Fans stay away as Pompey cruise it
THE crowd at Fratton Park was just 1,780, the lowest for a Portsmouth match on a Saturday since gates started being recorded.
Take away the 128 visitors from Northampton and there were even less present to watch Pompey cruise into the last 16 of the Checka-trade Trophy.
The absentees missed out on enjoying two team goals of the highest quality which created the victory margin.
Northampton had pressed forward from the start and looked to be getting slightly on top when they won a corner in the 41st minute.
However, from there Portsmouth broke swiftly forward and from a deep cross by Curtis Main, their captain Gareth Evans scored with a header from ten yards out.
With the match nearly an hour old an equally swift counter saw Nathan Thompson’s smooth cross sidefooted home by Stuart O’Keefe.
Both efforts drew praise from Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen, who said:
“They were two good goals from a technical point of view because they involved a quick switch from defence to attack and great athleticism.”
Cannon said he understood why an army of fans stayed away.
“The format of the cup, which has a group stage to start with, involves too many games and for many people the league is the be all and end all of a season,” he said.
“It should go back to being a straight knockout from the start, although it has given us the chance to give games to players not playing in the league.”
A third outstanding moment in the game, as Northampton tried to drag themselves back into it, was the reflex save produced by Luke McGee to deny substitute Billy Waters’ header.
Northampton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had no complaints about the result:
“We played well out there but the better team won.
“I can’t fault our team for the way they played. They were honest and doing their best and only lost to two very well-taken goals, but in a way having lost is not a bad thing.
“It has given us a chance to concentrate on our league position and we should do better with only one thing to concentrate on.”