Stevenage bounce back with stunning win over Portsmouth

Jobi McAnuff wheels away in celebration. Picture: Danny Loo

Jobi McAnuff wheels away in celebration. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

In what was an almost faultless performance Stevenage stunned Portsmouth 3-0 to move up to fourth in the League Two table.

Stunned not because they beat Pompey; Boro did that earlier in the season, too. But because of just how ordinary Stevenage made the visitors – who are third in the table and had scored 10 goals and conceded none in their last three games – look.

And that’s because to a man Boro were on their game. All over the pitch they chased and closed down Portsmouth stopping them from not just playing but also completing other simple tasks such as clearing their lines effectively because of the pressure under which they were put by Stevenage’s pressing game.

With the ball Stevenage passed their way through the heart of the Portsmouth side at times. They bossed a first half which they won 2-0 thanks to Jack King heading home after Luke Wilkinson’s 30-yard effort had hit the bar and then Godden finishing side-footed from Jobi McAnuff’s cross for his 20th league goal of the season.

They were also rarely put under pressure in the second after McAnuff had followed up Godden’s effort to make it 3-0 long before the visitors had Christian Burgess sent off for a second yellow card.

Portsmouth had their chances as Gareth Evans hit the bar early in the first half while Carl Baker’s free-kick did the same at the end of the first period but their afternoon was summed up when Conor Chaplin was brought down late in the game – the only blip for Stevenage, a second penalty conceded in two matches – but then sent his soft Panenka spot kick into the arms of keeper Chris Day, who did not even move.

It was Stevenage’s best performance of the season given the calibre of opponent and occasion, and a fully deserved three points.

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It was also a seventh home win in succession for Darren Sarll’s men, while up next is a trip to Cambridge United.

Stevenage: Day, Franks, Wilkinson, King, Ntlhe (Gorman 74), Lee, Schumacher, Pett, McQuoid (Hinds 67), McAnuff (Loft 87), Godden. Subs: Preston, Tonge, Johnson, McKee.

Portsmouth: Forde, Davies, Stevens, Rose, Clarke, Burgess, Baker (Roberts 63), M Doyle, E Doyle (Chaplin 72), Hunt (Kamamba 63), Evans. Subs: O’Brien, Lowe, Linganzi, Talbot.

Att: 4,185 (1,390 away)