Match Details: 08/04/2017
Portsmouth 3-1 Yeovil Town
EFL League Two
Yeovil Goals: Own Goal (51)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Artur Krysiak, 2. Liam Shephard, 4. Matthew Dolan, 5. Alex Lacey, 6. Bevis Mugabi, 7. Kevin Dawson, 9. Tom Eaves, 13. Francois Zoko, 16. Matt Butcher, 19. Brandon Goodship, 32. Tom James
Subs: 3. Nathan Smith, 8. Alex Lawless, 10. Otis Khan, 12. Jonny Maddison, 17. Omar Sowunmi, 24. Owain Jones, 31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro,
Substitutes Used: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro for Tom Eaves (50 mins), Nathan Smith for Bevis Mugabi (57 mins), Otis Khan for Brandon Goodship (70 mins)
Yeovil Town slipped to their ninth away defeat of the 2016-17 season, as a promotion-chasing Portsmouth side gained a comfortable 3-1 victory at Fratton Park this afternoon. The Glovers were on the back foot for much of the game, with Gareth Evans putting Pompey a goal up from the penalty spot after Bevis Mugabi had fouled inside the box. They did equalise early in the second half when Francois Zoko challenged Pompey defender Enda Stevens with the ball coming off the defender for an own goal. But the home side stepped up a gear to retake the lead through Kal Naismith's close range finish, and substitute Jamal Lowe netted with his first touch to see the Glovers slip another place down to 20th, with just two victories in 22 games to their name.
The Glovers went into the match making three changes to their starting line-up, with all of those forced. Ben Whitfield was starting his three match suspension, meaning that Matt Dolan's return from injury was an easy swap. At left-back, Ryan Dickson sat out the game with an ankle problem having niggled him for several weeks, and he was replaced by Tom James. The other change was a late one with Shayon Harrison being ruled out on the morning of the game due to illness as Brandon Goodship replaced him.
They initially lined up in a 3-4-3 formation that tended to slide back into a 5-4-1 when defending, but that was to be one of a myriad of formations tried out during the first half. Tom Eaves could have given Yeovil an early lead when he headed over the bar from a Kevin Dawson cross, but in reality the majority of chances were coming from players in blue. Liam Shephard had to head a ball off his own goal line during the opening ten minutes as a Matt Clarke header from a corner headed towards the target.
It took just 15 minutes before Portsmouth took the lead. Bevis Mugabi appeared to have control of the ball at first on the edge of his box, but let it get away from him, with Gary Roberts drawing a foul when he closed him down, for a fairly obvious foul, even if it might take a video replay to conclude if it was inside the box. Up stepped Gareth Evans who fired into the corner for a 1-0 lead.
Portsmouth had further chances to extend their lead, as Kal Naismith forced Artur Krysiak into a strong save, whilst Bevis Mugabi's wobbly start to the match saw him almost create an own goal as he deflected Gary Roberts' shot, with the ball coming off the inside of the post and back out again. Enda Stevens fired just over the bar, with Yeovil having to keep all bar Francois Zoko firmly behind the ball to try to combat the home side's pressure.
A few formation changes didn't seem to help things - at times there were switches from the initial 3-4-3 into other line-ups, including 4-3-3 and eventually a 4-4-2. The problem was that sometimes the message didn't seem to reach all players, and the end result was a lopsided look to the line-up that stretched matters. A Matt Clarke header from a Carl Baker corner continued the presure, and the only chance that Yeovil created to add to that early Eaves effort was a Bevis Mugabi near post header from a Matt Dolan corner. But thankfully the warm spring sunshine and a bit of work to slow the tempo down managed to see Yeovil go in just 1-0 down.
Whilst the pattern of the second half implied more of the same, Yeovil somehow fashioned an equalising goal six minutes into the half. A cross from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro - only just on as a substitute - was challenged for by Francois Zoko - the ball appeared to loop off the leg of Enda Stevens. The main thing that mattered was that it was 1-1 and Yeovil were in with a chance of something out of the match.
Portsmouth started delivering a number of long balls that seemed to upset Yeovil's back four, twice stealing through and twice having to rely upon Artur Krysiak to rescue them. One such case saw him force Gary Roberts wide of the goal before he ran out of room. Nathan Smith was brought on to try to stabilise the back line a bit more, as Enda Stevens shot at the near post which Krysiak saved well again.
With 22 minutes remaining, Portsmouth got their noses ahead with good quality crossing into the box. Enda Stevens made amends for his earlier error for the equalising goal by delivering the cross that Kal Naismith converted from close range for a 2-1 lead.
Yeovil briefly rallied - the introduction of Otis Khan as a substitute almost gave him a dream start, as he narrowly fired over the bar with his first touch. But Portsmouth had their own impact substitute, via Jamal Lowe. With 12 minutes remaining he fired home for a 3-1 lead, via a narrow angled drive that came off Artur Krysiak's leg and into the back of the net. Inevitably, that was that, with Pompey easily riding out the remaining time for victory. With Newport's late kick-off giving them victory, and cutting down their gap to safety to just three points, suddenly Good Friday's match at Rodney Parade may get a bit more interesting than Yeovil would want it to be.
Link: 2016-17 Latest League Two Table.
Final Score: Portsmouth 3 Yeovil Town 1.
Scorers: Gareth Evans (1-0, 15 mins, penalty), Enda Stevens (1-1, 51 mins, own goal), Kal Naismith (2-1, 68 mins), Jamal Lowe (3-1, 78 mins)
1 David Forde
26 Gareth Evans 6 Christian Burgess 5 Matthew Clarke 3 Enda Stevens
4 Danny Rose 8 Michael Doyle
7 Carl Baker 11 Gary Roberts 23 Kyle Bennett
22 Kal Naismith
13 Liam O'Brien 15 Nicke Kabamba (89 mins for Kal Naismith) 16 Jack Whatmough 18 Jamal Lowe (76 mins for Carl Baker) 19 Conor Chaplin (67 mins for Gary Roberts) 24 Amine Linganzi 25 Drew Talbot
1. Artur Krysiak
6. Bevis Mugabi 5. Alex Lacey 16. Matt Butcher
2. Liam Shephard 7. Kevin Dawson (Capt) 4. Matt Dolan 32. Tom James
19. Brandon Goodship 13. Francois Zoko 9. Tom Eaves
Substitutes: 12. Johnny Maddison 3. Nathan Smith (57 mins for Bevis Mugabi) 8. Alex Lawless 10. Otis Khan (70 mins for Brandon Goodship) 17. Omar Sowunmi 24. Owain Jones 31. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (50 mins for Tom Eaves)
Portsmouth Bookings: None.
Yeovil Bookings: None.
Portsmouth Match Statistics: Possession: 61%; Shots: 18; Shots On Target: 8; Corners: 7; Fouls: 9.
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 39%; Shots: 5; Shots On Target: 1; Corners: 1; Fouls: 11.
Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire). Assistants: Robert Dabbs (Dorset) and Garry Maskell (London). Fourth Official: Stuart Butler (Kent).
Attendance: 17,564 (with 443 Yeovil Town supporters).
NOTE: Yeovil Town's goal was initially credited to Francois Zoko. The Football League's Dubious Goals Committee have since recorded it as an own goal by Enda Stevens.