McGurk Sees Off Silkmen

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 08 November 2015

A brace from Adam McGurk against non-league Macclesfield was enough to see Pompey win their first FA Cup game since April 2010.

It was hardly a vintage performance from Paul Cook's men although the first half began in the best possible way as a through-ball from Kyle Bennett was met by the sliding McGurk who managed to poke the ball past Shwan Jalal after just three minutes.

It looked like Pompey may have ended up coasting the game but Macclesfield were handed a lifeline thanks to an enormous blunder from Brian Murphy.

Enda Stevens threw the ball back to the Pompey keeper but he dallied with it and, under pressure from Kristian Dennis, blasted the ball straight at the onrushing striker's face which saw it ricochet into the top corner of the net. It was a truly comical goal that the 9,384 fans who witnessed it will look back on and laugh at in years to come.

Murphy did atone for his error to a degree by punching a long distance effort from Danny Whitehead over the bar in a half that Pompey otherwise dominated.

Conor Chaplin narrowly missed the target whilst former Silkman Gareth Evans had an effort cleared off the line. McGurk would be the one to give his team the lead just before the break as he lashed home a loose ball following a scramble in the box.

Paul Cook's tactics in the second half seemed to be to bore Macclesfield to death as the rest of the match was fairly dull. The visitors had a couple of good chances that were blasted over the bar whilst substitute Mark McNulty headed Evans' cross over the bar from close range in what was Pompey's best chance of an uninspiring half.

In the end, Pompey saw out the match fairly comfortably to book their place in the second round of the FA Cup. People, including Paul Cook himself, may complain about the manner of the win but in this competition it really doesn't matter how these types of cup ties are won.

The best example of this is the Portsmouth cup winning side of 2008 that were arguably outplayed in every single round of the competition and certainly got some significant slices of luck on the way to lifting to the trophy.

But the moaners who complain about yesterday's performance not being up to scratch in preparation for Sunday's match against AFC Wimbledon would do well to remember that they were beaten at home by the footballing behemoths that are Forest Green Rovers yesterday.

Sometimes a sense of perspective is required and we should be grateful that Pompey won yesterday's match fairly comfortably and aren't on the wrong end of a cup shock like last season.

When Pompey are drawn away to Carlisle in the second round tomorrow evening then feel free to squinny all you want!

Pompey Player Ratings

Brian Murphy: 5 - A couple of good saves can't mask his blunder.

Ben Davies: 6 - Dependable as always.

Christian Burgess: 5 - Passing not up to usual standard.

Adam Webster: 6 - Solid enough.

Enda Stevens: 6 - Looked comfortable.

Michael Doyle: 6 - Went about his business as usual.

Danny Hollands: 7 - Involved at both ends of the pitch.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Posed a threat against former club.

Conor Chaplin: 6 - Didn't have a major impact.

Kyle Bennett: 7 - Good going forward.

Adam McGurk: 8 - Alert enough to poach two goals.

Substitutes

Alex Bass

Matt Clarke

Nigel Atangana

Rommy Boco (McGurk 90): N/A - Time-eating switch.

Ben Tollitt

Kal Naismith (Bennett 69): N/A - Wasn't too involved.

Mark McNulty (Chaplin 66): N/A - Need to see more of him before passing judgement.

Portsmouth Match Reports

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