CONOR’S BEST OUT­SIDE PREM

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Daniel Shel­don

PORTSMOUTH striker Conor Chap­lin was la­belled the best striker out­side of the Premier League by man­ager Paul Cook fol­low­ing their vic­tory at Frat­ton Park.

Chap­lin bagged a brace, but missed a penalty, as his side ce­mented their po­si­tion in the play-off po­si­tions.

Cook said: “We know peo­ple say we need a goal scorer but we prob­a­bly have the best goal scorer out­side of the Premier League in the coun­try.

“Conor has a fan­tas­tic men­tal­ity for a young foot­baller.

“He will never shy away from re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on a foot­ball pitch, so great credit to him get­ting two goals. He will have a fan­tas­tic ca­reer.

“The first half was ev­ery­thing we wanted out of the game. I thought the lads were a credit. They set a tremen­dous tempo and cre­ated nu­mer­ous chances.

“We should have gone in at half-time with the game done and dusted but un­for­tu­nately we have a habit of mak­ing things tough.”

Pom­pey were awarded a penalty in the 21st minute when Enda Stevens was fouled by Sammy Moore just inside the Ori­ent area.

Chap­lin, 19, stepped up to take the spot-kick but his ef­fort was saved by goal­keeper Alex Cisak af­ter he guessed the right way.

But the lo­cal lad made amends for his miss a minute later when he bun­dled the ball home at the far post af­ter a Carl Baker cross.

Ori­ent lev­elled things up in the 38th minute af­ter Gavin Massey exquisitely curled his ef­fort into the top cor­ner, leav­ing David Forde no chance in the Pom­pey goal.

Any mo­men­tum the away side had go­ing into the sec­ond half was scup­pered how­ever, when Chap­lin headed in his sec­ond of the match af­ter being picked out by an­other Baker cross two min­utes af­ter the restart.

Ley­ton Ori­ent were al­most gifted a point when Portsmouth’s Chris­tian Burgess headed over his on­com­ing goal­keeper with the ball just go­ing wide of the post.

And Ori­ent’s man­ager Andy Ed­wards was left dis­ap­pointed with the per­for­mance of ref­eree Brett Huxtable as his side linger just above the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

He said: “I think the ref was poor.

“Quite clearly look­ing back at the sec­ond goal, he (Conor Chap­lin) is two or three yards off­side, which is a de­ci­sion the lines­man makes to a cer­tain ex­tent.

“But the ref had al­ready given a penalty that in a mil­lion years didn’t look like a penalty.

“I am very dis­ap­pointed with both goals. It was a re­ally sloppy goal to con­cede at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod. The small­est lad on the pitch scores which is a real frus­tra­tion. “It was tough and we felt we were up against it. The crowd and the of­fi­cials made it very dif­fi­cult.”

PIC­TURES: TGSPHOTO

BUTTERFINGERS: Conor Chap­lin jumps in the air to cel­e­brate his first goal, but, in­set, is dropped by his team-mates DE­NIED: Alex Cisak keeps out Conor Chap­lin’s spot kick STAR MAN CARL BAKER Portsmouth

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