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
Jun 062016
 

IN
Matt Clarke

(19)
Ipswich Town

OUT
Adam Webster

(21)
Ipswich Town


Matt Clarke will join Pompey from Ipswich in a permanent deal on July 1, with Adam Webster moving in the opposite direction.

The 19-year-old centre-back has agreed a three-year deal with the Blues, who will also receive an undisclosed fee.

Clarke spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan at Fratton Park, scoring once in 33 appearances and is excited about returning.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It was a good season for me on a personal level, although we didn’t quite hit the heights we were aiming for.

“I’ve come on leaps and bounds – playing under-21 football just isn’t the same as turning out in front of massive crowds at Fratton Park.

“It was devastating for me to miss the play-off games with a niggly injury after working so hard throughout the campaign.

“But now I’m raring to get started again and am looking forward to what’s ahead at Pompey.

“This club might be in League Two, but everything’s set-up for us to be at a higher level and we want to make sure that happens.”

Webster scored five goals in 81 appearances after graduating from Pompey’s academy and represented England at under-19 level.

Portsmouth FC
May 202016
 

Adam Webster is poised for a switch to Ipswich Town.

And the deal will involve Matt Clarke and a transfer fee coming to Fratton Park in exchange.

Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy has moved to strengthen his defence with a swoop for the highly-regarded Webster.

The 21-year-old has just enjoyed his finest season yet at the Blues, finally establishing himself in his preferred position of centre back.

Now he is poised to move to the Championship, with Paul Cook tempted to do business having been offered Clarke and cash as part of the deal.

Central defender Clarke made 34 appearances and scored once during a season-long loan from Portman Road, on occasions partnering Webster.

The clubs are currently tying up the transfer as Cook seeks to bolster his squad in the early part of the close season.

Portsmouth FC
Jan 022016
 

Portsmouth 3 v 0 Crawley Town

Pompey got 2016 off to an excellent start with a convincing victory over Crawley at Fratton Park.

A couple of loanees ensured they had a two-goal advantage at the break, with Matt Clarke heading the opener before Marc McNulty doubled the advantage.

The Blues dominated for most of the afternoon and got a deserved third when Gary Roberts found the target following excellent work from fellow substitute Ben Tollitt.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew with Luton five days earlier.

Adam Webster returned from suspension to take his place in the centre of defence, with Adam Barton dropping to the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey keeper Pavel Srnicek, who sadly passed away before Christmas at the age of just 47.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Darryl Flahavan and Sonny Bradley both starting for the Reds.

The hosts made a bright start and Caolan Lavery could not quite guide Ben Davies’ cross on target with a diving header.

Enda Stevens then delivered a dangerous low centre from the left that Bradley was forced to clear behind.

And the Blues broke the deadlock from the resulting corner, with CLARKE rising highest in the box to guide home Davies’ cross on 13 minutes.

McNulty tried to double the advantage moments later, but sent an angled effort whizzing past the post.

Pompey were totally on top and Kyle Bennett saw his strike blocked after meeting Lavery’s cut-back, while Danny Hollands blazed the loose ball over.

Clarke then met another corner from Davies, although this time his radar was off and the ball flew wide.

Lavery thought he should have been awarded a penalty midway through the first half after tangling with Lewis Young, but referee Dean Whitestone was not quite so convinced.

Stevens was providing a real threat down the left and twice saw low crosses somehow evade his team-mates.

But it proved to be third time lucky on 26 minutes when the left-back picked out McNULTY, who took a touch before sliding the ball past Flahavan.

Crawley were struggling to keep the Blues at bay and it took brave blocks from Young and Bradley to keep out goal-bound efforts from McNulty and Bennett respectively.

The visitors finally carved out an opening on 39 minutes, but after beating Clarke, Roarie Deacon hit his shot straight at Brian Murphy.

Bennett then made a vital challenge to dispossess Luke Rooney on the edge of the box, while Simon Walton hit a long-range free-kick safely into Murphy’s arms.

But most of the action was still happening at the other end of the pitch and Flahavan did well to keep out a strike from Bennett that took a heavy deflection off Jon Ashton.

Then, in stoppage-time, an unmarked Gareth Evans somehow failed to connect with Davies’ cross from just a few yards out.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Crawley 0

Pompey picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Stevens drilled a low shot narrowly wide.

Bennett was next to go close, cutting inside and sending a fierce effort fizzing inches over from the edge of the box.

But the visitors came close to reducing the deficit just past the hour mark, when Davies conceded a free-kick that Gwion Edwards curled against the crossbar.

Crawley were then thankful to Young, who prevented them from falling further behind when he cleared Lavery’s bullet header off the line.

Cook made a double substitution on 67 minutes, with McNulty and Evans making way for Roberts and Tollitt.

Lavery then had a chance to extend the hosts’ advantage when he met a cross from Tollitt, only to send his header sneaking past the far post.

Pompey were not having much to deal with at the other end, although Matt Harrold should at least have found the target when he collected Young’s pass.

And the hosts wrapped up a comfortable victory on 83 minutes after their two substitutes combined to devastating effect.

Tollitt picked the ball up from a Crawley corner and surged almost the full length of the pitch before teeing-up ROBERTS for a cool finish.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Tollitt 67), McNulty (Roberts 67), Bennett; Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Clarke 13, McNulty 26, Roberts 83
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Atangana, McGurk

Crawley (4-1-4-1): Flahavan; Young, Yorwerth (Ashton 23), Bradley (c), Hancox; Walton; Deacon, Rooney (Tomlin 77), Smith (Emmanuel 46), Edwards; Harrold
Booked: Walton
Subs not used: Preston, Bawling, Jenkins, Fenelon

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,606 (567 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 032015
 

Pompey have signed Matt Clarke on loan from Championship side Ipswich until January.

The 18-year-old centre-back has already featured three times for the Blues in pre-season and scored in the 2-0 triumph at Woking.

He will wear the number 20 shirt during his time on the south coast.

Clarke said: “I’m delighted to be here. I’ve already played a few games, so it’s great to have all the paperwork signed.

“I’ve enjoyed the matches that I’ve been involved in so far and have done alright, so now I want to improve from there.

“I spent a lot of time on the bench last season and just got a few minutes here and there, so I wanted to go out and hopefully get some more regular football.”

Clarke is a graduate of Ipswich’s academy and has made five senior appearances for the Tractor Boys.

He made his senior debut at Crawley in a Capital One Cup clash last August.

Portsmouth FC
Jul 242015
 

Woking 0 – 2 Portsmouth

Pompey secured a third successive pre-season victory with a 2-0 triumph at Woking.

Both goals arrived in the first half – and both were scored by triallists.

Gareth Evans opened the scoring with a well-taken strike, while Matt Clarke headed home a second minutes later.

There was a new face in the visitors’ side, with triallist Brian Murphy featuring between the sticks following Michael Poke’s loan switch to Eastleigh.

Gary Roberts was handed a start after recovering from a knee injury and had a couple of early chances.

First he curled a free-kick narrowly past the post after Evans had been felled and then scuffed another shot wide.

Conor Chaplin went even closer to breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes when he smashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar.

The conditions were not ideal, with heavy rain causing both sets of players to slide on the wet surface.

But it was Pompey who dealt with them better and the visitors forged ahead on 28 minutes.

Kal Naismith found EVANS with an incisive pass and the winger smashed an unstoppable shot past the grasp of Cards keeper Nick Hamann and into the net.

He almost added another moments later, only for Hamann to get down and save, with the ball hacked behind.

But the Blues did double their advantage from the resulting corner, as CLARKE rose to head home an Evans corner.

Pompey continued to dominate as the half drew to a conclusion, but Chaplin blazed wildly over to deny them a third.

Half Time: Woking 0 Pompey 2

Cook made one change at the interval, with Ben Davies replacing fellow triallist Frank van der Struijk at right-back.

The hosts had offered little going forward before the break, but substitute John Goddard threatened after the restart.

Twice he caught the ball sweetly and sent it goalwards and twice he was denied by the well-placed Murphy.

And Murphy made an even better stop to deny the midfielder on 55 minutes, getting down low to his left to palm clear an angled effort.

But the Blues then almost strengthened their advantage, with Evans charging in at the far post to meet Roberts’ pass and seeing his fierce drive just about kept out by substitute stopper Jake Cole.

It was still Woking who were creating more opportunities, although Murphy was not overly troubled by Giuseppe Sole’s strike on 79 minutes.

Pompey finished the game on the front foot, however, with Evans and Enda Stevens both failing to find the target following bright attacking moves.

But they were unable to add to the lead and Woking almost grabbed a late consolation as Scott Rendell’s effort was deflected onto the post.

Woking (3-4-1-2): Hamann (Cole 46); Yakubu, Ricketts (c) (Beckles 75), Saah; Caprice (Kouassi 59), Jones, Poku (Murtagh 46), Arthur; Smith (Goddard 46); Rendell, Banya (Sole 59)

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; van der Struijk (Davies 46), Burgess (Webster 82), Clarke, Stevens; Atangana, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Naismith (Close 73); Chaplin (Haunstrup 82)
Goals: Evans 28, Clarke 32
Subs not used: Jones, Robinson, Hollands

Referee: Charlie Breakspear

Attendance: 1,562

Portsmouth FC