Pompey Maul Mariners

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 14 March 2017

Pompey recorded their second straight 4-0 victory tonight to further strengthen their hold on an automatic promotion place as they put Grimsby to the sword in front of a loud Fratton Park crowd.

The visitors actually started the game on the front foot as Zak Mills struck the post with a long range effort before David Forde produced an excellent save to prevent Akwasi Asante from hitting the target.

Paul Cook's men were then given a huge slice of luck as Kyle Bennett's effort took a huge deflection off a Grimsby player and the ball looped over the helpless James McKeown to hand Pompey an unjust lead.

However, once the opening goal went in, the hosts took control of the game and Kal Naismith narrowly missed the target with a header before Danny Rose doubled the lead with another deflected shot that the Grimsby keeper could do nothing about.

Carl Baker then rubbed salt into the Mariners' wounds as he finished a lovely little move just before the break to assert Portsmouth's dominance after their shaky start.

The second half began with a bang too as McKeown spilled Baker's long range effort and Naismith was on hand to follow up and score the fourth goal.

There was some exhibition football on display after that and there was no surprise when Marcus Bignot made a couple of defensive changes to prevent his side becoming further embarrassed.

That limited Pompey to a few half-chances whih weren't taken but the damage had already been done and the crowd clearly enjoyed their evening as the full time whistle blew to confirm another excellent result which marks a third straight win for the Blues.

The only negatives to come from tonight's performance were what look like two hamstring injuries to Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith. Both have been excellent in the last three games and to lose them would be a significant blow to Portsmouth. If they do end up spending some time on the sidelines, then Gary Roberts and Jamal Lowe will have to step up.

But tonight was simply a great night to be a Pompey fan. Fratton Park may have lulled towards the end of the match but for a good hour the crowd were in full voice and even the Grimsby fans who made the long journey south joined in. 

The overall performance after the first ten minutes was excellent. The defence never looked troubled and the desire that was missing against Crewe returned in spades today as everyone closed the Grimsby players down and all looked like they wanted it. Danny Rose in particular was outstanding and epitomised the will to win amongst the players.

It's feels like there's a strong belief that this team will now go on and win promotion. Carlisle and Luton played out a goalless draw whilst Stevenage's run finally came to an end as they were beaten 1-0 at Blackpool.

The gap to the Cumbrians in fourth place is now six points (may as well be seven given Pompey's 26 goal advantage) but perhaps Pompey should be looking up the table at Plymouth who only drew with Wycombe tonight, making the gap to Argyle now just four points with the big Good Friday fixture still to come.

Still, Paul Cook makes an excellent point about not getting carried away. It was only ten days ago that many were calling for his head after the Crewe debacle and all it takes is a bad result at Stevenage and yet another home defeat to resurgent Newport for things to go sour again.

But the finishing line is in sight and if Pompey continue to produce these kind of performances then they will only have nine more games left to play as a League Two club.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 7 - Superb early save was key.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Supported the attack well.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Largely untroubled.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Comfortable evening.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Solid showing.

Michael Doyle: 7 - Desire has returned.

Danny Rose: 9 - A virtually flawless performance.

Kyle Bennett: 7 - Lucky early goal but worked hard and hopefully the injury isn't a bad one.

Carl Baker: 8 - Goal capped one of his best performances in a blue shirt.

Kal Naismith: 8 - Has been instrumental in Pompey's recent revival and hopefully doesn't spend too long on the sidelines.

Eoin Doyle: 6 - Worked hard but missed a couple of half-chances.

Substitutes

Liam O'Brien

Tom Davies

Amine Linganzi

Gary Roberts (Bennett 45): 6 - Needs to quicken the pace.

Conor Chaplin (E. Doyle 86): N/A - Must feel unlucky not to get more game time.

Jamal Lowe (Naismith 68): 6 - Looked assured but never really threatening.

Noel Hunt

Portsmouth Match Reports


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