Pompey 3 Cobblers 1: Rose break overshadows latest home success
Saturday, 30th Dec 2017 18:25 by pompey-fans.com staff
We told you in our preview Pompey had the chance to end 2017 in the League One play-off places - and now that's exactly what they will do.
They saw off Northampton 3-1 to go sixth in the table - but the win was overshadow by a leg break suffered by Danny Rose and a potentially-serious injury to Gareth Evans.
Rose was hurt when he got kicked in a contested drop-ball with John Joe O'Toole, a situation the home fans felt the referee could and should have avoided.
Pompey went behind soon after the incident but recovered with three goals in a burst either side of half-time to take the points.
Dion Donohue, Matt Kennedy and Oli Hawkins were all back in the starting line-up as Kenny Jackett made changes to the side who had beaten AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day.
The Blues started well with Brett Pitman almost setting up Hawkins for an early goal but they faded and for a while it was Northampton who looked most likely to score.
Rose was helped off in the 25th minute after coming off badly in the drop-ball challenge, and to add insult to injury - literally - O'Toole set up Chris Long to put the Cobblers ahead 10 minutes later.
Long's celebration riled the crowd and inadvertently set the tone for the rest of the afternoon as the crowd and then the Blues raised their game.
Pompey were level on 41 minutes when Kennedy ran on to a return ball from his own ball forward to lash a shot beneath keeper Matt Ingram and in from just outside the area.
It got even better for the Blues before the break when a long ball from the back by Christian Burgess was met outside the box by the head of Hawkins, who expertly lifted it over Ingram and in to raise the roof.
Pompey wasted no time in the second half in extending their lead - even though by now they were also without Evans, who looked like he might have damaged his ankle.
Donohue sent over a high hanging cross from the South Stand touchline that Hawkins got his head on the end of, squeezing his effort beyond Ingram and just inside the post.
After that it was generally a case of whether Pompey could score any more, rather than whether Northampton could fight back.
Pitman, Ben Close and Burgess went closest to getting Pompey's fourth but Ingram did well to keep out several Blues efforts.
Pompey: McGee; Thompson, Burgess, Clark, Donohue; Close, Rose (May 29); Evans (Lowe 46), Pitman (Chaplin 89), Kennedy; Hawkins. Subs not used: Bass, Casey, Bennett, Main
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 18,539 (538 away fans)
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Photo: Action Images
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