PLYMOUTH PAY FOR PENALTIES
LEAM Richardson has warned Portsmouth not to get carried away after the title favourites got their season off to the best start in 27 years.
Matt Tubbs and Gary Roberts netted from the spot to send Pompey to their third successive victory – matching the three straight wins notched up in the 1988/89 campaign.
Despite admitting that the positive start gives cause for optimism, assistant boss Richardson insists Pompey will not rest on their laurels.
He said: “We know what football can bring you and we need to keep our feet on the ground.
“I have worked with Paul Cook long enough now and one thing we won’t get is carried away or you will get a smack on the chin dead quick.
“It is important that we carry on working hard. The players have set the bar now and it is up to us to keep raising it.
“We have got to be optimistic with the way we have started but there is a long way to go. This was a good win for us . It was a hostile crowd and it was hustle and bustle all the way through.
“I have to give credit to the officials, I thought they handled the game well and got both penalty decisions right.”
Portsmouth engineered a giltedged early chance when Gareth Evans was denied first by a smart save by keeper Luke McCormick and then a last-ditch block by Curtis Nelson.
McCormick came to Argyle’s rescue again in the 15th minute after an acrobatic save saw him push Kyle Bennett’s shot from the edge of the box over the crossbar.
It took until the 25th minute for the hosts to muster an effort on goal, Hiram Boateng blasting Graham Carey’s free-kick fractionally over the top.
Carey was left holding his head in his hands in the 35th minute after letting fly with a blistering volley that was brilliantly tipped over by Brian Murphy.
Portsmouth broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time when Boateng was adjudged to have bundled into the back of Enda Stevens and Tubbs kept his cool to lift the penalty down the middle.
After the break McCormick foiled Pompey substitute Jayden Stockley’s towering header. But Pompey sealed the win in the 86th minute after some neat trickery from Roberts forced Gary Sawyer into a clumsy challenge and Roberts buried the penalty.
Gregg Wylde pulled one back for Plymouth with a fierce close-range strike and Carl McHugh could have grabbed an equaliser but headed straight at Murphy.
Plymouth boss Derek Adams said: “The first penalty was very soft. Their player has fallen down before he was touched.
“That was a big decision and you have to be 100 per cent sure and obviously the referee was. “The second one was a definite penalty. Portsmouth are a good side, you can see that with the experience they have in their team.”
STAR MAN GARY ROBER TS Portsmouth
WE’RE OFF: Matt Tubbs scores the opening goal for Portsmouth from the spot
CONSOLATION: Plymouth’s Gregg Wylde celebrates