the hour mark.

Davies could only head Lameiras’ cross as far as Haynes, who drilled a precise low shot past the grasp of Bass and into the bottom corner.

Pompey had looked ragged since the break, so Cook freshened things up by replacing Evans with Conor Chaplin on 64 minutes.

He immediately made an impact by getting free down the right, but his cut-back fell in between Bennett and Tollitt and the chance disappeared.

It was still Coventry looking more dangerous, however, and Lameiras skipped past Naismith, but could not beat Bass from an acute angle.

Kyel Reid then sent in a dangerous cross from the right that was inches too high for Jodi Jones, who was only able to head over.

And the hosts did go ahead on 82 minutes when Gadzhev collected Lameiras’ threaded pass and confidently tucked the ball home.

The lead did not last long, though, as NAISMITH was fouled by Stevenson just outside the box and picked himself up to curl a stunning free-kick into the top corner.

There might have even been a late winner before the full-time whistle when Chaplin and Noel Hunt exchanged passes, but the latter dragged his shot wide.

The duo combined again in stoppage-time and this time it was Chaplin who was off target with a looping header.

After 90 Minutes: Coventry 2 Pompey 2

Extra-time took a while to get going, but both sides had opportunities to score in the first period.

Bass made a couple of key saves, stopping Jones from sliding one in at the near post and also keeping out a drive from Lameiras.

Pompey’s best chance came when Tollitt released Hunt down the right and the striker squared for Bennett, who could not take it round Charles-Cook with just the keeper to beat.

But Coventry scored just moments into the second period, with Rose pouncing to tuck home the loose ball after Bass had pushed clear Haynes’ attempt.

They almost added another, only for Bass to produce a stunning stop to deny Lameiras from point-blank range.

And Pompey were unable to find a late moment of inspiration to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out.

Coventry (3-4-3): Charles-Cook; Willis (Finch 76), Ricketts (c), Harries; Rose, Gadzhev, Stevenson, Haynes; Thomas (Jones 46), Tudgay (Reid 68), Lameiras
Goals: Haynes 60, Gadzhev 82, Rose 106
Booked: Gadzhev, Stevenson, Lameiras
Subs not used: Burge, Page, Kelly-Evans, Thomas

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Buxton (Talbot 77), T.Davies, Barton (c), Naismith; May, Linganzi; Tollitt, Bennett, Evans (Chaplin 64); Main (Hunt 84)
Goals: Main 19 (pen), Naismith 85
Booked: Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Doyle, Baker

Referee: Andrew Madley

Attendance: 4,976 (722 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
May 292016
 

No it’s not mine, but this site has now been online, in its current form, for one year!

2015 2016


A few changes to format in that time, mainly in the logo and the menus.

Also on that very first day I announced the arrival of Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith to Portsmouth. One of those was more successful than the other.

Home
May 172016
 

After the disappointment of the play off defeat Paul Cook has started to trim the squad for next season.

Brian Murphy, Chad Field and Snorre Nilsen have been released following the expiration of their contracts.

Adam McGurk, Kal Naismith and Matt Tubbs have been transfer listed. Options taken up on Tollitt, May and Close. Talks continue with Hollands and Davies.

Good to see Tollitt kept, the only real surprise in Naismith who was just starting to show some promise.

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