Sep 122017
 

League One

3 – 1


Pompey’s inconsistent start to the season continued as they were beaten 3-1 by Northampton at a sodden Sixfields Stadium.

The visitors were well below-par in the first half and trailed to a Chris Long strike and Matt Clarke’s unfortunate own-goal.

But they dominated after the break and Matty Kennedy deservedly pulled one back, with several more chances to level the game soon following.

A healthy travelling support were not able to celebrate a leveller, however, and Long netted again for the hosts to wrap up victory for the Cobblers.

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change from the side that won at AFC Wimbledon three days earlier.

Oliver Hawkins suffered a nasty head wound in that fixture and was replaced up front by Conor Chaplin.

A mixture of driving rain and strong winds made conditions difficult for both sets of players throughout the contest.

Pompey carved out a couple of half-chances in the early stages before Kennedy curled a 20-yard effort narrowly over the bar.

But it was the hosts who almost broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, with Matt Grimes’ free-kick causing confusion between Luke McGee and Clarke before eventually swinging out of play.

It was only a brief respite for the Blues, however, as the Cobblers did forge ahead just a few moments later.

Shaun McWilliams slipped a fine pass through to Long and although McGee came off his line to narrow the angle, the striker neatly slotted home.

Unfortunately, McWilliams’ evening was soon cut short, as he went down injured and had to be stretchered from the pitch.

That did not stop the Cobblers’ charge, though, and some poor defending allowed them to double their advantage on 32 minutes.

Grimes delivered a free-kick from wide on the right and no Pompey player was able to get it clear, with the helpless Clarke only able to turn the ball into his own net at the far post.

It seemed to stun the Blues into action and they had a few opportunities to reduce the deficit before the interval.

Northampton almost provided a helping hand when Ash Taylor diverted Jamal Lowe’s cross against his own post.

Stuart O’Keefe then tried a long-range effort deep into stoppage-time that Matt Ingram did well to tip over the bar.


Half Time

(2 – 0)


Pompey had been poor before the break, but whatever Jackett told them during the interval seemed to do the trick.

They came roaring out of the blocks and soon reduced the deficit when O’Keefe teed-up KENNEDY for a fine finish into the bottom corner.

Adam May then had an effort deflected over before Lowe arrived at the far post to head Damien McCrory’s cross just past the post.

The Blues kept pouring forward and Brett Pitman received the ball inside the box, only for some decent Cobblers defending to prevent him getting a shot away.

Lowe then had another excellent opportunity to draw the visitors level, as there was time for him to bring Kennedy’s cross under control before a wild shot that flew wide.

Jackett made his first switch of the evening just before the hour mark, as May made way for Ben Close in midfield.

Lowe seemed to be involved in everything that was happening and soon after being booked for a foul on Daniel Powell, his low centre was deflected into the arms of a grateful Ingram.

It was pretty much one-way traffic and when McCrory’s free-kick was only partially cleared, Kennedy sent the ball back into the box, where it was turned wide by Chaplin.

But rising hopes were dashed on 70 minutes when Northampton scored against the run of play to strengthen their advantage.

There was some good work on the right by Brendan Moloney and Crooks, with the latter’s cross flicked on by Alex Revell for Long to lash home his second of the night.

Pompey, to their credit, kept trying to get the ball into their opponents’ box, but the Cobblers were holding firm at the back.

They forged a decent opening late on, however, when McCrory whipped a fine free-kick into the box, where Christian Burgess’ header was kept out by Ingram.

And the keeper made an even better stop on 87 minutes, flinging himself to the right to palm clear O’Keefe’s cleanly-struck attempt and ensure there was no late drama.

Northampton (4-4-2): Ingram; Moloney, Taylor, Pierre, Buchanan (c); Crooks, McWilliams (Kasim 29), Grimes, Smith (Powell 56); Revell (Richards 78), Long
Goals: Long 18, 70, Clarke 32 (og)
Subs not used: Cornell, Barnett, Poole, Waters

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, McCrory; May (Close 57), O’Keefe; Lowe, Pitman (c), Kennedy; Chaplin
Goals: Kennedy 49
Booked: Thompson, Clarke, Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Talbot, Donohue, Bennett, Naismith, Main

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 5,855 (1,153 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC

Jan 312017
 
OUT



Michael Smith

(25)
Northampton Town


Striker moves to League One side

Michael Smith has joined Northampton loan for the rest of the season.

The 25-year-old striker has scored 10 goals in 37 appearances since arriving at Fratton Park in February 2016.

He netted a hat-trick in August’s EFL Trophy defeat at Yeovil and also struck this season in league games against Cheltenham, Luton and Stevenage.

Northampton won the League Two title last term and currently sit 16th in the third tier standings table ahead of a trip to Walsall on Saturday.

Portsmouth FC
Jun 032016
 
IN
Danny Rose

(28)
Northampton Town


Midfielder pens Blues deal

Pompey have agreed a deal to sign midfielder Danny Rose on a two-year contract.

The 28-year-old – who won the League Two title with Northampton last term – will officially become a Blues player on July 1.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Rose. “It was a deal that moved along quite quickly and the opportunity to play for a club like Pompey was one that I couldn’t turn down.

“I’m really excited about working with Paul Cook and the rest of the lads, and hopefully having a successful campaign.

“I played the last game of the season here with Northampton and was taken aback by the atmosphere for a game that had nothing really riding on it.

“So the opportunity to perform in front of those passionate fans week in, week out is very exciting.

“It’s a special place to play football and when the call came, it was a challenge that I was eager to accept.

“Pre-season is not the most enjoyable time, but I’m excited to get going when we return after summer break.”

Pompey suffered play-off heartache at the end of the 2015/16 campaign and Rose hopes they can follow in his former side’s footsteps next season.

He said: “There’s no hiding the fact that this is the biggest club in this division and there will always be certain expectations.

“But I’m sure that the squad we’ve got here – and the players who are sure to arrive – are capable of challenging for promotion.

“Having come here off the back of winning League Two, I’ve got experience of what it takes and that could be useful.”

Rose joined Northampton back in February and scored once in 15 appearances as the Cobblers cruised to the title.

The former Manchester United trainee previously appeared for Newport, Fleetwood and Oxford, playing more than 100 times for the latter in three separate spells.

Portsmouth FC
May 072016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Northampton Town

 

Freeman sent off as Blues lose to champions

Pompey will host Plymouth in the first leg of the play-offs on Thursday evening after losing 2-1 to Northampton.

The champions took the lead through Jack Whatmough’s unfortunate own-goal in the opening stages.

Kieron Freeman then received his marching orders for a late challenge, only for a Kal Naismith stunner to draw the hosts level.

A series of attacking substitutions were made as the Blues searched for a winner, but instead James Collins secured all three points for the Cobblers.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side that won at Hartlepool the previous week.

Whatmough was handed his first start for more than a year in the centre of defence, with fellow academy graduates Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close also featuring.

Ben Davies returned and skippered the side in place of Michael Doyle, while Adam McGurk came in up front.

Meanwhile, former Pompey players Ricky Holmes and John Marquis led the line for the visitors, who were afforded a guard of honour as they entered the pitch.

There were a plethora of awards handed out before kick-off, with Ben Davies picking up six from various supporters’ groups.

But it was Doyle who was named The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season – and the reaction from the fans indicated that it was deserved recognition.

Both sets of supporters then paid their respects to all the Blues fans who have sadly passed away over the past year with a minute’s applause.

Once the action got underway at a warm and sunny – and packed – Fratton Park, it was the visitors who looked more threatening.

Whatmough had to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses as a new-look Pompey side struggled for fluency.

But they were not too far away from opening the scoring on 12 minutes, with Adam McGurk flinging himself at Naismith’s cross and not quite making a clean connection.

Almost immediately, however, they found themselves behind as Whatmough inadvertently sliced Nicky Adams’ cross into his own net.

Pompey were not really playing with a recognised striker, as Gary Roberts occupied a ‘false number nine’ role, flanked by Naismith and McGurk.

They did start to create more as the half progressed, though, with McGurk curling a shot over and Naismith steering narrowly wide.

But Northampton still looked dangerous themselves and Marquis might have done better than firing wildly over after being picked out by Holmes.

Pompey should have been level on 33 minutes following a good move that started with a poor clearance from Cobblers keeper Adam Smith.

Roberts picked the ball up and it soon found its way, via Freeman, to Davies down the right flank.

The full-back sent in a low cross, but Smith redeemed himself by somehow denying Naismith from point-blank range.

Roberts then collected a lovely pass over the top from Close and spotted Smith off his line, although he could not quite chip the ball over the back-pedalling keeper.

Both sides picked up a booking before the break, with Davies and Lawson D’Ath penalised for fouls on Holmes and Haunstrup respectively.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Northampton 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey’s hopes of getting anything from the game were dealt a massive blow just after the restart when they were reduced to 10 men.

Freeman slid in to try to win the ball and although he did not really catch John-Joe O’Toole, referee Mark Brown decided it was dangerous.

He immediately brandished a red card to rule the on-loan Sheffield United utility man out of the play-offs.

But the hosts found themselves level just seconds later – thanks to a strike right out of the top drawer.

There did not look much on when NAISMITH advanced goalwards, but he hit a stunning, swerving 35-yard strike that arrowed into the net.

Cook was forced to make his first substitution on the hour mark, as Close limped off to be replaced by Adam May.

Haunstrup then had the ball in the back of the net, but Brown had already blown his whistle for a foul on Smith by McGurk.

Northampton soon enjoyed a period of pressure, with Marquis denied by Brian Murphy before Alfie Potter fired into the side netting.

Cook made an attacking switch on 69 minutes, as Conor Wilkinson replaced Whatmough for his debut.

That resulted in a defensive reshuffle which saw Gareth Evans drop to right-back and Davies move into the centre.

And Naismith was soon employed at left-back when Haunstrup made way for Ben Tollitt on 77 minutes.

Pompey now had an abundance of attack-minded players on the pitch, but the visitors soon made their numerical advantage count to retake the lead.

Cobblers skipper David Buchanan swung the ball into the box and Collins got a faint touch to turn it home.

Naismith tried to draw the Blues level with another attempt from long-range, but this time Smith dived across goal to make the save.

And Pompey were unable to find a late leveller as the visitors secured victory to cap a memorable campaign.

But plenty of fans still stayed behind to salute the Blues as they returned to the pitch after the final whistle for a lap of appreciation.

Pompey (4-3-3): Murphy; Davies (c), Whatmough (Wilkinson 69), Barton, Haunstrup (Tollitt 77); Freeman, Close (May 60), Evans; McGurk, Roberts, Naismith
Goals: Naismith 48
Sent off: Freeman
Booked: Davies, McGurk, Evans
Subs not used: Jones, Stevens, Doyle, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Lelan, Diamond, Prosser, Buchanan (c); D’Ath (Hoskins 80), O’Toole, Rose, Adams (Potter 62); Marquis (Collins 67), Holmes
Goals: Whatmough 13 (og), Collins 81
Booked: D’Ath
Subs not used: Clarke, Cresswell, Taylor, Byrom

Referee: Mark Brown

Attendance: 18,746 (2,807 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Dec 192015
 
League 2
Northampton Town 1 – 2 Portsmouth

 

Pompey ensured it would be a very Merry Christmas by coming from behind to win at league leaders Northampton.

Conor Chaplin came off the bench to get the crucial late goal and give the 900-plus visiting fans the perfect present.

That came after Gareth Evans had headed home to cancel out Ryan Cresswell’s opener before the break.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that convincingly beat Hartlepool the previous week.

Christian Burgess injured his ankle ligaments in that game, so Matt Clarke replaced him at the heart of defence.

It was the side at the summit who made the brighter start and Clarke did well to clear Joel Byrom’s dangerous ball into the box.

But the visitors soon settled and came close to breaking the deadlock on 10 minutes, with Caolan Lavery’s low cross just out of reach for the onrushing Evans.

And Evans had another decent opportunity moments later, only to swipe at thin air after Marc McNulty had done brilliantly to tee him up.

The Blues received a let-off at the other end when Adam Webster’s poor touch sent Marc Richards through on goal, but Brian Murphy came to the defender’s rescue with a vital block.

It was only a brief reprieve, however, as from the resulting corner, Byrom’s cross was firmly headed home at the far post by Cresswell.

That left Pompey shell-shocked for a while, but they soon settled back into their patient passing play.

Lavery headed wide from a Ben Davies cross before McNulty’s low cross had to be cut out by Cresswell.

Then after Adam Smith came racing from his box to beat Lavery to the ball, McNulty was unable to catch the Cobblers keeper out from almost halfway.

But the Blues were level on 32 minutes – and it was the impressive McNulty who created it.

The forward did brilliantly to shake off a couple of challenges and stand up a fine cross that EVANS expertly headed into the top corner.

Northampton came close to extending their advantage soon after when a corner led to an almighty scramble in the box.

Cresswell inadvertently did Pompey’s job for them by clearing a shot off the line and Clarke eventually got the ball to safety.

But it was the visitors who finished the half on the ascendency and Smith did well to parry clear Lavery’s angled drive following good work from Kyle Bennett.

Then, in stoppage-time, Smith was again called into action to stop McNulty from converting Davies’ cross.

Half Time: Northampton 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey tried to continue where they had left off at the start of the second half and were looking to use the strong gusts to their advantage.

There were a couple of half-chances, although Lavery was offside when he tried to collect Bennett’s through ball

Zander Diamond then recovered quickly after his slip had threatened to send the lively McNulty away.

Bennett had two efforts blocked from the edge of the box in quick succession as the Blues continued to push for another goal.

They had another opening just past the hour mark when, with McNulty in an offside position, Lavery chased down his own pass and was only just beaten to the ball by Smith.

The keeper then made sure he got his body behind Evans’ fierce 30-yard drive following a surging run from the Pompey winger.

Northampton need to make a change to halt the one-way traffic and introduced former Blues midfielder Ricky Holmes.

It was the Blues who came close to forging ahead on 70 minutes, though, when after a poor Davies corner was partially cleared, Danny Hollands’ effort was deflected inches past the post.

Smith was still having to be alert between the sticks for the hosts and he was again quickly off his line to deny McNulty following good work from Michael Doyle and Lavery.

Evans was next to go close, but could only fire wide when Bennett’s cross came in at an awkward height.

It was Bennett who made way when Cook decided to make his first change and introduce Ben Tollitt on 76 minutes.

Despite struggling to make much of an attacking impact in the second half, the hosts then almost retook the lead.

Brendan Moloney’s effort was deflected behind and from the resulting corner, Diamond headed over from just a couple of yards out.

The tireless McNulty was then withdrawn for the final 10 minutes, with Adam McGurk given a chance to impress.

It was Northampton who were now looking dangerous, however, and the imposing Cresswell headed a corner against the crossbar.

Cook’s final throw of the dice saw Chaplin come on for Lavery – and it proved to be a masterstroke.

Fellow substitute Tollitt was the creator, bursting down the right and angling in a shot that was too hot for Smith to handle.

The ball fell kindly for CHAPLIN, who had the simple task of sliding in from a couple of yards out, sending the travelling fans wild with delight.

It was not quite game over, though, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin almost got an immediate equaliser with a header that left the crossbar shaking.

But the Blues saw out the final few minutes to leave themselves on the brink of the automatic promotion places.

Northampton (4-2-3-1): Smith; Moloney, Diamond (Hoskins 89), Cresswell, Buchanan; O’Toole, Byrom; D’Ath, Potter (Holmes 65), Adams (Calvert-Lewin 57); Richards (c)
Goals: Cresswell 17
Booked: O’Toole, D’Ath, Cresswell
Subs not used: Clarke, Lelan, McDonald, Taylor

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (McGurk 80), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Evans 32, Chaplin 86
Booked: McNulty, McGurk
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Barton, Close

Referee: Fred Graham

Attendance: 5,859 (938 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC