Mar 082016
 
League 2
Accrington Stanley 1 – 3 Portsmouth

Pompey roared back into the automatic promotion race with a convincing victory at high-flying Accrington.

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.

Half Time: Accrington 0 Pompey 3

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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)

Portsmouth FC
Jan 092016
 

Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Portsmouth

Pompey will take their place in the fourth round draw for the Emirates FA Cup following a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

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.

Half Time: Ipswich 0 Pompey 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
Booked: Skuse
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
Booked: Barton
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Evans

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,020 (2,494 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 082015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 3 – 0 Dagenham & Redbridge

 

The Paul Cook era at Pompey began in spectacular fashion as three second half goals secured a comfortable victory over Dagenham.

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.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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 FC