POMPEY PRAYING FOR HELP
PORTSMOUTH manager Paul Cook admits his side will have to wait for other teams to slip up if they are to get promoted automatically.
Cook watched as loan pair Matt Clarke and Marc McNulty gave Pompey an unassailable half-time lead against poor Crawley, before super sub Gary Roberts added some gloss late on.
The south coast club are still four points adrift of third-placed Oxford and Cook insists the pressure is on the U’s, Plymouth and Northampton to keep winning as his team are ready to swoop on any slip up.
The former Chesterfield manager said: “If we keep winning I’m sure some of the other teams will drop points. If we don’t pick up points we won’t be where we want to be.
“The teams above us are repetitively winning games and if they keep doing that then they will deserve the success they get.
“It is going to be littered with bad performances and bad results, but we have to ride that when they come.
“I think that’s as good as we’ve played this season.
“If our supporters want to know how we want to play, that is it.
“In games like that it is important to blow teams away and take those chances and we did.
“We haven’t conceded for a while now and we’ve had a couple of strong wins.”
Defender Clarke, whose loan from Ipswich is due to get renewed next week, gave Pompey the lead when he nodded in Ben Davies’s corner at the front post for his first professional goal.
Like Clarke, McNulty is set to stay at Fratton Park after his stint from Sheffield United finishes next week.
And also like the impressive Clarke, the attacking ace got on the scoresheet during a rampant opening 45 minutes, carefully controlling Enda Stevens’ cross before rifling past Daryl Flahavan.
A third was always on the cards and it finally arrived seven minutes from time when teenager Ben Tollitt ran the length of the field to tee up Roberts.
Crawley had improved after the break and came close to getting back into the game with a Gwion Edwards free-kick which rebounded off the crossbar.
But Reds boss Mark Yates admitted he had been bettered by one of League Two’s greatest.
He said: “Sometimes you have to applaud the opposition and say, ‘How do you deal with that movement and that quality of play?’
“I think they will go up. They have a really good squad and we made it too easy for them in the first half.
“We changed it in the second half and we looked a lot more solid and with a little bit of luck we could have got something out the game – not saying we would have deserved it. “We’re halfway through the year, 25 games in, have 31 points and are mid-tableish, we’re not going to be where Portsmouth are this season.”
ON THE MARC: Portsmouth’s Marc McNulty scores the second
OPENER: Matthew Clarke (middle) scores the first
STAR MAN KYLE BENNETT Portsmouth