Mansfield Town 0
Stags tamed in Fratton rout
Pompey roared back to winning ways at Fratton Park in the league with a comfortable victory over nine-man Mansfield.
Gary Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but despite dominating, they struggled to extend their advantage.
Mansfield put up a strong fight, even after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti had both been dismissed in the second half.
But Noel Hunt came off the bench to make sure of the three points before Carl Baker added a gloss to the scoreline with a late brace.
Paul Cook unsurprisingly made a host of changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.
Kyle Bennett was the only survivor, with Michael Doyle, Roberts and Conor Chaplin among those recalled to the line-up.
Before kick-off, Pompey paid tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, with D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode to Remembrance and the Last Post being played.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start in the wet conditions, with their high pressing forcing Mansfield to make errors.
Chaplin had an early chance after he met Roberts’ cross, but was unable to divert his header on target.
But there was an even better opportunity when a corner was only cleared as far as Bennett, whose first touch into the box fooled Matt Green.
His clumsy challenge saw the Blues winger dumped onto the turf and referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.
ROBERTS stepped up to take the penalty and slammed a powerful effort right down the middle to give Pompey the lead.
It was not all one-way traffic, however, and a misunderstanding between David Forde and Christian Burgess led to Green firing into the side netting.
James Baxendale then did well to get on the end of an Ashley Hemmings cross and send a header crashing against the post.
Pompey thought they should have had a second spot-kick on 33 minutes when Roberts stole possession and saw his cross hit Jamie McGuire’s hand, but East was not interested.
And the hosts soon came close to doubling their advantage, with Baker beating his man and firing in a rocket that cannoned back off the woodwork.
But they received a let-off just before the break when Bennett was harshly penalised for a challenge outside the box.
Chris Clements stepped up to take the free-kick and the Fratton faithful breathed a sigh of relief as he curled the ball over.
(1 – 0)
Pompey continued their search for more goals once the second half got underway, with Scott Shearer just about managing to tip over Bennett’s dipping shot from distance.
The same player then exchanged neat passes with Roberts, whose low ball into the box was agonisingly out of reach for Gareth Evans.
And Mansfield were reduced to illegal methods of halting the hosts’ surge, with Howkins booked for cynically hauling down Chaplin on the edge of the box.
It was Chaplin who should have doubled the advantage after being slipped through by Doyle’s clever pass, only to then drag his shot wide.
The Stags’ challenge was soon made harder when Howkins – who had only received his yellow card four minutes earlier – needlessly slid in on Bennett and was promptly dismissed.
Pompey immediately set about trying to make their numerical advantage count and when Shearer failed to hold Baker’s effort, he had to dive on the loose ball before the lively Danny Rose could pounce.
Roberts then did well to dig the ball out from his feet inside the area, only to prod wide from just a few yards out.
And there was more woe for the beleaguered visitors on 74 minutes when substitute Iacovitti dived into a challenge on Doyle and was immediately shown his marching orders.
Cook looked to turn the screw by bringing on some fresh attacking players, with Hunt and Kal Naismith replacing Roberts and Bennett.
The two combined to secure the three points on 84 minutes when a period of patient passing play was ended by Naismith squaring for HUNT to convert from close range.
And BAKER ensured it was an even more enjoyable afternoon when he tricked his way into the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
But there was still time for BAKER to add another deep into stoppage-time, with a fine left-footed finish from long-range that flew into the net.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86)
Goals: Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5
Booked: Baker, Chaplin
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic
Mansfield (4-1-2-1-2): Shearer; Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D.Rose 69); McGuire; Clements (c), Gobern; Baxendale (Iacovitti 59); Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
Sent off: Howkins (two yellow cards), Iacovitti
Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, Hoban
Referee: Roger East