League Two - 2nd Leg
Plymouth1Portsmouth0

Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Portsmouth (agg 3-2)

Plymouth celebrate
Plymouth will play either Accrington or AFC Wimbledon in the League Two play-off final on 30 May

Peter Hartley's stoppage-time goal sent Plymouth into the League Two play-off final at the expense of Portsmouth.

In a tense second leg, the Pilgrims deserved their 3-2 aggregate win after making a host of chances at Home Park.

Argyle's Graham Carey had an early shot tipped over while Jamille Matt missed three second-half chances and Jake Jervis hit the post late on.

But Hartley bundled in Carey's corner to secure a Wembley final on 30 May against either Wimbledon or Accrington.

The victory came 20 years to the day after Argyle, then managed by Neil Warnock, beat Colchester to make the fourth-tier play-off final.

Missed chances

From the first minute, when Carey's long-range shot was tipped over by Pompey's on-loan goalkeeper Ryan Allsop, Argyle showed their intention.

Jervis skewed a shot high and wide towards the end of a first period low on quality and chances for either side.

But after the break the game went up a gear, with Pompey coming close through Gary Roberts and Adam McGurk.

Matt - Argyle's two-goal hero from Thursday's drawn first leg at Fratton Park - blazed over when clean through, missed with a free header and then watched as another header was kept out by Allsop in the 90th minute to set up the corner that Argyle scored from.

Pompey, who will be in League Two for a fourth successive season next term, struggled to seriously test Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick.

Plymouth players take a selfie
Plymouth, who finished fifth in League Two, celebrated their play-off semi-final win by taking selfies on the pitch at Home Park

Phoenix from the flames

Both cities may have fine naval heritages, but Plymouth and Portsmouth have both suffered falls from grace because of financial problems in recent years.

Argyle almost went out of business in 2011, while in 2012 the administrators were called in at Fratton Park.

And while neither side fell out of the Football League, this season is the first time both of them have had concerted efforts in the same season at getting out of League Two.

While Argyle's renaissance could begin with promotion after five seasons in League Two, Portsmouth must contemplate another 12 months in the fourth tier.

Manager reaction

Plymouth manager Derek Adams told BBC Radio Devon: "It's a fantastic achievement for the football club. It's 20 years since we last went to Wembley and now we're going back.

"We hit the post and we had a couple of near misses, then it got nearer to the end of the game and you got worried that Portsmouth might nick one.

"But to score in the way we did has been very good for us.

"The fans were fantastic from start to finish. And I've got to say to Paul Cook that he was man enough to come in and see our lads and wish them all the best. It's not the easiest thing to do after you've been defeated but it was big of him to do that."

Line-ups

Plymouth

  • 23McCormick
  • 2Mellor
  • 5Nelson
  • 6Hartley
  • 3Sawyer
  • 4McHughBooked at 29mins
  • 20Boateng
  • 14Jervis
  • 10Carey
  • 11WyldeSubstituted forTannerat 75'minutes
  • 19Matt

Substitutes

  • 9Reid
  • 15Harvey
  • 16Purrington
  • 24Rooney
  • 27Tanner
  • 28Forster
  • 31Dorel

Portsmouth

  • 22Allsop
  • 2Davies
  • 6Burgess
  • 15Barton
  • 3Stevens
  • 26EvansSubstituted forMcGurkat 31'minutes
  • 29HollandsSubstituted forCloseat 44'minutesBooked at 71mins
  • 8Doyle
  • 23BennettSubstituted forChaplinat 90+3'minutes
  • 10McNulty
  • 11Roberts

Substitutes

  • 7McGurk
  • 14Naismith
  • 16Whatmough
  • 18Tollitt
  • 19Chaplin
  • 33Close
  • 38Haunstrup
Referee:
Paul Tierney
Attendance:
15,011

Match Stats

Home TeamPlymouthAway TeamPortsmouth
Possession
Home41%
Away59%
Shots
Home17
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home15
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Plymouth Argyle 1, Portsmouth 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Plymouth Argyle 1, Portsmouth 0.

Foul by Enda Stevens (Portsmouth).

Kelvin Mellor (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Portsmouth. Conor Chaplin replaces Kyle Bennett.

Goal!

Goal! Plymouth Argyle 1, Portsmouth 0. Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Graham Carey with a cross.

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Ryan Allsop.

Attempt saved. Jamille Matt (Plymouth Argyle) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Graham Carey with a cross.

Ben Close (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamille Matt (Plymouth Argyle).

Jake Jervis (Plymouth Argyle) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Craig Tanner with a cross.

Foul by Gary Roberts (Portsmouth).

Hiram Boateng (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Adam McGurk (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle).

Attempt missed. Ben Close (Portsmouth) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Enda Stevens with a headed pass following a corner.

Corner, Portsmouth. Conceded by Peter Hartley.

Attempt blocked. Kyle Bennett (Portsmouth) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Davies.

Gary Roberts (Portsmouth) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jamille Matt (Plymouth Argyle).

Adam McGurk (Portsmouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle).

Offside, Portsmouth. Michael Doyle tries a through ball, but Marc McNulty is caught offside.

Foul by Marc McNulty (Portsmouth).

Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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

Substitution

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Craig Tanner replaces Gregg Wylde.

Attempt missed. Curtis Nelson (Plymouth Argyle) header from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Graham Carey with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Gary Roberts (Portsmouth).

Gregg Wylde (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Adam McGurk.

Corner, Plymouth Argyle. Conceded by Adam McGurk.

Booking

Ben Close (Portsmouth) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ben Close (Portsmouth).

Graham Carey (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Adam McGurk (Portsmouth) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Gary Sawyer (Plymouth Argyle).

Foul by Kyle Bennett (Portsmouth).

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