Fans stay away as Pom­pey cruise it

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP - By Graham Ot­way

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.”

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