Jan 282016
 

Kieron Freeman

Loan : Sheffield United – Portsmouth



Pompey have signed Kieron Freeman on loan from Sheffield United for the remainder of the season.

The 23-year-old – who will wear the number 17 shirt during his time at Fratton Park – can play on the left or right side of defence.

He said: “I got the call from the gaffer and I was excited to come down here because it’s a really big club.

“I know quite a few of the boys already and that will certainly help me to settle in quickly.

“I’ve played in front of big crowds at Sheffield United before and I know that Pompey also have an impressive following.

“So I’m looking forward to getting some more games under my belt and hopefully help to get this team promoted.”

Freeman has scored twice in 43 appearances for the Blades since signing from Derby in January 2015.

The Nottingham Forest academy graduate also enjoyed a spell on loan at Bramall Lane the previous season.

Freeman has featured 22 times this term, with Sheffield United currently sitting just outside the play-off places in League One.

He appeared – and scored – in their FA Cup first round victory over Worcester, so is cup-tied for this weekend’s clash with Bournemouth.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 232016
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Oxford United    1

 


Pompey lost ground on the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 home defeat to Oxford.

Jordan Bowery came off the bench to score the only goal of the game late on at a packed Fratton Park.

Goalkeeper Ryan Fulton had earlier conceded and then saved a penalty in a memorable debut for the teenager.

The Blues’ best chance came before the break when Marc McNulty’s effort was cleared off the line.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that knocked Ipswich out of the FA Cup earlier in the week.

Fulton was thrown straight into the side after completing his loan switch from Liverpool the previous day.

He replaced the injured Brian Murphy in goal, while Christian Burgess made way for Matt Clarke in defence.

Oxford, meanwhile, were without former Fratton striker Ryan Taylor, with ex-Pompey boss Michael Appleton moving top scorer Kemar Roofe up front.

The game began at a frantic pace and continued in that vein for the rest of the first half.

But the Fratton faithful were not happy with a number of decisions by Neil Swarbrick and gave the referee a standing ovation when he finally awarded their side a free-kick.

The visitors looked an attacking threat, although Fulton was not being overworked on his debut.

He did, however, have to come charging out of his box on 16 minutes to beat Danny Hylton to the ball.

Johnny Mullins and Roofe both headed over from set-pieces, while George Baldock fired a shot into the side netting.

But it was the Blues who almost broke the deadlock on 19 minutes after Gary Roberts and McNulty traded clever passes inside the box.

The latter then controlled the ball neatly before firing in a shot that Jake Wright had to clear from the line.

Kyle Bennett also came close with a 20-yard free-kick that was deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

The game was still being played at a breathtaking speed as the interval drew nearer, but the closest Oxford came to a goal was when Liam Sercombe drilled wide.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Oxford United 0


The pace did not let up following the restart and United were given a chance to forge ahead on 51 minutes.

Hylton burst into the box and Fulton caught the striker as he tried to beat him to the ball, with Swarbrick immediately pointing to the spot.

But the keeper went from villain to hero, diving to his right to save Sercombe’s penalty and then brilliantly recovering to stop him converting the loose ball.

Cook made his first substitution soon after, with Adam Barton making way for Ben Close in midfield.

Pompey then won a couple of corners, with Ben Davies’ delivery for the second just too high for Adam Webster at the far post.

Cook injected a fresh attacking impetus into his side on 63 minutes, as Adam McGurk came on for Roberts.

It was Close who lined up a long-range drive moments later, however, only to see his shot blocked before it could reach the goal.

The Blues were now on top, but Roofe caused concern at the other end when he swung in a free-kick from wide on the left that somehow evaded everyone on its way out of play.

And it was Oxford who took the lead on 76 minutes when Bowery collected Wright’s long ball forward and guided a shot into the bottom corner.

Cook made one last throw of the dice by bringing on Conor Chaplin in place of McNulty in Pompey’s attack.

But it was McGurk who came closest to grabbing an equaliser, only to guide his header straight into the arms of United keeper Sam Slocombe.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Barton (Close 54), Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (McGurk 63), Bennett; McNulty (Chaplin 82)
Subs not used: Jones, Burgess, Tollitt, Naismith

Oxford (4-4-2): Slocombe; Baldock, Mullins, Wright (c), Skarz; MacDonald (Bowery 69), Lundstram, Sercombe, O’Dowda (Evans 82); Hylton (Hoban 88), Roofe
Goals: Bowery 76
Booked: Mullins
Subs not used: Buchel, Long, Dunkley, Ruffels

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Attendance: 17,840 (2,047 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 222016
 

Nicke Kabamba

Loan : Liverpool – Portsmouth



Portsmouth have sealed a youth loan deal for the Liverpool keeper, who has arrived until the end of the season.

Fulton will go straight into the first-team picture for the promotion battle with Oxford United.

The 19-year-old has yet to make a senior Liverpool appearance, but the Scottish under-21 international is highly regarded at Anfield.

Cook explained he is still looking to do business with recruits and add quality to his ranks.

He said: ‘We want to make our team better.

‘We have money, so I believe. I read it in The News! That’s how me, Mark Catlin and Tony Brown speak!

‘It’s going well. The supporters can be happy in the fact the club has come a long way.

‘The cup runs and full houses add to what is a club moving forward.

‘When we go into the market we are bringing in players who improve us.

‘The club has put itself in that position and we are all happy to be there.

‘We have to look ahead now irrespective of where we are or where we think we’ll be looking ahead.

‘In the end, if you have good players you will end up where you want to be.

‘The foundations are strong.

‘What are foundations? They are something which make you better in the future.

That’s what we’re trying to do.’

Portsmouth FC

Jan 202016
 

Nigel Atangana

Transfer : Portsmouth – Leyton Orient



Nigel Atangana has joined Leyton Orient for an undisclosed fee.

Orient, Crawley and Ebbsfleet were among a number of clubs trailing the out-of-favour midfielder.

But Atangana yesterday opted for the League Two side following the agreement of a transfer fee with Pompey.

The 26-year-old had already been told by Paul Cook there will be no new deal when his existing contract expires at the season’s end – now he has bid farewell to Fratton Park.

The Frenchman’s last appearance was as a substitute at Carlisle in November and since has seen Danny Hollands, Ben Close and Adam Barton preferred as one of the two holding midfielders.

With Paul Cook keen to reduce his sizeable squad this month, Atangana had been a prime candidate to depart, alongside Matt Tubbs.

A broken leg for Hollands at Ipswich earlier this month potentially opened the door for the Frenchman, while Michael Doyle has played through injury.

As a result, Atangana travelled with the team to Accrington Stanley last weekend with the possibility of being named on the bench.

Instead the game was called off because of a frozen pitch.

On Tuesday night against Ipswich, Barton partnered Doyle in midfield, with Close on the bench – yet there was no Atangana once again in the squad, albeit with his Orient move imminent.

It means he was named only once in Pompey’s last 10 squads, despite being available.

Yet he started the first eight league matches of the Cook era before falling away from the side.

Atangana joined Pompey from the Hawks for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2014, going on to make 48 appearances and score once.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 192016
 

Match Report

FA Cup 3rd Round (Replay)


 

Portsmouth    2

 


 

Ipswich Town    1

 


Pompey set up a fourth round clash with Premier League side Bournemouth in the Emirates FA Cup after beating Ipswich at Fratton Park.

They dominated their higher-ranked opponents from the start and Gary Roberts broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

Marc McNulty doubled the advantage before the break and arguably should have finished the tie with a hat-trick.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles reduced the deficit with a fine second half strike, although Piotr Malarczyk’s red card dented the Tractor Boys’ hopes of finding an equaliser.

Paul Cook made three changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Portman Road 10 days earlier.

Christian Burgess returned from an ankle injury to take his place in defence, meaning that Adam Barton switched to a more familiar midfield role.

There were also starts for skipper Michael Doyle and Gareth Evans, with Adam McGurk and Ben Close dropping to the bench.

Former Pompey forward Luke Varney once again led the line for Mick McCarthy’s Championship visitors.

The hosts soon took control of the tie and Kyle Bennett had an early opportunity, but could not force the ball home from a tight angle.

There was a rare opportunity at the other end on four minutes when Doyle’s header was intercepted by Brett Pitman, who sent a shot looping onto the roof of the net.

But the Blues were quickly back on the attack and Roberts hit a free-kick into the wall after Malarczyk had been booked for a foul on McNulty.

Josh Emmanuel then did well to get ahead of Evans and stop the winger from converting a dangerous cross from Ben Davies.

It was Evans who started a fine attacking move for Pompey on 30 minutes when he stole possession in the centre of the pitch.

He fed Barton, who in turn found McNulty, but Bartosz Bialkowski raced off his line to deny the striker.

The home support did not have to wait much longer to celebrate an opening goal, however.

Referee Andy Woolmer pointed to the spot when Malarczyk brought down Roberts in the box, although he opted not to show the Polish defender a second yellow card.

ROBERTS picked himself up to take the penalty and although Bialkowski got a hand to it, the keeper could not prevent the ball spinning into the net.

And the Fratton faithful were in dreamland a few minutes later, when the dominant Blues doubled their advantage.

Evans stood up a fine cross from wide on the right and McNULTY rose to head the ball home at the far post.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Ipswich Town 0


It was probably to be expected that the visitors would come out with renewed vigour after the interval.

But instead Pompey continued to play with confidence and they should have gone further ahead on 50 minutes.

Evans sent McNulty through on goal, but Bialkowski again came to Ipswich’s rescue with a fine save, while the loose ball was hooked over the line.

The Blues kept pushing forward and had another opportunity when Bennett was brought down by Josh Emmanuel just outside the box.

Roberts laid the ball off for the hovering Doyle, who hit a ferocious effort that fizzed narrowly past the post.

Pompey were also looking composed at the other end of the pitch and when Tommy Oar delivered a dangerous cross, Adam Webster calmly chested it down for Brian Murphy to collect.

But, out of nowhere, the Tractor Boys suddenly found themselves back in the tie on the hour mark.

It was a stunning 20-yard strike from on-loan Arsenal winger Maitland-Niles that flew into the top corner leaving Murphy with no chance.

Pompey immediately tried to restore their two-goal lead and Bennett was inches away from connecting with McNulty’s ball.

The chances were starting to fade as the half progressed, although Ipswich had an opening when Varney brought down a long goal-kick, only for Pitman to blaze over.

Their hopes of forcing extra-time received a blow on 77 minutes when Malarczyk brought down Roberts and was sent off for a second bookable offence.

And Pompey comfortably saw out the closing stages to book a fourth round date with the Cherries at the end of the month.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess (Close 85), Webster, Stevens; Barton, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (Chaplin 82), Bennett; McNulty
Goals: Roberts 32 (pen), McNulty 37
Subs not used: Bass, May, Tollitt, Naismith, McGurk

Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Emmanuel, Malarczyk, Digby, Kenlock; Maitland-Niles (Robinson 89), Hyam (c), Tabb (Coke 71), Oar; Varney (Toure 76), Pitman
Goals: Maitland-Niles 60
Sent off: Malarczyk (two yellow cards)
Subs not used: Gerken, Hammond, McDonnell, McLoughlin

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 15,179 (796 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 142016
 

James Dunne

Mutual Consent



James Dunne has left Pompey by mutual consent.

The 26-year-old midfielder – who has spent the past two months on loan at Dagenham – has now signed for Cambridge.

He joined the Blues in the summer of 2014 and scored one goal in 39 appearances during his time at Fratton Park.

But his only game this season was as a late substitute in the Capital One Cup defeat to Reading.


Portsmouth FC

Jan 092016
 

Match Report

FA Cup – 3rd Round


 

Ipswich Town    2

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Pompey will take their place in the fourth round draw for the Emirates FA Cup following a 2-2 draw at Portman Road.

They were totally on top against their Championship opponents in the opening 45 minutes and carved open a number of chances.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through Tommy Oar early in the second half.

The Blues hit back, though, and Kyle Bennett levelled before substitute Conor Chaplin’s strike looked to have secured a cup upset.

But there was still time for Ryan Fraser to grab a late leveller and ensure that the sides will have to do it all again at Fratton Park.

Paul Cook made four changes from the side that beat Crawley in the league the previous week.

Gary Roberts was handed his first start for more than two months and wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Michael Doyle.

Matt Clarke was unable to feature against his parent club, so Adam Barton was once again used as a makeshift defender.

There were also starts for Adam McGurk and Ben Close, with Caolan Lavery ineligible and Gareth Evans dropping to the bench.

Former Pompey striker Luke Varney started for the hosts, while Roberts and Brian Murphy were both featuring against their former club.

The visitors might play their league football two divisions below the Tractor Boys, but they were certainly not over-award.

It was the Blues who dominated from the start and it took a vital block from Paul Digby to deny Marc McNulty in the opening stages.

McGurk then climbed above his marker to reach Roberts’ cross at the far post, only to see his header deflected wide.

Ipswich were struggling to see much of the ball and their supporters grew increasingly frustrated as the first half progressed.

Roberts should have done better when he connected with Enda Stevens’ cross on 20 minutes, but could only guide the ball over the bar.

The large travelling support were enjoying themselves, chanting ‘ole’ with every completed pass.

One such period of play ended with Barton sending McNulty clear, but Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly down to his right to palm clear the striker’s low drive.

The keeper was called into action again moments later, this time doing well to keep out a Bennett snap-shot from the edge of the box.

Ipswich finally threatened with a counter-attacking move just before the break, but Barton kept his composure to cut out Oar’s through ball.


Half Time

Ipswich Town 0

Portsmouth 0


The hosts, unsurprisingly, looked sharper at the start of the second half – no doubt following a few harsh words from Mick McCarthy.

And they forged ahead on 53 minutes when Ben Davies was unable to keep out Oar’s effort on the line after Murphy had done well to keep out an initial shot from Brett Pitman.

If the home support thought that would trigger a landslide, though, they were to be disappointed.

Not even two minutes had passed when Pompey deservedly drew level, as Roberts and McNulty combined to tee-up BENNETT for a cool finish into the bottom corner.

And they almost forged ahead on 65 minutes, with Bialkowski only just keeping out McNulty’s fierce strike at the near post.

The game was certainly an open affair by now, as both sides sought to avoid a replay by finding a second goal.

Cook made his first change on 74 minutes, withdrawing Close and handing Adam May just a third senior appearance.

And a second switch soon followed as the tiring Roberts made way for Chaplin in Pompey’s forward line.

The Blues were then forced into making a final change on 81 minutes when Danny Hollands picked up a knock and was replaced by Brandon Haunstrup.

Ipswich came close to grabbing a late winner moments later, with Fraser only able to find the side netting from a tight angle.

But it was the Blues who were celebrating on 86 minutes when CHAPLIN collected the ball 20 yards out and steered a precise shot right into the bottom corner.

There was still time for the hosts to hit back, though, as Fraser swung a free-kick straight into the net from wide on the left.

Five minutes of stoppage-time meant that both sides still had the chance to increase the scoring, but an exciting game was not able to deliver one last twist.

Ipswich (4-4-2): Bialkowski; Chambers (c), Malarczyk, Digby (Smith 63), Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Fraser 58), Skuse, Hyam, Oar; Pitman, Varney (Sears 74)
Goals: Oar 53, Fraser 88
Booked: Skuse
Subs not used: Gerken, Bru, Tabb, Kenlock

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Webster, Stevens; Close (May 74), Hollands (Haunstrup 81); Roberts (c) (Chaplin 78), McNulty, Bennett; McGurk
Goals: Bennett 55, Chaplin 86
Booked: Barton
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Evans

Referee: David Coote

Attendance: 17,020 (2,494 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Jan 022016
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    3

 


 

Crawley Town    0

 


Pompey got 2016 off to an excellent start with a convincing victory over Crawley at Fratton Park.

A couple of loanees ensured they had a two-goal advantage at the break, with Matt Clarke heading the opener before Marc McNulty doubled the advantage.

The Blues dominated for most of the afternoon and got a deserved third when Gary Roberts found the target following excellent work from fellow substitute Ben Tollitt.

Paul Cook made one change from the side that drew with Luton five days earlier.

Adam Webster returned from suspension to take his place in the centre of defence, with Adam Barton dropping to the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey keeper Pavel Srnicek, who sadly passed away before Christmas at the age of just 47.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the opposition line-up, with Darryl Flahavan and Sonny Bradley both starting for the Reds.

The hosts made a bright start and Caolan Lavery could not quite guide Ben Davies’ cross on target with a diving header.

Enda Stevens then delivered a dangerous low centre from the left that Bradley was forced to clear behind.

And the Blues broke the deadlock from the resulting corner, with CLARKE rising highest in the box to guide home Davies’ cross on 13 minutes.

McNulty tried to double the advantage moments later, but sent an angled effort whizzing past the post.

Pompey were totally on top and Kyle Bennett saw his strike blocked after meeting Lavery’s cut-back, while Danny Hollands blazed the loose ball over.

Clarke then met another corner from Davies, although this time his radar was off and the ball flew wide.

Lavery thought he should have been awarded a penalty midway through the first half after tangling with Lewis Young, but referee Dean Whitestone was not quite so convinced.

Stevens was providing a real threat down the left and twice saw low crosses somehow evade his team-mates.

But it proved to be third time lucky on 26 minutes when the left-back picked out McNULTY, who took a touch before sliding the ball past Flahavan.

Crawley were struggling to keep the Blues at bay and it took brave blocks from Young and Bradley to keep out goal-bound efforts from McNulty and Bennett respectively.

The visitors finally carved out an opening on 39 minutes, but after beating Clarke, Roarie Deacon hit his shot straight at Brian Murphy.

Bennett then made a vital challenge to dispossess Luke Rooney on the edge of the box, while Simon Walton hit a long-range free-kick safely into Murphy’s arms.

But most of the action was still happening at the other end of the pitch and Flahavan did well to keep out a strike from Bennett that took a heavy deflection off Jon Ashton.

Then, in stoppage-time, an unmarked Gareth Evans somehow failed to connect with Davies’ cross from just a few yards out.


Half Time

Portsmouth 2

Crawley Town 0


Pompey picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Stevens drilled a low shot narrowly wide.

Bennett was next to go close, cutting inside and sending a fierce effort fizzing inches over from the edge of the box.

But the visitors came close to reducing the deficit just past the hour mark, when Davies conceded a free-kick that Gwion Edwards curled against the crossbar.

Crawley were then thankful to Young, who prevented them from falling further behind when he cleared Lavery’s bullet header off the line.

Cook made a double substitution on 67 minutes, with McNulty and Evans making way for Roberts and Tollitt.

Lavery then had a chance to extend the hosts’ advantage when he met a cross from Tollitt, only to send his header sneaking past the far post.

Pompey were not having much to deal with at the other end, although Matt Harrold should at least have found the target when he collected Young’s pass.

And the hosts wrapped up a comfortable victory on 83 minutes after their two substitutes combined to devastating effect.

Tollitt picked the ball up from a Crawley corner and surged almost the full length of the pitch before teeing-up ROBERTS for a cool finish.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans (Tollitt 67), McNulty (Roberts 67), Bennett; Lavery (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Clarke 13, McNulty 26, Roberts 83
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: Bass, Barton, Atangana, McGurk

Crawley (4-1-4-1): Flahavan; Young, Yorwerth (Ashton 23), Bradley (c), Hancox; Walton; Deacon, Rooney (Tomlin 77), Smith (Emmanuel 46), Edwards; Harrold
Booked: Walton
Subs not used: Preston, Bawling, Jenkins, Fenelon

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 16,606 (567 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 292015
 

Former Portsmouth goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek has died following a cardiac arrest.

The 47-year-old had been in an induced coma in the Czech Republic since collapsing while out jogging on December 20.

His agent, Steve Wraith, said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness that I have to announce the passing of former player Pavel Srnicek.”

Srnicek made 150 appearances for Newcastle between 1991 and 1998 and went on to have spells with Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and West Ham before returning to St James’ Park in 2006.

His release the following year brought an end to his playing career but he remained in the game and was working as goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague when he collapsed.

The statement continued: “Pavel suffered a cardiac arrest before the Christmas period in his home country and had been in an induced coma in hospital with his close family around his bedside.

“Despite the best medical attention the final brain scans on Monday showed irreversible damage and the decision had to be taken to switch off the life support machine. Pav passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 29 2015 with his family by his side.

“Pavel, the goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague, had recently been on a whistle-stop tour of Tyneside to promote his autobiography, ‘Pavel Is A Geordie’, something that he was very proud of.

“My final conversation with him was about getting the entertainers team back together one more time for charity next year as it will be 20 years since that Newcastle team almost won the Premier League.

“We will make that happen and celebrate this great man’s life together.”

Tributes quickly began to pour in for Srnicek, one of Newcastle’s best loved recent characters.

Alan Shearer wrote on Twitter: “So very, very sad to lose my friend and former teammate @PavelSrnicekUK My thoughts are with his family at this awful time. #NUFC #RIPPavel”

Fellow goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel said: “It is with incredible sadness that I’ve have learned that Pavel Srnicek has died. A gentleman and a great sportsman. RIP my friend”

Newcastle fans sang their support for Srnicek during the Boxing Day clash with Everton at the request of the Czech’s family.

The club announced the news on their Twitter feed, saying: “It is with immense sadness that we confirm the passing of former #NUFC goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek today.

“Our deepest condolences go to Pavel’s family, many friends, former colleagues and supporters at this very difficult time.”

Long-serving former Toon keeper Steve Harper was a team-mate of Srnicek and he wrote: “A truly beautiful soul has left this world far too early!! Thank you so much for everything you did for me Pav.”

Srnicek was born in Ostrava, beginning his senior career with Banik Ostrava, and he was capped 49 times by the Czech Republic.

In a tribute to Srnicek on their website, Sparta Prague said: “We will never forget you, Pavel!”


Portsmouth FC

Dec 282015
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

Luton Town    0

 


Pompey were unable to break down Luton and had to settle for a point in their final game of 2015.

It was the hosts who had the better chances to earn a victory, but they found Hatters keeper Mark Tyler in decent form.

The result ensured that the Blues finished the year just outside of the automatic promotion places in League Two.

Paul Cook made one enforced change from the side beaten at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day.

Adam Webster served a one-match ban following his red card, so midfielder Adam Barton replaced him at centre-back.

Pompey Hall of Fame inductee Andy Awford was in the opposition dug-out and he handed a start to former Fratton loanee Paul Benson.

The hosts started brightly and Ben Davies hit a free-kick that was deflected safely into the arms of Tyler.

Marc McNulty then fired over from an acute angle after collecting a precise pass from Enda Stevens.

The Scottish striker went even closer midway through the first half, but Tyler got down quickly to push the ball clear.

Luton almost capitalised on a defensive mix-up, but Stevens came to the rescue, getting across to clear the danger.

And the left-back immediately created an opening at the other end of the pitch, with McNulty just unable to connect with a low cross as he slid in at the far post.

Kyle Bennett was next to go close when he cut across the edge of the box and struck a fierce effort that Tyler did well to keep out.

The keeper then made an even better stop moments later to prevent McNulty from breaking the deadlock.

There was a comedy moment late in the half when Davies hit a free-kick narrowly past the post.

Plenty of fans thought it had gone in and so did the announcer, who declared a goal, resulting in plenty of laughter around Fratton Park.


Half Time

Portsmouth 0

Luton Town 0


It was Luton who came close to scoring early in the second half, but Brian Murphy raced from his line to deny Jack Marriott before pouncing at the feet of Ryan Hall to claim the loose ball.

But the action was soon back down the other end, with Bennett surging forward and seeing his shot deflected wide.

Davies sent a corner in to the near post and Michael Doyle met it with a diving header that flew narrowly over.

The right-back delivered another dangerous corner on 58 minutes, but this time Matt Clarke’s firm header flew safely into Tyler’s arms.

Cook made his first change just past the hour mark, with Gary Roberts replacing Caolan Lavery in Pompey’s attack.

But it was Luton who were next to threaten, although Magnus Okuonghae and Craig Mackail-Smith both wasted good opportunities.

Pompey were soon back on the attack and Tyler did well to deny Evans and Roberts in quick succession, having not spotted the linesman’s raised flag.

Adam McGurk entered the fray on 77 minutes as Cook made his second switch, with McNulty the man to make way.

The chances had dried up, however, and Conor Chaplin came on for the closing stages to try to inject some life back into the Blues.

But it was Clarke who had a great chance to grab the winner in stoppage-time, only for the unmarked defender to head wide from close range.

And the Hatters held firm for the final few minutes to ensure it was honours even on Awford’s return to Fratton Park.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Barton, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (McGurk 77), Bennett (Chaplin 87); Lavery (Roberts 64)
Booked: Doyle
Subs not used: Bass, Close, Tollitt, Stockley

Luton (4-2-3-1): Tyler; O’Donnell, Cuthbert (c), Okuonghae, Howells; Lawless (Long 78), Smith; McQuoid (McGeehan 63), Marriott (Mackail-Smith 69), Hall; Benson
Booked: Lawless, Okuonghae, O’Donnell
Subs not used: Justham, Wilkinson, Guttridge, McCourt

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 17,668 (1,556 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 262015
 

Match Report

League Two


 

Leyton Orient    3

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


Pompey were unable to break into the automatic promotion places after losing at Leyton Orient in a bruising Boxing Day clash.

They took an early lead through Connor Essam’s own-goal, but the tide turned when Adam Webster was sent off and Jay Simpson scored the resulting penalty.

Ollie Palmer then added two more for the hosts, who had skipper Mathieu Baudry dismissed in between.

Gareth Evans reduced the deficit to spark hopes of a comeback, but the Blues were unable to find a late leveller.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that won at Northampton before Christmas.

Michael Doyle was fit enough to feature after injuring his ankle, while Gary Roberts returned from more than two months on the sidelines to take his place among the substitutes.

The hosts selected former Fratton loanees Alex Cisak and Cole Kpekawa in their line-up, with John Marquis on the bench.

Pompey made a storming start and Caolan Lavery’s persistence almost paid off in the opening seconds as he tried to chase down Cisak’s clearance.

But the Blues did break the deadlock on four minutes when Evans failed to get a decent connection on Kyle Bennett’s cross and the ball ricocheted off Essam and into the net.

They almost doubled their advantage soon after, but Cisak made a fine double save to first keep out Bennett’s fierce drive and then Lavery’s diving header.

Lavery was unable to make contact with the resulting corner and Webster headed wide, as the visitors continued to dominate.

But all their good work was undone midway through the first half when Webster was sent off.

The defender failed to control Danny Hollands’ heavy back-pass and then bundled over Jobi McAnuff inside the box.

Referee Graham Horwood immediately pointed to the spot and brandished a red card, while League Two top scorer Simpson stepped up to convert the penalty.

With no recognised defender on the bench, Adam Barton was brought on to partner Matt Clarke at the back, with Marc McNulty the man to make way.

The dismissal also impacted on Pompey’s ability to play their normal pressing, passing game and they were under the cosh for the rest of the half.

Brian Murphy prevented them from falling immediately behind when he dived to his left to palm away McAnuff’s strike.

Palmer then spun neatly and cut inside from the right before hitting a tame effort straight into the keeper’s arms.

And the Blues also survived late in the half when a Kpekawa free-kick led to the ball pinging around their area.

But they did fall behind deep into stoppage-time, with Palmer finding it far too easy to convert a hopeful cross from Kpekawa.


Half Time

Leyton Orient 2

Portsmouth 1


Pompey appeared destined for defeat at the break, but there was a spark of hope when Leyton Orient were also reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

Baudry did not react well to a challenge on him by Doyle, lashing out at the Blues skipper and then receiving his marching orders.

The visiting fans were not celebrating for too long, however, as from Sean Clohessy’s free-kick, Palmer arrived at the far post to head into the bottom corner.

Pompey were not too far away from reducing the deficit on 55 minutes, with Barton’s cross agonisingly out of reach for Hollands.

Evans then met Ben Davies’ corner and the ball was heading for the top corner until Cisak got across to pluck it from the air.

The hosts had an opportunity on 66 minutes when Simpson cut inside from the right, but his weak effort was comfortably claimed by Murphy.

And the Blues then went straight up the other end of the pitch to reduce their deficit.

Bennett was the architect, turning Jack Payne and then playing a magnificent pass through to EVANS, who calmly slotted the ball past Cisak.

It almost got even better moments later, as the visitors were denied three times in the space of a few seconds.

First Jean-Yves M’Voto did well to prevent Lavery from getting a shot away and then Enda Stevens flashed a dangerous pass across goal that just evaded Bennett.

Davies picked up the loose ball on the right and hit a powerful angled drive that Cisak managed to push clear.

Cisak was again involved on 72 minutes, doing enough to deny Lavery from close-range before Evans volleyed narrowly over.

The keeper then just about beat Clarke to Davies’ corner as Pompey kept knocking on the door in search of another goal.

Roberts and Conor Chaplin were thrown on for the closing stages as Cook made one last roll of the dice.

But it was the hosts who almost scored late on when Marquis latched onto a poor back-pass from Stevens.

The Orient substitute could only find the post with his first effort, however, while Stevens recovered to clear his follow-up attempt from the line.

Pompey’s left-back then sent in a low cross that was met by Evans, but Cisak made a fine save as the Londoners saw out seven minutes of stoppage-time to claim all three points.

Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Cisak; Baudry (c), M’Voto, Essam, Kpekawa; Clohessy, Pritchard, Payne, McAnuff (Turgott 88); Palmer (Marquis 82), Simpson (Shaw 72)
Goals: Simpson 23 (pen), Palmer 45+1, 52
Sent off: Baudry
Booked: Essam, Palmer, Pritchard, Shaw
Subs not used: Grainger, Dunne, Kashket, Moncur

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens; Hollands (Roberts 87), Doyle (c); Evans, McNulty (Barton 24), Bennett (Chaplin 87); Lavery
Goals: Essam 4 (og), Evans 66
Sent off: Webster
Booked: Davies
Subs not used: Bass, Close, Tollitt, McGurk

Referee: Graham Horwood

Attendance: 5,848 (1,316 Pompey fans)


Portsmouth FC

Dec 192015
 

League Two


 

Northampton Town    1

 


 

Portsmouth    2

 


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 Town 1

Portsmouth 1


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