Tuesday December 3rd, 7.45pm
Leon Maloney 39
Marcus Harness 62
Portsmouth: Alex Bass, James Bolton, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Anton Walkes, Andy Cannon (sub Ben Close 85), Ross McCrorie (sub Brandon Haunstrup 62), Marcus Harness, Gareth Evans, Leon Maloney (sub John Marquis 62), Brett Pitman
Subs not used: Craig Macgillivray, Christian Burgess, Ryan Williams, Ellis Harrison
Cobblers: Steve Arnold, Michael Harriman, Reece Hall-Johnson, Jordan Turnbull, Scott Wharton, Joe Martin (sub Jay Williams 69), Ryan Watson, Shaun McWilliams (sub Billy Waters 50), Scott Pollock, Matt Warburton, Harry Smith (sub Michael Harding, Academy, 69)
Subs not used: David Cornell, Ryan Hughes, Egli Kaja, Jacob Ballinger (Academy)
Referee: Will Finnie
Portsmouth: James Bolton (43)
Cobblers: Joe Martin (43), Michael Harriman (76)
Sandwiched between an Emirates FA Cup game on Sunday and a trip to Exeter City in the league on Saturday, the Cobblers travelled to Portsmouth on Tuesday night in the second round of the Leasing.Com Trophy.
Only Steve Arnold, Jordan Turnbull and Scott Wharton remained from the starting line-up against Notts County with boss Keith Curle making 8 changes. Shaun McWilliams was back in the side after recovering from an appendix operation while defender Jacob Ballinger and striker Michael Harding, both from the club’s academy, were named on the bench.
Alex Bass made an early low save to deny Matt Warburton and Scott Wharton headed wide from a corner in a bright start from the Cobblers which saw them take the lead on 12 minutes, Michael Harriman heading home Joe Martin’s crossafter an excellent build up.
Pompey, the competition holders, responded with Gareth Evans forcing Arnold into a smart save and Turnbull deflecting behind a shot from Ross McCrorie.
The home side were pressing and they were back on level terms through Leon Maloney’s close range header following a deflected cross into the box from Marcus Harness.
Arnold saved from Brett Pitman at the start of the second half, Harness again the creator. Warburton then saw a shot saved by Bass before Billy Waters replaced McWilliams in the Cobblers first change.
Waters had a chance to put the Cobblers back in front but after being played in by Warburton his shot was saved by Bass.
Marcus Harness had looked a threat all evening and with just over an hour played he fired the home side into the lead with an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
Pompey made a couple of changes with former Cobblers loanee John Marquis joining the action. Arnold pulled off a terrific save to keep out a header from Pitman before Keith Curle made his final two changes, bringing on Jay Williams and Academy striker Michael Harding, the latter making his Cobblers debut.
Arnold made another terrific save, this time denying Marquis as the home side looked to seal the victory with a third goal. In the end though two was enough for the holders to progress through to the next round.
PORTSMOUTH MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (2) 9
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (2) 8
CORNERS: (1) 7
FOULS: (2) 3
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 2
COBBLERS MATCH STATS (first half in brackets, match total out of brackets)
SHOTS ON TARGET: (3) 6
SHOTS OFF TARGET: (1) 1
CORNERS: (2) 3
FOULS: (9) 15
CAUGHT OFFSIDE: (0) 0