Transfer : Portsmouth – Notts County
Transfer : Portsmouth – Notts County
|Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain will leave Pompey to sign for Notts County.
The midfielder becomes a Magpies player when his Fratton Park contract expires at the end of this month.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is a graduate of Pompey’s academy, who turned professional in the summer of 2016.
He made one senior appearance in an EFL Trophy defeat at Exeter and has had several spells out on loan, including at Oxford City last season.
Blues win promotion to League One
Pompey secured promotion to League One with three games to spare after winning at Notts County.
The result – coupled with Luton’s failure to beat Mansfield – ensured the Blues ended their four-season exile in the fourth tier.
Gareth Evans fired them into the lead from the penalty spot, only for Jorge Grant to level after the break.
But Jamal Lowe came off the bench to add two goals and the referee’s final whistle was the cue for the party to really begin.
Paul Cook made two enforced changes from the side that drew with Plymouth on Good Friday.
With Matt Clarke and Danny Rose both nursing knocks, it opened up spaces in the starting 11 for Jack Whatmough and Amine Linganzi.
The sides emerged to a sea of ticker tape from the 4,366 travelling fans crammed into the Jimmy Sirrel Stand to the side of the pitch.
And although there was a slow start to proceedings on the pitch, there was certainly a jovial atmosphere off it.
Pompey supporters were in fine voice as they sang the Herman’s Hermits hit I’m Into Something Good, with the lyrics adjusted to reveal they had promotion on their minds.
It was the visitors who looked more threatening in the early stages and Gary Roberts was blocked off after being slipped through by Kal Naismith.
And they were awarded a penalty when Michael Doyle’s incisive pass released Naismith, the stand-in striker burst into the box and former Blues defender Richard Duffy was drawn into making a clumsy challenge.
Referee Graham Salisbury had a simple decision to make and EVANS stepped up to coolly send County keeper Adam Collin the wrong way from the spot.
Pompey fans had further reason to celebrate soon after, when it emerged that Luton had fallen behind at Mansfield.
But the visitors were certainly not home and dry, with Jon Stead not able to get a decent connection on Adam Campbell’s cross and the ball flying into David Forde’s arms.
A free-kick then led to a scramble in the Blues box before Carl Baker was eventually able to hack to safety.
There were certainly not an abundance of clear-cut openings at either end of the pitch, however, as the half drifted along.
Forde tried to launch an attack when he claimed a cross and picked out Naismith with a fine clearance, but the Scotsman was crowded out.
Notts County 0
The hosts looked more lively once the game restarted and Matt Tootle found Campbell unmarked in the box, only for the forward to volley over the bar.
And there was more reason to feel tense, as a couple of goals were soon scored to put Pompey’s promotion party on ice.
First news began to filter through that Luton had equalised at Field Mill and then Notts County grabbed a leveller of their own.
Elliott Hewitt sent a lofted pass into the area and Grant met it to send a fine curling finish past Forde’s grasp and into the net.
A more traditional striking option was introduced for the visitors just past the hour mark, as Roberts made way for Conor Chaplin.
There had not been much pressure applied by Pompey since the restart, although Baker’s incisive pass found Enda Stevens down the left and his low centre was just behind Kyle Bennett.
And Baker could then only chip the ball into Collin’s arms after struggling to dig the ball out on the edge of the box.
The visitors were pushing for another goal and when a couple of fine passes from Baker and Chaplin created a chance for Naismith, his angled drive was kept out by the feet of Collin.
Another attacking player was thrown into the mix on 69 minutes, with Baker withdrawn for Lowe.
Pompey were suddenly looking a real threat and the lively Bennett surged forward before seeing his stinging drive superbly tipped over by Collin.
And their pressure paid off on 77 minutes when LOWE collected Naismith’s pass, cut onto his right foot and curled home a shot.
Home fans thought they should have had a penalty soon after when Mark Yeates’ cross appeared to strike the hand of Christian Burgess, although there did not look to be much intent from the defender.
And Lowe made a vital block to deny Rob Milsom as fingernails were chewed among the expectant away fans.
But they had cause to celebrate late on when LOWE burst clear and confidently lifted home his second goal of the afternoon.
There was also a roar when those supporters learned that it had finished all square between Mansfield and Luton.
And when Salisbury blew the final whistle, it was the cue for Pompey fans to pour onto the pitch and mob their heroes.
Three more games and then the Blues’ League Two stay is at an end.
Notts County (4-2-3-1): Collin; Tootle, Duffy, Hollis, Bola; O’Connor (c) (Yeates 45+1), Milson; Hewitt, Grant, A.Campbell (T.Campbell 75); Stead
Goals: Grant 51
Booked: O’Connor, Bola
Subs not used: Searson-Smithard, Dickinson, Clackstone, Smith, Forte
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Whatmough, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Baker (Lowe 69), Roberts (Chaplin 62), Bennett (Aborah 90+2); Naismith
Goals: Evans 14 (pen), Lowe 77, 90
Booked: Linganzi, Chaplin, Naismith
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, T.Davies, Main
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 12,184 (4,366 Pompey fans)
Pompey swoop for midfielder
Pompey have signed midfielder Stanley Aborah on a deal until the end of the season.
The 29-year-old is allowed to join outside the transfer window as a free agent after leaving Notts County last month.
He said: “I’m happy to be at a great club and I’ll do my best to earn the trust of the manager, my team-mates and the fans. I had other offers, but I really wanted to be here.”
Aborah – who was born in Ghana and has represented Belgium at youth level – started his career in the Netherlands at Ajax.
He joined the Magpies from Hungarian giants Ferencvaros in 2015, scoring once in 42 appearances.
Dominance counts for nothing
Pompey were caught by a couple of sucker punches as they fell to defeat against Nott County at Fratton Park.
They dominated for most of the contest, but were caught out at the back and fell behind to Adam Campbell’s neat finish.
Conor Chaplin levelled within a few minutes and it looked like the Blues would go on to secure all three points.
But some more sloppy play allowed Campbell to strike again and despite Aaron Collins’ red card, the Magpies held on for the victory.
Paul Cook stuck with the same side that picked up a point at table-topping Plymouth the previous week.
That meant a fit-again Matt Clarke had to be content with a place on the bench, as Tom Davies continued alongside Christian Burgess in defence.
There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Carl Dickinson and Richard Duffy both starting for the visitors.
And it was the Magpies who were first to threaten, with Robert Milsom not able to guide his header past David Forde.
But Pompey dominated the opening stages, enjoying plenty of possession and showing attacking inset from the outset.
They should have broken the deadlock on six minutes, with Chaplin somehow stabbing Enda Stevens’ cross wide from just a few yards out.
Kyle Bennett also dragged a long-range effort past the post, but with County keeping so many men behind the ball, the hosts were struggling to test keeper Adam Collin.
They were almost caught on the break when Jonathan Forte laid the ball off for Milsom, whose effort grazed the top of the bar.
Chaplin then missed another golden opportunity when he raced onto a long clearance and bore down on goal.
He tried to slide it past Collin, but the keeper saved and Chaplin slipped as he tried to gather the loose ball.
Pompey were able to steal back possession, however, and Collin did well again to stop Carl Baker’s effort going in at the near post.
But despite the home side’s dominance, it was Notts County who opened the scoring on 21 minutes.
The Blues defence were far too slow to stop Campbell collecting Duffy’s pass, turning and firing a sharp shot past Forde.
They were not behind for long, though, and after missing two great chances, CHAPLIN ensured it was third time lucky.
Bennett and Gary Roberts combined well down the left and the latter fired in a low cross that the striker slammed home.
Rather than step up a gear following all that action, however, the game then hit a lull as the interval approached.
Benett and Campbell both hit long-range efforts high over the bar, while Baker struck a fierce drive straight at Collin as the first half petered out.
Notts County 1
There was an injury scare soon after the restart when Gareth Evans hurt himself while conceding a free-kick.
He received treatment on the sidelines before returning to the action, but spent the next few minutes hobbling around the pitch.
Pompey then created a decent chance when Chaplin crossed into the box, but Bennett is not famed for his heading abilities and diverted the ball wide.
Cook soon made his first switch, with Stevens appearing to pick up a hamstring injury and being replaced at left-back by Kal Naismith.
The Blues kept plugging away, but the chances were not coming along as frequently as they had before the break.
In an attempt to liven things up in attack, Chaplin was withdrawn and Curtis Main was tasked with finding a winner.
But, within seconds, the hosts instead found themselves behind, with Campbell racing through to slot past Forde.
The keeper – like the rest of his team-mates – was incensed, believing that Davies had been fouled in the build-up and his protests resulted in a yellow card.
Pompey’s final substitution soon followed, with Bennett making way for Milan Lalkovic wide on the left.
But it was Roberts who threatened next, stealing the ball form Louis Laing, only to see his low cross cut out.
And the Blues were soon handed a numerical advantage when Collins dived in late on Forde and was shown a straight red card.
They immediately set about trying to find an equaliser and Collin kept out Main’s header from a pin-point Baker delivery.
Burgess was thrown up the field as an extra striker, with the hosts keen to push forward at every opportunity.
The Fratton faithful were buoyed by a display of six additional minutes from the fourth official and Baker twice went close to finding a leveller.
First, his shot was superbly saved by Collin from point-blank range and then, from the resulting corner, he narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Roberts also fizzed a shot inches past the post, as Notts County held firm to leave with all three points.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, T.Davies, Burgess, Stevens (Naismith 59); Linganzi, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Lalkovic 74); Chaplin (Main 70)
Goals: Chaplin 27
Booked: Forde, Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, Clarke, Rose, Smith
Notts County (4-1-4-1): Collin; Tootle, Laing, Hollis, Dickinson (c); Duffy; Campbell (Smith 90), Richards, Milsom, Forte (Rodman 90); Collins
Goals: Campbell 21, 71
Sent off: Collins
Subs not used: Loach, Hewitt, Edwards, O’Connor, Burke
Referee: Nigel Miller
Pompey roared back into form and ensured it was a very Good Friday with a convincing victory over Notts County at Fratton Park.
Kyle Bennett struck either side of the interval, with a couple of goals that were extremely easy on the eye.
Christian Burgess then opened his account for the club before Marc McNulty came off the bench to add an extra gloss to the scoreline.
Paul Cook made four changes from the side that drew at Mansfield the previous week.
Paul Jones was recalled from his Crawley loan to replace Ryan Fulton – who had been called up to the Scotland under-21 side – between the sticks.
There were also starts for Gary Roberts, Adam McGurk and Matt Clarke, with McNulty, Kal Naismith and Adam Webster dropping to the bench.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of former Pompey left-back Jack Mansell – who passed away last week – and the victims of the attacks in Brussels.
When the game got underway, the hosts made a bright start to match the fine conditions on the south coast.
And Michael Bull earned the ire of the Fratton faithful for not awarding their side a penalty after just a three minutes.
It looked a clear foul from Haydn Hollis on Ben Davies as the right-back charged into the box, but the referee was not convinced.
However, the first half was ultimately a scrappy affair, with plenty of fouls interrupting the flow of the game.
Stanley Aborah collected the first booking for a late challenge on Michael Smith, not that it stopped the midfielder from getting involved in a few more dubious challenges.
There were not too many shots to trouble either of the goalkeepers, with Curtis Thompson seeing his dangerous run eventually halted before McGurk sent a header over the bar.
It was Roberts who had the first decent chance from the edge of the box on 34 minutes, but his effort flew comfortably into the arms of Scott Loach.
Pompey did break the deadlock just before the break, however, thanks to an impressive solo goal from BENNETT.
The winger collected Enda Stevens’ pass down the left and beat Elliott Hewitt with ease before cutting inside and firing past Loach.
Notts County 0
The hosts probably should have doubled their advantage just after the restart, but McGurk somehow failed to connect with Davies’ free-kick from wide on the right.
But their second goal did arrive on 49 minutes – and it was a joy to behold.
Roberts displayed a moment of class to send BENNETT clear through and he calmly slotted the ball past Loach and into the net.
And Roberts then tried to add an audacious third with a cute lob from wide on the right that drifted narrowly over.
But the visitors were almost gifted a way back into the game on the hour mark when Jones dropped Curtis Thompson’s cross, only to pounce on the ball before Jon Stead could poke it home.
Pompey were soon back on the attack, though, and it took a brave block from former England international Alan Smith to deny his namesake Michael.
Cook made his first switch on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Naismith out wide.
With a comfortable lead, it was a more patient display from the hosts, but they still looked the more dangerous side.
And the home fans did have a third goal to cheer on 81 minutes when BURGESS converted Enda Stevens’ cross from close range to open his Blues account.
That was the cue to bring on Conor Chaplin and McNulty for the impressive duo of Smith and Roberts.
And it was McNULTY who wrapped up a memorable victory in stoppage-time when he headed Davies’ free-kick into the top corner.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Jones; Davies, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); McGurk (Naismith 67), Roberts (McNulty 84), Bennett; Smith (Chaplin 84)
Goals: Bennett 44, 49, Burgess 81, McNulty 90+1
Subs not used: Bass, Webster, Close, Evans
Notts County (3-5-2): Loach; Boyce (Atkinson 58), Smith (Campbell 75), Hollis; Hewitt, Thompson, Aborah (Burke 58), Noble, Milsom; McLeod, Stead (c)
Booked: Aborah, Milsom, Thompson, Smith, McLeod
Subs not used: Pilkington, Sharpe, Edwards, Murray
Referee: Michael Bull
Attendance: 16,670 (485 away fans)
Pompey’s long unbeaten away record finally came to an end as Notts County fought from behind to claim all three points at Meadow Lane.
It looked like being a familiar tale for the Blues when Caolan Lavery fired them ahead midway through the first half.
But the Magpies soon levelled through Graham Burke’s fine strike and a second half Alan Sheehan free-kick somehow found its way into the net.
The visitors could feel somewhat hard done by, however, as they contributed plenty to a chance-filled contest.
Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew with Mansfield at Fratton Park the previous week.
Gareth Evans returned from suspension to take his place wide on the right, while there was also a start for the fully-fit Adam McGurk, with Kal Naismith and Rommy Boco the men to make way.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of all those who have lost their lives in conflict.
When the game got underway it quickly turned into an open affair, with both sides contributing to an entertaining affair.
Pompey came close to breaking the deadlock on seven minutes, but Adam Webster could not quite divert Ben Davies’ corner on target.
The home support were then cheering when former Blues striker Izale McLeod had the ball in the net moments later, although referee Andy Haines had long since blown his whistle for offside.
And the action soon switched back down to the other end of the pitch, where Sheehan was on hand to hack clear after Roy Carroll had slowed down Evans’ drive.
County then enjoyed a spell of possession in Pompey’s half and Brian Murphy denied McLeod before beating away a curling effort from Burke.
But it was the Blues who broke the deadlock on 20 minutes, as LAVERY opened his account for the club.
Kyle Bennett and Enda Stevens combined well down the left and the latter delivered a low cross that Lavery deftly turned into the bottom corner.
They were only ahead for a matter of minutes, however, as a free-kick was cleared as far as Burke, who struck a fine volley into the net from the edge of the box.
Lavery tried to restore the visitors’ advantage on 30 minutes, only to see his low angled drive kept out by Carroll, while Evans was then millimetres away from connecting with Bennett’s dangerous cross.
But it was Webster who went closest to scoring again before the break, surging forward from the halfway line before firing a shot against the inside of the post.
There were half-chances for both sides as the seconds ticked down, with Liam Noble and McGurk both unable to find the target from long-range.
But it took fine headed clearance from Mike Edwards to prevent Lavery from converting Davies’ cross in stoppage-time.
Notts County 1
The second half started in the same way that the first had finished – with both sides keen to get forward.
And the hosts survived when Bennett’s effort cannoned off a defender and was just about kept in play by Carroll.
Then, at the other end, McLeod opted to lay the ball off for Burke rather than shoot, with Danny Hollands gratefully nipping in to intercept.
McGurk was next to go close on 57 minutes, only to see his effort inadvertently blocked by Evans at close range.
Lavery then collected Bennett’s sweeping pass and curled in a shot that Sheehan did well to get in the way of.
Bennett had penalty appeals turned down just past the hour mark after the winger felt he had been tripped in the area, while Evans’ follow-up was deflected into the side netting.
Cook made his first change on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Conor Chaplin.
But the hosts then enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure and won a couple of corners before Murphy had to come charging from his box to clear the danger.
Pompey responded with a second substitution on 76 minutes, as Ben Tollitt made his first league appearance in place of Bennett.
But the hosts were ahead within seconds, with Sheehan’s long-range free-kick – won for a foul on McLeod – evading everyone on its way into the net.
Matt Tubbs was immediately brought on as the shell-shocked Blues went in search of a late leveller.
Notts County held firm at the back for the final few minutes, however, as Pompey were finally vanquished on the road.
Notts County (4-1-4-1): Carroll (c); Hewitt, Edwards, Sheehan, Barmby; Aborah; Stead, Noble (Thompson 86), Smith (De Silva 72), Burke (Campbell 60); McLeod
Goals: Burke 23, Sheehan 77
Subs not used: Loach, Amevor, Jenner, Spencer
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Chaplin 67), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Tubbs 80)
Goals: Lavery 20
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Naismith
Referee: Andy Haines