CURTIS IS THE MAIN MAN FOR POMPEY
THE damage was done in the first half as a dominant Portsmouth cast aside Crawley.
Curtis Main’s first-half double, either side of a Gary Roberts strike, earned the win for Pompey, who made it three consecutive victories and charged into the play-off places.
Manager Paul Cook was keen to praise his team following the victory.
“We were excellent and that was just how our home games should work out,” he said. “We were aggressive in our play and were terrific, particularly in the first half.
“Our two full-backs were the best two players on the pitch. You’d have never known Gareth Evans had never played right-back before.
“The fans have suffered with us in the past. This was about the players and the supporters. We knew Crawley would give us a game and we knew we’d have to stick to our beliefs because they play an expansive game.”
Crawley striker James Collins scuffed wide early on, while at the other end, Michael Doyle sliced an effort past the post.
But nine minutes in the hosts took the lead through Main, who tucked home from close range after Carl Baker’s low left-wing cross found the frontman.
It was 2-0 moments later as Alex Davey was dispossessed just outside his own box and Roberts crashed a curling shot past Yusuf Mersin and into the top corner. Main nearly doubled his tally but his glancing header crept wide. He did get his second with the half drawing to a close, pouncing when Mersin spilled a deflected strike from Milan Lalkovic.
After the break, substitute Bobson Bawling went close to reducing the deficit and then visiting skipper Jimmy Smith forced David Forde into a smart stop.
Baker then saw a fearsome attempt fly over the upright and then curled just wide soon after.
Late on, home substitute Kal Naismith’s shot was held by Mersin, and Tom Davies denied Crawley’s Jason Banton from snatching a late consolation for the Reds.
And there was still time for Michael Smith to fire inches past the post, as Pompey eased to victory.
Visiting manager Dermot Drummy felt his side were blown away by their opponents, but added poor play didn’t help their cause.
“We gave two sloppy goals away to put them in the driving seat, and the third just before half-time killed us off,” he said.
“In the first half they pressed us and we couldn’t deal with them. They are a good side but we need to stop the errors.
“Their movement and their support was something else.
“We were better in the second half with Josh Payne coming in and controlling things. But some players didn’t want the ball at times and didn’t have the bravery to play.”
MAIN EVENT: Curtis Main, right, enjoys his second goal