Portsmouth cruised to a 4-0 win against nine-man Mansfield at Fratton Park, giving them two league wins in a row and lifting them to fourth in the table. S&C football correspondent Ben Williets reports.
Gary Roberts opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 11 minutes, however the Blues failed to extend their lead despite outplaying their opponents.
Mansfield were reduced to nine men in the second half as Kyle Howkins and Alex Iacovitti were given their marching orders in the 57th and 74th minute respectively. Portsmouth continued to push but could not extend their lead. Boos could be heard by some of the Fratton Park faithful, who were growing increasingly frustrated with the slender score line.
Much to their delight, however, Noel Hunt came off the bench to score in the 84th minute, opening the floodgates for the home side. Carl Baker made it three in the 88th minute, then put his name on the score sheet again in the 94th, rubbing salt in Mansfield’s wounds.
Before kick-off Fratton Park witnessed a touching tribute to fallen soldiers. D-Day veteran John Jenkins MBE read the Ode to Remembrance followed by a peaceful minute of silence.
Pompey got off to a flying start to the match, creating chances immediately. In the 11th minute a cleared corner fell to Kyle Bennett just inside the box who was maliciously hacked to the ground. Gary Roberts took responsibility from the spot, smashing the ball in to the back of the net, 1-0.
Mansfield began to create their own chances and were unfortunate not to find themselves level as they struck the post with a header. The hosts then hit the woodwork, rifling the ball off the frame of the goal.
The Blues continued to push throughout the first half but could not break Mansfield down for one more goal. The teams headed in to the break with the score at 1-0.
The second half seemed to be following suit at first. Portsmouth made chances but simply could not put the ball in the goal. However, in the 57th minute, Hawkins rashly tackled Bennett and earned a second yellow card, having only been given a first moments before, and was sent for an early bath.
After more pressure from Pompey, Iacovitti followed Hawkins in to the changing rooms after a dangerous lunge on Michael Doyle warranted a red card.
Shortly after Paul Cook subbed on Noel Hunt who made an immediate impact. Kal Naismith, who was also subbed on with Hunt, played the ball across the box for Hunt to tap in to an empty goal, wheeling away in celebration.
Carl Baker then weaved his way in to the penalty area and drilled the ball low into the bottom right corner, all but sealing the three points for Pompey. Six minutes later the same player struck the ball into the same corner from the edge of the box, completing a resounding victory for his team.
The result saw Portsmouth leapfrog Luton into 4th place in the table. The Blues travel next to Cheltenham in the EFL League Two. Find out how they get on next week.