The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

PORTSMOUTH boss Andy Aw­ford is not throw­ing in the towel on his side’s play-off push af­ter beat­ing Lu­ton Town at Frat­ton Park.

The hosts made it four wins from five to move just eight points off the top seven, with goals from Matt Tubbs and Ryan Tay­lor.

Aw­ford said: “We were very clin­i­cal when we needed to be – both fin­ishes were good fin­ishes. Pro­fes­sional, dis­ci­plined and clin­i­cal are three words I would use.

“That’s seven clean sheets in ten now.You don’t lose foot­ball matches if you don’t con­cede goals.

“It’s not just down to the goal­keeper and the back three; it’s down to the whole team. The whole team de­fend as a unit.

“When you have the threat we have at the other end of the pitch, it gives you a chance when you don’t con­cede goals.

“We’ll try and win Tues­day and we’ll try and win Satur­day. We’ll get as many points as we can be­tween now and the end of the sea­son. Wher­ever that takes us, it takes us.

“At the mo­ment I’m de­lighted with our cur­rent form and the string of re­sults we have had.”

The hosts were ahead in just the fifth minute when League Two player of the month Jed Wal­lace sent over an invit­ing cross and Tubbs flicked a de­light­ful fin­ish be­yond El­liot Justham.

Tubbs was de­nied a sec­ond by Steve McNulty’s in­ter­cep­tion, as Lu­ton came close to a lev­eller on 19 min­utes and Cameron McGee­han fired waste­fully over from ten yards.

In the sec­ond pe­riod, Town piled on the pres­sure, but Pom­pey came clos­est to scor­ing, Wal­lace’s low ef­fort can­non­ing against the base of the post.

Aw­ford’s side then had a killer sec­ond on 61 min­utes, as a cross reached Tubbs and although he missed his kick, Tay­lor slammed home the re­bound.

The Hat­ters never re­ally looked ca­pa­ble of a con­so­la­tion, although in the fi­nal mo­ments, Luke Wilkin­son met Luke Gut­tridge’s cor­ner to beat Jones, but not the cov­er­ing Dan But­ler sta­tioned on the line.

De­spite suf­fer­ing a fifth de­feat in six games to lose more ground on the top three, Lu­ton boss John Still felt his side showed signs of re­cov­ery.

He said: “We con­ceded a poor goal but af­ter that I thought we were the best team. It’s the best we’ve played which is re­ally pleas­ing and we seem to have found a bit of form.

“I thought we played very, very well, had two or three off the line, cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties, our pres­sure was good, but we got beat, so I have to put that into per­spec­tive.

“We’ve lost some games lately when we’ve been dis­ap­pointed and I was dis­ap­pointed to lose, but I thought our per­for­mance was like a Lu­ton per­for­mance.

“We’ve got to pro­duce that ev­ery week be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.

“We can’t make the er­rors so early in the game and you end up chas­ing from early on. “It’s re­ally, re­ally dif­fi­cult, the re­sponse from it was fan­tas­tic, but you can’t con­cede from early in a game of that na­ture.”



CE Portsm

outh TAY­LOR-MADE: Ryan Tay­lor puts day­light be­tween Pom­pey and Lu­ton with a sec­ond goal

LIFT OFF: Matt Tubbs fires the hosts into an early lead

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