FRASER SPARES IP­SWICH’S BLUSHES

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Dave Good­er­ham

PORTSMOUTH al­most dumped Cham­pi­onship high-fly­ers Ip­swich out of the FA Cup but as­sis­tant man­ager Leam Richard­son was sim­ply pleased to see them put on a show for the trav­el­ling sup­port.

Conor Chap­lin looked to have given League Two Pom­pey a de­served win in the 86th minute af­ter Tommy Oar and the ex­cel­lent Kyle Ben­nett had shared goals within 90 breath­less sec­onds.

But just two min­utes be­fore the end, a deep free-kick from out wide by Ryan Fraser was mis­judged by the un­der-pres­sure Brian Mur­phy and ended up in the far cor­ner to earn Ip­swich a scarcely-de­served re­play.

Richard­son said: “Ip­swich are do­ing very well in their league and they have an ex­cel­lent man­ager with some ex­cel­lent play­ers.

“Like with them, the league is our bread and but­ter. But we will look for­ward to a re­play, our fans will look for­ward to a great match at Frat­ton Park, and it will be good for the club fi­nan­cially.

“We gave a very good ac­count of our­selves. We came here to win the game. We know it is ex­pen­sive to watch foot­ball. I have kids and it can cost £100-plus to take them, so we think it is im­por­tant to put on a good per­for­mance.” Portsmouth dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings – as the star­tling 74 per cent pos­ses­sion stats at half-time per­fectly il­lus­trated – and were a credit to both the foot­balling phi­los­o­phy of the man­age­ment team and the 2,500 away fans who fol­lowed them to Suf­folk. Their only fault in an as­sured dis­play came in front of goal with both Gary Roberts and Marc McNulty guilty of fluff­ing their lines in the first half.

With the Ip­swich fans grow­ing rest­less, they fi­nally had some­thing to cheer in the 51st minute when Oar scored his first goal in Town colours, net­ting the re­bound af­ter Mur­phy had blocked from Brett Pit­man. But Portsmouth wasted lit­tle time in restor­ing par­ity, Roberts and McNulty hav­ing more joy as providers to tee up Ben­nett for a well-ex­e­cuted equaliser.

Both sides threw num­bers for­ward to try and avoid an ex­tra game and Chap­lin thought he had won it for Portsmouth when he found the bot­tom cor­ner with a pow­er­ful shot from dis­tance.

But Fraser had other ideas in the 88th minute even if his lack of cel­e­bra­tion sug­gested his free-kick was meant to be of the pen­e­trat­ing cross va­ri­ety rather than the di­rect goal.

Trac­tor Boys boss Mick McCarthy, who pre­match ad­mit­ted he didn’t want a re­play, said: “I wanted that re­sult on 88 min­utes when we were los­ing 2-1. At that point, I didn’t want to lose the game.

“I think they prob­a­bly de­served to win – I thought they were ex­cel­lent. I was re­lieved to go in at half-time 0-0 though I did think we were bet­ter in the se­cond half.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing to con­cede al­most straight af­ter scor­ing but it was tes­ti­mony to my play­ers that we kept go­ing and didn’t get beat.We were below par but they are one of the bet­ter League Two teams and they have a lot of qual­ity.”

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