Nov 072015
 

Portsmouth 2 v 1 Macclesfield Town

Pompey’s long wait for an FA Cup victory finally came to an end as they saw off Macclesfield to progress to the second round.

It looked like being a comfortable afternoon when Adam McGurk fired them ahead in the opening stages.

But Kristian Dennis took advantage of some sloppy defending to bring the non-league side level soon after.

The Blues created plenty of chances and the winner arrived in first half stoppage-time, with McGurk again on target.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side beaten at Notts County in the league the previous week.

With Caolan Lavery not given permission to play by parent club Sheffield Wednesday, Conor Chaplin came in to lead the line.

That meant that recent loan arrival Marc McNulty had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of former Pompey player and manager Bobby Campbell – who sadly passed away on Friday – as well as all those who have lost their lives in service of their country.

When the game got started it was the hosts – attacking the Fratton End in the first half – who looked more dangerous.

And they broke the deadlock after just three minutes when McGURK collected a fine pass from Kyle Bennett and fired home off the inside of the post.

Brian Murphy got down low to keep out Paul Turnbull’s long-range effort soon after, but most of the action was taking place at the other end of the pitch.

A dangerous cross from Ben Davies had to be cleared behind, while Adam Webster’s header from the resulting corner was comfortably saved by Shwan Jalal.

Chaplin then saw a shot swerve wide before Macclesfield levelled the tie in farcical fashion on 15 minutes.

Murphy took too long to clear when Enda Stevens threw the ball back to him, allowing Dennis to charge him down with the ball ricocheting into the net.

Pompey immediately set about trying to restore their advantage and Gareth Evans’ drive was punched clear by Jalal.

Murphy then atoned for his earlier error with an acrobatic save to deny Danny Whitehead from distance.

The Blues dominated the rest of the first half, however, and Chaplin drilled wide before Andy Halls made a vital interception to stop an unmarked McGurk collecting the ball inside the area.

David Fitzpatrick was then forced to clear Evans’ shot from the line after fine work from Bennett and McGurk down the left.

Pompey continued to pour forward and there were several more half chances as the clock ticked down on the first half.

But they did manage to forge ahead in stoppage-time when Stevens’ cross caused an almighty scramble in the Macclesfield box and McGURK kept his composure to stab home.

Half Time: Pompey 2 Macclesfield 1

It was the visitors who looked more eager immediately after the interval and Murphy had to be alert to keep out Danny Whitaker’s effort.

Stevens’ clearance then ricocheted off Michael Doyle and fell kindly for Dennis, but his shot flew over the bar.

Pompey carved open their first chance of the half on 56 minutes when Bennett and McGurk showed good perseverance to win possession and Chaplin’s shot was deflected narrowly wide.

Evans and Danny Hollands were unable to test Jalal from long-range as the hosts lacked the attacking threat that had been so evident before the break.

With that in mind, Cook made his first change on 66 minutes, handing McNulty his debut in place of Chaplin.

And a second switch soon followed as the inventive Bennett made way for Kal Naismith down the left.

McNulty looked lively, but was caught offside from Doyle’s pass and then there was no-one to meet his low centre.

The striker probably should have added a third goal on 83 minutes, only to head Evans’ pin-point cross over the bar.

And he then saw his fierce shot beaten away by Jalal after doing well to weave past a couple of challenges.

But it mattered not as the hosts comfortably held on for their first FA Cup win in five years to book their place in Monday night’s second round draw.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Boco 90), Bennett (Naismith 69); Chaplin (McNulty 66)
Goals: McGurk 3, 45+1
Booked: Bennett
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Tollitt

Macclesfield (4-1-4-1): Jalal; Halls, Pilkington (Byrne 46), Diagne, Fitzpatrick; Turnbull (c) (Sampson 75); Holroyd, Whitehead (Lewis 75), Whitaker, Rowe; Dennis
Goals: Dennis 15
Subs not used: Branagan, Cowan, Churchman, Meikle

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 9,834 (411 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 072015
 

Former Pompey boss and player, Bobby Campbell, has died, aged 78.

Campbell famously led the Blues to the Third division title in the 1982-83 season with a then-record 91 points – 21 years after being part of George Smith’s Pompey side who won the same title in 1962.

He was, however, dismissed from the Pompey hot seat by chairman John Deacon as the club’s first second-division campaign in eight years saw them finish in 16th place.

But he left with his head held high following an impressive win percentage of 45.45 – bettered only in subsequent Pompey years by Harry Redknapp (46.55).

In an interview in the Sports Mail last December, Campbell recalled his Fratton Park departure.

He said: I liked a forward-thinking team who went out to entertain but, nevertheless, I knew we had to keep it tight at the back.

‘We became very popular with the fans playing the way we did, though, so maybe I got the sack because I became too popular.’

Campbell’s first links with Pompey came in 1961, when he arrived from hometown club Liverpool as a half-back.

He went on to play 64 games for the Fratton Park outfit, scoring two goals, before a cruciate ligament injury cut short his playing career at the age of 27.

Recalling his move to the south coast, Campbell added in his Sports Mail Big Interview: ‘I knew it was a big club but I didn’t realise how great it was.

‘I left Liverpool and I thought they were the greatest fans in the land, then I went down to Pompey, who, for me, still are.’

Campbell, who will be fondly remembered by Blues fans, also enjoyed managerial spells with Fulham and Chelsea, and coaching jobs at Arsenal and QPR.

Portsmouth FC
Nov 062015
 

Marc McNulty

Loan : Sheffield United – Portsmouth



Pompey have signed Scottish striker Marc McNulty on an emergency loan deal from Sheffield United.

The 23-year-old – who will wear the number 10 shirt – will initially remain with the club until the new year.

He has signed in time to feature in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Macclesfield and is looking forward to making his Blues bow.

McNulty said: “This is a massive club and I’m delighted to be here. Michael Doyle and Ben Davies have both told me a lot about the place.

“I’m used to playing in front of big crowds who have high expectations, so I’ll be okay with dealing with that at Pompey.

“My first job is just to help the team, but if I can do that by scoring goals then even better.

“The manager has shown faith by bringing me here and now I’ll do all I can to repay that.

“It’s not often that such a big club wants you to play for them and I’m determined to take advantage of that.”

McNulty came through the ranks at Livingston and scored 45 goals in 117 appearances before heading south to sign for Sheffield United in 2014.

He netted 13 times for the Blades last season, including a winner against Southampton in the League Cup quarter-finals.

Portsmouth FC

Oct 312015
 
League 2
Notts County 2 – 1 Portsmouth

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.

Half Time: Notts County 1 Pompey 1

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

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
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Naismith

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 6,917 (2,162 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Oct 282015
 

Midfielder moves to League Two side

James Dunne has joined Dagenham & Redbridge on a one-month emergency loan deal.

The 26-year-old midfielder will link up with former Pompey team-mates Josh Passley and Nyron Nosworthy during his time with the Daggers.

Dunne has made one senior appearance for the Blues this season, coming off the bench in August’s Capital One Cup defeat to Reading.

Dagenham currently sit bottom of the League Two table, with nine points from 15 games and lost 3-0 at Fratton Park on the opening day of the season.

Portsmouth FC
Oct 242015
 
League 2
Portsmouth 0 – 0 Mansfield Town

Pompey endured more Fratton frustration as they were unable to break down Mansfield.

It was not a game of many clear-cut chances, although the Blues did have the best there were on offer.

Ben Davies and substitute Conor Chaplin came closest to finding a goal, although the hosts had to settle for another share of the spoils.

Paul Cook made four changes to the side held to a draw by Stevenage earlier in the week.

Brian Murphy had recovered from a groin problem to replace the departing Aaron McCarey between the sticks.

Caolan Lavery made his first Pompey start in place of Matt Tubbs up front, while there were also returns for Kal Naismith and Danny Hollands in midfield.

And there was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, with Craig Westcarr named in the Stags side.

The hosts started brightly and Lavery’s ball into the box was turned over by Kyle Bennett in the opening stages.

They then broke quickly up the pitch following a Mansfield corner, only for Naismith to mis-kick in front of goal following good work from Lavery and Enda Stevens

Another decent move followed on nine minutes and ended with Stevens cutting inside and unleashing a thumping drive that was well held by Stags keeper Brian Jensen.

Davies’ crosses were causing problems as usual and one was headed over by Naismith, while another had to be hacked clear by Nicky Hunt.

Mansfield survived that spell of Pompey pressure, however, and saw out the rest of the half with relative ease.

They did not really create much at the other end, though, with an off-target header from Hunt the closest they came to testing Murphy.

Not that Jensen was being over-worked at the other half, although a Davies cross was deflected comfortably into his arms on 37 minutes.

Then, just before the break, the Blues won a free-kick and Davies’ curling effort somehow evaded everyone as it flew wide.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Mansfield 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

It was the visitors who were first to threaten once the second half got underway, although Adam Chapman’s long-range effort flew high over the bar.

Pompey, meanwhile, were struggling to find any sort of rhythm, with too many passes going astray.

Cook tried to liven things up with a double substitution on 56 minutes, as Naismith and Rommy Boco made way for Chaplin and Nigel Atangana.

That seemed to liven up both players and fans and the hosts were injected with a fresh vigour, with ‘Blue Army’ soon reverberating around Fratton Park.

It was Davies who came close to breaking the deadlock on 64 minutes after Lavery’s header from his initial cross had been blocked.

The right-back picked up the loose ball and hit a fierce curling shot that Jensen did well to tip over the bar.

And Davies went close again soon after, curling a 30-yard free-kick inches past the post after Bennett had been felled.

Cook made his third and final switch on 78 minutes, with Tubbs replacing Lavery in the Blues’ attack.

But it was Chaplin who came agonisingly close to scoring moments later, collecting Stevens’ pass and seeing his close-range effort deflected inches wide.

And despite throwing plenty of men forward in the final stages, Pompey were unable to find a winner.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Boco (Atangana 56), Bennett, Naismith (Chaplin 56); Lavery (Tubbs 78)
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Tollitt, McGurk

Mansfield (4-4-1-1): Jensen; Hunt (c), Collins, Tafazolli, Adams; Rose, Clements, Chapman, Lambe (Yussuf 86); Westcarr (Blair 62); Green (N.Thomas 78)
Booked: Hunt, Blair
Subs not used: Shearer, McGuire, J.Thomas, Beardsley

Referee: Kevin Wright

Attendance: 16,210 (389 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Oct 202015
 

Portsmouth 1 v 1 Stevenage

Pompey’s home frustrations continued as a late Brett Williams goal denied them victory against Stevenage.

Conor Chaplin came off the bench to fire the hosts in front and seemingly back to the top of the League Two table.

But, just seconds after leaving the bench, Williams levelled to burst the Blues bubble and send everyone home deflated.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that won at Newport on Saturday.

Rommy Boco came in for his first Pompey start wide on the right, with Kal Naismith dropping to the bench.

The visitors started brightly, with Aaron McCarey and Christian Burgess forced to deal with some dangerous crosses.

But the Blues had chances of their own in a very open first half and Jesse Joronen got down quickly to keep out Gary Roberts’ drive following a quick counter-attack.

The keeper was called into action again moments later and only just got his hand to a long-range Boco effort that was headed for the bottom corner.

It was Stevenage who were next to threaten on 17 minutes, as Tom Pett flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal before Arnand Gnanduillet headed wide at the far post.

Pompey began to dominate as the half progressed, however, with a series of pin-point crosses from Ben Davies causing Boro plenty of problems.

One of those was met by the livewire Boco, whose stooping header lacked enough power to really trouble Joronen.

The right-back also had a penalty appeal turned down when, after shaping to pass, he went down under Jerome Okimo’s challenge.

It was Roberts who should have broken the deadlock on 32 minutes, firing into the side netting after Matt Tubbs had taken advantage of Mark Hughes’ slip.

And the midfielder then whipped in a cross that was headed back into the danger zone by Boco, with Hughes only just getting there before Tubbs could pounce.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Stevenage 0

Boro came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half and they should have forged ahead on 48 minutes.

A fine passing move cut open the Blues back-line, but with just McCarey to beat, Dipo Akinyemi fired wide.

And it was Pompey wondering why they had not scored moments later, following a fine surging run from Enda Stevens.

The left-back picked out Roberts, whose low pass across the face of goal should have been turned home by Tubbs at the far post.

The hosts were, by now, looking the much more dangerous side and they created another decent opening just before the hour mark.

And the chance owed a lot to the perseverance of Davies, who managed to lay the ball off for Michael Doyle, with the skipper’s pile-driver well saved by Joronen.

Cook then made his first substitution, with Caolan Lavery coming on for his home debut in place of Tubbs.

The loan signing did brilliantly to control McCarey’s long clearance on 66 minutes and feed Bennett, whose fierce drive was saved by Joronen.

He then had another attempt after bursting down the centre, but slipped as he shot and the ball rolled tamely into the keeper’s hands.

A second change followed on 71 minutes, with the tiring Boco making way for Chaplin’s fresh legs.

And it was the teenager who finally found a route through to goal on 77 minutes following a spell of intense Pompey pressure.

Adam Webster was the creator, bursting forward and sending a pass down the channel which Jamie McCombe missed, allowing CHAPLIN to beat Joronen at his near post.

Stevenage sent men forward in search of an equaliser and Tom Pett fired narrowly over the crossbar.

But it was the Blues who looked likely to score in the closing stages, with Chaplin sending a curling effort just past the post.

However, the hosts were left with their heads in their hands deep into stoppage-time when substitute Williams met Charlie Lee’s long throw and his header looped over McCarey and into the net.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Barton (Atangana 79), Doyle (c); Boco (Chaplin 71), Roberts, Bennett; Tubbs (Lavery 61)
Goals: Chaplin 77
Subs not used: Murphy, Clarke, Hollands, Naismith

Stevenage (4-1-4-1): Joronen; Franks, McCombe, Hughes (c), Okimo; Tonge; Kennedy (Lee 72), Parrett (Williams 90+1), Pett, Akinyemi (Conlon 57); Gnanduillet
Goals: Williams 90+3
Booked: Tonge
Subs not used: Day, Wells, Jebb, Loza

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 14,900 (133 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Oct 172015
 

League Two


 

Newport County    0

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


Matt Tubbs grabbed the only goal as Pompey maintained their excellent away record with victory at bottom club Newport.

The winner arrived in first half stoppage-time after the visitors had dominated without creating many clear-cut chances.

The game’s other big talking point was a change of officials after referee James Adcock was forced off injured.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that won at Cambridge the previous week.

Adam Webster and Kal Naismith both made their first league starts of the season, with Matt Clarke dropping to the bench and Gareth Evans starting a three-match ban.

Also among the substitutes were recent loan signing Caolan Lavery, utility man Rommy Boco and fit-again goalkeeper Brian Murphy.

Pompey made a bright start and Gary Roberts sent a fine ball across the face of goal that none of his team-mates could make a connection with.

At the other end, Webster did well to turn behind Zak Ansah’s low cross and Aaron McCarey punched clear from the resulting corner.

But the Blues soon started to dominate possession and enjoy their usual patient passing game.

Kyle Bennett created a great chance on 17 minutes when he bamboozled his man down the left and sent a delivery into the box, but Roberts’ effort was blocked by Scot Bennett.

Roberts had another chance after Pompey advanced down the middle moments later, with his chipped effort flying wide.

The home support were growing frustrated by their side’s inability to keep hold of the ball, but Newport were not really being put under too much pressure.

And Lenell John-Lewis had the ball in the back of Pompey’s net on 31 minutes, only for the goal to be disallowed for a foul on Christian Burgess in the build-up.

There was then a lengthy stoppage as Adcock limped to the sidelines and had to be replaced by fourth official Wayne Barratt.

That drew comical – and somewhat uncaring – chants of ‘You’re Not Fit To Referee’ from the amused spectators.

It led to four minutes of stoppage-time and Pompey managed to forge ahead in the second of them.

Bennett sent a fine threaded pass through to TUBBS, who clinically slotted the ball into the bottom corner to send the large travelling contingent wild with delight.


Half Time

(0 – 1)


The first action of the second half – once a qualified referee from the crowd had been sourced to take over fourth official duties – saw Scott Barrow booked for a late challenge on Tubbs.

It was a scrappy first few minutes, although both sides had the chance to score within a few seconds of each other on 53 minutes.

When Naismith won a free-kick on the edge of the box, Bennett quickly played it to Roberts, whose fierce drive was blocked.

Newport then broke quickly up the other end of the pitch and the moved ended with Mark Byrne firing inches past the post.

The hosts had another opportunity when Adam Barton conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Tommy O’Sullivan’s curling effort was comfortable for McCarey.

Cook decided the time was right for a change just before the hour mark and Naismith made way for debutant Rommy Boco.

Pompey were struggling to find any fluency, although Bennett did see a long-range drive sail narrowly wide.

Another substitution followed on 68 minutes as Danny Hollands replaced Barton in the centre of midfield.

And the Blues had a great chance to wrap the points up soon after following a great move down the left involving Bennett and Enda Stevens.

County keeper Joe Day managed to get a hand to the latter’s low cross and the ball was agonisingly out of reach for either Tubbs or Roberts to poke home.

Pompey’s final change came on 75 minutes and saw Lavery come on for his debut in place of goalscorer Tubbs.

And the closing stages passed by pretty much incident-free as the Blues secured another three-point haul on the road.

Newport (3-5-2): Day; Partridge, Bennett, Donacien; Barnum-Bobb, O’Sullivan, Byrne (c), Elito, Barrow (Rodman 65); John-Lewis (Collins 65), Ansah (Boden 59)
Booked: Barrow
Subs not used: Taylor, Holmes, Taylor, Klukowski

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Doyle (c), Barton (Hollands 68); Naismith (Boco 59), Roberts, Bennett; Tubbs (Lavery 75)
Goals: Tubbs 45+2
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Murphy, Clarke, Atangana, Chaplin

Referee: James Adcock (Wayne Barratt 40)

Attendance: 3,298 (1,087 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Oct 122015
 

Caolan Lavery

Loan : Sheffield Wednesday – Portsmouth



Pompey have signed Sheffield Wednesday striker Caolan Lavery on a three-month loan deal.

The 22-year-old – who was born in Canada, but has represented Northern Ireland up to under-21 level – will wear the number 13 shirt during his time at Fratton Park.

Lavery said: “I had offers from other places a lot closer to Sheffield and in higher divisions, but I know Paul and Leam very well.

“Their ambition is fantastic, as is the way they like football to be played and when you look at the size of this club, I couldn’t really say no.

“I’d like to be part of the success that I’m sure Pompey will have this season and I’m looking forward to getting started.

“At the age I’m at now, I need to be playing games on a regular basis and scoring goals.”

Lavery has progressed through the ranks at Sheffield Wednesday and scored six goals in 39 appearances.

He has also spent time out on loan at Southend and Plymouth prior to a spell working under Paul Cook at Chesterfield last season.

Portsmouth FC

Oct 102015
 

League Two


 

Cambridge United    1

 


 

Portsmouth    3

 


Pompey continued their impressive away record by battling from behind to claim all three points in an eventful game at Cambridge.

Robbie Simpson controversially fired the hosts ahead early on and that led to frayed tempers which boiled over at the break.

United captain Mark Roberts were dismissed following a scuffle and the Blues made good use of their numerical advantage.

They did the damage with two goals in under two minutes, with Leon Legge inadvertently beating his own keeper before Matt Tubbs fired Pompey ahead.

And it was Tubbs who netted again just before the end to make sure that the visitors returned home with a maximum haul, although Gareth Evans soured the mood slightly when he was sent off late on.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that drew with Yeovil at Fratton Park the previous week.

The hosts named Sam Beasant – son of former Pompey stopper Dave – between the sticks in their starting line-up.

And Gary Roberts tried to catch him out straight from kick-off with a shot from inside his own half that the keeper was wise to.

Aaron McCarey then had come off his line at the other end to punch clear a dangerous Cambridge cross.

But the hosts did take the lead on four minutes – although the Blues were furious that the goal was allowed to stand.

A flag was raised when Simpson raced onto Luke Berry’s pass and slotted home, but – after speaking with his assistant – referee Sebastian Stockbridge ruled in favour of the hosts.

Pompey soon settled into their usual patient passing game and a number of precise crosses were causing United problems, with Ben Davies a particular threat.

But they were unable to make that pressure count by testing Beasant, who had no more than a couple of half-chances from distance to deal with.

The cheers from the travelling supporters were instead of the ironic variety whenever an offside decision went their way.

Roberts was doing his best to find a way through and also tried his luck with a 35-yard pile-driver that fizzed over the crossbar.

He created a promising opportunity by dispossessing Elliot Omozusi on 32 minutes, only for Evans to waste it by firing wildly across the face of goal.

But there were to be no more major moments of drama until after the half-time whistle was blown.

A scuffle then broke out between the two teams and assistant manager Leam Richardson came onto the pitch to usher his players away and down the tunnel.

In the melee, Cambridge skipper Roberts pushed McCarey to the ground and was sent off by Stockbridge, while Richardson was ordered to watch the rest of the game from the stands.


Half Time

(1 – 0)


It was the 10-man hosts who were first to threaten when the game restarted and McCarey was down quickly to smother Ryan Donaldson’s effort.

Pompey immediately had a chance down at the other end, but Kyle Bennett could not guide Enda Stevens’ cross on target.

Cambridge were sitting increasingly deeper as the Blues tried to find a way through and Bennett forced a decent stop from Beasant just past the hour mark.

Cook made his first switch on 66 minutes and it was certainly an unusual move, with Adam Webster replacing Matt Clarke and Burgess moving up front.

And, within the space of just a few seconds, Pompey had scored twice to turn the game completely on its head.

The first came when United defender LEGGE, under pressure from Tubbs, steered a decent Evans cross into his own net.

And the large away following were in dreamland moments later, as TUBBS showed his poacher’s instinct to convert Roberts’ pass from close range.

Burgess immediately dropped back into defence and a second substitution followed on 75 minutes, with Kal Naismith replacing Bennett.

Pompey did not have too much to deal with at the other end as they looked to see out the rest of the game.

And they even managed to grab a third goal in fortunate fashion late on, with a clearance hitting Naismith and rebounding off the bar for TUBBS to head home.

The only sour note was a stoppage-time dismissal for Evans, who was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Omozusi.

Cambridge (4-4-2): Beasant; Omozusi, Legge, Roberts (c), Demetriou; Donaldson (Newton 73), Berry, Hughes, Dunk (Morrissey 83); Corr, Simpson (Taft 46)
Goals: Simpson 4
Sent off: Roberts
Booked: Corr, Newton
Subs not used: Taylor, Hughes, Gaffney, Akintunde

Pompey (4-2-3-1): McCarey; Davies, Burgess, Clarke (Webster 65), Stevens; Barton (Atangana 89), Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts, Bennett (Naismith 75); Tubbs
Goals: Legge 67 (og), Tubbs 68, 87
Sent off: Evans
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Haunstrup, Hollands, Chaplin

Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge

Attendance: 6,607 (1,866 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC