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Archived News from November 2016

15th November 2016 13:31

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Portsmouth 4 - 0 Mansfield Town
Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5. Howkins sent off 57. Iacovitti sent off 73
Attendance: 16,393 (326 from Mansfield)

Date: 12 November 2016

Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Fratton Park

Mansfield Town pressed the self-destruct button to fall to a 4-0 defeat at Portsmouth this afternoon. The Stags more than held their own for the first hour and were unlucky to be behind at the break. Portsmouth took the lead on 10 minutes through a penalty when Matt Green slid in with a badly-timed tackle in his own area following a corner. It was bad mistake from Green who immediately put his head in his hands. Gary Roberts converted the resulting penalty. The Stags came close to equalising on three occasions in the first half with Green firing into the side netting from a good position, James Baxendale so unlucky when he sent a terrific header against the inside of the post with the keeper beaten from a fine Ashley Hemmings cross, and then Kyle Howkins blazed over the bar from 8 yards when it seemed easier to score following a free kick. Pompey also went close to scoring in the first half when Carl Baker cut inside from the left and fired a great effort against the post. It was a hugely entertaining first half with plenty of action at both ends. The game changed on 57 minutes when Kyle Howkins, who had just been booked 3 minutes earlier, slid in with a reckless challenge wide on Pompey’s left, on Kyle Bennett, who was going nowhere, and gave the referee no choice but to give him a second yellow card. Idiotic from Howkins. Still Mansfield continued to attack and came very close to equalising when a great shot from Hemmings was just punched over his own bar by the keeper. The Stags switched to a 3-3-3 formation and continued to attack but were completely undone by another reckless challenge on 73 minutes, this time on the half way line, right in front of the referee, which saw Alex Iacovitti given a straight red card for a lunging studs-up tackle. Iacovitti had only been on the pitch 14 minutes after coming on shortly after Howkins was sent off. Down to 9 men, Mansfield continued to attack and Hemmings fired wide on 79 minutes after a good chest down from Henderson. The home fans were getting increasingly impatient with their team, who were trying to knock the ball around and stretch the 9 men of Mansfield. There was plenty of booing from the home fans. The home team shut their fans up on 84 minutes with a second goal, more or less walked into the net with the Stags completely stretched and still trying to push forward. Carl Baker then added 2 more goals, on 88 and 90+5 minutes, both times driving into the area and firing home. So the scoreline was given a completely false look from what occurred up to the sendings-off. The Stags were very let down by the reckless challenges from Howkins and Iacovitti, and the rest of the players gave everything for the cause with some good performances. The Stags have a week to lick their wounds before important back-to-back home games with Crawley and Blackpool.

Mansfield made two changes from the side that won at Derby in the Checkatrade Trophy. Jamie McGuire replaced Jack Thomas, Matt Green replaced Darius Henderson. Jack Thomas didn’t travel with the squad after attending a funeral yesterday. Lee Collins was absent after picking up an injury last Saturday, however he’s not expected to be out for long. He’ll be needed next week for sure, with Howkins and Iacovitti suspended (for 1 and 3 games respectively), and Taft suffering a set-back on his recovery from injury. Kevan Hurst also missed out through injury. Chris Clements continued as captain. McGuire sat in front of the back four. Clements and Gobern were behind Baxendale and Hemmings, who were behind Green. 4-1-2-2-1, or 4-1-4-1 if you prefer. Portsmouth made one change from their last league game, a win at Cambridge, with Danny Rose (the former Newport midfielder who scored against us in the Holdsworth vs Holdsworth game in 2010) coming into the side, in a 4-2-3-1 formation.



MATCH REPORT: Portsmouth 4 Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk report by SHANE MACDERMOTT (Agency), Saturday 12 November 2016

Mansfield Town’s winless League Two run stretched to four games as they were hammered 4-0 at Portsmouth.

Carl Baker’s late brace, plus goals from Gary Robert and Noel Hunt were the difference as the Stags finished with nine men at Fratton Park after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti were both sent off in the second half.

Howkins was shown a second yellow for bringing down Kyle Bennett before on-loan Nottingham Forest defender Iacovitti was given his first professional red for a late challenge on Michael Doyle after being on the field just 15 minutes.

Read more at: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/match-report-portsmouth-4-mansfield-town-0-1-8235551?

Two changes were the ticket for Adam Murray. Jamie McGuire and Matt Green replaced Jack Thomas and Darius Henderson as Lee Collins missed out with injury.

The Stags went to the south coast vying for their first win against Pompey in almost 30 years, but they got off to the worst possible start during a frantic first half.

In the 11th minute, the returning Green slid in and clattered into Bennett before Pompey’s leading goal-scorer Roberts duly dispatched the resulting penalty down the middle for his seventh of the season.

Down the other end Green almost made up for his defensive mishap as he fired into the side netting.

The Stags’ best chance of an equaliser came just before the half an hour mark as James Baxendale’s header rattled the post.

Baker then hammered his left-footed thunderbolt against the post before half time for Paul Cook’s men.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Howkins was sent off before goalkeeper David Forde tipped Hemmings’ ferocious strike over the bar.

Substitute Hunt tapped in his first of the season from close range in minute 84 before Baker’s late deadly double.

Baker fired his first past Scott Shearer before a stunning 25-yard strike ended a miserable day out for the Stags.

Portsmouth: Forde, Evans, Clarke, Burgess, Stevens, Rose, Doyle, Bennett (Naismith, 79), Roberts (Hunt, 77), Baker, Chaplin (Smith, 86). Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Lalkovic, Close.

Mansfield: Shearer, Bennet, Pearce, Howkins, Benning (D. Rose, 69), McGuire, Gobern, Baxendale (Iacovitti, 59), Clements, Green (Henderson, 55), Hemmings. Subs not used: Jensen, Hoban, Hamilton, M.Rose.

Attendance: 16,393 (326).

Referee: Roger East.


portsmouthfc.co.uk, by Neil Weld at Fratton Park

Pompey roared back to winning ways at Fratton Park in the league with a comfortable victory over nine-man Mansfield.

Gary Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but despite dominating, they struggled to extend their advantage.

Mansfield put up a strong fight, even after Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti had both been dismissed in the second half.

But Noel Hunt came off the bench to make sure of the three points before Carl Baker added a gloss to the scoreline with a late brace.

Read more at http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/pompey-4-mansfield-town-0-at-fratton-park-in-sky-bet-league-two-3413743.aspx#Q2sufK0CVKvrFSrg.99

Paul Cook unsurprisingly made a host of changes from the side that beat Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier in the week.

Kyle Bennett was the only survivor, with Michael Doyle, Roberts and Conor Chaplin among those recalled to the line-up.

Before kick-off, Pompey paid tribute to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, with D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE reading the Ode to Remembrance and the Last Post being played.

It was the hosts who made the brighter start in the wet conditions, with their high pressing forcing Mansfield to make errors.

Chaplin had an early chance after he met Roberts’ cross, but was unable to divert his header on target.

But there was an even better opportunity when a corner was only cleared as far as Bennett, whose first touch into the box fooled Matt Green.

His clumsy challenge saw the Blues winger dumped onto the turf and referee Roger East pointed straight to the spot.

ROBERTS stepped up to take the penalty and slammed a powerful effort right down the middle to give Pompey the lead.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, and a misunderstanding between David Forde and Christian Burgess led to Green firing into the side netting.

James Baxendale then did well to get on the end of an Ashley Hemmings cross and send a header crashing against the post.

Pompey thought they should have had a second spot-kick on 33 minutes when Roberts stole possession and saw his cross hit Jamie McGuire’s hand, but East was not interested.

And the hosts soon came close to doubling their advantage, with Baker beating his man and firing in a rocket that cannoned back off the woodwork.

But they received a let-off just before the break when Bennett was harshly penalised for a challenge outside the box.

Chris Clements stepped up to take the free-kick and the Fratton faithful breathed a sigh of relief as he curled the ball over.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Mansfield 0

Pompey continued their search for more goals once the second half got underway, with Scott Shearer just about managing to tip over Bennett’s dipping shot from distance.

The same player then exchanged neat passes with Roberts, whose low ball into the box was agonisingly out of reach for Gareth Evans.

And Mansfield were reduced to illegal methods of halting the hosts’ surge, with Howkins booked for cynically hauling down Chaplin on the edge of the box.

It was Chaplin who should have doubled the advantage after being slipped through by Doyle’s clever pass, only to then drag his shot wide.

The Stags’ challenge was soon made harder when Howkins - who had only received his yellow card four minutes earlier - needlessly slid in on Bennett and was promptly dismissed.

Pompey immediately set about trying to make their numerical advantage count and when Shearer failed to hold Baker’s effort, he had to dive on the loose ball before the lively Danny Rose could pounce.

Roberts then did well to dig the ball out from his feet inside the area, only to prod wide from just a few yards out.

And there was more woe for the beleaguered visitors on 74 minutes when substitute Iacovitti dived into a challenge on Doyle and was immediately shown his marching orders.

Cook looked to turn the screw by bringing on some fresh attacking players, with Hunt and Kal Naismith replacing Roberts and Bennett.

The two combined to secure the three points on 84 minutes when a period of patient passing play was ended by Naismith squaring for HUNT to convert from close range.

And BAKER ensured it was an even more enjoyable afternoon when he tricked his way into the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

But there was still time for BAKER to add another deep into stoppage-time, with a fine left-footed finish from long-range that flew into the net.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle (c); Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86)
Goals: Roberts 11 (pen), Hunt 84, Baker 88, 90+5
Booked: Baker, Chaplin
Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic

Mansfield (4-1-2-1-2): Shearer; Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D.Rose 69); McGuire; Clements (c), Gobern; Baxendale (Iacovitti 59); Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
Sent off: Howkins (two yellow cards), Iacovitti
Subs not used: Jensen, M.Rose, Hamilton, Hoban

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 16,393 (326 away fans)


Pompey 4 Mansfield 0: Boxes ticked, so why are some not happy?
by Steve Bone at Fratton Park

Won't get carried away after one home win. Won't get carried away after one home win. Won't get carried away after one home win. Won't get carried away after one home win. Repeat 100 times, or until the next home win.

It's a victory, four goals, three points ... and a second league win on the trot. All good. All commendable. All, in the end, quite comfortable. But we've learned not to get carried away by one win, or even two in a row, in the past couple of years. Too often, results like this have been false dawns.

If this one can be followed by four points out of six at Cheltenham and Luton and then - importantly - a win at home to Stevenage in a fortnight, then we'll be able to crow a little more loudly. A little. But let's just wait and see, first, shall we?

Of course today's win was not enough for some. There was, apparently, some booing at the end. If so, I find it incredible. If a 4-0 win - which in truth could easily have been 8-0 - isn't enough for you, I suggest you move to Spain and go and support Barcelona or Real Madrid.

I must confess I didn't hear the final-whistle booing - I was beating a hasty retreat to get home, dry and warm as quickly as I could. But director Mark Trapani, on Twitter, has reported hearing it and has rightly expressed disappointment at it.

I was as non-plussed as he was about that about the booing that interrupted what proved the build-up to the second goal. I just don't get it. I get that people become frustrated with our play at times, but if fans booed every time they weren't entirely happy with a passage of play, you'd hear nothing else at football grounds up and down the country.

Why you'd want to boo when your team is quite comfortably keeping possession, at 1-0 up, against nine men and is trying to get through for a second goal, I don't understand. Is that really what it's come to - if so, I despair. Do other teams have a section of such hard-to-please supporters? I'm not sure they do.

Thankfully the second goal, then a third and a fourth, did come. You might say Pompey should have killed the game off earlier - after all they'd been playing against 10 men for a while before a second Mansfield player saw red - but on another day they might have done.

It could have been 3-0 before half-time - it should have 3-0 or might have been even 5-0 by the hour. It wasn't but in the end the missed chances didn't matter. And had the game gone on another 10 minutes, or had that second goal come a little earlier, Pompey would probably have ended with six.

In contrast, Mansfield, both when they had 11 on the pitch and after they lost two men in the second half, only rarely looked like beating David Forde.

This was no classic, but surely goals, clean sheets and wins will do when you're trying to find the consistency you need to work your way into the automatic promotion spots, then hopefully stay there.

On a day that started with a dignified and respectful pre-match tribute to the fallen of war on Remembrance weekend (including, I noticed, the north-west corner of the ground rising as one after the game had started to applaud the standard bearers out of the stadium; though not including the minute's silence you'd have expected on such an occasion), there was a solid, no-nonsense look to Pompey's line-up and to their performance.

Danny Rose was back in midfield and what a welcome return that was. I thought Amine Linganzi did okay (no more than that) on the occasions I saw him partner Michael Doyle, but Rose's performance against the Stags made you wonder if perhaps he should ever have lost his place.

Now that Linganzi's silly red card at Cambridge has opened the door for his return, he's playing as though he has no intention of getting to know the sub's bench well any time soon. Rose and Doyle feels like the right partnership in that position and long may it flourish.

A number of Pompey's players have had better days - Gary Roberts, although his early well-struck penalty set up the victory, missed easier chances and had quite a frustrating afternoon, while Kyle Bennett and Carl Baker have both had more influential games - though I suspect Baker and most Blues fans would be happy with him being below-par and scoring twice every week.

Conor Chaplin looked a little lonely up front though did cause Mansfield problems on the occasions he was brought into the play - and Noel Hunt's goalscoring appearance from the bench hinted that he may soon be pushing Chaplin for a starting spot in the odd game.

At the back Pompey had a few nervy moments late in the first half, when Mansfield seemed to gain confidence from the fact they had conceded only once in that first half-hour, but Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke are, for me, looking stronger all the time. Similarly Gareth Evans and Enda Stevens had solid games at full-back and gave Mansfield's wide players little width.

Mansfield probably headed home thinking the red cards shown to Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti in the second half (neither of which they could really argue about) cost them the chance of a point, but I think Pompey would have won even against 11.

The fact they won against nine takes nothing away from how vital a win this was - a third straight home league defeat would have had serious questions being asked about Paul Cook's ability to get his talented squad functioning in front of their own fans. It's just a shame maximum points and a boost to the old goal difference (and incidentally Pompey's plus 11 in that column is bettered only by Plymouth's plus 14) was not enough for some.

Pompey: Forde; Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Rose, Doyle; Baker, Roberts (Hunt 77), Bennett (Naismith 79); Chaplin (Smith 86). Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Close, Lalkovic

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 16,393 (326 away fans)


Pompey Defeat Nine-Man Mansfield
By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth 4 Mansfield Town 0
Pompey won their first league match at Fratton Park since late September after beating the nine men of Mansfield 4-0 yesterday.
The scoreline is certainly flattering from a Portsmouth perspective due to late goals adding the gloss to the scoreline against the opposition that were two men down. However, it will be the atmosphere in the ground that will certainly be talked about for a long time.
The afternoon's proceedings had begun well enough as Kyle Bennett was brought down in the box by Matt Green's late challenge following a short corner routine. Referee Roger East wasted no time in pointing to the spot as it was a clear penalty.
Gary Roberts blasted the resulting spot kick down the middle of the goal, a tactic which League Two goalkeepers probably should have predicted by now, but nonetheless it was an early goal the team needed especially as Mansfield looked dangerous going forward themselves.
Green should have equalised after taking advantage of a miscommunication between Christian Burgess and David Forde. Neither player took responsibility for the ball and the Stags striker stole it only to fire it into the side netting.
James Baxendale hit the woodwork with a header soon after just to highlight how vulnerable the Pompey defence can be from simple crosses. Carl Baker then struck the post himself with a trademark shot from an angle having cut inside the full back as the first half drew to a close.
All the drama came in the second half as Scott Shearer had to tip over Bennett's dipping effort right from the restart and Kyle Howkins received his first booking of the match for a cynical foul on Conor Chaplin.
Chaplin then missed a sitter by his standards after shooting wide from close range having been put through by Michael Doyle but an even bigger event happened minutes later as Howkins made another late challenge, this time on Bennett, and received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Roberts then missed Pompey's second glorious chance of the half as, like Chaplin, he failed to hit the target from a few yards out and fans were beginning to worry that the ten men of Mansfield may sneak an equaliser to punish those missed opportunities.
Those fears were allayed a little when substitute Alex Iacovetti received a straight red card for a lunge on Doyle with his studs up, so he could have no complaints about his dismissal.
Against nine men the victory should have been secure but Pompey appeared to play a tentative possession game in the latter stages which saw some supporters boo their own players despite being in the lead.
That patient play paid dividends soon after despite the boos as Noel Hunt converted Kal Naismith's cross to confirm the win as some fans sang "are you all happy now?" to the boo brigade in the Fratton End.
Baker then ensured the win was an emphatic one with two excellent stirkes into the bottom corner late into the game as the Stags' defence finally succumbed to having to chase the ball for long periods of time before the final whistle put them out of their misery.
The major talking point of the match will undoubtedly be the booing from some Pompey fans despite winning 1-0, albeit against nine men.
My opinion is that the booing was utterly ridiculous and some fans need to drop this entitled attitude that has made its way into the thinking of the modern football fan.
Yes, it was frustrating that Pompey didn't attack as often as they did and there would have been chaos had Mansfield pinched an equaliser but that never looked likely as they had just a single meaningful attempt at Forde's goal in the second half because they barely had the ball once reduced to nine men.
The boos caused the divide between the fans and the players to widen and Naismith's gesture once the second goal was scored gives good insight as to how he, and undoutbedly other players, felt about being jeered despite winning and being in virtual total control of the match.
These boo-boys would do well to get a sense of perspective. Pompey had lost their last three meaningful games at home so they were understandably cautious in a game where they didn't have to commit men forward, especially with the defence vulnerable to long balls on the counter-attack.
In wider context, it was only last season that this fixture ended goalless after one of the dullest games of all time and this time two years ago Pompey were getting dumped out of the FA Cup by Aldershot.
For all of his faults, Paul Cook has unquestionably made supporting Portsmouth easier and his team have a good chance of getting out of this division. In the meantime, those that felt it was necessary to boo need to be reminded that Pompey are a League Two team that is full of League Two players. Los Golacticos, we ain't.
As for the performance, the job was done (eventually) and despite a few hiccups at the back in the first half, the defence looked solid enough although they owe much of that solidarity to Michael Doyle and Danny Rose in front of them who were excellent in orchestrating the midfield.
Roberts and Chaplin weren't quite on top of their game which is a shame as if either of them had buried their easy chances in the second half then there would be no talk about entitled Pompey fans booing a team defending a slender lead, no matter how many players the opposition had.
Still, it's difficult to get too carried away with a flattering 4-0 win against nine men but the result meant that Pompey have leapt Luton on goal difference after they beat Accrington 1-0.
They have kept pace with Doncaster and Plymouth who won at Exeter and Crewe respectively but gained three points on Carlisle who finally tasted defeat at the hands of Newport yesterday. The gap between Pompey and the Cumbrians in second place is now four points.
Next up is a trip to struggling Cheltenham and going by the behaviour of a group of so-called Pompey fans, only a 5-0 win will do.
Pompey Player Ratings
David Forde: 6 - Early mistake aside, didn't have a great deal to do.
Gareth Evans: 6 - Steady as usual.
Christian Burgess: 7 - Won the majority of the aerial balls crossed into the box.
Matt Clarke: 7 - Did a dependable job.
Enda Stevens: 6 - Solid enough.
Michael Doyle: 8 - Showed what the team were missing last week.
Danny Rose: 7 - Always busy.
Gary Roberts: 7 - Scored but showing was a mixed bag otherwise.
Carl Baker: 8 - Always a threat before he bagged a late brace.
Kyle Bennett: 7 - Won the penalty and pace caused Howkins to be sent off. An influential presence.
Conor Chaplin: 6 - Should have scored.
Liam O'Brien
Jack Whatmough
Ben Close
Kal Naismith (Bennett 79): N/A - Too pedestrian at times but still got an assist for Hunt.
Milan Lalkovic
Noel Hunt (Roberts 79): N/A - Poached his first goal for the club.
Michael Smith (Chaplin 86): N/A - Made a hash of one chance late on.


Pompey 4 Mansfield 0 - Neil Allen’s match report
by NEIL ALLEN, Portsmouth News

The cracks were treated to a last-minute papering over at Fratton Park.

A 4-0 victory, fourth in the table and four points off second spot can neatly sum up Pompey’s present position.

Amid the Mansfield canter, however, the boos were unmistakable and brutal in their delivery.

No emphatic result could mask their galling presence.

On Saturday, a simmering undercurrent of dissatisfaction among sections of the Fratton faithful erupted with startling force.

Read more at: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/sport/football/pompey/pompey-4-mansfield-0-neil-allen-s-match-report-1-7677519

And with it demonstrated a passionate level of expectancy which unsettled many of those in attendance.

Certainly the power of the hostility directed towards a side 1-0 up with around 10 minutes remaining alarmed those in the Pompey dressing room and Fratton board room.

Unquestionably, a fifth campaign in the bottom division of the Football League would be a seismic disaster, particularly considering the size of playing investment.

Not that 16 games into the season Paul Cook’s men are even remotely close to that doomsday scenario.

Still, Saturday provided a largely unheard of occasion when Blues followers turned on their team while comfortably maintaining a winning position.

Granted, the motives can be understood, football is an emotional process and underachievement has been an unwanted work colleague for too long.

Nonetheless, such actions from a Pompey crowd was simply astonishing.

And the subsequent 4-0 victory cannot possibly wash away the discontent which so clearly resides among members of the support.

Widespread denouncement of the boos followed in the aftermath of victory, social media crackling with condemnation.

Meanwhile, during their post-match addresses, Carl Baker and Noel Hunt applied masks of professionalism to talk about understanding the fan reaction and sympathising with frustration.

A unusually downbeat Cook sucked the emotion out of his interviews, the matter-of-fact approach attempting to disguise a man stung from what had unfolded among supporters.

The gloss had been scrubbed off a handsome victory and it was harsh, so undeservedly harsh.

Carelessness in front of goal had prevented an earlier landslide against Mansfield rather than absence of effort or lack of commitment.

Stalled at 1-0, this was not a Blues outfit going through the motions, content to settle for a narrow victory against a team which, from the 74th minute onwards, operated with nine men.

Instead they displayed a patient approach to picking apart the visitors, prodding and probing in search of a crack to ruthlessly exploit.

It was a measured mindset which attracted vocal criticism from their own and a backlash which remained painful long after the final whistle.

Those supporters involved will testify they are within their rights as paying customers to voice their opinion whichever way they prefer. Correct.

However, the manner and circumstances in which it was executed on Saturday was totally unnecessary - and not remotely deserved by those players.

The boos were present when Kal Naismith launched the build-up to the crucial second goal, yet he maintained his forward drive to set-up Noel Hunt on 84 minutes.

The substitute’s subsequent emotional response towards the South stand reflected his thoughts on such home hostility.

Admittedly, victory over the Stags was not a Pompey performance to purr about, while it took far too long to seal victory considering their dominance and later numerical advantage.

Yet it was back to winning ways after successive Fratton Park league defeats and a result thoroughly deserved in wretched playing conditions.

In the process, the players who achieved that 4-0 triumph had to negotiate a number of boos cascading down from a stands housing a home supporters.

It was uncalled for. Most unlike the Fratton faithful.

Following two cup excursions since the last league outing against Cambridge United, there was just the one change to that side which won at the Abbey Stadium.

Danny Rose was restored to the midfield in place of the suspended Amine Linganzi, conjuring up an outstanding display in the process.

On that U’s occasion, the Blues had to negotiate retaining victory with 10-men - on Saturday they had to capitalise on such an advantage.

The scoring was opened in the 11th minute when Stags striker Matt Green slid in on Kyle Bennett inside the penalty area.

His momentum on the skiddy surface clattered into the winger and referee Roger East selected a spot kick as the outcome, Gary Roberts netting.

The incessant rainfall and a drenched pitch made football difficult at times, with players slipping over and passes hard to accurately judge.

Still, the Blues had a let-off on 28 minutes when the impressive Ashley Hemmings’ cross from the left was met with the head of James Baxendale, only to strike the far post.

Just nine minutes later, Carl Baker endured the same fate, cutting in from the left and firing a right-foot shot against the foot of the far post.

Mansfield had threatened during those opening 45 minutes, yet in the second half the hosts seized control of proceedings, even before the dismissals.

Scott Shearer pushed over Bennett’s fierce drive, while Conor Chaplin should have netted after put clean through by Michael Doyle.

Then, on 57 minutes, Kyle Howkins picked up a second yellow card in four minutes with a mindless challenge on Bennett down the left channel.

Yet the goals did not flow for Pompey and the lead worryingly remained precarious, Roberts the latest not to capitalise, dragging a shot wide from six yards.

On 74 minutes, substitute Alex Iacovitti received a red card for a high challenge on Doyle after overrunning the ball.

Cook brought on Hunt and Naismith, keeping Chaplin up front, yet soon home frustrations boiled over.

Then came Hunt’s crucial contribution for a first Pompey goal to effectively seal the match.

It was left for Baker to strike twice in the final two minutes with classy angled finishes, one on his right foot and the other on his left.

Emphatic for Pompey - yet the aftertaste was distinctly bitter.



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