POMPEY ROLLING TOWARDS THE TOP
PORTSMOUTH took another big step towards League One, as they coasted to a fourth win from five games.
The convincing victory at Hartlepool maintained a six-point gap between themselves in third spot and Stevenage in fourth.
But for Pools, they are looking over their shoulders, just five points in front of second-bottom Newport.
Kal Naismith and Gary Roberts secured the points and meant the long journey home – it’s 320 miles from ground to ground – will have flown by.
And assistant Pompey boss Leam Richardson was just pleased to put another victory on the board.
He said: “You have to try to just tick the wins off at this point in the season.
“You have to take every game on its own merits and I’m thankful we’ve got the three points.
“We’ll turn our attention towards Yeovil now, but we’re leaving here happy.
“We’ve worked hard for it because Hartlepool are a good side.
“We have to keep our heads down, keep our feet on the ground and take the next game as it comes.”
The only negative for Portsmouth was a nasty injury suffered by striker Noel Hunt, who was stretchered off on the stroke of half-time.
“Without having had it fully confirmed by the medical people, it appears he has dislocated his arm,” added Richardson.
“He was in a lot of pain at half-time and a few of our lads are with him at A&E now.
“We’ll pick him up hopefully and take him home with us.”
Portsmouth took the lead when Naismith, who spent time on loan at Hartlepool last season, met Enda Stevens’ left-wing cross and swept home a welltaken volley on the turn for his third goal in as many matches.
However, Pools almost levelled in a bright start to the second half as Nathan Thomas drove forward and curled a shot past keeper David Forde, which came back off the inside of the far post.
But on the hour mark, Pompey put the game to bed with a second.
Pools needlessly lost possession, Naismith broke and, after his shot was saved, he fed Roberts – who had come on for the injured Hunt – to put the ball beyond home goalkeeper Joe Fryer.
And Pools boss Dave Jones reflected: “They are an established team with some really experienced players.
“Their budget is probably three times ours, but we’ve matched them for most of the game.
“They are on a roll, and it’s hard to stop teams on a roll in their tracks. It was just mistakes that cost us dearly.
“That’s why we are where we are, and we need to learn pretty quick. But the players have worked hard, put a shift in and we’ve come up against a very strong team.
“Their team has been built over a long period of time, and that’s what we’ll be trying to do here.’’
STAR MAN DANNY ROSE Portsmouth JUMPING FOR JOY: Kal Naismith enjoys scoring the opening goal