POMPEY ROLLING TO­WARDS THE TOP

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah

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.’’

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

STAR MAN DANNY ROSE Portsmouth JUMP­ING FOR JOY: Kal Nai­smith en­joys scor­ing the open­ing goal

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