TUBBS BAGS LATE WIN­NER

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Ed Lang­ford

SUB­STI­TUTE Matt Tubbs may have bagged a 90th-minute win­ner but Portsmouth boss Paul Cook re­fused to take the credit de­spite see­ing his side stretch their un­beaten run in League Two to five games.

Tubbs was in­tro­duced late on by Cook as the visi­tors went in search of a win­ner and the 31-year-old striker was on hand to tap in from six yards to give Pom­pey their third league win of the sea­son.

Ear­lier in the game Gareth Evans had given Cook’s side the lead on eight min­utes, only to see the game lev­elled up on the quar­ter-hour as Craig Mack­ail-Smith net­ted his sec­ond of the sea­son from the spot.

Tubbs’ strike was the third last­minute goal Lu­ton had con­ceded al­ready this sea­son and Cook knew he was leav­ing Kenilworth Road with a for­tu­nate three points af­ter a thrilling en­counter.

“I didn’t think we played that well. We started the game in to­tal con­trol of an away game, score a good goal but then we get sloppy,” said Cook.

“You see what hap­pens with the home fans when they get a goal – there’s an as­cen­dency in the game.

“All in all it was one of those games where we won a game when a draw was prob­a­bly a fair re­sult. Still, late on I thought some of the lads were out­stand­ing and bring­ing on McGurk and Tubbs showed our in­tent. And that’s Tubbs’ job, to score goals.

“He’s paid to do that and even I’d have scored from there. In the end I look a tac­ti­cal ge­nius when I’m not.We got very lucky.”

John Still made four changes to the side that lost last week at Yeovil but the early play wasn’t in his side’s favour as Pom­pey took the lead through Evans.

The winger pounced ten yards out af­ter Luke Wilkin­son’s poor clear­ance can­noned into his own man in­side the area be­fore fall­ing kindly to the 27-year-old. But the home side weren’t be­hind for long as Mack­ail-Smith drilled home a 15th-minute penalty af­ter Nigel Atan­gana up­ended Josh McQuoid as he drib­bled into the Portsmouth area.

Lu­ton, through com­mit­ment and work-rate, looked the bet­ter side for the rest of the half, with Cameron MeGee­han fir­ing just wide.

But the best chance be­fore the break fell to Pom­pey, as Jay­den Stock­ley forced El­liot Justham into a smart save with his feet.

The sec­ond-half started at a fran­tic pace with both sides cre­at­ing open­ings. First McGee­han couldn’t find the tar­get when well placed on the an­gle be­fore half-time sub­sti­tute Olly Lee cleared Evans’ header off the line fol­low­ing Kyle Ben­nett’s cor­ner.

Stock­ley couldn’t meet Ben­nett’s cross just be­fore the hour while the Pom­pey winger tried his own luck from 25 yards as they pushed for the decisive sec­ond.

And it was Tubbs who even­tu­ally supplied it, con­vert­ing from closerange af­ter Justham had par­ried Conor Chap­lin’s ini­tial shot.

De­spite the late heartache, John Still re­mained up­beat.

“I’m frus­trated with the start but not dis­ap­pointed. I would have ex­pected us to have more points by now but I’ve been here be­fore and we’ve got good play­ers in a good side,” said Still.

“I thought both teams played well but the game has been de­cided on two mo­ments. Luke Wilkin­son has cleared one into Scott Cuth­bert then Scott’s slipped at the end and they’ve scored two goals.

“As dis­ap­pointed as I am to lose, I am happy with the per­for­mance. This is the first time we’ve put two good per­for­mances to­gether.”

PLAY UP: Gareth Evans opens the scor­ing for Pom­pey af­ter pounc­ing on a loose ball in the Lu­ton area

STAR MAN CHRIST

IAN BURGE

SS Portsm

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