THE SIX-AP­PEAL OF CHAM­PI­ONS!

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Graham Ot­way

WINGER Carl Baker put into per­spec­tive the scene at Frat­ton Park last night af­ter Portsmouth had clinched the League Two ti­tle with a six-goal ham­mer­ing of Chel­tenham.

More than 10,000 fans in­vaded the pitch and Baker and his team-mates re­sponded by spend­ing more than an hour in the di­rec­tors’ box ac­knowl­edg­ing their chants and cheers and spray­ing cham­pagne.

“It is my sec­ond pro­mo­tion in three years,” said Baker. “I had one at MK Dons and we cel­e­brated then, but this was to­tally dif­fer­ent, fan­tas­tic.

“To see all those fans stay be­hind is some­thing I have never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore and it is a scene that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

And while Portsmouth only clinched the ti­tle be­cause Ply­mouth and Don­caster failed to end their sea­son with vic­to­ries, Baker said it was not a to­tal sur­prise in the Pom­pey dress­ing room.

He said: “It has been writ­ten in the stars for sev­eral weeks now. We felt it was some­thing that was meant to be.

“We have this great run of ten wins from our last 12 games and they have been drop­ping points. We may have left it late but to win it by scor­ing six showed we de­served it.

“And the fans here have been so pa­tient and sup­port­ive that they re­ally de­serve to en­joy it all.” It was five goals in the sec­ond half which sealed the ti­tle. The left-side com­bi­na­tion of Kyle Ben­nett and Enda Stevens was a con­stant threat to Chel­tenham, but they needed a help­ing hand to open the scor­ing in the 13th minute. Stevens’ fast and dan­ger­ous low cross was de­flected past Scott Brown by Daniel O’Shaugh­nessy, and since Ply­mouth were los­ing at the time and Don­caster level with Hartle­pool, Pom­pey were at the top of the ta­ble. But their at­tempts to con­sol­i­date their ad­van­tage be­fore half-time were thwarted by two saves by Brown, while his op­po­site num­ber David Forde needed sharp re­ac­tions to beat out a low, close-range shot from Dan Hol­man. How­ever, when a 62nd-minute shot from Ben­nett took a wicked de­flec­tion to give Portsmouth their sec­ond it opened the flood­gates.

Dur­ing the next 13 min­utes fur­ther goals from Kal Nai­smith, sub­sti­tute Ja­mal Lowe and a penalty from Gareth Evans put the re­sult be­yond doubt that was never threat­ened by Chel­tenham’s late goal from James Day­ton.

The age­ing stands at Frat­ton Park were not shak­ing be­cause of the goalfest, but the news fil­ter­ing through that both Don­caster and Ply­mouth were to be de­nied the wins they needed to clinch the ti­tle. Nai­smith’s sec­ond five min­utes be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle was just the ic­ing on the cake. The noise level had al­ready reached

de­fean­ing.

PICTURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

ALL SMILES: Ben­nett cel­e­brates LET­TING FLY: Portsmouth’s Kyle Ben­nett scores their sec­ond goal

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