Pompey 2 Cambridge 1

Pompey's promotion party continued with a 2-1 win over Cambridge United at Fratton Park.

Saturday, 22nd April 2017, 5:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:06 pm
Kal Naismith celebrates his goal against Cambridge. Picture: Joe Pepler

A first-half strike from Carl Baker and a stunning Kal Naismith free-kick after the break were enough seal victory, although Luke Berry’s strike made for a nervy ending.

After securing promotion to League One on Monday at Notts County, the Fratton faithful were in fine tune and the hosts still had a point to prove with the title not mathematically out of question.

And there was no hangover from Paul Cook’s men, despite the partying into the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

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The game got off to a slow start before Pompey had the first effort on goal.

In the fifth minute, Baker cut in from the right but his left-foot shot was straight at Will Norris.

Enda Stevens enjoyed plenty of joy down the left wing throughout the first period and, after eight minutes, he cut inside but his wild effort flew into the Milton end.

The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute. Stevens again drove down the left wing and his cross found Baker in acres of space.

He kept his cool to slot an effort into the bottom right-hand corner from 10 yards.

Cambridge had a chance to get themselves level in the 35th minute but Pompey scrambled away a loose ball after David Forde had spilled a cross.

Liam O’Neil was unmarked inside the box but headed wide and should have done better.

On the stroke of half-time, Nicke Kabamba had the chance to bag his maiden Blues goal in his first start.

Stevens’ cross found Baker at the far post, he volleyed the ball back across goal but Kabamba was back-peddling and directed his header the wrong side of the post.

Cook’s men were quick out of the blocks in the second half.

Bennett fired an effort towards goal and Norris could only parry the ball but the onrushing Kabamba slipped at the crucial moment.

In the 51st minute, the hosts doubled their lead. Stanley Aborah was dragged down and won Pompey a free-kick 25 yards out.

Naismith stepped up to the plate and curled his effort beyond the reach of Norris into the left-hand corner to double Pompey’s lead

After rarely threatening Forde’s goal after the break, Cambridge got themselves back in it.

In the 80th minute, Aborah brought down Harrison Dunk 25 yards from goal. U’s star man Berry then stepped up and his effort beat the stretching Forde to get the visitors back into it.

Half-chances fell to former Blues midfielder James Dunne and Dunk in a nervy final few minutes but they both went wide.

Deep into stoppage-time, Jack Whatmough’s late challenge won Shaun Derry’s side a free-kick dead centre of the goal.

Berry looked to repeat his heroics but Forde was there this time to meet the effort and seal the three points for Pompey.