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
Mar 052016
 

Stevenage 0 v 2 Portsmouth

Marc McNulty and Kal Naismith were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways at Stevenage.

Gary Roberts teed-up McNulty to open the scoring midway through the first half and send the large travelling support wild with delight.

And Naismith then came off the bench to double their advantage and secure a maximum haul of points at the Lamex Stadium.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew at Exeter earlier in the week.

A fit-again Roberts was thrown straight into the starting line-up following a hamstring injury, while Gareth Evans also returned.

Conor Chaplin and Naismith both dropped to the bench, where they were joined by Michael Smith, who had recovered from a calf problem.

Pompey started the game with plenty of attacking impetus and Evans was inches away from meeting an excellent Ben Davies delivery after just three minutes.

Roberts was then unable to force the ball home after Stevenage stopper Jamie Jones had flapped at another cross from the marauding right-back.

And Roberts had another chance soon after, but his long-range effort was comfortably kept out by Jones.

The Blues were dominating the opening exchanges, but Boro came close to forging ahead on 19 minutes after winning a series of corners.

The last of them fell to Michael Tonge inside the box, with the midfielder hooking the ball over his head, but also over the crossbar.

Pompey were soon back down the other end of the pitch and period of extended pressure ended with Evans having an effort blocked.

But they did break the deadlock on 22 minutes after Roberts did well to steal possession in the middle of the pitch.

He slid a precise pass through to McNULTY, who latched onto the ball and confidently slotted home to take his individual tally into double figures.

The game lost some of its sparkle after that, becoming a scrappy affair that was punctuated by plenty of free-kicks.

Tom Conlon glanced a header narrowly wide for the hosts, while Lee Cox was unable to find the target from the edge of the box.

But the Blues ended the half on a high and Evans sent a low drive rolling inches past the post before Roberts headed wide from an Enda Stevens cross.

Half Time: Stevenage 0 Pompey 1

Pompey survived a scare early in the second half after Christian Burgess was penalised for a foul on Conlon just outside the box.

The Stevenage midfielder picked himself up to take the free-kick and saw his curling effort tipped over by Fulton.

That aside, however, it had been fairly uneventful since the restart, with little happening to excite a flat crowd.

Roberts brought the game back to life on 58 minutes, however, when he dispossessed Ronnie Henry and surged forward.

But the angles were against the midfielder and his first effort was pushed clear by Jones, while the second flew into the side netting.

Michael Doyle was then left in space 25 yards out and Jones had to push his speculative shot over the bar.

Pompey soon received a bit of good fortune at the other end of the pitch when Byron Harrison inadvertently got in the way of Tom Pett’s goal-bound effort.

Both sides were now looking capable of adding to the scoring and Luke Wilkinson had to hack clear a low Evans shot, with McNulty waiting to pounce at the far post.

Cook made a double switch on 71 minutes as McNulty and Roberts made way for Smith and Naismith.

Stevenage were trying to push men forward in search of an equaliser, but wasted a good opportunity when Harrison and Connor Ogilvie got in each other’s way.

And Pompey made them pay for their profligacy by doubling their advantage on 82 minutes.

Kyle Bennett did well to feed a pass through to NAISMITH, who raced onto it and slammed home to open his account for the club.

There were a few nervous groans from the away end when the fourth official signalled six minutes of stoppage-time.

But – as the heavens opened in Hertfordshire – the Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to claim all three points.

Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Jones; Henry (c), Wilkinson, Franks, Ogilvie; Cox (Kennedy 60), Conlon; Pett (Parrett 80), Tonge, Hedges (Marriott 72); Harrison
Booked: Wilkinson
Subs not used: Day, Wells, Johnson, Gorman

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (Naismith 71), Bennett (Freeman 85); McNulty (Smith 71)
Goals: McNulty 22, Naismith 82
Booked: McNulty
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Chaplin

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 4,092 (1,390 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 132015
 

Kal Naismith

Loan : Portsmouth – Hartlepool United



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