By Jake Smith

Paul Cook’s Pompey played host to League Two strugglers Mansfield Town on Saturday, during the club’s dedicated Remembrance Weekend fixture.

Neither side really started the game on the front foot, although it was Portsmouth who found the back of the net first, on the 11th minute via a Gary Roberts penalty.

Experienced Premier League referee Roger East was in charge of this fixture as a result of the international break, he deemed the foul on Kyle Bennett worthy of a penalty.

Veteran shot-stopper David Forde showed his confidence for the Blues in the opening stages, he tricked James Baxendale as he was being closed down, this was followed by cheers as well as loud gasps from the home crowd.

The game came to life in the 53rd minute as Kyle Howkins was shown a yellow, followed by a second booking which resulted in his dismissal just four minutes later.

It may have seemed as though Portsmouth were unable to break down the ten-men of Mansfield, however they were just playing the ball calmly and slowly.

Alex Iacovitti, on loan from Nottingham Forest, was shown a straight red after his lunge on Pompey skipper Michael Doyle in the middle of the pitch on the 74th minute. He had only been on the field for 15 minutes as he came on as a sub for Baxendale.

This proved to be the turning point of the match as Portsmouth began to dominate The Stags in all areas of the field. Cook decided to replace talisman Gary Roberts with experienced striker Noel Hunt, he also brought on Kal Naismith for Kyle Bennett before the 80th minute.

After just five minutes of being on the field, Naismith and Hunt linked up well to score Portsmouth’s second, albeit a tap-in for Hunt, who scored his first competitive goal for the club.

Pompey’s dominance continued right to the very end, this is something that has said to have been lacking in recent times, but this time was like no other.

Winger Carl Baker got himself on the scoresheet after some impressive footwork allowed him to go one-on-one with the keeper and slide the ball under his legs for three-nil.

As if there was any doubt that it hadn’t been already, the game was put to bed on the 95th minute with Baker again scoring, this time his left footed effort from outside the box curled into the far corner, giving his side a 4-0 victory.

Portsmouth won the match and had three more points on the table, they rose from fifth to fourth, the late fourth goal meant they overtook Luton Town on goal-difference.

Despite holding the vast majority of possession during spells of the game, as well as playing nice football, some at Fratton Park were not impressed and decided to boo the team. It must be said though that the booing is not a true reflection on the majority of fans, as it was only a small minority.

Manager Paul Cook told the club’s YouTube channel: “When you sit up in the stands, the game is easy, you see everything and sometimes our lads deserve to be given a little bit more of a break.”

Pompey are just three points behind the automatic promotion places with 30 games remaining, they travel to Cheltenham Town next in the league on the 19th of November, where they are expected to pick up another three points as they look to surge even further up the table.

Advertisements