LIVE: FULL-TIME: PETERBOROUGH UNITED 2, PORTSMOUTH 0: Posh bounce back to winning ways with a dominant display against promotion rivals Pompey
A first-half goal from Dan Butler against his old club and and a superb second-half finish from top scorer Ivan Toney sealed the points. The margin of victory would have been far greater, but for an outstanding display from visiting ‘keeper Alex Bass.
Siriki Dembele, who was excellent throughout, created the opening goal with a superb piece of skill along the goal-line. His cross found Toney with his back to goal and he laid the ball back for Butler to claim his second goal in three games with a crisp 32nd minute finish.
Posh were then denied an immediate second by a breathtaking save from Bass. Toney looked to set to score from Joe Ward’s low cross and he struck his close-range shot well, but Bass stuck up a hand and somehow diverted the ball over the bar.
Dembele, whose pace was too much for a ponderous defence, then ran through on to a huge clearance from Jack Taylor, but took the ball past Bass and out of play.
Before the goal Dembele fed Sammie Szmodics, but the on-loan star couldn’t control a bobbly ball and Bass saved.
Pompey rarely threatened apart from when ex-Pompey defender Nathan Thompson misjudged the flight of the ball enabling John Marquis to fire in a shot that Christy Pym saved.
As expected top scorer Toney returned to the Posh starting line-up with Mo Eisa’s first goal for almost three months not enough to save him from a seat on the substitutes’ bench.
Pompey replaced suspended former Posh centre-back Christian Burgess with Jack Whatmough, who was starting a Football League match for the first time in 13 months.
Whatmaugh unsursprisingly couldn’t last the pace and was withdrawn at half-time as was Thompson with a thigh injury. Niall Mason came on for Thompson and played well.
Pompey enjoyed more possession after the break, but they were weak up top and only when Ryan Williams lashed over from 12 yards after a free kick fell into his path did they look like scoring.
In contrast Toney and Dembele were rampant on the breakaway against a side who lost their discipline so badly they ended up with six cautions.
Toney saw a free kick well saved by Bass and Bass also thwarted Sammie Szmodics following a superb counter attack.
Pompey sub Ollie Hawkins’ height caused a Posh defence superbly marshalled by Mark Beevers a few issues and he glanced a header wide moments after coming on.
But it was Posh who claimed the vital second goal. Posh ‘keeper Christy Pym’s huge kick was allowed to bounce and Toney brushed big Sean Raggett aside before hooking the ball superbly over Bass while falling to the floor to send Posh up to fourth place.
Posh: Christy Pym, Nathan Thompson (sub Niall Mason, 46 mins), Mark Beevers, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Joe Ward, Dan Butler, Jack Taylor, Reece Brown (sub Josh Knight, 74 mins), Sammie Szmodics (sub George Boyd, 87 mins), Ivan Toney, Siriki Dembele.
Unused substitutes: Aaron Chapman, Mo Eisa, Rhys Bennett, Ricky-Jade Jones.
Portsmouth: Alex Bass, James Bolton, Jack Whatmough (sub Ross McCrorie, 46 mins), Sean Raggett, Ryan Williams, Steve Seddon, Cameron McGeehan (sub Oliver Hawkins, 68 mins), Ben Close (sub Andy Cannon, 55 mins), Tom Naylor, Ronan Curtis, John Marquis.
Unused substitutes: Craig MacGillvray, Lee Brown, Brett Pitman, Marcus Harness.
Goals: Posh - Butler (32 mins), Toney (86 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Brown (foul)
Pompey - Whatmough (foul), Cannon (foul), Naylor (foul), Raggett (foul), Marquis (delaying a restart)
Referee: Ollie Yates 6
Attendance: 9,414 (2,197 Pompey).