Feb 112017
 
League 2
Portsmouth 2 – 0 Accrington Stanley

 

Clarke and Naismith secure victory

Matt Clarke and Kal Naismith were on target as Pompey returned to winning ways by beating Accrington at Fratton Park.

The centre-back headed home in just the second minute to ensure the Blues got their promotion challenge back on track.

But the hosts probably should have wrapped things up earlier, with some missed chances ensuring the finale was more stressful than it ought to have been.

Substitute Kal Naismith finally settled those nerves in stoppage-time following a quick break up the pitch.

Paul Cook stuck with the same side that were narrowly beaten at Wycombe the previous week, meaning the Eoin Doyle made his Fratton bow.

The hosts came charging out of the blocks and Marek Rodak made a fantastic save to deny Gary Roberts after the midfielder had been slipped through by Enda Stevens.

But the Blues did break the deadlock from the resulting corner, with Roberts collecting the ball back from Eoin Doyle and whipping in a cross that CLARKE headed home to open his account for the season.

Accrington had an interesting way of trying to find an equaliser with a shot straight from the restart, but the ambitious effort flew well wide.

It was Pompey doing most of the attacking, however, and Kyle Bennett fired narrowly past the post after being afforded space to run through the centre.

The hosts were winning plenty of corners, as Stanley struggled to get the ball to safety and threaten at the other end of the pitch.

And Clarke had another chance to find the net on 20 minutes, but this time headed over from a Roberts free-kick.

The lively Jamal Lowe was next to try his luck following some neat footwork inside the area, but his deflected strike was grabbed by Rodak at the second attempt.

Stanley then finally carved open a decent opportunity of their own, only for Sean McConville to waste it by curling wide when well-placed to trouble David Forde.

It was Pompey who finished the half on a high, however, and Clarke improvised with a scooped shot that was not far off target.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Accrington 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

The Blues did not sit back at the start of the second half and Gareth Evans’ excellent cross was flicked on by a defender, with the ball hitting Bennett and drifting wide.

And the winger then tricked his way past a couple of challenges, but his shot could not find a way through a sea of red shirts.

Rodak slipped as he tried to make a clearance on 54 minutes, with Amine Linganzi’s threaded pass for Roberts intercepted.

Stanley were trying their best to make inroads at the other end, but Sean Clare was off target, while Clarke blocked Billy Kee’s effort.

It was still the Blues looking most likely to add to the scoring, however, with Clarke somehow failing to convert another Roberts corner from close range.

Cook made a double switch on 66 minutes, with Bennett and Roberts withdrawn for Carl Baker and Naismith.

Accrington then came close to levelling moments later when Janoi Donacien’s header led to a scramble on the goal-line before the ball was eventually hacked to safety by Evans.

There were certainly a few more nerves as the clock ticked down and Pompey clung onto their slender advantage.

Evans made a couple of key clearances as Stanley, unsurprisingly, started to show more of an attacking threat.

The tiring Lowe was replaced by Noel Hunt for the closing stages, receiving a warm reception as he made his way off the pitch.

And Clarke had yet another chance to wrap things up late on, only to see his header saved by Rodak’s feet after meeting Baker’s corner.

But NAISMITH did secure the three points following a quick stoppage-time counter-attack, with Hunt releasing the winger, who surged up the pitch and coolly slotted home.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Hunt 85), Roberts (Naismith 66), Bennett (Baker 66); E.Doyle
Goals: Clarke 2, Naismith 90+2
Booked: E.Doyle
Subs not used: O’Brien, T.Davies, Rose, Chaplin

Accrington (4-1-2-1-2): Rodak; Rodgers (McCartan 60), Beckles, Hughes, Donacien; Conneely (c); Clare (Clark 60), McConville; Husin (Boco 86); Kee, Edwards
Booked: Conneely, Donacien
Subs not used: Chapman, Sykes, Davies, Shaw

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 15,955 (48 away fans)

Portsmouth FC
Feb 042017
 
League 2
Wycombe Wanderers 1 – 0 Portsmouth

 

Deflected goal seals Blues defeat

Pompey received a second successive slice of misfortune as they lost out to a fluke goal at Wycombe.

After being frustrated by a ricochet against Exeter last week, it was a wicked deflection that saw Scott Kashket claim all three points for the Chairboys.

Both sides created chances in a lively encounter at Adams Park, but it was the hosts who were able to boost their promotion credentials.

Paul Cook made five changes from the side beaten at home by the Grecians the previous week.

Eoin Doyle came straight into the starting 11 following his deadline day loan arrival from Preston.

Behind him was a new attacking trio of Kyle Bennett, Gary Roberts and – making his full debut – Jamal Lowe.

There was also a space for Amine Linganzi in midfield, while Conor Chaplin, Carl Baker, Kal Naismith and Danny Rose all dropped to the bench.

Pompey came roaring out of the blocks and Roberts slipped the ball through to Lowe, who could only drag the ball wide in the opening seconds.

But it was the hosts who then started to dominate, with the giant frame of Adebayo Akinfenwa unsurprisingly causing a few problems.

For all their balls into the box, however, there was little to trouble David Forde between the Blues’ sticks.

Christian Burgess did particularly well to beat Kaskhket to Akifenwa’s flick and powerfully head clear.

The centre-back then tried his luck at the other end of the pitch and met two Roberts corners, but sent one straight at Jamal Blackman and the other wide of the post.

Pompey started to look the more threatening side as the first half progressed and Eoin Doyle was unable to beat the Chairboys keeper after taking a fine touch to beat Anthony Stewart.

They had an even better chance to break the deadlock on 33 minutes when Bennett sent Enda Stevens through on goal, but Blackman came racing from his line to deny the left-back.

But the Blues survived a nervy moment just before the break when Matt Clarke and Stevens combined to bring down Kashket on the edge of the box.

It was the Irishman blamed by referee Graham Salisbury and shown a yellow card, but Sido Jombati’s free-kick was poor and comfortably claimed by Forde.

Half Time: Wycombe 0 Pompey 0

HIGHLIGHTS

Second Half

Pompey enjoyed some joy at the start of the second half, with Eoin Doyle showing neat footwork down the left.

But the large band of travelling supporters saw their side fall behind in unfortunate fashion just moments later.

Forde dived to his left to keep out a routine shot from Kashket, but the ball took a massive deflection to leave the keeper stranded.

And the keeper then had to scramble back quickly to stop Burgess heading into his own net just a few seconds later.

Bennett tried to catch Blackman out at his near post when the Blues won a free-kick on 52 minutes, but the ball flew narrowly past the post.

The winger then whipped in a cross following a spell of patient build-up play, although there was nobody to meet it at the back stick.

Pompey were dominating possession by this point, with Wycombe doing most of their attacking work on the break.

Bennett played a neat one-two with Roberts on 67 minutes, but his low cross did not quite sit up right for Eoin Doyle in the box.

Cook made a double switch soon after in the hunt for an equaliser, with Lowe and Bennett withdrawn for Baker and Naismith.

And it was Baker who came close to immediately grabbing a goal, taking advantage of a mix-up at the back and hooking narrowly over.

Blackman then did well to stop Eoin Doyle netting from a tight angle, while Baker drilled an effort just past the post.

Chaplin was thrown on for the closing stages as Pompey poured forward and a display of eight additional minutes sparked hopes of a point.

Stevens, Baker and Chaplin all went close as the seconds ticked down, but the Blues were unable to salvage anything.

Wycombe (4-3-3): Blackman; Jombati, Stewart, Pierre (De Havilland 60), Jacobson; O’Nien, Gape, Wood; Kashket (Thompson 89), Akinfenwa, Hayes (c) (Saunders 46)
Goals: Kashket 48
Booked: Wood, Stewart, Saunders, Kashket
Subs not used: Richardson, Bean, Weston, Jakubiak

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Linganzi, M.Doyle (c); Lowe (Baker 72), Roberts (Chaplin 86), Bennett (Naismith 72); E.Doyle
Booked: Stevens
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Rose, Hunt

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Attendance: 6,028 (1,800 Pompey fans)

Portsmouth FC