Report: Portsmouth 4-0 Stags
Nine-man Mansfield Town left Fratton Park empty handed after a first half penalty and three goals in the second half saw Portsmouth complete a 4-0 win.
Attacking midfielder Gary Roberts converted for Pompey in the 11th minute and a brace from Carl Baker and a solitary strike from Noel Hunt did the damage in the second half.
With numbers even, Stags were certainly a match for their Hampshire hosts and created enough opportunities to register a goal, particularly in the first half.
But there was little way back after defender Kyle Howkins received two yellow cards within the space of four second half minutes.
And when fellow defender Alex Iacovitti was given a straight red card, Stags had a mountain to climb. Ultimately, the scoreline was harsh on the men from north Nottinghamshire, who competed well for an hour of the contest.
Mansfield manager Adam Murray drafted two fresh faces into the starting XI following Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory at Derby County in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Stags’ leading talisman Matt Green was recalled along with tenacious midfielder Jamie McGuire.
Young midfielder Jack Thomas yesterday attended the funeral of a close friend and didn’t travel overnight with the squad, while frontman Darius Henderson was moved to the subs’ bench.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed before the match that skipper Lee Collins and winger Kevan Hurst had picked up injuries in mid-week.
Portsmouth created the first meaningful attack of the match inside the opening three minutes.
Gary Roberts’ left-sided delivery was met by a wayward header from frontman Conor Chaplin, who was offside in anycase.
Four minutes later, Mal Benning prevented Carl Baker from gaining a clean connection inside the Stags’ box after a left-sided free-kick.
Mansfield registered their first shot on goal in the eighth minute when James Baxendale’s ambitious 30-yard attempt flew into the grasp of David Forde, the Pompey goalkeeper.
Stags then conceded a spot kick in the tenth minute following a corner.
On a wet Fratton Park surface, Matt Green upended Kyle Bennett near the penalty mark and referee Roger East had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Gary Roberts to slam it down the middle to break the deadlock.
At the other end, in the 17th minute, Green tried to steady himself inside the box after latching onto a forward pass by McGuire, but struck wide, with giant defender Christian Burgess in close proximity.
On 27 minutes, Stags’ right-back Rhys Bennett vitally intercepted a through-pass into the area following an eye-catching Pompey move.
Mansfield rattled the woodwork a minute later as they came mightily close to an equaliser.
In a move operated on the left-side, Green slipped it to Ashley Hemmings, whose pin-point cross was headed onto the inside of the post by James Baxendale, only to bounce back out allowing Pompey to clear.
With half-an-hour played Baxendale won the ball superbly in midfield before laying it to Oscar Gobern. And the pass to the left by the former Huddersfield man was equally as impressive, who spotted the advancing run of Mal Benning. But the full-back’s cross was too deep and the chance faded.
Seven minute later, Carl Baker got the better of Jamie McGuire on the left of the Stags box, only to see his rasping shot bounce back off the far post.
Moments afterwards, Scott Shearer made a routine save from Kyle Bennett’s effort from outside the box.
Stags created another chance to end the half in en encouraging fashion. Clements’ free-kick from the near the touchline was powered goalwards by the head of Rhys Bennett, and as Portsmouth failed to clear, Kyle Howkins could only stab it over the bar from ten yards.
Clements then tried his luck in the 44th minute from another free kick, this one more central from 25 yards, but he curled it beyond the angle.
Just two minutes into the second period, Kyle Bennett fired a venomous 30-yard drive towards goal which had to be tipped over by Shearer.
Then Gary Roberts lashed a low ball across the face of goal which nobody could connect with.
At the other end, Green cut infield to pull the trigger, but his passage to goal was blocked.
In the 54th minute, Carl Baker sent a wild 20 yard free kick into the stand, after Howkins had brought down Chaplin on the edge of the box to receive his first yellow card.
A minute later, Stags’ striker Darius Henderson was introduced to the action for Matt Green.
Chaplin missed a golden chance to double Pompey’s lead on 56. Beating the offside trap to connect with a through ball, the diminutive frontman somehow failed to find the goal when one-on-one with Scott Shearer.
Then Howkins was given his marching orders on 57. Previously given a yellow card for the foul on Chaplin, the Stags’ defender was recklessly late when making a challenge on Bennett.
From the resulting free kick knocked just outside the Stags’ box, captain Michael Doyle blasted it off target with the aid of a deflection.
Defender Alex Iacovitti, on loan from Nottingham Forest, then replaced James Baxendale for ten-man Mansfield.
Moments after the change, Hemmings stung the fingertips of Forde with a sizzling 25-yard attempt.
Portsmouth should have tested Shearer on 64 minutes at the opposite end.
A flowing move through the middle saw Bennett thread it beyond the Stags defence and into Chaplin, but the striker mis-aimed his assist and the chance went begging.
Shearer was called into action midway inside the half, saving Bennett’s central shot at the second attempt.
Doyle directed a shot wide from a corner as Pompey looked to put the game beyond reach.
Stags made a final change in the 69th minute when Mal Benning made way for Danny Rose.
Possibly the best home chance in the second half fell in the 70th minute. After pinging around the Stags box, Mansfield couldn’t clear the danger, and it fell to Roberts who somehow sent it wide from outside the goal area.
Mansfield forward Danny Rose drew a save from Forde as Stags looked for a way back into the contest.
But any hope of a comeback was severely pierced when Stags were reduced to nine men in the 74th minute.
Alex Iacovitti was dismissed when he entered into a tackle with studs showing inside the centre circle. Despite not connecting with any opponent, referee Roger East showed the red card.
Then after two Pompey changes, Hemmings let fly for Mansfield from 25-yards, but it whistled wide of the post.
The contest was sealed in the 84th minute.
Seconds after a ring of boos from the home crowd urging their side to push forward, Pompey notched their second. After patient build up play, Stags were outnumbered out the back as Naismith played it across the box for substitute Noel Hunt to tap home.
The energetic Hemmings then saw his shot charged down from the edge of the Pompey box.
But at the other end, Baker carved his name on the scoresheet. Drifting by the Stags on the right of the box, the midfielder planted his attempt beyond Scott Sheared to extended Pompey's lead in the 88th minute.
Shearer had to get down low at his near post to deny the same man, and then a side-footed effort by Smith inside the goal area trickled behind.
Stags' last attempt on goal, in added on time, saw Darius Henderson's long range hit fly wide.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Baker cut inside of Gobern to fire a 25-yard low shot beyond Shearer to complete the win.
PORTSMOUTH: Forde, Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens, Baker, Rose, Doyle, Bennett (Naismith 79), Roberts (Hunt 77), Chaplin (Smith 86)
UNUSED SUBS: O’Brien, Lalkovic, Whatmough, Close
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Howkins, Pearce, Benning (D. Rose 69), Clements, Gobern, McGuire, Baxendale (Iacovitti 59), Hemmings, Green (Henderson 55)
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, M. Rose, Hamilton, Hoban
ATTENDANCE: 16,393 (326 Stags’ fans)
REFEREE: Roger East