|Janet Fielding195367||Julia Sawahla196852||Michelle Williams198040||Nigel Atangana198931|
Portsmouth Football Club can announce that Kyle Bennett has left the club by mutual consent
The 27-year-old winger netted 13 goals in 117 appearances after signing from Doncaster in the summer of 2015.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “We have a number of wide players available in our squad and Kyle wasn’t getting the game-time that he wanted.
“But we wish him all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for everything that he’s done for Portsmouth Football Club.”
Bennett scored six times last season as Pompey secured the League Two title, finding the target in the 6-1 rout of Cheltenham on the final day.
Pompey thrashed Cheltenham 6-1 to secure the League Two title on a memorable afternoon on the south coast.
They became only the fifth team to win all four divisions after both Plymouth and Doncaster failed to secure three points.
Daniel O’Shaughnessy’s own-goal opened the scoring at Fratton Park, but the lead was a slender one at the break.
It all changed in the second half, however, as Kyle Bennett, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans found the target – the latter from the penalty spot – while Kal Naismith bagged a brace.
Fans then flooded onto the pitch at full-time to begin a party that will likely last for quite a while.
Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Mansfield the previous week, meaning that it was Conor Chaplin who again led the line.
But it was a Robins player who inadvertently gave the hosts a welcome lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.
Enda Stevens – who collected The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season award before kick-off – delivered a low cross that O’Shaughnessy deflected into his own net.
Chaplin had a chance to double the advantage soon after, but his fierce drive was kept out by Scott Brown.
Cheltenham were not creating too much at the other end, although David Forde got down to his left to keep out Harry Pell’s effort.
The Blues were looking more threatening, meanwhile, and when a free-kick was played to Carl Baker, his curling shot was deflected inches past the post by the knee of Danny Wright.
The visitors grew stronger as the first half progressed and Forde made a comfortable save to deny Billy Waters.
Then, after the keeper did well to keep out Dan Holman’s strike, Danny Rowe curled the ball narrowly wide.
Bennett had a shot saved by Brown, while a stretching Chaplin could not quite reach Naismith’s centre.
But Cheltenham almost grabbed a leveller just before the interval, Dan Holman finding Rowe and the midfielder firing in a shot that was deflected narrowly over.
Cheltenham Town 0
There was also a great chance for the visitors moments after the restart, but Danny Wright could only head Kyle Storer’s cross wide from close range.
Holman then had a shot that was racing towards the net before Forde dived to his right to push the ball clear.
But the Blues almost had a second when Danny Rose unleashed a fierce volley that cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar.
Cook made a double switch just past the hour mark, with Baker and Chaplin making way for Lowe and Gary Roberts.
And Pompey soon doubled their advantage, as BENNETT fired in a shot that took a wicked deflection to leave Brown stranded.
That was the cue for the floodgates to open and, following a quick counter, Bennett slipped the ball through for NAISMITH to calmly slip home.
It was substitute LOWE who was next to get in on the act on 72 minutes when he found the bottom corner from a tight angle.
And when Roberts was tripped in the box by Liam Davis, referee Christopher Sarginson pointed to the spot, with EVANS stepping up to slam home the resulting penalty.
The fans were celebrating in the stands with news coming through that both Doncaster and Plymouth were being held.
Pompey had certainly done their job, although Cheltenham pulled a goal back through substitute James Dayton.
That failed to stop the hosts’ attacking charge, however, and Bennett’s strike was superbly saved by Brown.
NAISMITH did grab a sixth goal on 85 minutes, with Michael Doyle sending a ball over the top and Pompey’s top scorer calmly slotting into the net.
All the attention now was to what was happening at Grimsby and Hartlepool, with plenty of fingernails being chewed.
Fans ran onto the pitch in celebration at the final whistle, with news filtering through that Plymouth could only draw.
And when Doncaster’s match at Hartlepool finished in defeat, it was confirmed that Pompey were League Two champions.
We’re on our way.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose (Aborah 71), M.Doyle; Baker (Lowe 61), Naismith, Bennett; Chaplin (Roberts 61)
Goals: O’Shaughnessy 13 (og), Bennett 62, Naismith 66, 85, Lowe 72, Evans 75 (pen)
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Linganzi , Lowe, Roberts, Kabamba
Cheltenham (4-4-2): Brown; Cranston (Barthram 66), O’Shaughnessy, Boyle, Davies; Pell (Dayton 54), Storer (c), Rowe, Waters; Wright, Holman (Munns 71)
Goals: Dayton 78
Subs not used: Kitscha, Winchester, Downes, Wootton
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 17,956 (545 away fans)
Pompey got their promotion charge back on track as they returned to winning ways against struggling Newport.
Kyle Bennett opened the scoring late in the first half before Kal Naismith headed in a second after the interval.
It appeared that the Blues were cruising towards three points, but Alex Samuel netted for the visitors to ensure a nervy finale.
Paul Cook – in his 100th match in charge – made two changes from the side beaten at Stevenage the previous week.
Bennett and Naismith had both recovered from injury to take their place in the starting 11, with Noel Hunt dropping to the bench and Christian Burgess serving a one-match ban.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off in tribute to those affected by the recent attack in London.
Pompey soon started to dominate once the action got underway, but struggled to create too many clear-cut chances.
The best ones fell to Eoin Doyle, but twice he just failed to get on the end of teasing deliveries from Naismith.
And the on-loan Irishman was then unable to beat County keeper Joe Day from an acute angle after being slipped through by Carl Baker.
But the striker was forced off midway through the first half after picking up an injury and replaced by Conor Chaplin.
There had not been much for David Forde to worry about and when former Blues striker Ryan Bird cut the ball across the face of goal, Tom Davies and Michael Doyle combined to scramble it clear.
But it was still Pompey causing the most problems, even if Day was not exactly being over-worked between the sticks.
Bennett and Matt Clarke both had shots charged down, while a number of corners were comfortably dealt with.
The Blues did break the deadlock just before the break, however, and it was a goal that was extremely easy on the eye.
Baker intercepted the ball from Bird and slipped a superb pass through the Newport defence for BENNETT, who neatly slotted home.
Newport County 0
After seeing off some Newport pressure early in the second half, the hosts went in search of another goal.
Chaplin was never really going to trouble Day with an audacious attempt from wide on the left, while Baker’s effort rose over the crossbar.
Naismith then hit a cleanly-struck free-kick straight into the keeper’s arms, as the Blues started to take control.
They almost doubled their advantage on 58 minutes, but Chaplin – who wanted the pass played earlier – could not quite convert Gareth Evans’ low cross.
But Pompey did strengthen their lead just seconds later, as Bennett found Chaplin, who neatly chipped the ball up for an unmarked NAISMITH to head into the net.
Their attacking intent did not end there, though, and Naismith saw a corner deflected into the side netting, while his second attempt was just too high for Clarke at the far post.
It was not quite one-way traffic and Naismith eventually hacked the ball clear after a County corner caused some problems.
Bennett received hearty applause from the Fratton faithful when he made way for Jamal Lowe on 71 minutes.
But it was the visiting support almost cheering when Marlon Jackson sent the ball curling towards goal, only for Forde to make a fine save.
Newport did reduce their deficit moments later, though, with Samuel rising to convert Sean Rigg’s cross from the right.
And they come close to equalising on 78 minutes as the hosts started to get sloppy, with Forde coming off his line to deny Jackson.
County’s confidence had risen and Jack Whatmough replaced Naismith as Pompey tried to shore things up.
The nerves were starting to grow inside Fratton Park and Evans did well to take the ball off the foot of Samuel as he shaped to shoot.
But the Blues saw out the closing stages with relative ease to seal a valuable victory in the battle for promotion.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Bennett (Lowe 71), Naismith (Whatmough 83); E.Doyle (Chaplin 25)
Goals: Bennett 42, Naismith 59
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Hunt
Newport (4-2-3-1): Day; Pipe, Jones (Randall 71), Demetriou, Butler; Labadie (c), Bennett; Samuel, Rigg, Owen-Evans (Myrie-Williams 46); Bird (Jackson 46)
Goals: Samuel 75
Booked: Rigg, Labadie, Myrie-Williams
Subs not used: Bittner, Barnum-Bobb, Nelson, Gordon
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 17,364 (322 away fans)
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.
Grimsby Town 0
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)
Pompey ran riot at Colchester to strengthen their position inside League Two’s top three.
It was a display of attacking supremacy from the Blues, who arguably deserved to win by more than the four-goal margin.
Eoin Doyle got the ball rolling during a first half that saw the visitors grow stronger as it progressed.
And they moved comfortably through the gears after the interval, as Kyle Bennett, Danny Rose and Michael Doyle all got in on the act.
Paul Cook stuck with the same side that comfortably beat Crawley earlier in the week.
But it was the hosts who made the brighter start and Brennan Dickenson did well down to the left, only to let himself down with the ball into the box.
Pompey soon began to settle and threaten going forward themselves, though, with some neat attacking play.
Eoin Doyle could not quite get on the end of an excellent Carl Baker cross, while a snap-shot from Kal Naismith was safely held by Colchester keeper Sam Walker.
Then when a cross was only partially dealt with by the United defence, Enda Stevens followed up with a volley that Walker was able to collect.
But the Blues did break the deadlock on 22 minutes, with Naismith sending the ball back into the box after his corner had been blocked and Eoin DOYLE heading home from close range.
He was not too far away from adding another soon after, but could not quite get on the end of Bennett’s near-post delivery.
And the on-loan Irishman then capitalised on some hesitancy by George Elokobi to deal with Stevens’ floated pass, only to send his shot over the bar.
Meanwhile, there was little to trouble the visitors at the other end of the pitch, as they comfortably held on to their lead at the break.
Colchester United 0
Colchester replaced Sammie Szmodics with Tarique Fosu at the interval in an attempt to improve their fortunes.
But instead Pompey found themselves further ahead just seconds after the restart – much to the delight of their large travelling army.
And it was BENNETT who doubled his tally for the week when, following good work down the right, Naismith selflessly squared for the winger to tuck home.
United came close to reducing their deficit moments later, but a stretching Chris Porter could not quite reach Dickenson’s cross.
But the Blues were still looking to get forward themselves and when Colchester switched off from a throw, Bennett picked the ball up and neatly side-stepped his man before blazing the shot wide.
Stevens then collected Naismith’s shot free-kick and beat a defender, only to see his arrowed drive deflected just past the post.
United were looking all at sea and it came as no surprise when Pompey extended their advantage further just past the hour mark.
Eoin Doyle did well to slide the ball through to ROSE, who saw his first shot blocked by Walker before neatly dinking home at the second attempt.
The keeper was almost caught out by Naismith moments later, but quickly back-pedalled to claw the ball clear.
Colchester had not created much at the other end and when they finally did get forward, it led to Pompey’s fourth goal.
The visitors broke quickly up the pitch from a corner, with Michael DOYLE surging forward to tuck away his first of the season after Naismith’s initial effort had been saved.
That was Naismith’s last bit of action, as he was immediately replaced by Noel Hunt, with Gary Roberts and Conor Chaplin joining him on the pitch soon after.
And there were no nerves in the closing stages as Pompey comfortably saw the game out to complete an enjoyable afternoon in Essex.
Colchester (4-2-3-1): Walker; Wright (Vincent-Young 66), James, Elokobi, Briggs; Garvan (Bonne 68), Lapslie; Murray, Szmodics (Fosu 46), Dickenson; Porter (c)
Subs not used: Barnes, Wynter, Kinsella, Pyke
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith (Hunt 74), Bennett (Roberts 77); E.Doyle (Chaplin 84)
Goals: E.Doyle 22, Bennett 46, Rose 61, M.Doyle 73
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Linganzi, Lowe
Referee: Darren England
Attendance: 6,504 (2,244 Pompey fans)
Pompey stormed into the top three with a comfortable victory at Crawley.
After a solid – if unspectacular – first half from the visitors, they took control following the interval.
Christian Burgess headed them into the lead almost immediately after Eoin Doyle had seen his penalty saved.
And Kyle Bennett made sure that the Blues would climb above Luton and Carlisle with a deflected second.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side beaten at home by Crewe at the weekend.
Danny Rose replaced the injured Amine Linganzi in midfield, while Gary Roberts dropped to the bench to make way for Carl Baker.
It was a fairly comfortable first half for the visitors, who controlled proceedings without creating too many clear-cut chances.
There was plenty of probing from Pompey who sent some dangerous balls into the box that Crawley had to deal with.
And they had the first shot on target on 22 minutes, although Danny Rose’s drilled shot forced no more than a regulation save from Glenn Morris.
A dangerous delivery from the left by the lively Bennett was then just out of reach for Baker at the far post.
David Forde was having a quiet evening at the other end of the pitch, although the Blues back-line did have to mop up a couple of Crawley breaks.
Rose then tested Morris once more on 32 minutes, but again the shot did not overly trouble Morris between the sticks.
The best chance arrived soon after, when Baker released Eoin Doyle and Morris had to spread himself to deny the on-loan striker.
Crawley enjoyed their best period just before the break, with Rhys Murphy bending a shot narrowly wide before Enzio Boldewijn’s stoppage-time header was held by Forde.
Crawley Town 0
The hosts were first to threaten after the restart, with James Collins electing to shoot from a tight angle and unable to keep the ball on target.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes – although they certainly could have done it in an easier manner.
Enda Stevens did well to break into the box and draw a late tackle from Red Devils right-back Josh Lelan.
Referee Kevin Johnson pointed to the spot and Eoin Doyle stepped up to take it, but Pompey’s penalty woes continued as Morris guessed the right way to make the save.
The ball was hacked behind, but Kal Naismith swung the corner into the box and BURGESS headed home from close range.
Naismith fancied another, though, and after being unable to catch Morris out from long-range, he surged half the length of the pitch before seeing a shot blocked.
But he was forced back on 64 minutes, filling the left-back role when Stevens limped off injured to be replaced by Noel Hunt.
That did not mean Naismith had to stop providing an attacking threat, however, and one cross from the left was held up by Hunt before Eoin Doyle’s fierce drive was blocked.
Pompey were not content to sit on their slim advantage and their attacking impetus was rewarded on 71 minutes.
Hunt sent the ball through Lelan’s legs, with BENNETT picking it up and launching a shot that was deflected past Morris’ grasp.
Crawley responded with a double substitution and one of the newcomers almost reduced the deficit, with Forde doing well to deny Billy Clifford with his legs.
They had to be more adventurous and Collins rose to meet a corner from the left, with the ball flashing inches wide of the post.
But the fact that Red Devils keeper Morris was awarded the home side’s man-of-the-match award was telling.
And the 2,300 travelling fans were in celebratory mood as the Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to secure a valuable victory.
Crawley (4-2-3-1): Morris; Lelan, Connolly, McNerney, Young; Smith (c), Payne (Henderson 72); Boldewijn (Bawling 76), Murphy, Cox (Clifford 72); Collins
Subs not used: Mersin, Blackman, Djalo
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens (Hunt 64); Rose, M.Doyle (c); Baker, Naismith, Bennett (T.Davies 90); E.Doyle
Goals: Burgess 54, Bennett 71
Booked: Hunt, E.Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Aborah, Lowe, Roberts, Chaplin
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Attendance: 5,350 (2,300 Pompey fans)
A couple of impressive Pompey goals were not enough to secure back-to-back away victories, as Plymouth hit a late leveller at Home Park.
The game did not need to be hyped up by any manufactured ‘derby’ label, with both sides contributing to an engrossing contest.
Yann Songo’o gave the hosts a lead, only for Kyle Bennett to haul the visitors level with a fierce strike before the interval.
Danny Rose then came off the bench to net a stunning late strike that only just crossed the line, but there was still time for fellow substitute Connor Smith to ensure a share of the spoils.
Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side that won at Leyton Orient the previous week.
That came at the back, where Matt Clarke’s dead leg saw Tom Davies handed a recall alongside Christian Burgess.
There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Sonny Bradley and Jake Jervis both starting against their former club.
After a cagey opening, Pompey started to find their feet and look dangerous whenever they broke into the Plymouth half.
A neat passing move between Bennett, Gary Roberts and Carl Baker ended with the latter forcing a save from Luke McCormick at the keeper’s near post.
Conor Chaplin then did well to weave his way into the box and when McCormick failed to claim the ball, Songo’o had to dive on top of it.
But for all their attacking swagger, the Blues were looking extremely frail when defending set-pieces.
A David Fox corner found its way to the feet of Jimmy Spencer at the far post, with Gareth Evans well-placed to make a block.
But the hosts did forge ahead on 20 minutes when Songo’o rose highest to plant Graham Carey’s deep free-kick past David Forde’s grasp and into the net.
Then, when another Carey effort was deflected behind, it took a goal-line clearance from Baker to deny Jordan Slew.
Chaplin thought he had won Pompey a chance to equalise moments later after tumbling over Gary Miller’s trailing leg.
Referee Darren Handley had other ideas, however, instead issuing the striker a yellow card for diving.
There seemed to be another good shout for a spot-kick when Chaplin was shoved by Nauris Bulvitis as he tried to reach Enda Stevens’ cross, but this time there were no appeals.
But Pompey were finally rewarded for their attacking intent with an equaliser five minutes before the break.
Chaplin was the provider, skinning Bulvitis to break into the box and laying the ball off for the impressive BENNETT to fire home.
There was still time for a scare at the other end, though, with Stevens forced to clear Carey’s cross behind following a mix-up between Evans and Davies.
Plymouth Argyle 1
Bennett continued to look lively after the restart, narrowly failing to find Baker in the box and then not quite able to get the vital touch when the favour was returned.
But Miller then received the ball in acres of space at the other end, only to see his shot deflected safely into Forde’s arms.
Pompey were looking the more dangerous side, however, and Chaplin dragged his effort inches wide of the post after again breezing past Bulvitis.
More neat passing led to a corner just before the hour mark and after exchanging short passes with Michael Doyle, Roberts’ cross was headed straight at McCormick by Bennett.
It was Roberts who was next to try his luck with a fierce long-range effort that was well saved down to the keeper’s left.
But Plymouth were inches away from retaking the lead on 67 minutes, when Carey struck a superb effort that cannoned back off the crossbar.
The visitors soon made their first substitution, with Rose replacing Amine Linganzi in the centre of midfield.
And the other two soon followed, as Chaplin and Bennett made way for Curtis Main and Milan Lalkovic.
Both of the latter two had the chance to score from the save move on 79 minutes, but Main couldn’t get a clean strike on Evans’ cross.
Lalkovic then completely missed the loose ball and Miller breathed a sigh of relief when his clearance flew inches past his own post.
A Blues goal did arrive on 87 minutes – although it looked like the chance had gone when McCormick made a stunning save to deny Main from close range.
The ball came out to ROSE and he hit a superb 30-yard volley that bounced down off the underside of the crossbar.
Pompey’s players desperately appealed that the ball had crossed the line and the linesman flagged in agreement.
But that was not enough to secure all three points, as just a couple of minutes later, the ball was cut back for Smith to calmly slot home.
Plymouth (4-2-3-1): McCormick (c); Miller, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington; Songo’o, Fox; Jervis (Smith 60), Carey, Slew (Donaldson 81); Spencer (Tanner 84)
Goals: Songo’o 20, Smith 89
Booked: Songo’o, Purrington, Slew
Subs not used: Dorel, Bentley, Ijaha, Goodwillie
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens; Linganzi (Rose 69), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Lalkovic 74); Chaplin (Main 72)
Goals: Bennett 40, Rose 87
Booked: Chaplin, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Naismith, Smith
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 13,508 (1,592 Pompey fans)
Pompey fought from behind to beat Dagenham and charge right back into the automatic promotion race.
It looked like being a miserable afternoon in the capital when Ashley Hemmings’ goal ensured the hosts would go in ahead at the break.
But the mood improved in the second half, with Michael Doyle volleying in the equaliser before Christian Burgess headed the Blues into the lead.
Gareth Evans then came off the bench to add his name to the scoresheet late on, with Kyle Bennett capping off a memorable 45 minutes of football.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat both Notts County and Carlisle at Fratton Park.
And there was plenty of anticipation among the 1,659 away fans who had made the journey up from the south coast.
But there was not much to excite them in a drab opening to the contest, with neither side looking particularly threatening.
The visitors had a couple of half chances and Daggers keeper Mark Cousins was forced to race from his line to stop Gary Roberts racing onto Adam McGurk’s hooked pass.
Bennett was then neatly released by Enda Stevens down the left, bursting into the box and seeing a shot blocked.
Their best opening arrived on 23 minutes, however, when the hosts failed to deal with a Ben Davies free-kick.
Bennett picked the ball up and floated a cross to the far post, where it was headed clear by Oliver Muldoon, only for Danny Hollands to send a 25-yard volley flying narrowly over the bar.
But that only seemed to spark Dagenham into life and finally create some chances of their own.
Paul Jones did well to deny Matty Cash from point-blank range after the ball had flown through a sea of bodies.
But he could not prevent League Two’s basement side from breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes.
Justin Hoyte’s free-kick was headed on by Christian Doidge for Hemmings, whose acrobatic over-head effort looped over the keeper and into the net.
Dagenham should really have doubled the advantage moments later, but an unmarked Hoyte headed Josh Passley’s cross over.
Pompey were struggling to find any fluency in their forward play, although Michael Smith did hammer a shot narrowly wide just before the break.
Dagenham & Redbridge 1
The visitors had an early chance to draw level when former Blues loanee Passley was penalised for a handball.
Roberts sent a decent delivery into the box, but Matt Clarke could only head it over as he arrived at the far post.
Pompey were unsurprisingly now playing with a lot more urgency and one quick break ended in Davies’ cross having to be cleared behind by Clevid Dikamona.
And the travelling support finally had something to cheer as their side drew level with a fine goal just before the hour mark.
Roberts collected a long ball down the left from Stevens and pinged in a cross that DOYLE met with a fine low volley from just inside the box.
Pompey were not done there, however, and soon heaped more pressure on their shell-shocked opponents.
Bennett was next to threaten after being fed by Smith, but his effort caught a deflection and bobbled wide.
There was an almighty scramble from the resulting corner that ended with Davies sending in a fierce cross that nobody could connect with.
But Dagenham soon caused some concern at the other end, with Stevens forced to hack clear a corner from the line and Oliver Muldoon’s follow-up then held by Jones.
The mood of the Blues support soon switched from concern to joy, however, as the visitors took the lead on 68 minutes.
Davies was fouled wide on the right and Bennett’s free-kick was met by BURGESS, who glanced home a fine header.
Cook made his first switch with 10 minutes remaining, as Evans added some fresh legs to the attack by replacing McGurk.
And it was EVANS who secured the victory when he stole in to head home Bennett’s free-kick from close range.
But there was still time for the result to become even more emphatic as BENNETT deservedly got a goal of his own, jinking into the box before slamming a shot past Cousins.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-1-4-1): Cousins; Hoyte, Hyam, Dikamona, Widdowson; Muldoon (Cureton 69); Passley (Hawkins 75), Labadie (c), Cash (Boucaud 75), Hemmings; Doidge
Goals: Hemmings 34
Booked: Passley, Doidge, Hoyte
Subs not used: Moore, Pennell, Chambers, McClure
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Evans 80), Roberts (McNulty 89), Bennett (Naismith 89); Smith
Goals: Doyle 59, Burgess 68, Evans 85, Bennett 88
Booked: Doyle, Smith, Clarke
Subs not used: Murphy, Webster, Close, Chaplin
Referee: Lee Collins
Attendance: 3,122 (1,659 Pompey fans)
Kyle Bennett struck either side of the interval, with a couple of goals that were extremely easy on the eye.
Christian Burgess then opened his account for the club before Marc McNulty came off the bench to add an extra gloss to the scoreline.
Paul Cook made four changes from the side that drew at Mansfield the previous week.
Paul Jones was recalled from his Crawley loan to replace Ryan Fulton – who had been called up to the Scotland under-21 side – between the sticks.
There were also starts for Gary Roberts, Adam McGurk and Matt Clarke, with McNulty, Kal Naismith and Adam Webster dropping to the bench.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of former Pompey left-back Jack Mansell – who passed away last week – and the victims of the attacks in Brussels.
When the game got underway, the hosts made a bright start to match the fine conditions on the south coast.
And Michael Bull earned the ire of the Fratton faithful for not awarding their side a penalty after just a three minutes.
It looked a clear foul from Haydn Hollis on Ben Davies as the right-back charged into the box, but the referee was not convinced.
However, the first half was ultimately a scrappy affair, with plenty of fouls interrupting the flow of the game.
Stanley Aborah collected the first booking for a late challenge on Michael Smith, not that it stopped the midfielder from getting involved in a few more dubious challenges.
There were not too many shots to trouble either of the goalkeepers, with Curtis Thompson seeing his dangerous run eventually halted before McGurk sent a header over the bar.
It was Roberts who had the first decent chance from the edge of the box on 34 minutes, but his effort flew comfortably into the arms of Scott Loach.
Pompey did break the deadlock just before the break, however, thanks to an impressive solo goal from BENNETT.
The winger collected Enda Stevens’ pass down the left and beat Elliott Hewitt with ease before cutting inside and firing past Loach.
Notts County 0
The hosts probably should have doubled their advantage just after the restart, but McGurk somehow failed to connect with Davies’ free-kick from wide on the right.
But their second goal did arrive on 49 minutes – and it was a joy to behold.
Roberts displayed a moment of class to send BENNETT clear through and he calmly slotted the ball past Loach and into the net.
And Roberts then tried to add an audacious third with a cute lob from wide on the right that drifted narrowly over.
But the visitors were almost gifted a way back into the game on the hour mark when Jones dropped Curtis Thompson’s cross, only to pounce on the ball before Jon Stead could poke it home.
Pompey were soon back on the attack, though, and it took a brave block from former England international Alan Smith to deny his namesake Michael.
Cook made his first switch on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Naismith out wide.
With a comfortable lead, it was a more patient display from the hosts, but they still looked the more dangerous side.
And the home fans did have a third goal to cheer on 81 minutes when BURGESS converted Enda Stevens’ cross from close range to open his Blues account.
That was the cue to bring on Conor Chaplin and McNulty for the impressive duo of Smith and Roberts.
And it was McNULTY who wrapped up a memorable victory in stoppage-time when he headed Davies’ free-kick into the top corner.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Naismith 67), Roberts (McNulty 84), Bennett; Smith (Chaplin 84)
Goals: Bennett 44, 49, Burgess 81, McNulty 90+1
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, Close, Evans
Notts County (3-5-2): Loach; Boyce (Atkinson 58), Smith (Campbell 75), Hollis; Hewitt, Thompson, Aborah (Burke 58), Noble, Milsom; McLeod, Stead (c)
Booked: Aborah, Milsom, Thompson, Smith, McLeod
Subs not used: Pilkington, Sharpe, Edwards, Murray
Referee: Michael Bull
Attendance: 16,670 (485 away fans)
It was a scintillating first half performance – and one particular moment of brilliance – that did the damage.
Kyle Bennett ensured that the Blues made the most of their early dominance by firing them ahead and Matty Pearson’s unfortunate own-goal added to the travelling supporters’ glee.
But they were even happier when a stunning strike from Michael Doyle secured the three points before the interval.
Shay McCartan did grab a late consolation for the hosts, but that failed to dampen the mood of those making the long trip home to the south coast.
Paul Cook made one change from the side that won at Stevenage at the weekend.
It was a straight swap up front, with Michael Smith coming in to lead the line and Marc McNulty dropping to the bench.
Pompey totally dominated the first half, with Gary Roberts pulling the strings for the visitors in midfield.
He even tried a cheeky attempt from just inside the opposition half after just four minutes, although the shot did not overly trouble Jason Mooney in the Stanley goal.
Roberts went closer moments later, though, meeting Ben Davies’ cross with a near-post header that flew into the keeper’s arms.
And he was involved when the Blues did deservedly break the deadlock midway through the first half.
Roberts linked up well down the left with Gareth Evans and when the latter’s low cross was only partially cleared, BENNETT drilled home a low shot off the inside of the post.
Accrington were not causing too many problems at the other end, although Ryan Fulton did make a regulation save to deny Billy Kee.
The visitors were soon back on the attack, however, and Doyle rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot after shaking off a clumsy challenge from Matt Crooks.
Pompey deserved to forge further ahead, but the second goal on 36 minutes did arrive in fortunate fashion.
Danny Hollands picked out Davies with a fine cross-field pass and the right-back’s low delivery was inadvertently turned into his own net by PEARSON.
Piero Mingoia prevented things from getting even worse for the hosts when he just about got to Smith’s cross before Bennett could reach it.
But there was nothing that anybody could do to keep out Pompey’s third goal just before the break.
It was a goal of the season contender from DOYLE, who lashed in an unstoppable 25-yard volley after a free-kick was not properly dealt with.
The Blues skipper was mobbed by his team-mates, while even the beleaguered home support applauded a moment of magic.
Accrington Stanley 0
Accrington replaced skipper Seamus Conneely with Scott Brown in an attempt to get back into the game.
It was still the visitors causing more problems, though, and Pearson had to turn a dangerous Bennett cross behind before it could reach the lurking Smith.
But the Stanley centre-back then almost grabbed his second own-goal of the evening while trying to deal with Davies’ cross, with Mooney just about managing to divert the ball over.
The hosts were looking more of a threat since the restart and there were half-chances for both McCartan and Kee.
Pompey were also proving dangerous going forward, however, and Smith turned Enda Stevens’ low cross narrowly wide on the hour mark.
Cook made his first switch on 73 minutes, with the hard-working Smith making way for McNulty up front.
He then replaced one former Accrington player with another, as Kal Naismith came on for the impressive Roberts.
And Naismith immediately looked to add to the Blues’ lead when he burst forward down the right, but was unable to bend his shot past Mooney.
Pompey looked to be coasting to the final whistle, but Stanley did reduce the deficit when McCartan spun inside the area and slammed the ball home.
That raised a few nerves, but Doyle almost calmed them when Mooney’s clearance landed at his feet and the midfielder’s effort from the halfway line was only just scrambled away by the keeper.
But the Blues had already done enough to secure all three points and leapfrog their opponents into fourth spot.
Accrington (4-2-3-1): Mooney; Wakefield, Davies, Pearson, Halliday; Crooks, Conneely (c) (Brown 46); Mingoia (Boco 67), McCartan, McConville (Shaw 67); Kee
Goals: McCartan 83
Subs not used: Hughes, Procter, Carver, Steenson
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (Naismith 78), Bennett (Freeman 83); Smith (McNulty 73)
Goals: Bennett 22, Pearson 36 (og), Doyle 43
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Chaplin
Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 1,841 (584 Pompey fans)
FA Cup 3
They were totally on top against their Championship opponents in the opening 45 minutes and carved open a number of chances.
But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through Tommy Oar early in the second half.
The Blues hit back, though, and Kyle Bennett levelled before substitute Conor Chaplin’s strike looked to have secured a cup upset.
But there was still time for Ryan Fraser to grab a late leveller and ensure that the sides will have to do it all again at Fratton Park.
Paul Cook made four changes from the side that beat Crawley in the league the previous week.
Gary Roberts was handed his first start for more than two months and wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Michael Doyle.
Matt Clarke was unable to feature against his parent club, so Adam Barton was once again used as a makeshift defender.
There were also starts for Adam McGurk and Ben Close, with Caolan Lavery ineligible and Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.
Former Pompey striker Luke Varney started for the hosts, while Roberts and Brian Murphy were both featuring against their former club.
The visitors might play their league football two divisions below the Tractor Boys, but they were certainly not over-award.
It was the Blues who dominated from the start and it took a vital block from Paul Digby to deny Marc McNulty in the opening stages.
McGurk then climbed above his marker to reach Roberts’ cross at the far post, only to see his header deflected wide.
Ipswich were struggling to see much of the ball and their supporters grew increasingly frustrated as the first half progressed.
Roberts should have done better when he connected with Enda Stevens’ cross on 20 minutes, but could only guide the ball over the bar.
The large travelling support were enjoying themselves, chanting ‘ole’ with every completed pass.
One such period of play ended with Barton sending McNulty clear, but Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly down to his right to palm clear the striker’s low drive.
The keeper was called into action again moments later, this time doing well to keep out a Bennett snap-shot from the edge of the box.
Ipswich finally threatened with a counter-attacking move just before the break, but Barton kept his composure to cut out Oar’s through ball.
Ipswich Town 0
The hosts, unsurprisingly, looked sharper at the start of the second half – no doubt following a few harsh words from Mick McCarthy.
And they forged ahead on 53 minutes when Ben Davies was unable to keep out Oar’s effort on the line after Murphy had done well to keep out an initial shot from Brett Pitman.
If the home support thought that would trigger a landslide, though, they were to be disappointed.
Not even two minutes had passed when Pompey deservedly drew level, as Roberts and McNulty combined to tee-up BENNETT for a cool finish into the bottom corner.
And they almost forged ahead on 65 minutes, with Bialkowski only just keeping out McNulty’s fierce strike at the near post.
The game was certainly an open affair by now, as both sides sought to avoid a replay by finding a second goal.
Cook made his first change on 74 minutes, withdrawing Close and handing Adam May just a third senior appearance.
And a second switch soon followed as the tiring Roberts made way for Chaplin in Pompey’s forward line.
The Blues were then forced into making a final change on 81 minutes when Danny Hollands picked up a knock and was replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.
Ipswich came close to grabbing a late winner moments later, with Fraser only able to find the side netting from a tight angle.
But it was the Blues who were celebrating on 86 minutes when CHAPLIN collected the ball 20 yards out and steered a precise shot right into the bottom corner.
There was still time for the hosts to hit back, though, as Fraser swung a free-kick straight into the net from wide on the left.
Five minutes of stoppage-time meant that both sides still had the chance to increase the scoring, but an exciting game was not able to deliver one last twist.
Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (c), Malarczyk, Digby (Smith 63), Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Fraser 58), Skuse, Hyam, Oar; Pitman, Varney (Sears 74)
Goals: Oar 53, Fraser 88
Subs not used: Gerken, Bru, Tabb, Kenlock
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Webster, Stevens; Close (May 74), Hollands (Haunstrup 81); Roberts (c) (Chaplin 78), McNulty, Bennett; McGurk
Goals: Bennett 55, Chaplin 86
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Evans
Referee: David Coote
Attendance: 17,020 (2,494 Pompey fans)
A packed crowd saw the Blues dominate the first half without managing to open the scoring.
But that all changed after the interval when Gareth Evans headed home the opener to get the Fratton party started.
And Kyle Bennett then took over with a couple of fine strikes to ensure the home fans left the ground in buoyant mood.
Cook handed debuts to nine players, with Nigel Atanagana and Matt Tubbs the only starters to have ended last season at Fratton Park.
There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, however, with former Pompey loanees Josh Passley and Nyron Nosworthy in the Dagenham side.
Before kick-off both sets of supporters heartily took part in a minute’s applause in memory of PST chairman Ken Malley, who sadly passed away earlier in the summer.
When the game got underway in glorious sunshine it was the hosts who immediately looked the more threatening.
A lovely chipped pass from Gary Roberts had to be cleared behind by Matt Richards, while Christian Burgess headed wide from the resulting corner.
Nosworthy then did well to intercept Tubbs’ centre following a quick break up the pitch by Bennett.
Another incisive pass from Bennett was just out of reach for Tubbs on 11 minutes, while Roberts saw his effort deflected behind moments later.
Pompey were doing all the pressing and Bennett was next to go close after being fed by skipper Michael Doyle, but saw his shot curl narrowly over.
And it took a superb save from Mark Cousins to keep the scores level on 19 minutes, with the Daggers keeper flinging out a hand to stop Tubbs’ fierce drive flying into the bottom corner.
The game started to quieten down after that frantic opening and there was a bizarre moment midway through the half when referee Carl Boyeson allowed the players a break for drinks.
Pompey started to move through the gears again afterwards and a Roberts free-kick was headed clear before Nosworthy was forced to turn a dangerous low Bennett cross behind for a corner.
The visitors finally had an opening on 36 minutes when the ball bounced around the Blues box before being hacked to safety by Atangana.
But the action was soon back up the other end of the pitch and Evans dragged a shot inches past the post.
Dagenham & Redbridge 0
Both sides had long-range sighters at the start of the second half, with first Bennett and then Jodi Jones narrowly missing the target.
But the Blues did break the deadlock on 51 minutes when Bennett’s corner found EVANS at the far post and he headed back into the opposite corner.
Dagenham came close to hitting back immediately, with Ashley Hemmings’ drive deflected into the side netting by Ben Davies.
At the other end, Burgess was proving an aerial threat from set-pieces and twice he headed behind after meeting corners from Bennett and Roberts.
But it was BENNETT who doubled the advantage on 62 minutes, collecting Enda Stevens’ throw, cutting inside from the left and smashing an emphatic finish off the underside of the bar.
Pompey were forced into a change on 68 minutes when the impressive Atangana limped off and was replaced by Danny Hollands.
Tubbs almost added a third goal seconds later when he met Roberts’ cross with a looping header that was clawed away by Cousins.
Instead it was BENNETT who strengthened the lead on 74 minutes with another stunning strike from 25 yards after collecting the ball from Roberts.
That was the winger’s last involvement, however, as he soon made way for Jayden Stockley in the Blues attack, receiving a standing ovation as he left the pitch.
Pompey kept pushing forward in search of more goals, with Roberts and Burgess both coming close in the final few minutes.
But the Blues – and their supporters – seemed more than satisfied with their three-goal haul when the final whistle blew.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Atangana (Hollands 68), Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Stockley 76); Tubbs (Chaplin 84)
Goals: Evans 51, Bennett 62, 74
Subs not used: Jones, Webster, Haunstrup, McGurk
Dag & Red (4-4-2): Cousins; Passley, Partridge, Nosworthy, Widdowson; Jones, Boucaud (c), Richards, Hemmings; McClure (Ferdinand 46), Cureton
Subs not used: O’Brien, Connors, Hamalainen, Chambers, Doidge
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Attendance: 16,948 (279 away fans)
|Portsmouth have confirmed the signing of midfielder Kyle Bennett on a two-year deal.
The 24-year-old, who was released by Doncaster Rovers after his contract came to an end, is Paul Cook's first signing as Pompey manager.
Bennett began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2008 before moving to Bury in 2010 and Doncaster a year later.