The Complete Performance

Last updated : 12 March 2017 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth strengthened their grip on the automatic promotion places after crushing Colchester 4-0 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium yesterday.

It was undoubtedly Pompey's best performance under Paul Cook as they were a class above their opponents in every department and looked very much like a team capable of winning automatic promotion.

The hosts hadn't actually started badly as their wingers posed a few problems for the Pompey defence but the visitors soon fired a couple of warning shots courtesy of Kal Naismith and a volley from Enda Stevens.

The first goal arrived from a intially botched corner routine as the loose ball was whipped into the box and Eoin Doyle was on hand to nod in from close range to score his second goal of the season.

The Preston loanee then skied a later shot over the bar as the relentless Pompey pressure only amounted in a single goal advantage despite their dominance.

Thankfully, any thoughts of Colchester getting back into the game were quashed inside the opening minute of the second half as George Elokobi's hashed clearance inside the box fell to Naismith who squared the ball to Kyle Bennett who smashed the ball into the net to double Pompey's lead.

The relentless visitors kept taking shots at the Colchester goal with both Stevens and Bennett going close before the third goal finally arrived. A long punt by David Forde led to Eoin Doyle feeding Danny Rose in the box who scored at the second attempt.

The fourth goal came soon after as Forde punched away a Colchester corner and the counter-attack ended with Naismith's shot being saved by Sam Walker only for Michael Doyle to tap in the rebound and complete the rout.

Ironically, Colchester's best spell of the match came when they were four down as they desperately tossed some long balls into the box but they were dealt with by Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke, whilst the thrashing could have been heavier had Walker not saved Noel Hunt's shot and Gary Roberts not missed late on.

Not that it mattered as the final whistle confirmed an emphatic victory for Pompey as the players came over to applaud the jovial travelling fans who once again created an excellent atmosphere on the road and were rewarded with a performance to equal their support.

Whilst the most negative Pompey supporters will be quick to point out that Colchester's squad has been ravaged with injuries, they've still been putting together a strong run of results at home and yet Paul Cook's men demolished them yesterday with every player contributing.

The defensive unit did their job in the rare instances Colchester threatened, Michael Doyle has well and truly bounced back from his woeful Crewe showing as he won virtually every tackle and covered so much ground whilst the rest of the midfield looked capable of scoring at any time.

Eoin Doyle's performance yesterday will have silenced many of his critics, too. Whilst he missed a couple of chances, his goal was the catalyst for Pompey to win so comfortably and he played a significant part in the third and fourth goals being scored. His talent based on yesterday's performance cannot be doubted.

The result was made sweeter by the fact that Pompey now have a four point cushion over Stevenage who now lie in fourth place following their 2-0 win at Luton. Carlisle's decline also continues as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Cambridge whilst Plymouth are still six points clear after snatching a win at Mansfield.

It's all looking very positive for Pompey at the moment but we've been here many times before, haven't we?

Mid-table Grimsby come to Fratton Park on Tuesday night for a game that Paul Cook's men will be expected to win and surely will do if they reproduce the same performance they did yesterday. They cannot afford to be complacent or let the pressure get to them with only ten games of the season to go.

We've had many false dawns since Cook took the reigns at our famous football club. Was yesterday finally the day when it all came together?

Pompey Player Ratings

David Forde: 7 - Little to do but confident in everything he did.

Gareth Evans: 7 - Solid and dependable.

Christian Burgess: 7 - Won nearly everything.

Matt Clarke: 7 - Never troubled.

Enda Stevens: 8 - Outstanding both defensively and going forward.

Michael Doyle: 9 - Goal capped off a performance to truly redeem Crewe horror show.

Danny Rose: 8 - All-action showing.

Kyle Bennett: 8 - Relentless going forward.

Carl Baker: 7 - Played his part in counter-attacks.

Kal Naismith: 8 - Vital cog in Pompey's attacking moves.

Eoin Doyle: 8 - Bagged crucial first goal and movement gave Colchester defence many problems.


Liam O'Brien

Tom Davies

Amine Linganzi

Gary Roberts (Bennett 77): N/A - Might have had a goal late on.

Jamal Lowe

Conor Chaplin (E. Doyle 84): N/A - Would surely have scored if he had more time.

Noel Hunt (Naismith 74): N/A - Never gave the Colchester defenders a moment to rest.