Pompey Run Riot Over Red Devils

Last updated : 04 September 2016 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth recorded their third straight league win yesterday courtesy of an easy 3-0 victory over Crawley Town at Fratton Park.

Whilst the previous two performances hadn't been convincing despite picking up the three points in both of those games, yesterday's showing was the kind that Pompey fans had been wanting.

The visitors couldn't handle Pompey's pressing from the first whistle and it took just nine minutes for the deadlock to be broken following a quality move that ended with Enda Stevens squaring the ball for Curtis Main to tap in his maiden league goal of the season.

The lead was doubled three minutes later as Danny Rose stole the ball from a dallying Alex Davey and passed it to Gary Roberts who curled the ball into the corner to score his fourth goal of the season.

The game was effectively over when goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin could only parry Milan Lalkovic's shot and Main was in the right place at the right time to score the rebound.

All Crawley had to offer in the first half was a late strike from Jason Banton that went wide but Pompey had almost scored a fourth goal on a few occasions if not for some late interceptions from the visiting defenders.

With the game effectively won, the second half never did produce the entertainment that the first offered.

Carl Baker dragged an early attempt wide whilst Main did the same thing to prevent himself bagging a hat-trick. At the other end David Forde made his only meaningful save of the match as Jimmy Smith was allowed time to shoot in the box and then Baker took one for the team as he had a shot blasted at his balls.

Michael Smith may have extended Portsmouth's goal difference further but could only fire wide when he was put through on goal with just the keeper to beat.

But it didn't matter as the final whistle confirmed the victory that had been apparent before half-time and the fans left Fratton Park happy with the result and a performance to go with it.

Whilst Crawley were undoubtedly naive and their goalkeeper a laughing stock due to his woeful distribution, Pompey have to take some credit for making them look so poor as their pressing game made their opponents uncomfortable from the start.

It also helps when the front four are firing, too. Main's knack of being in the right place was a plus but Roberts, Baker and Lalkovic behind him all played well and kept the ball moving forward. In fact, this is the first time in a while that Doyle and Rose also continued to keep the tempo up and not just pass sideways. Gareth Evans also did well filling in for the injured Drew Talbot at right back.

There can't really be any complaints after such a performance and that's now three straight wins with consecutive clean sheets in the process. Wycombe come to Fratton Park next weekend and will provide a different test altogther as they are the masters of gamesmanship and won't be so foolish as to attempt to outplay Pompey on their own turf.

If Paul Cook's men do come through that game with three points then that would be four straight league wins, a feat that his team couldn't achieve last season. That may well be what makes the difference between promotion and failure come May.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 6 - Little to do.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Performed well in unfamiliar role.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Won almost everything.

Tom Davies: 6 - Solid Fratton debut.

Enda Stevens: 7 - Got forward well and played his part in the first goal.

Michael Doyle: 7 - Gave the midfield some bite.

Danny Rose: 7 - Crawley couldn't cope with his tenacity.

Gary Roberts: 8 - Really showed his class.

Carl Baker: 6 - Took one for the team but was overelaborate at times when attacking.

Milan Lalkovic: 8 - An excellent all-round performance.

Curtis Main: 7 - Fox in the box.


Liam O'Brien

Matt Clarke

Amine Linganzi

Kal Naismith (Roberts 72): N/A - No assist this time.

Conor Chaplin (Main 65): 6 - Couldn't make things happen.

Noel Hunt

Michael Smith (Lalkovic 82): N/A - Fluffed his big chance at the end.