Portsmouth Continue to Close gap at the top of League Two Table

PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Gary Roberts of Portsmouth celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet League Two match between Portsmouth and Mansfield Town at Fratton Park on November 12, 2016 in Portsmouth, England. (Photo by Harry Murph y/Getty Images)

Portsmouth and manager Paul Cook secured one of their best results of the League Two campaign this season on Saturday, with a dominant second half earning a 3-0 victory at Carlisle United. Now only three points back of the automatic promotion places, the club’s ability to find crucial goals and key moments is proving to be quite special.

Portsmouth Continue to Close gap at the top of League Two table

Third-place Carlisle created chances early, and the match was level at 0-0 going into the final 20 minutes. But the Pompey attack came alive in a major way late on, as goals from Gary Roberts (73’), Amine Linganzi (86’) and substitute Jack Whatmough (90’) brought the visitors three important points.

After many years of ownership issues, financial problems and relegation in the Football League, Portsmouth are showing signs that next season could see them playing in League One.

The club now prepare to host Morecambe on Tuesday evening.

Critical scoring

One of the most incredible attributes possessed by Portsmouth this season has been the ability to find the necessary goals, particularly late in an encounter, to find results in league play.

Striker Conor Chaplin’s thunderous effort last weekend at Barnet in the 89th minute was scintillating and earned a point on their travels, while midfielder Kal Naismith’s five league goals always seem to be match-winners.

A strong quality for a club aiming for promotion is resilience, and Pompey have displayed this characteristic in an impressive way throughout the 2016-17 League Two campaign.

Away form

Portsmouth have been a consistent side away from Fratton Park as well, as points away from home can become a massive difference between automatic promotion and the play-off places.

An away record of 7-5-5 has featured fantastic performances at Luton Town, Cambridge United and Grimsby Town from the squad, and many times in front of significant travelling support.

Paul Cook will certainly want to see more of the draws earned become victories during the final months, but Portsmouth have put themselves in an excellent position for automatic promotion thanks to dedicated and determined play in away matches.

Defensive excellence

Boasting an impressive goal-differential (+19) and allowing the fewest goals in League Two thus far this campaign (29), Portsmouth’s defence has often been able to effectively keep their shape and slow the opposition’s attack.

Utilising both three and four defenders on the back-line throughout the season, Christian Burgess and Enda Stevens have been key contributors. Goalkeeper David Forde has been stellar, helping to keep the defensive line organised and showcasing spectacular positioning.

Carl Baker and Michael Doyle in the midfield have been efficient at both gaining possession and moving the ball forward into the attack.

With the ability to keep the match in front of them, Pompey’s rise up the table could certainly continue on during the next few weeks.

Less than a decade removed from the FA Cup final and participating in the UEFA Cup group stage, as well as playing in the Premier League, Portsmouth appear ready to achieve promotion this year and begin yet another thrilling journey for their supporters to experience with them.

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