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8 November 2016

Portsmouth F.C 1 - 0 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 1,200 (65 away)

A late long-range goal by Kal Naismith defeats Rovers at Fratton Park in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Manager Darrell Clarke made six changes for the Checkatrade Trophy tie against Portsmouth F.C, with the hosts, in turn, making nine changes in total for the tie.

Daniel Leadbitter, Mark McChrystal, Rory Gaffney, Lee Mansell, Charlie Colkett and Luke James were all included in the starting eleven, with Tom Lockyer, Ellis Harrison and Ollie Clarke dropping to the bench.

Inside the opening two minutes, Rovers made a planned substitution, as Kelle Roos was replaced in goal by Will Puddy.

Puddy was immediately involved in the action, as the goalkeeper was enticed off his line, but was beaten to the ball by Michael Smith, who the Rovers 'keeper bundled down in the area. Smith stepped up to take the resulting penalty and placed a powerful effort into the bottom left corner that was saved by the diving Puddy, who was able to push the spot-kick clear of danger.

Rovers responded by creating a great opportunity of their own to take the lead when quick movement of the ball through the Rovers midfield resulted in Daniel Leadbitter receiving the ball in an advanced position and the right-back angled an inviting cross that was headed into the ground by Rory Gaffney, but his effort bounced narrowly over the crossbar.

With fifteen minutes on the clock, striker Luke James carved out space to shoot twenty-five yards out from the Portsmouth goal with a winding run and managed to hit a well-struck right-footed effort that beat the outstretched Liam O'Brien, but his attempt bounced straight back off the left-hand post.

With chances hard to come by in the opening forty-five minutes, a nice piece of combination play by Jermaine Easter and Rory Gaffney inside the final third opened up space on the edge of the area for Gaffney to attempt a chipped effort on goal that didn't dip enough to drop underneath Liam O'Brien's crossbar.

As the second half progressed it was Portsmouth who came closest to scoring when Lee Mansell conceded a free-kick twenty-five yards out from goal and a flighted delivery into the Rovers area was met by Amine Linganzi, who couldn't keep his header on target from close range.

The home side manufactured a golden opportunity at the death when a neat piece of skill by Michael Smith provided the striker with an opportunity to fire a dangerous driven cross into the area that was directed to Danny Rose at the far-post but the substitute mistimed his shot and the ball scrambled behind for a goal-kick.

As the game edged towards stoppage time, a long-range effort by Kal Naismith thundered past substitute 'keeper Will Puddy to give the hosts a late lead in the tie.

Portsmouth held on to their one-goal advantage in the four minutes added on, with Rovers unable to force an opportunity on goal to challenge for an equaliser.

The result means Rovers are unable to qualify from the group stage of this season's Checkatrade Trophy. Next up for Rovers is a trip to Millwall F.C in SkyBet League One this coming Saturday.

Portsmouth: Liam O'Brien (G), Drew Talbot, Tom Davies, Jack Whatmough, Adam Buxton (72' Danny Rose), Amine Linganzi, Ben Close (c) (72' Gareth Evans), Kal Naismith, Kyle Bennett (75' Noel Hunt), Milan Lalkovic, Michael Smith.

Subs: Nick Hall (G), Matt Clarke, Dominic Hyam, Conor Chaplin.

Rovers: Kelle Roos (G) (2' Will Puddy), Daniel Leadbitter, Mark McChrystal (c), Peter Hartley, Connor Roberts, Hiram Boateng, Lee Mansell, Charlie Colkett, Jermaine Easter (77' Ollie Clarke), Rory Gaffney (79' Ellis Harrison), Luke James

Subs: Tom Lockyer, Cristian Montano, Byron Moore, Chris Lines

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