Tubbs fills his boots at the U’s expense
PORTSMOUTH doubled their away goal tally for the season in the space of 90 minutes to thrash Cambridge – and it left manager Andy Awford delighted.
Pompey had only hit six goals on the road since the start of the campaign, but January signing Matt Tubbs netted a hat-trick as they easily dispatched a woeful U’s side.
“We’ve got the goals to go with the performances we’ve been putting in of late, which have been really good,” said Awford.
“We had the finishes to go with it. It was a great finish from Jed Wallace to get us going, then we gave away a sloppy goal but we showed good character to bounce back and get the victory.
“Matt Tubbs has had plenty of opportunities in the last three or four games and he probably hasn’t scored the goals he’d have liked to since he’s been here. But here he’s taken his chances and he was fantastic. He fully deserves his match ball.
“You have to give the whole team credit for the way we attacked because we looked dangerous every time we got into their half.”
Tubbs’ goals grabbed the headlines, but it was Jed Wallace who pulled the strings for the visitors. The midfielder opened the scoring in the second minute, getting the better of Michael Nelson and slotting in from a narrow angle.
Debutant Nathaniel Mendez-Laing leveled for Cambridge in the 21st minute, profiting from good work from Ryan Bird and Jordan Slew, but Portsmouth were back in front two minutes later as Tubbs, who scored against Cambridge in December during his spell at AFC Wimbledon, got in behind the home back-line and finished coolly.
Paul Robinson made it 3-1 after Chris Dunn had parried James Dunne’s shot, and on the stroke of half-time Tubbs nodded home from close range after a cross from Dan Butler.
Cambridge hadn’t beaten Portsmouth since 1978, but pulled one back when Robbie Simpson stretched to head home Greg Taylor’s cross.
But Ryan Taylor and Tubbs took advantage of slack defending to complete the scoring in front of the jubilant travelling fans.
Cambridge boss Richard Money admitted his side were second best in all departments.
“I don’t think anyone can shirk responsibility, we got an awful lot wrong, from team selection to team shape to performances,” he said.
“It’s culminated in a punishing defeat to a team who should be top of the league with the players we had.
“All season long we’ve made poor mistakes and it has cost us.We didn’t deal with their front three all afternoon.”