Pompey Claim Huge Win

Last updated : 20 December 2015 By Jim Bonner

Pompey proved their League Two title credentials yesterday with a superb 2-1 win over Northampton Town at Sixfields.

In what was a great advert for fourth tier football, both teams set about attacking each other in a fast-paced match which saw the visitors fall behind when Ryan Cresswell headed in a corner from Nick Byrom.

Pompey bagged an equaliser towards the end of the first half thanks to some excellent work from Marc McNulty who evaded two challenges before swinging in a great ball for Gareth Evans who expertly headed the ball past Adam Smith.

Everyone in the Cobblers camp is complaining that the equaliser was "miles offside" but on closer inspection it seems that Evans is actually level with the last defender when McNulty plays the ball. Besides, it would have been cruel to deny such a precise equaliser. That will probably be the best header you'll see from a Pompey player all season.

In the second half the game could have gone either way despite Pompey's dominance as Northampton always looked a threat from corners. As the game ticked past eighty minutes most of the travelling fans probably would have settled for a point away at the league leaders.

However, Paul Cook's philosophy is always to go out and win the game no matter who the opposition are and you could see the delight on his face when two of his substitutes combined to score the winner.

A swift counter-attack led to Ben Tollitt's cross into the box falling kindly for Conor Chaplin who poached a winner four minutes from time.

On another day Pompey may well have conceded another late goal as Dominic Calvert-Lewin crashed the crossbar with a header but they saw out stoppage time to record their most important victory of the season.

Some words must be said about Gareth Evans who, for some reason, isn't the most popular player amongst Pompey fans yet he is the club's joint-top scorer in the league (with five alongside Chaplin, McNulty and Tubbs) and he poses a great aerial threat as his header yesterday wasn't a one off. He has also used his head to score against Dagenham and Bristol Rovers too.

He may well go missing in games at times and may not seem to have any outstanding qualities on the face of it but he has a knack of scoring goals out of nowhere, being in the right place at the right time and always works hard.

Pompey's current winning run is down to teamwork but without Marc McNulty that run may not be happening. He is clearly too good for League Two and Pompey fans can only hope that the gentleman's agreement in place to keep him until the end of the season is honoured by Sheffield United. They certainly seem to be doing fine without him...

Yesterday's win may keep Portsmouth in fourth place in League Two but are now only three points off new league leaders Plymouth who snatched a late winner at Hartlepool whilst Pompey are also only a point behind Oxford in third who were beaten at Wycombe.

With it being so tight at the top goal difference may play a part and Pompey's +20 is six better than the next-best of Plymouth and Oxford's +14.

Next up is a Boxing Day trip to bogey team Leyton Orient. If Pompey can win that one then even I'll believe that this is our season!