League Two - 1st Leg
Portsmouth2Plymouth2

Portsmouth 2-2 Plymouth Argyle

Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot for Portsmouth

Portsmouth and Plymouth could not be separated after sharing four goals in an eventful first leg of their League Two play-off semi-final.

Marc McNulty gave Portsmouth an early lead when he found space on the edge of the box to fire past Luke McCormick.

Argyle soon levelled as Jamille Matt headed in and then spectacularly put his side ahead with an overhead kick.

Gary Roberts' second-half penalty brought Pompey level after Peter Hartley tripped McNulty in the area.

The two sides will meet again in the second leg at Home Park on Sunday for a place in the Wembley play-off final on 30 May.

Fleetwood loanee striker Matt looked to have grabbed the headlines in stunning fashion with his two early goals for the visitors.

He had happy memories of Fratton Park even before kick-off having headed the first goal when Derek Adams' men beat Pompey 2-1 last month.

But the 26-year-old was arguably fortunate to still be on the field when he netted his acrobatic second goal from a Kelvin Mellor long throw.

An off-the-ball incident involving him and Portsmouth captain Michael Doyle did not result in any punishment being dished out by referee Oliver Langford, but did lead to dismissals on the touchline.

Following consultation with fourth official Gavin Ward, Portsmouth manager Paul Cook and Plymouth assistant Paul Wotton were sent to the stands after a heated exchange.

An explosive opening was perhaps to be expected between two sides who were only separated by three points and one place in the regular season.

Portsmouth deservedly levelled six minutes after the restart as Roberts placed his penalty beautifully into the top corner.

But a questionable decision from referee Langford saw Plymouth centre-back Hartley only receive a yellow card when he appeared to be the last man when stopping McNulty's run into the visitors' box.

Portsmouth manager Paul Cook told BBC Radio Solent:

"Great game, fantastic game of football. Two very committed sides and some fantastic stuff.

"A great advertisement for League Two football and it's all to play for going into Sunday's decider. The lads have shown great character to get back into it. We'll feel aggrieved over decisions and I'm sure Plymouth will.

"But, let's talk about the football and not the referee."

Plymouth manager Derek Adams told BBC Sport:

"It was an excellent game and we thoroughly deserved to go 2-1 ahead.

"We probably should've won the game on the night. We've had good opportunities and it was a very good performance from us.

"We passed the ball well and we had to deal with a fair amount of Portsmouth pressure.

"But, we dealt with the atmosphere exceptionally well. When you go to the home leg, you've got your own fans behind you. I think tonight's shown what the home fans can do for you."

Line-ups

Portsmouth

  • 22Allsop
  • 2Davies
  • 6Burgess
  • 15BartonBooked at 45mins
  • 3Stevens
  • 8Doyle
  • 29HollandsBooked at 40mins
  • 26Evans
  • 11Roberts
  • 23BennettSubstituted forNaismithat 62'minutes
  • 10McNultySubstituted forMcGurkat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7McGurk
  • 14Naismith
  • 16Whatmough
  • 18Tollitt
  • 25Wilkinson
  • 33Close
  • 38Haunstrup

Plymouth

  • 23McCormick
  • 2Mellor
  • 5Nelson
  • 6HartleyBooked at 50mins
  • 3SawyerBooked at 60mins
  • 4McHugh
  • 20BoatengSubstituted forPurringtonat 80'minutesBooked at 85mins
  • 14Jervis
  • 10CareyBooked at 14mins
  • 11Wylde
  • 19MattSubstituted forTannerat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Reid
  • 15Harvey
  • 16Purrington
  • 24Rooney
  • 27Tanner
  • 28Forster
  • 31Dorel
Referee:
Oliver Langford
Attendance:
17,622

Match Stats

Home TeamPortsmouthAway TeamPlymouth
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home17
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away1
Fouls
Home5
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Portsmouth 2, Plymouth Argyle 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Portsmouth 2, Plymouth Argyle 2.

Attempt missed. Gary Roberts (Portsmouth) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Danny Hollands.

Substitution

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Craig Tanner replaces Jamille Matt.

Offside, Portsmouth. Danny Hollands tries a through ball, but Gary Roberts is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Gareth Evans (Portsmouth) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Enda Stevens with a cross.

Attempt saved. Ben Davies (Portsmouth) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Adam McGurk.

Offside, Portsmouth. Adam Barton tries a through ball, but Enda Stevens is caught offside.

Booking

Ben Purrington (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card.

Danny Hollands (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ben Purrington (Plymouth Argyle).

Attempt missed. Adam McGurk (Portsmouth) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ben Davies with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Portsmouth. Conceded by Gregg Wylde.

Gary Roberts (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle).

Substitution

Substitution, Portsmouth. Adam McGurk replaces Marc McNulty.

Substitution

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Ben Purrington replaces Hiram Boateng.

Michael Doyle (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Hiram Boateng (Plymouth Argyle).

Attempt missed. Gareth Evans (Portsmouth) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Enda Stevens (Portsmouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jake Jervis (Plymouth Argyle).

Offside, Portsmouth. Christian Burgess tries a through ball, but Marc McNulty is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Kal Naismith (Portsmouth) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Enda Stevens.

Offside, Plymouth Argyle. Curtis Nelson tries a through ball, but Jamille Matt is caught offside.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jake Jervis (Plymouth Argyle) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Danny Hollands (Portsmouth) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Kal Naismith (Portsmouth) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Danny Hollands.

Substitution

Substitution, Portsmouth. Kal Naismith replaces Kyle Bennett.

Attempt missed. Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Booking

Gary Sawyer (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Danny Hollands (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Sawyer (Plymouth Argyle).

Corner, Portsmouth. Conceded by Luke McCormick.

Attempt saved. Marc McNulty (Portsmouth) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Gary Roberts.

Gareth Evans (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle).

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Adam Barton.

Goal!

Goal! Portsmouth 2, Plymouth Argyle 2. Gary Roberts (Portsmouth) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the top left corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Northampton462912582463699
2Oxford Utd462414884414386
3Bristol Rovers462671377463185
4Accrington462413974482685
5Plymouth462491372462681
6Portsmouth4621151075443178
7Wimbledon4621121364501475
8Leyton Orient461912156061-169
9Cambridge4618141466551168
10Carlisle461716136762567
11Luton46199186361266
12Mansfield461713166153864
13Wycombe461713164544164
14Exeter461713166365-264
15Barnet461711186768-162
16Hartlepool46156254972-2351
17Notts County46149235483-2951
18Stevenage461115205267-1548
19Yeovil461115204359-1648
20Crawley46138254578-3347
21Morecambe461210246991-2246
22Newport461013234364-2143
23Dag & Red46810284681-3534
24York46713265187-3634
View full League Two table

Top Stories