CONOR’S BEST OUTSIDE PREM
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.”
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