The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Lloyd

PORTSMOUTH boss Paul Cook has warned their League Two pro­mo­tion ri­vals there is plenty to come from his side af­ter Matt Tubbs struck the win­ner at strug­gling New­port.

Pom­pey were largely unim­pres­sive, but they pro­duced the one mo­ment of true qual­ity in a drab game when Kyle Ben­nett tricked his way by two de­fend­ers and set up the striker for his sixth goal of the sea­son in firsthalf stop­page time.

They had to sur­vive a scare when New­port had a Lenell John-Lewis goal ruled out for a push just past the halfhour mark, but ul­ti­mately they were able to hold out for the three points with­out too much trou­ble.

“I am pleased with the win but not the per­for­mance. I thought we were very sloppy, par­tic­u­larly in that first half where we gave the ball away far too of­ten,” said Cook as his side re­tained sec­ond place in the ta­ble.

“But credit to the play­ers, they are find­ing a way to win games.

“Matt has taken his goal par­tic­u­larly well from a lovely piece of skill by Kyle Ben­nett and we dug in and saw the game out with­out com­ing un­der too much pres­sure.

“But I want us to be bet­ter than that and try and press on and get more goals.

“It is three points and we move on to the next game, but I know we can play bet­ter than we have been.

“We were just a bit lack­lus­tre but we go home happy.

“You will not play well ev­ery week, you just keep rid­ing that wave pick­ing up scrappy wins if you need to.”

Base­ment side County had started brightly, with on-loan mid­fielder Tommy O’Sul­li­van show­ing some nice touches and fir­ing wide af­ter one mazy drib­ble.

Then came John-Lewis’ dis­al­lowed ef­fort, as he nod­ded home only for the referee James Ad­cock to pull play back when Zak An­sah was ad­judged to have pushed Chris­tian Burgess and award a free-kick.

The home sup­port were unim­pressed by the de­ci­sion and showed their mirth when Ad­cock had to limp off with a leg in­jury and fourth of­fi­cial Wayne Bar­ratt took over.

One of the new of­fi­cial’s first tasks was to award the win­ner as Ben­nett’s lovely skill set up Tubbs to slot home for his sixth goal of the sea­son.

“The goal is an ex­am­ple of how naïve we have been,” said New­port boss John Sheri­dan. “It is just be­fore half-time and it is typ­i­cal of a team who are bot­tom of the league.

“I am try­ing to help the play­ers but I have to be hon­est and we are bot­tom of the league for a rea­son, we are los­ing foot­ball games.

“They just had peo­ple keep­ing the ball and we were naïve in our de­ci­sion-mak­ing and it meant we gave the ball away cheaply. “I don’t know what our goal was dis­al­lowed for, the ref said there was a push.

“But we can­not make ex­cuses, we have to turn it around.”

PIC­TURES: Pro Sport

MATT FIN­ISH: Matt Tubbs evades the County defence to slot home

HUD­DLE: Matt Tubbs is mobbed by Pom­pey play­ers


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