Pompey Scrape Past Stanley

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 12 February 2017

A goal at the beginning and the end of a low quality match at Fratton Park saw Portsmouth return to winning ways against Accrington Stanley.

Pompey started the game quickly as Gary Roberts forced a save from Marek Rodak in the opening minute. The resulting corner was a short one which worked, for a change, as Roberts played a neat one-two with Eoin Doyle before whipping the ball to the far post for an unmarked Matt Clarke to head it in.

The opening minutes saw Paul Cook's men create a couple more opportunities as Kyle Bennett shot wide and Clarke headed a free kick over the bar, but the match soon descended into a turgid affair with misplaced passes from both sides.

Accrington barely threatened David Forde's goal in the first half, although Sean McConville could only curl the ball wide when he was found unmarked in the box.

The second half was a scrappy affair with few chances although Rodak's slip saw Amine Linganzi have an unguarded net to aim at, but his pass was deflected into Roberts whose first touch gave the ball back to the grateful Accrington keeper.

Clarke had a couple more excellent chances to seal the points with headers that didn't quite find the target, but the biggest sigh of relief before stoppage time came when a Fratton End goalmouth scramble was cleared rather than scored as the fans began getting anxious.

Thankfully, a swift counter-attack in the 92nd minute saw Kal Naismith end any hopes of an Accrington comeback as the Pompey fans left Fratton Park content, if not completely satisfied.

Looking back, the performance certainly wasn't as bad as some people suggest as there were more than enough chances created to finish Stanley off before their fight back after the hour. On the other hand, possession was given away far too cheap and Eoin Doyle didn't look any better than Michael Smith on yesterday's showing.

What doesn't help, is the booing some of the Pompey fans continue to do in a game that they were winning. The main incident being when the fourth official incorrecty (supposedly) signalled for Jamal Lowe to be taken off, only for the mistake to be rectified and Roberts taken off to some ironic cheering by some.

All this does is create a toxic atmosphere around the ground and will simply make it more difficult for the players to perform. Yes, it wasn't the greatest performance by any stretch of the imagination and an improvement will be required to beat Blackpool on Tuesday but to jeer when Pompey aren't losing is simply stupid, but it's not something that is going to go away any time soon.

Whilst the performance was far from spectacular and some will attribute the victory to Accrington simply being even worse than Pompey on the day, the three points could be extremely important in the context of the race for third place due to other results yesterday.

Luton were the only team amongst Portsmouth's promotion rivals to win after coming back from a goal down to beat Crawley but Carlisle were hammered 4-1 on their own turf by Blackpool, Exeter's winning run came to a crippling halt as they were thrashed 3-0 at Home Park and Wycombe suffered a surprise 3-0 defeat at Stevenage.

Table toppers Doncaster only managing a draw at bottom feeders Newport just shows how open League Two is and therefore it might be wise for the more vocal Pompey fans to curb their expectations a little and not get too upset if their team aren't 5-0 up against the likes of Accrington before half-time.

Hopefully this result will be a catalyst for a run of results that will see Pompey climb the table, starting with another victory on Valentine's Day when the Tangerines come to town.

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 6 - A couple of nervy moments but never had much to do.

Gareth Evans: 6 - Continues to keep Talbot out of the side.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Another dependable performance.

Matt Clarke: 8 - Should have scored more than one but won everything at the back.

Enda Stevens: 6 - Solid at the back but not very influential going forward.

Michael Doyle: 6 - A mixed afternoon.

Amine Linganzi: 7 - Never let the side down.

Jamal Lowe: 6 - Looks like he can cut it at league level when he isn't tired.

Gary Roberts: 6 - Started brightly but faded.

Kyle Bennett: 6 - Part of Pompey's most incisive attacks.

Eoin Doyle: 5 - Touch let him down and never made an impact.

Substitutes

Liam O'Brien

Tom Davies

Danny Rose

Kal Naismith (Roberts 66): 7 - Bagged the crucial second goal.

Carl Baker (Bennett 66): 5 - Struggled to get into the game.

Conor Chaplin

Noel Hunt (Lowe 85): N/A - Played his part in the second goal.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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