Nov 152015
 

League Two


 

Portsmouth    0

 


 

AFC Wimbledon    0

 


There were more Fratton frustrations as Pompey were unable to break down AFC Wimbledon.

The hosts improved as the game wore on, but there were not an abundance of opportunities to get the crowd – or those watching on Sky Sports – excited.

Marc McNulty had the best of them after the interval, but was denied by a smart save as the Blues had to settle for another home draw.

Paul Cook made two changes from the side that beat Macclesfield in the FA Cup eight days earlier, as he switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

Caolan Lavery and McNulty came in to lead the line, with Kyle Bennett and Conor Chaplin dropping to the bench.

With the match being Pompey’s designated Remembrance fixture, there was a minute’s silence before kick-off, with the Last Post played in front of an audience of veterans.

Also, in tribute to those who lost their lives in the attacks on Paris on Friday, Nigel Atangana and Rommy Boco carried out a French flag, while ‘La Marseillaise’ rang out over the PA system.

Pompey made a bright start when the game got underway and Lavery delivered a dangerous low cross that Gareth Evans could not quite convert in the opening seconds.

But it was the visitors who found the back of the net moments later when a George Francomb free-kick was headed home, only for their celebrations to be cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Brian Murphy then failed to hold a fierce long-range drive from Sean Rigg, but quickly recovered to pounce on the loose ball.

However, there were not too many other openings in a first half that saw both sides guilty of some sloppy passing.

Christian Burgess had to make a key interception to prevent Jon Meades latching onto an Ade Azeez ball.

Pompey, meanwhile, delivered a few dangerous crosses into the opposition box, although there was nothing to trouble Dons keeper Ben Wilson.

Azeez might have given the visitors a stoppage-time lead when a long throw was flicked into his path, but could not beat Murphy from an acute angle.


Half Time

(0 – 0)


As was the case in the first half, it was Pompey who were first to threaten after the interval.

McNulty collected the ball on the left, beat former Blues defender Paul Robinson, cut inside and then saw his powerful effort pushed over by Wilson.

The visitors were then gifted an opportunity at the other end when Adam Webster dwelt on the ball for too long and was forced to concede a corner.

It was Robinson who was there to meet the ball when it was whipped into the box, but he could only head over.

Cook made his first substitution on 58 minutes, switching to three at the back with Matt Clarke replacing Evans.

The atmosphere picked up as Pompey started to show more attacking intent, but they were still not doing enough to test Wilson.

Another change was made on 66 minutes as Adam McGurk made way for Bennett wide on the left.

The Blues had won a corner before the switch happened and, when play restarted, Ben Davies swung in a cross that Burgess headed over.

There was not too much action at the other end of the pitch, although substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa guided a header past the post.

Pompey tried a quick break up the pitch on 66 minutes, with skipper Michael Doyle surging forward and just unable to pick out Lavery with a curling pass.

Cook’s third and final change saw Lavery make way for Nigel Atangana, with Bennett pushed further up alongside McNulty.

But it was the memory of former Blues player and manager Bobby Campbell that got the Fratton faithful clapping when the clock turned to 83 minutes – the year he led the club to the Division Three title.

Unfortunately, there was not a late Pompey winner to give them something else to cheer.

Pompey (4-4-2): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Evans (Clarke 58), Hollands, Doyle (c), McGurk (Bennett 66); McNulty, Lavery (Atangana 79)
Subs not used: Bass, Boco, Tollitt, Chaplin

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Wilson; Fuller (c), Robinson, Osborne, Meades; Frabncomb, Bulman, Reeves, Rigg (Kennedy 82); Taylor, Azeez (Akinfenwa 61)
Booked: Reeves
Subs not used: McDonnell, Toonga, Gallagher, Beere, Kaja

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Attendance: 15,892 (794 away fans)


Portsmouth FC

Nov 132015
 

Kal Naismith

Loan : Portsmouth – Hartlepool United



The Blues winger has joined League Two rivals Hartlepool until January 3 after boss Paul Cook decided he needed regular first-team football.

It’s been a difficult start to life at Fratton Park for the former Accrington man, who picked up an injury in pre-season and has struggled to make an impact since then.

After making his debut in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Exeter, the 23-year-old has made six appearances in total but has started just two of those games.

He made a substitute appearance in last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Macclesfield but Cook maintains a loan deal away from Fratton does not spell the end of the road for any of his players.

He said: ‘It’s not a case of me not seeing them as part of the plans.

‘If I wanted someone to leave the club, they wouldn’t go out on loan. Every deal is a different deal.

‘We have some lads who are still finding their way in the game and eventually you have to find the level that you play at and what you are supposed to be.

‘Some lads can get caught in no-man’s land, they end up being here for three or four months and haven’t played enough games.

‘Players need to be playing games and I would prefer to move people out so I have smaller numbers to work with.’

Portsmouth FC

Nov 072015
 

FA Cup 1


 

Portsmouth    2

 


 

Macclesfield Town    1

 


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

(2 – 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 Two


 

Notts County    2

 


 

Portsmouth    1

 


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

(1 – 1)


The second half started in the same way that the first had finished – with both sides keen to get forward.

And the hosts survived when Bennett’s effort cannoned off a defender and was just about kept in play by Carroll.

Then, at the other end, McLeod opted to lay the ball off for Burke rather than shoot, with Danny Hollands gratefully nipping in to intercept.

McGurk was next to go close on 57 minutes, only to see his effort inadvertently blocked by Evans at close range.

Lavery then collected Bennett’s sweeping pass and curled in a shot that Sheehan did well to get in the way of.

Bennett had penalty appeals turned down just past the hour mark after the winger felt he had been tripped in the area, while Evans’ follow-up was deflected into the side netting.

Cook made his first change on 67 minutes, with the tiring McGurk making way for Conor Chaplin.

But the hosts then enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure and won a couple of corners before Murphy had to come charging from his box to clear the danger.

Pompey responded with a second substitution on 76 minutes, as Ben Tollitt made his first league appearance in place of Bennett.

But the hosts were ahead within seconds, with Sheehan’s long-range free-kick – won for a foul on McLeod – evading everyone on its way into the net.

Matt Tubbs was immediately brought on as the shell-shocked Blues went in search of a late leveller.

Notts County held firm at the back for the final few minutes, however, as Pompey were finally vanquished on the road.

Notts County (4-1-4-1): Carroll (c); Hewitt, Edwards, Sheehan, Barmby; Aborah; Stead, Noble (Thompson 86), Smith (De Silva 72), Burke (Campbell 60); McLeod
Goals: Burke 23, Sheehan 77
Subs not used: Loach, Amevor, Jenner, Spencer

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Murphy; Davies, Burgess, Webster, Stevens; Hollands, Doyle (c); Evans, McGurk (Chaplin 67), Bennett (Tollitt 76); Lavery (Tubbs 80)
Goals: Lavery 20
Booked: Burgess
Subs not used: Bass, Clarke, Atangana, Naismith

Referee: Andy Haines

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


Portsmouth FC