Cambridge United 1 Pompey 3

Gary Roberts played a key role in Pompey's 3-1 victory Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts played a key role in Pompey's 3-1 victory Picture: Joe Pepler
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Richard Money’s foul-mouthed scattergun rant was indiscriminate.

His X-rated words showered a group of children, a number of older home supporters and a stunned Christian Burgess.

It even prompted the interruption of post-match interviews with Paul Cook, Pompey’s boss swivelling round to catch a glimpse of the chaotic spectacle occurring behind.

A belligerent member of Money’s coaching staff had admirably succeeded in physically restraining the U’s manager, dragging him away from the crowded touchline and onto the Abbey Stadium pitch.

Yet there was no silencing the torrent of abuse cascading upon the ears of those nearby.

Money was incensed at the half-time dismissal of Mark Roberts, a key moment which turned the game in the Blues’ favour.

Cambridge United had been leading at the time, in contrast the visitors had in familiar fashion enjoyed the bulk of possession although struggled to test the goalkeeper.

Yesterday’s encounter ended in a 3-1 defeat for the hosts as Matt Tubbs maintained his remarkable goalscoring record over an opposition he previously netted a hat-trick against in February.

Cue Money’s post-match explosion towards anyone and everyone, displaying no regard to potential collateral damage during a remarkable outburst in front of a still-emptying main stand.

This from a man who in his media address criticised Pompey’s lengthy protests over the awarding of Cambridge’s early goal, later proven by replays to have been offside.

Clearly such sentiments didn’t extend to withholding his opinion on the sending off of his captain, as those in the vicinity of the players’ tunnel some 20 minutes after full-time will testify.

Of course, Roberts’ exit was decisive in terms of the destination of the match result, the game changer, the unlocking of the door.

Not so much the moment of magic so championed by Cook and Gary Roberts during the past week following frustrations against Exeter and Yeovil.

Nonetheless, it was essential in deciding the outcome in Pompey’s favour as they maintained their impressive away record this term.

Granted, the validity of Leam Richardson running onto the pitch towards the referee upon the half-time whistle can be debated. Criticised even.

The assistant manager exuded the air of somebody intent on pulling his players away from referee Seb Stockbridge, no doubt also enabling him to chime in with his own feelings following that disputed opening goal.

Instead it soon descended into Cambridge’s Roberts putting his hands on him and Richardson responding during a brief flare up.

Aaron McCarey then tumbled to the ground at the hands of Roberts as he attempted to intervene – all played out in front of the match officials.

Moments before the second half began, came the announcement Roberts had been dismissed during the interval, while in turn it was discovered Richardson had also been sent to the stands.

Cook’s right-hand man then attempted to take residence in the gantry on the opposite side of the pitch, only to be removed and flanked by two policeman during a walk back to the main stand.

Yet it was to be the exit of Roberts which would have the most telling contribution and signal the downfall of the U’s, prompting Money’s combustible reaction after the final whistle.

Although his accusations of Richardson and Pompey ‘doing a number’ perhaps fail to take into account the man responsible for providing the first and final aggressive contact in the skirmish.

Namely his captain and the man who cost them victory during a match full of incidents.

It had been Robbie Simpson who had broken the deadlock on four minutes and given a side with one victory in the previous nine a prized half-time lead.

Even that was wrapped in controversy when Pompey’s back line stopped after seeing a linesman’s flag raised for offside against the U’s striker.

Smartly, Simpson carried on, netted past McCarey before it was noticed the linesman’s flag had now come down.

Referee Stockbridge allowed the goal to stand, indicating the chasing Burgess had touched the ball off Luke Berry and into Simpson’s path.

Replays later proved it the wrong call, the goal should never had stood, yet immediately an early edge was added to proceedings, with a fuming Cook later receiving a lecture from the referee minutes before half-time.

Still, Pompey bossed possession, they pushed forward, Gareth Evans fired in two wild shots, one left-foot attempt resulting in a throw-in.

Yet Sam Beasant, son of former Pompey keeper Dave, was largely untroubled. Certainly the hosts were comfortable in defending their penalty area.

Cook had kept an unchanged side from the one which drew against Yeovil at Fratton Park, yet once again during those opening 45 minutes the spark in the final third was lacking.

In fairness, though, once a shaky opening 15 minutes had been negotiated, the visitors were dictating play, even if a goal behind.

Then Mark Roberts stepped forward with his arms raised.

The 10-men of Cambridge battled hard after the break, prompting Cook to bring on Adam Webster for Matt Clarke in the 65th minute and curiously throw Burgess into attack to partner Matt Tubbs.

Within two minutes – and entirely unconnected – Evans drove in a cross from the right and Leon Legge put the ball into his own net as he attempted to snuff out Tubbs.

In under two minutes it was 2-1 to the Blues as Gary Roberts clipped in a sublime pass from the left and Tubbs popped up at the far post to net.

There was still time for a third and inevitably it came from a player who has now scored 11 times in nine career appearances against Cambridge.

Substitute Kal Naismith charged down a clearance, the ball looping up to strike the crossbar and Tubbs was presented with a close-range header for his fourth goal of the season.

Then, during five minutes of stoppage time, Evans deservedly received his marching orders following an awful lunge on Elliot Omozusi.

For Pompey, a fourth away win in six league games.

For Money, a very public and embarrassing meltdown when play had stopped. Just like his captain.