Pompey Bounce Into Third

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 08 March 2017

Pompey went some way to making amends for Saturday's dire defeat by beating Crawley at Broadfields last night.

The first half was encouraging, if slow at times. Eoin Doyle squandered the best chance to give the visitors the lead when he was sent through on goal by Carl Baker's pass only for his shot to be blocked at close range by Glenn Morris.

There were a few threatening crosses into the box that weren't taken advantage of as the half wore on but Paul Cook's men were always on as the hosts didn't muster a single noteworthy attempt on goal until the final two minutes before the break.

The second half saw Pompey up the tempo as Enda Stevens' run was upended in the box by Josh Lelan (having been directly in front of the incident, it looked harsh at first viewing but it's clearly a late challenge) and a penalty was awarded.

Eoin Doyle then became the latest player to fail to score from the spot as his poor penalty was saved and the follow-up was blocked behind for a corner. That's now the six out of ten penalties that Pompey have missed this season yet none of those have been costly as every game with a Pompey penalty miss has been won!

Thankfully, the following corner resulted in Christian Burgess heading in his fourth goal of the season as he put Saturday's misery behind him. Kyle Bennett then ensured the points would be going back to Portsmouth as he finished his run by arrowing the ball past Morris from outside the box. The official match report claims a deflection on that strike but it didn't look like it in real time or via replay, either.

In the end, it was a good performance and the perfect way to respond to the criticism received after Saturday. The players looked comfortable and gave the effort required whilst Michael Doyle upped his game and was helped out by a lively Danny Rose who held the midfield together with his energy and passing.

However, it really must be empthasised just how poor the opposition were. Crawley barely threatened the goal all game with David Forde having to make just a single meaningful save with his legs after Bennett had bagged the second goal.

They lacked any real invention and were disorganised at the back. If Newport don't get trounced at Fratton Park at the end of the month then the Red Devils will clearly be the worst team Pompey have played over the course of the season having eased to a 3-0 win over them at home back in September.

That has to give people some perspective as Colchester should be tougher opposition on Saturday and it's up to Pompey to maintain yesterday's level of performance to ensure that their stay in the top three of League Two isn't a brief one.

Speaking of perspective, the contrast of the mood of the Pompey fans between Saturday and last night couldn't have been clearer. Premature songs about being "on our way" to League One whilst having a pop at Southampton's silly claims about "owning" the South Coast despite their one measly trophy made for a fantastic atmosphere, though alcohol surely played its part in that!

Perhaps Portsmouth FC should make it mandatory that all adult fans entering Fratton Park must be hammered before they do so in the future?

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 6 - One decent save on an otherwise quiet night.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Did an admirable job.

Christian Burgess: 8 - Made up for his shocker on Saturday.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Solid and dependable.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Off with a dead leg not long after the penalty challenge. Hopefully should be back for Saturday.

Michael Doyle: 7 - Won most of his challenges and repented for woeful Crewe showing.

Danny Rose: 8 - Energy gave Crawley no time to settle.

Kyle Bennett: 8 - Goal capped a performance where he was a constant threat.

Carl Baker: 6 - Played some good football at times.

Kal Naismith: 7 - Delivered some good crosses and did a solid job when filling in for Stevens.

Eoin Doyle: 5 - Just isn't happening for him at the moment.

Substitutes

Liam O'Brien

Tom Davies (Bennett 90): N/A - Late sub allowed Kyle to get applauded for his efforts.

Stanley Aborah

Gary Roberts

Jamal Lowe

Conor Chaplin

Noel Hunt (Stevens 64): 7 - Looked sharp and pestered the Crawley defence at every opportunity.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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