Glorious week ends with Pompey blunting Blades

David Connolly celebrates scoring Ponpey's second in the win over Sheffield United at Fratton Park   Picture: Barry Zee
David Connolly celebrates scoring Ponpey's second in the win over Sheffield United at Fratton Park Picture: Barry Zee

Pompey’s new dawn began in glorious fashion as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

Three goals in 11 first-half minutes made it the perfect start to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust era at Fratton Park.

It really was the perfect day to be a Pompey fan as Shaun Cooper, David Connolly and Jed Wallace got the goals in front of a crowd of 18,433 - the biggest home gate of the season.

The emphatic win came on top of the club coming out of administration after 14 months and the Trust completing their takeover, as Pompey became the biggest fan-owned club in the United Kingdom.

And there was the news hours before kick-off that the 10-point deduction would come off this season - and not in League Two, as it had been feared.

The feelgood factor was evident at the beginning of the afternoon, with the sun shining and spirits high at the outset of the club’s new era.

That was epitomised as Pompey’s new chairman Iain McInnes was paraded to supporters along with Trust chairman Ashley Brown and administrator Trevor Birch before kick-off.

McInnes was in typically-passionate mood as he delivered a pumped-fist salute to fans at the end of an emotional period.

He would have been pleased to see how the Blues started quickly out of the blocks, with an early penalty appeal not given as Sam Sodje went to ground in the box.

Dave Kitson was making his first return to Fratton Park since leaving last summer, and was roundly booed as he challenged for a ball when the Blades attacked.

It was Jed Wallace who was the driving force behind the opener in the 21st minute, with a forceful run into the heart of the visitors’ penalty area.

He found Agyemang whose first-time cross was headed home by Cooper, who rose highest at the back post.

That goal sent Fratton Park wild, and the home fans were even more jubilant as Pompey doubled the advantage three minutes later.

It was Connolly who started and finished the move, as he put Agyemang clear.

The chance looked to have past the in-form striker by as he checked, but he found Wallace who put in a delicious cross which Pompey veteran poacher gratefully gobbled up.

It was one-way traffic now with Pompey playing arguably their most fluent and confident football of the campaign.

Chairman McInnes was joining in with every chant from the directors’ box, and he was on his feet again as his side grabbed a third goal after 32 minutes.

Connolly was again at the heart of proceedings as he advanced and played a cross all the way across the face of goal to an unmarked Wallace, who made no mistake.

This was Pompey’s day now, and that fact was summed up when United did force the ball home three minutes before the break from Porter’s header - but saw the goal ruled out for offside.

And there were cheers as it was announced Kitson had been replaced by Jonathan Forte after the break. Barry Robson came on for Ryan Flynn in the visitor’s other switch.

Those switches had no significant impact on the balance of play, though, with Wallace having two off-target shots in quick succession seven minutes after the restart.

Pompey should have had a fourth goal after 61 minutes when the majestic Connolly reached the byline and crossed for Wallace, but the teenage midfielder’s glancing effort drifted wide.

There was a wonderful contentment about the day for the home fans as the second-half descended into a procession.

But there was still time for a full gambit of chants from the Fratton faithful with ‘Johnny Ertl, ninja turtle’ a stand-out.

Neill Collins headed over from a corner in a rare chance for the visitors.

Pompey were looking comfortable at the back though, with Sodje in dominant form.

There was a standing ovation for Agyemang when he was replaced by Ashley Harris with five minutes left - with fans singing ‘sign him up’.

And it was a similar story for Wallace moments later when he switched for Jack Maloney, and, finally, Ertl who was replaced by debut-making Nick Awford.

The party mood continued on the final whistle as fans celebrated and the players undertook a lap of honour on a day to remember.

League One

POMPEY 3 (Cooper 21, Connolly 24, Wallace 32)


Att: 18,433

Pompey: Eastwood, Moutaouakil, Gyepes, Sodje, Butler, Wallace (Maloney 88), Ertl (Awford 90), Racon, Cooper, Connolly, Agyemang (Harris 85). Subs: Smith, Webster, Walker.

Sheffield United: Long, Higginbotham, Hill, Collins, McMahon (Westlake 59), Flynn (Forte 46), Doyle, McDonald, Porter, Kitson (Robson 46), Murphy. Subs: Coyne, McFadzean, Whitehouse, Ironside.