Back To Winning Ways In Style

Last updated : 24 November 2015 By Jim Bonner

Pompey returned to winning ways tonight thanks to a devastating attacking second half performance against the ten men of hapless York City.

The visitors had actually started brightly and had a fairly good chance to open the scoring early on when Vadaine Oliver couldn't quite connect with a Jonathan Greening free kick when he was left unmarked.

However, Pompey virtually dominated the entire game after that and although they didn't score in the first half they certainly created a few chances.

Kyle Bennett, Marc McNulty and Coalan Lavery all came close to finding the target whilst Scott Flinders made a couple of decent saves to keep the scores level. His blatant time wasting didn't go down well with the home fans but the referee refused to book him.

He soon did brandish a card, however, as Greening was sent off for a nasty elbow on Michael Doyle right before the end of the half. Why on earth he protested it is anyone's guess as he could have no complaints for such a stupid act which would ultimately cost his team massively.

Smelling blood, Paul Cook's men came out with an attacking purpose in the second half and it took just four minutes to open the scoring.

Ben Davies whipped in a dangerous ball into the box that eluded everyone and caught Flinders off guard as he could only help the ball into the net to concede a scruffy opener.

The lead was doubled soon after when Gareth Evans' cutback to Doyle on the 18-yard box resulted in a scuffed effort that ended up at the feet of McNulty who slotted the ball past the York goalkeeper with ease.

Brian Murphy did have one save to make when Emile Sinclair fired straight at him from a tight angle but that was as good as it got for the visitors as McNulty bagged his second of the night when he slammed home Bennett's cut back after a slick passing move that carved open the York defence.

The Sheffield United loanee then completed his hat-trick after he received a lovely through-ball from Doyle and stroked the ball past the onrushing Flinders and into the bottom far corner of the net.

The striker was immediately taken off to a rousing reception following his feat and was replaced by Conor Chaplin whilst Ben Tollitt also came on for Bennett soon after and made an instant impact.

Enda Stevens' cross from the left was missed by all of the York defenders which allowed the youngster to ghost into the box and plant the ball past poor Flinders to grab his first goal as a professional footballer.

The hapless York goalkeeper's nightmare was complete on 84 minutes when he failed to hold onto another Stevens delivery and Chaplin beat him to the loose ball to complete the rout with fans chanting "Flinders, what's the score?" after his embarrassing antics in the first half.

There was one more chance for Pompey to make it seven but Flinders was equal to Doyle's long range volley. The final whistle blew and Pompey fans left Fratton Park wondering what they had just seen given that the scores were level at the break!

It was a thoroughly entertaining performance to watch and light years away from the dour draw with Wimbledon last time. As utterly atrocious as York were and despite the fact the played half the game with ten men, Pompey still played some excellent one-touch football, kept possession well and could have scored any number of goals by the end of the night.

That can only provide a huge boost in confidence for what should be a much tougher match at Wycombe on Saturday but having bounced back from such a poor run of form in such style there's no reason why Pompey can't turn them over.

The bigger picture is that Pompey are now 4th in League Two due to Accrington's match being postponed. Northampton won but Paul Cook's side have made up two points on Plymouth and Oxford who drew at home with Leyton Orient and Newport respective. Pompey's goal difference of +15 is now also the best in the division.

It all points to a bright future as the season continues but for now let's just sit back and enjoy one of the best nights at Fratton Park in years!

Pompey Player Ratings

Brian Murphy: 6 - Little to do.

Ben Davies: 9 - Defended well and was always a danger with his runs and crosses into the box.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Defensively sound.

Adam Webster: 7 - Won nearly everything.

Enda Stevens: 9 - Bagged two assists and worked well with the attack without sacrificing defensive responsibilities.

Michael Doyle: 9 - Not just rock solid but a creative influence too.

Danny Hollands: 6 - Did a steady job.

Gareth Evans: 6 - Didn't see too much of him in truth.

Marc McNulty: 9 - Predatory finishes to take the match ball home.

Kyle Bennett: 8 - Livewire whose performance deserved a goal.

Caolan Lavery: 7 - Didn't score but is developing a useful understanding with McNulty.


Alex Bass

Matt Clarke

Rommy Boco (Davies 73): N/A - Gave Davies a well deserved rest.

Adam Barton

Ben Tollitt (Bennett 76): 7 - Delighted for him to get on the scoresheet.

Adam McGurk

Conor Chaplin (McNulty 73): 7 - Showed great desire for his goal.