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Match Reports


19 January 2016

Maitland-Niles on target but Town out of the FA Cup

Town’s disappointing run in the FA Cup continued with defeat at Fratton Park despite a superb goal from Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The Arsenal loanee gave Blues a lifeline with a terrific 25 yard strike on the hour mark but the damage had already been done before the break.

Former Town wideman Gary Roberts opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Marc McNulty extended Portsmouth’s lead soon after.

McNulty had a gilt edged chance to seal the tie early in the second-half but Bart Bialkowski came to Blues’ rescue.

Maitland-Niles gave the Town fans something to cheer but Mick McCarthy’s side couldn’t find a second and finished the game with 10 men after Piotr Malarczyk was sent-off for two bookings.

Luke Hyam skippered a team that saw 11 changes from the side that drew against Preston at the weekend. Myles Kenlock, Josh Emmanuel and Paul Digby coming into an inexperienced defence.

Town had an early scare when Kyle Bennett got behind the backline and fired across goal, Blues also went close to an early breakthrough when Brett Pitman got on the end of Christian Burgess’ header towards his own goal and lifted the ball over ‘keeper Brian Murphy but onto the roof of the net.

Roberts saw his effort blocked by Hyam, the wideman then denied by the Town wall from a 25 yard free-kick.

Pitman almost got in at the near post from Maitland-Niles’ cross, while at the other end Malarczyk was in the right place to clear after Bennett had found space on the left.

Gareth Evans went close with a header and just before the half hour Pompey were in front, Malarczyk judged to have fouled Roberts in the box and he got up to score from the spot despite a valiant effort from Bialkowski. 

Luke Varney, up against one of his former clubs, headed over as Town looked for an immediate response but it was the hosts who struck again eight minutes before the break, McNulty heading in from eight yards.

Bialkowski held on from Elliott’s cross, Malarczyk cleared from McNulty as Portsmouth held the upper hand, Blues going into half-time with chances at a premium.

Bialkowski saved Town from going three down inside the first couple of minutes of the second-half, the ‘keeper getting off his line to save from McNulty went he was clean through, the striker sending the rebound high over the bar.

A clever free-kick from Roberts saw Michael Doyle fire over the bar from the edge of the box, Evans sending a right footer over the top after a quick break as Portsmouth looked to tie up the game.

It was Town who struck though on 60 minutes though and in sensational style, Maitland-Niles curling a left footer from 25 yards into the top corner.

 Murphy comfortably dealt with Pitman’s lob, the Town striker having a much better chance when Varney set him up but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

Giles Coke and Larsen Toure replaced Jay Tabb and Varney for the last 20 minutes and Blues had to play it with 10 men when Malarczyk was shown a second yellow and then a red.

Bennett cut inside the Town defence but his shot flew well wide, Conor Chaplin, on as a substitute, almost got clear on goal with his first touch before the final whistle ended Blues’ stay in the cup at the third round stage again for the sixth successive year.

Portsmouth: Murphy, Davies, Webster, Burgess (Close 84), Stevens, Barton, Doyle, Evans, Roberts (Chaplin 82), Bennett, McNulty. Subs not used: Bass, May, Tollitt, Naismith, McGurk.

Town: Bialkowski, Emmanuel, Digby, Malarczyk, Kenlock, Tabb (Coke 71), Hyam, Oar, Maitland-Niles (Robinson 88), Varney (Toure 76), Pitman. Subs not used: Gerken, Hammond, McDonnell, McLoughlin. Sent-off: Malarczyk. Booked: Malarczyk, Emmanuel.
Att: 15, 179

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