TUBBS TOO MUCH FOR THE EXILES
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.”
MATT FINISH: Matt Tubbs evades the County defence to slot home
HUDDLE: Matt Tubbs is mobbed by Pompey players
STAR MAN KYLE BENNETT Portsmouth