DERRY’S REFUSING TO GIVE UP CHASE
CAMBRIDGE boss Shaun Derry claimed his side are still in the League Two play-off picture despite defeat by promoted Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
Pompey, who were celebrating clinching automatic promotion, controlled most of the game and were looking comfortable and good value for the two-goal lead given to them by Karl Baker and Kai Naismith’s exquisite free-kick.
But an equally precise free-kick from Luke Berry with ten minutes left sparked a previously lethargic Cambridge into life and but for a brilliant save from Pompey keeper David Forde, they might have claimed an unlikely point.
Derry said: “We’re still in there with a chance, and we know now what we have to do in our last two games.
“We’ve had a great season so far, but it's not over yet
“We gave it a real go, especially towards the end and in the final analysis, we were denied by a top-class save from a great keeper.
“We know what Naismith can do from that sort of range but Luke showed he is just as good, and he might have given us a point
“We always knew Pompey were going to turn up in one of two states – either that the game didn’t matter to them and they would be in a a relaxed mood, or that they would be on the front foot.
“The first half, Portsmouth played as well as they could.”
Pompey were in celebratory mood and their early football reflected that as they bossed the opening exchanges.
But it was left-back Enda Stevens who unlocked Cambridge on 19 minutes, driving to the by-line where he pulled the ball back into the path of Baker who swept the ball home leftfooted.
Pompey resumed their dominance and striker Nicke Kabamba missed a golden opportunity to double his side’s lead.
Naismith was not to be denied and after Stanley Aborah – in his first start for Pompey – was fouled 22 yards out, Pompey’s top scorer dipped a precise freekick past the stranded Norris.
Cambridge shook themselves out of their lethargy and with ten minutes left, were thrown a lifeline when Berry showed he is equally adept from a similar range and he curled a delicious free-kick.
It sparked Cambridge into life and in stoppage time he was handed a carboncopy opportunity. This time, though, Forde managed to get across.
Meanwhile, assistant manager Leam Richardson said Pompey still have an eye on the League Two title.
Richardson said: “We have to believe, and we have to keep going until the end of the season.
“More importantly, we have to be professional right until the last kick.
“Other clubs have play-off ambitions and we have to be fair to everybody to make sure we don.t take our foot off and that we maintain that professionalis.”
STAR MAN KYLE BENNETT Portsmouth YOU CAN’T SEE ME: Portsmouth midfielder, Carl Baker celebrates in front of the Portsmouth fans after scoring