Mar 182017
 
League 2
Stevenage 3 – 0 Portsmouth

 

An afternoon to forget for Blues

Pompey’s promotion charge received a set-back as they collapsed to defeat at Stevenage.

Despite hitting the woodwork twice, goals from Jack King and Matt Godden meant they deservedly trailed at the break.

Jobi McAnuff then wrapped things up in the opening seconds of the second half, while a red card for Christian Burgess and missed Conor Chaplin penalty served to perfectly sum up the Blues’ afternoon.

Paul Cook made two enforced changes from the side that beat Grimsby on home soil earlier in the week.

Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith both went off injured against the Mariners, so in came Tom Davies and Noel Hunt in a switch to a 3-5-2 system.

The visitors won an early corner and Carl Baker’s delivery was headed clear, with Davies receiving a bloody nose that forced him to change into a numberless shirt.

Enda Stevens then cut the ball across the face of goal and Gareth Evans charged in to send a fierce shot thudding against the crossbar.

But it was the hosts who then started to take control and they almost broke the deadlock on 12 minutes.

David Forde dived to his right to palm clear Steven Schumacher’s well-struck free-kick and then keep out Josh McQuoid’s follow-up.

The ball again fell to McQuoid, though, and his effort had to be hacked from the line by Matt Clarke, with referee Michael Salisbury ignoring pleas from the home fans that it had crossed.

But it was only a brief respite for the Blues and when an ambitious attempt from former Fratton trainee Luke Wilkinson cannoned back off the crossbar, the ball fell kindly for King to nod home.

Pompey tried to hit back and when Stevens’ cut-back evaded both Baker and Eoin Doyle, a shot from Evans flew wildly out of the ground.

Boro were looking full of vigour, however, and after Tom Pett surged through the centre, his strike had to be saved by Forde.

And they did double their advantage on 28 minutes when McAnuff found Godden in acres of space at the back post to fire into the net.

That finally seemed to spark Pompey into life and they did finish the first half strongly, without being able to find a goal.

Baker went closest with a fine free-kick that struck the underside of the bar and hit Stevenage keeper Chris Day, only to ricochet to safety.

Another Baker set-piece on 37 minutes then just evaded the leaping Davies and landed safely into Day’s arms.

Half Time: Stevenage 2 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey would have wanted to build on that positive play just before the interval, but instead found themselves further behind within seconds of the restart.

Godden took advantage of some dithering defending to barge into a shooting position and although Forde did well to deny him, the keeper was powerless to prevent McAnuff from converting the loose ball.

The Blues tried desperately to find a route back into the contest, although their hurried play led to some sloppy moments.

They had a chance to reduce the deficit when Baker’s corner hit a defender in a crowded box and flew narrowly past the post.

But Stevenage were still looking a real threat on the counter-attack and when McAnuff picked out Godden, Davies had to get a block in.

Cook made a double substitution on 64 minutes, with Nicke Kabamba – making his senior debut – and Gary Roberts replacing Hunt and Baker.

A low delivery by Stevens then had to be cut out before it leave the lurking Eoin Doyle with a simple tap-in.

Chaplin came on for Eoin Doyle as Cook made his final throw of the dice, but the afternoon soon got worse for the Blues.

Burgess was booked for a foul and having already been carded for an earlier indiscretion, he received his marching orders.

But there was still time for more misfortune to befall Pompey as they missed an excellent opportunity to grab a consolation.

A penalty was awarded when Fraser Franks tripped Chaplin in the box, but the substitute hit his penalty down the middle and straight into Day’s arms.

That failed to dampen the noise emanating from the away end, though, as the Pompey fans kept cheering on their side despite a disappointing display.

Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Day; Franks, Wilkinson, King (c), Ntlhe (Gorman 74); Pett, Lee; McQuoid (Hinds 67), Schumacher, McAnuff (Loft 88); Godden
Goals: King 16, Godden 28, McAnuff 46
Booked: Wilkinson, Pett, Gorman, Franks
Subs not used: Preston, Johnson, Tonge, McKee

Pompey (3-5-2): Forde; T.Davies, Burgess, Clarke; Evans, Baker (Roberts 64), M.Doyle (c), Rose, Stevens; Hunt (Kabamba 64), E.Doyle (Chaplin 73)
Sent off: Burgess (two yellow cards)
Booked: Stevens, Baker
Subs not used: O’Brien, Talbot, Linganzi, Lowe

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 4,185 (1,390 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC
Nov 262016
 
League 2
Portsmouth 1 – 2 Stevenage

 

Blues suffer home defeat

Pompey were brought back down to earth with a bump after losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage.

The visitors seemed content to leave Fratton Park with a point as they soaked up pressure from the Blues.

But Steven Schumacher and Matt Godden both struck in quick succession after the break to leave the home fans stunned.

Michael Smith’s third goal in as many games restored some hope, but Pompey were unable to find a leveller.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same side that won at Luton earlier in the week.

That meant Conor Chaplin had to be content with a place on the bench after returning from suspension, with Smith keeping his place up front.

Pompey made a bright start and a fine cross from Kyle Bennett was just out of reach for Smith running in at the far post.

Bennett went even closer on eight minutes with an effort from the edge of the box that cannoned back off the post.

It was not a half full of clear-cut chances, however, with a solid Boro back-line making it difficult for the Blues to find a way through.

The hosts also had to deal with some rather physical defending and Smith in particular found his shirt being tugged whenever he tried to get on the end of a pass.

But the striker did find some space down the left on 24 minutes, cutting inside and seeing a shot blocked, with Gareth Evans’ follow-up then deflected over.

There was not too much for David Forde to deal with at the other end and when Godden volleyed narrowly wide of the post, the linesman had already raised his flag for offside.

It was still Pompey looking the more likely to break the deadlock, but when Gary Roberts met Carl Baker’s cross he could not get enough power behind his header to test Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Stevenage 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

There was a surprise at the start of the second half, with Jack Whatmough and Amine Linganzi replacing Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle in a double switch.

It was the Blues who were first to threaten after a ragged opening when Bennett cut in from the left and stung Jones’ fingertips with a fierce shot.

But there was none of the passing fluency that was evident before the break, with the hosts guilty of some sloppy play.

Stevenage were still lacking in ambition, but a foul from Matt Clarke led to Schumacher curling a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

Cook made his last throw of the dice on 68 minutes, trying to inject a fresh attacking impetus by replacing Bennett with Chaplin.

The striker soon had a chance to break the deadlock, but fired over from close range following good work from Smith and Roberts.

But instead it was the visitors who scored against the run of play on 71 minutes, when Pompey failed to clear their lines and Schumacher slotted home.

That proved to be the midfielder’s final kick of the game as he was replaced by Charlie Lee before the game resumed.

It soon got even worse for the Blues, however, as Stevenage regained possession from a miscued Forde clearance and Godden slid the ball through the keeper’s legs.

But some hope was restored 10 minutes from the end when a cross from Evans missed Chaplin, but was lashed home by SMITH at the far post.

Pompey poured forward in search of an equaliser and Roberts hit a low effort narrowly wide on 89 minutes.

But Boro got plenty of men behind the ball to frustrate the Blues and when Whatmough headed against the post in stoppage-time it proved to be the last chance to salvage a point.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess (Whatmough 46), Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c) (Linganzi 46); Baker, Roberts, Bennett (Chaplin 68); Smith
Goals: Smith 80
Booked: Clarke, Evans
Subs not used: O’Brien, Naismith, Lalkovic, Hunt

Stevenage (4-4-2): Jones; Henry (c), Wilkinson (Wells 46), Franks, Ntlhe; Cowans, Schumacher (Lee 72), King, Gorman (McKirdy 60); Godden, Kennedy
Goals: Schumacher 71, Godden 75
Booked: Gorman, Wilkinson, King
Subs not used: Day, McAnuff, Tonge, Pett

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 15,987 (277 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Mar 052016
 

Stevenage 0 v 2 Portsmouth

Marc McNulty and Kal Naismith were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways at Stevenage.

Gary Roberts teed-up McNulty to open the scoring midway through the first half and send the large travelling support wild with delight.

And Naismith then came off the bench to double their advantage and secure a maximum haul of points at the Lamex Stadium.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that drew at Exeter earlier in the week.

A fit-again Roberts was thrown straight into the starting line-up following a hamstring injury, while Gareth Evans also returned.

Conor Chaplin and Naismith both dropped to the bench, where they were joined by Michael Smith, who had recovered from a calf problem.

Pompey started the game with plenty of attacking impetus and Evans was inches away from meeting an excellent Ben Davies delivery after just three minutes.

Roberts was then unable to force the ball home after Stevenage stopper Jamie Jones had flapped at another cross from the marauding right-back.

And Roberts had another chance soon after, but his long-range effort was comfortably kept out by Jones.

The Blues were dominating the opening exchanges, but Boro came close to forging ahead on 19 minutes after winning a series of corners.

The last of them fell to Michael Tonge inside the box, with the midfielder hooking the ball over his head, but also over the crossbar.

Pompey were soon back down the other end of the pitch and period of extended pressure ended with Evans having an effort blocked.

But they did break the deadlock on 22 minutes after Roberts did well to steal possession in the middle of the pitch.

He slid a precise pass through to McNULTY, who latched onto the ball and confidently slotted home to take his individual tally into double figures.

The game lost some of its sparkle after that, becoming a scrappy affair that was punctuated by plenty of free-kicks.

Tom Conlon glanced a header narrowly wide for the hosts, while Lee Cox was unable to find the target from the edge of the box.

But the Blues ended the half on a high and Evans sent a low drive rolling inches past the post before Roberts headed wide from an Enda Stevens cross.

Half Time: Stevenage 0 Pompey 1

Pompey survived a scare early in the second half after Christian Burgess was penalised for a foul on Conlon just outside the box.

The Stevenage midfielder picked himself up to take the free-kick and saw his curling effort tipped over by Fulton.

That aside, however, it had been fairly uneventful since the restart, with little happening to excite a flat crowd.

Roberts brought the game back to life on 58 minutes, however, when he dispossessed Ronnie Henry and surged forward.

But the angles were against the midfielder and his first effort was pushed clear by Jones, while the second flew into the side netting.

Michael Doyle was then left in space 25 yards out and Jones had to push his speculative shot over the bar.

Pompey soon received a bit of good fortune at the other end of the pitch when Byron Harrison inadvertently got in the way of Tom Pett’s goal-bound effort.

Both sides were now looking capable of adding to the scoring and Luke Wilkinson had to hack clear a low Evans shot, with McNulty waiting to pounce at the far post.

Cook made a double switch on 71 minutes as McNulty and Roberts made way for Smith and Naismith.

Stevenage were trying to push men forward in search of an equaliser, but wasted a good opportunity when Harrison and Connor Ogilvie got in each other’s way.

And Pompey made them pay for their profligacy by doubling their advantage on 82 minutes.

Kyle Bennett did well to feed a pass through to NAISMITH, who raced onto it and slammed home to open his account for the club.

There were a few nervous groans from the away end when the fourth official signalled six minutes of stoppage-time.

But – as the heavens opened in Hertfordshire – the Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to claim all three points.

Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Jones; Henry (c), Wilkinson, Franks, Ogilvie; Cox (Kennedy 60), Conlon; Pett (Parrett 80), Tonge, Hedges (Marriott 72); Harrison
Booked: Wilkinson
Subs not used: Day, Wells, Johnson, Gorman

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Fulton; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, Roberts (Naismith 71), Bennett (Freeman 85); McNulty (Smith 71)
Goals: McNulty 22, Naismith 82
Booked: McNulty
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Barton, Chaplin

Referee: Kevin Johnson

Attendance: 4,092 (1,390 Pompey 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