DERRY’S RE­FUS­ING TO GIVE UP CHASE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Rob Sergeant

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.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Adam Rivers

STAR MAN KYLE BEN­NETT Portsmouth YOU CAN’T SEE ME: Portsmouth mid­fielder, Carl Baker cel­e­brates in front of the Portsmouth fans af­ter scor­ing

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