Pompey crowned champions

Kyle Bennett, left, at the centre of the Pompey celebrations Picture: Joe Pepler
Kyle Bennett, left, at the centre of the Pompey celebrations Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey player Gareth Evans

Pompey Christmas quiz: Gareth Evans

0
Have your say

POMPEY are League Two champions!

On a final day of high drama the Blues have taken the title - sensationally moving to the top of the pile for the first time this season on the final day.

And Paul Cook’s heroes did it in emphatic style, dispatching Cheltenham with a 6-1 romp.

Plymouth’s 1-1 draw with Grimsby combined with Hartlepool beating Doncaster 2-1 saw the remarkable ascent completed.

There was emotion as a sell-out crowd engulfed the pitch on the final whistle.

Fratton Park acclaimed Enda Stevens before the game as he was named The News/Sports Mail player of the season.

News came through early on at Fratton Park leaders Plymouth were losing at Grimsby.

The buoyant Fratton faithful soon had something of their own to cheer as Pompey took the lead in the 13th minute.

There was a stroke of fortune to the goal, too, as Stevens’s cross was deflected home as defender O’Shaughnessy attempted to clear.

But the rest of the half saw the visitors come strongly back into the equation.

Billy Waters, Dan Holman and James Rowe all had efforts saved or hit narrowly off target.

Kyle Bennett looked favourite to score eight minutes before the break but shot at Brown after smartly working space.

And Chaplin fired wide off an open goal just before the break as he forced to over-stretch from Naismith’s centre.

Carl Baker fired at Brown 22 seconds after the restart but Cheltenham should have been level after 50 minutes.

Kyle Storer supplied the ammunition from the right and Danny Wright was all on his own in the box but headed wide eight yards out.

The response was for Danny Rose to thump a sweet controlled half-volley off the bar from 25 yards, with Chaplin and Naismith offside from the rebound.

But Pompey put daylight between the teams in the 62nd minute as Kyle Bennett’s shot beat Brown with the help of another deflection.

Three minutes later, the third arrived as Doyle got the attack moving with a quick free-kick. Bennett smartly slid in Naismith who did the rest with aplomb from 10 yards.

Then Jamal Lowe rifled in a fourth on 72 minutes, before sub Gary Roberts was hauled down to allow Gareth Evans to beat Brown’s full-length dive to his left from the spot.

A solo effort from sub James Dayton reduced the arrears for the visitors after 78 minutes.

But the big news by this stage was results were going Pompey’s way to leave them top of the table.

Fratton Park was bouncing and there were more cheers with five minutes left as Doyle freed Naismith to tuck away his second of the game.

Then came the nervous wait to see the full-time whistle go in the two fixtures crucial to Pompey.

And this time there were no late goals elsewhere to break royal blue hearts.

That paved the way for the home fans to flood the pitch in a sea of exultant emotion - their team champions for the first time in 14 years.