Feb 282017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 1 Morecambe

 

Naismith strike not enough for victory

Pompey missed a chance to climb into the automatic promotion places after conceding a late equaliser against Morecambe.

It was the hosts showing all the ambition, although their dominance was receiving no reward as the Shrimps held firm.

But Kal Naismith came off the bench to break the deadlock after the interval and the points looked to have been secured.

Lee Molyneux spoiled the party, however, with a leveller to stop the Blues overhauling defeated Carlisle.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that beat their promotion rivals at the weekend.

And they immediately set about trying to attack their opponents, who were prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure.

The Blues were passing the ball around with style and were only let down by some wayward finishing.

But Morecambe were also indebted to their goalkeeper Barry Roche, who tipped over a Carl Baker shot before using his feet to deny Gary Roberts.

Roberts was dictating play in the middle of the park and played an exquisite pass through to Eoin Doyle, only for Alex Whitmore to come across and make a fine challenge.

There was not too much action at the other end of the pitch, although Christian Burgess headed off the line before referee Stephen Martin finally spotted his assistant flagging for a foul on David Forde.

It was soon the Blues back on the attack and when another fine Roberts pass released Gareth Evans, it took another Roche save to keep the scores level.

Kyle Bennett then sent a couple of long-range efforts narrowly off target, while Eoin Doyle headed over from a Baker cross.

But Morecambe almost forged ahead completely against the run of play on 32 minutes, with Forde doing brilliantly to stop Aaron Wildig from converting Paul Mullin’s cut-back.

Normality resumed for the rest of the half, but despite Pompey’s dominance, they couldn’t find a way through.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Morecambe 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Paul Merson was introduced to the crowd at half-time ahead of his induction into the club’s Hall of Fame.

And Roberts was certainly trying to match the former Blues star in the creativity stakes, with a low cross just about grabbed by Roche before it could reach Eoin Doyle.

But the second half was lacking the excitement of the first and Cook tried to liven things up with a substitution on 56 minutes, replacing Baker with Conor Chaplin.

Bennett and Roberts combined well as the hosts tried to find a breakthrough, although the latter’s ball was not quite right for Eoin Doyle.

Cook’s second switch saw Naismith replace Bennett on the left – and it paid instant dividends.

NAISMITH controlled Michael Doyle’s pass with his first touch and then, with his second, steered the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The Blues continued to attack and Chaplin sent a snap-shot wide before Roberts saw his effort saved after being teed-up by Naismith.

But the game was drifting towards a conclusion, until Morecambe suddenly found themselves level on 83 minutes when the ball was worked across to Molyneux, who drove home a precise finish.

Pompey tried to hit back and the award of six additional minutes provided some hope that a winner could arrive.

But the Shrimps somehow survived a corner that ricocheted around their box to depart with a share of the spoils.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi (Rose 79), M.Doyle (c); Baker (Chaplin 56), Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 63); E.Doyle
Goals: Naismith 64
Booked: Roberts
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Lowe, Hunt

Morecambe (4-2-3-1): Roche; Wakefield (McGowan 72), Edwards, Whitmore, Molyneux; Fleming (Murphy 79), Rose (c); Turner (Conlan 55), Wildig, Ellison; Mullin
Goals: Molyneux 83
Booked: Rose
Subs not used: Nizic, Duckworth, Evans, Jordan

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 15,592 (71 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Aug 162016
 
League 2
Morecambe 2 – 0 Portsmouth

 

Pompey still await first win

Pompey made the long trip home from Morecambe disappointed after suffering a first league defeat of the season.

They were poor in the first half and the hosts took advantage with goals from Ryan Edwards and Tom Barkhuizen.

There was a marked improvement after the interval, but a string of fine saves from Barry Roche kept the Blues at bay.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that drew with Crewe at the weekend.

Enda Stevens recovered from the groin problem that kept him sidelined at Alexandra Stadium to replace Kal Naismith at left-back.

Adam Barton came in for the injured Jack Whatmough in the centre of defence, while Milan Lalkovic dropped to the bench to make way for Kyle Bennett.

Pompey made an encouraging start, with Stevens and Drew Talbot sending in a couple of dangerous deliveries that the hosts were able to clear.

But Morecambe soon settled and a free-kick from skipper Michael Rose had to be cleared by his namesake Danny.

Cole Stockton then cut along the edge of the Blues box and fired in a shot that hit Christian Burgess and looped over the bar.

Pompey were being allowed to see plenty of the ball and were not having any trouble getting into the opposition half, but were struggling to get through the defence and test Roche.

And the Shrimps were looking an increasing threat on the counter-attack before they broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes.

The visitors failed to deal with a ball in from the left and it fell kindly for Edwards to hit through a host of bodies and into the net.

It was becoming a familiar story at the other end of the pitch, with plenty of teasing crosses, but no end product.

Morecambe, meanwhile, were looking far more clinical and broke quickly upfield after Carl Baker had a penalty appeal turned down to double their advantage.

It was a fine finish from Barkhuizen that flew past the grasp of David Forde and into the top corner, but he was allowed far too much space to burst forward.

Roche was finally called into action on 25 minutes, just about beating Baker to the ball as the midfielder tried to latch onto Bennett’s incisive pass.

Michael Smith then rose highest in the box to meet another cross from Stevens, but could only glance his header wide.

They failed to build on that spell of pressure, however, and instead almost fell further behind.

Barkhuizen ran into the box from the right and lifted the ball over Forde, only to see the ball hit the side netting.

Half Time: Morecambe 2 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Baker was trying to be positive at the start of the second half and hit a couple of efforts that did not really trouble Roche.

He certainly made a clean connection on 52 minutes, though, hitting a fierce effort that Roche did well to turn behind.

Baker was single-handedly trying to bring the Blues back into the contest and his next attempt flashed narrowly past the post.

Pompey were looking a lot brighter since the restart and Barton twice found himself in the opposition area to have shots that were deflected wide.

Cook tried to keep the momentum flowing by making a double switch on 64 minutes, with Smith and Bennett making way for Curtis Main and Lalkovic.

But it was Roberts who soon had a chance to reduce the deficit with a firm low drive that Roche managed to get a hand to and palm clear.

And the Shrimps stopper made an even better save soon after, somehow keeping out a Main header from point-blank range.

Then, after Lalkovic was fouled 30 yards out, Baker stepped up to curl a free-kick over the wall, but also over the bar.

Pompey were totally dominant, with Morecambe unsurprisingly content to sit back and soak up pressure.

But they were indebted to Roche, who added to his tally of super stops by denying first Main and then Burgess.

The keeper was not done yet, flinging himself to his right on 82 minutes to keep out a free-kick from Roberts that was heading for the top corner.

Noel Hunt replaced Rose for the closing stages as Cook made one last attacking throw of the dice.

But that failed to spark an improbable late comeback as Pompey’s wait for a first win of the campaign continued.

Morecambe (4-2-3-1): Roche; Wakefield, Edwards, Whitmore, Conlan; Fleming, Rose (c); Barkhuizen (Kenyon 87), Dunn (Molyneux 60), Ellison; Stockton (Mullin 75)
Goals: Edwards 10, Barkhuizen 21
Booked: Stockton, Fleming, Molyneux
Subs not used: Nizic, McGowan, Turner

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Talbot, Barton, Burgess, Stevens; Rose (Hunt 85), Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Lalkovic 64); Smith (Main 64)
Booked: Doyle, Stevens
Subs not used: O’Brien, Buxton, T.Davies, Linganzi

Referee: Nigel Miller

Attendance: 1,838 (546 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Feb 022016
 

Morecombe 1 v 1 Portsmouth

Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche headed home a last-gasp leveller to cruelly deny Pompey victory at a gusty Globe Arena.

The Blues were seconds away from brushing off their FA Cup disappointment by returning to winning ways in the league.

Gareth Evans struck late in the first half and it looked like it would be enough to secure all three points in a game of few chances.

But Roche came up for a corner in the final minute of stoppage-time to grab an unlikely equaliser.

Paul Cook made four changes from the outfit that were narrowly beaten by Bournemouth at the weekend.

Deadline day loan signing Michael Smith was thrown straight into a side that was set-up in a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Winger Kal Naismith was a surprise inclusion, making his first Pompey appearance for almost three months.

There were also starts for Adam Webster and Evans, as Christian Burgess, Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett and Adam McGurk all dropped to the bench.

The visitors made a bright start and Andy Parrish was well-placed to clear Marc McNulty’s low cross before it could reach a blue-shirted player.

Evans then stole possession in a dangerous position, but could not quite thread a pass through to McNulty.

Webster was grateful to Ryan Fulton at the other end on 13 minutes after his sliced clearance was claimed by the teenage keeper.

But Pompey were soon back on the attack and Smith could not get enough power on his shot to trouble Roche after collecting Enda Stevens’ free-kick and turning sharply in the box.

The Morecambe keeper then almost gave Morecambe the lead in farcical fashion when his goal-kick caught a strong gust of wind.

A back-pedalling Fulton just about managed to grab the ball under his crossbar and had to palm it away to stop his momentum taking it over the line.

The conditions were making life difficult for both sides, with the gusts and bobbly pitch not exactly conducive for the Blues’ usual passing game.

But they almost forged ahead on 28 minutes when Webster met Naismith’s corner and saw his angled volley cleared from the line by Kevin Ellison.

Debutant Smith then went close with a curling effort that was deflected narrowly past the post.

The wind aside, Fulton was not being overly troubled and a long-range strike from Tom Barkhuizen flew straight into his arms.

Pompey were looking more threatening, however, and the hardy bunch of travelling fans soon had something to celebrate.

Their side might have taken the lead on 39 minutes, but McNulty blazed over after being sent through by Ben Close.

They only had to wait a few more seconds for a goal, however, as Naismith did well to tee-up EVANS for a cool finish.

Smith tried to add another before the break, but his fierce effort from distance fizzed narrowly past the post.

Half Time: Morecambe 0 Pompey 1

Pompey continued to look the more dangerous side once the second half started and soon had a couple of openings.

First McNulty burst into the box, only to see his low centre cut out by Parrish before it could reach a team-mate.

And the wind was then playing its old tricks when Close’s corner landed on the crossbar and was bundled away by Roche.

The Blues kept up the pressure and Naismith’s free-kick clipped the top of the wall after Andrew Fleming had been booked for handling just outside the box.

Morecambe were not doing enough to threaten the visitors’ lead, but Luke Conlan finally found space down the left 70 minutes, only for his low cross to evade everyone on its way out of play.

Cook made a double switch moments later, with Naismith and Smith making way for Bennett and Roberts.

But the tide was starting to turn in the Shrimps’ favour and they were forcing their opponents into some sloppy passing.

And the hosts were not too far away from an equaliser on 81 minutes when Jamie Devitt curled a shot onto the roof of the net.

McGurk came on for McNulty for the closing stages as Cook decided to freshen up his forward line.

Pompey looked to have hung on for the win when Fulton flung himself to the left and kept out Lee Molyneux’s strike in the fourth minute of stoppage-time.

But there was still time for Roche to rush forward for the resulting corner and grab a point for Morecambe.

Morecambe (4-2-3-1): Roche; Beeley (c), Dugdale, Parrish, Conlan; Goodall, Fleming; Barkhuizen, Devitt (Molyneux 82), Ellison (Mullin 75); Miller
Goals: Roche 90+4
Booked: Fleming, Beeley
Subs not used: O’Hara, Edwards, Wilson, Doyle

Pompey (4-4-2): Fulton; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Evans, Close, Doyle (c), Naismith (Bennett 72); Smith (Roberts 72), McNulty (McGurk 83)
Goals: Evans 40
Booked: Clarke
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Barton, Chaplin

Referee: Richard Clark

Attendance: 1,399 (479 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC