League Two - 1st Leg
PortsmouthPortsmouth2PlymouthPlymouth Argyle2

Portsmouth 2-2 Plymouth Argyle

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport at Fratton Park
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."



Formation 4-2-3-1

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


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


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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


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

Match Stats

Home TeamPortsmouthAway TeamPlymouth
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Portsmouth 2, Plymouth Argyle 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Portsmouth 2, Plymouth Argyle 2.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Craig Tanner replaces Jamille Matt.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    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.

  7. Post update

    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.

  8. Post update

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

  9. Booking

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

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ben Purrington (Plymouth Argyle).

  12. Post update

    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.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Portsmouth. Conceded by Gregg Wylde.

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Foul by Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Portsmouth. Adam McGurk replaces Marc McNulty.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Ben Purrington replaces Hiram Boateng.

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

    Foul by Hiram Boateng (Plymouth Argyle).

  20. Post update

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

As It Stood

2Oxford Utd462414884414386
3Bristol Rovers462671377463185
8Leyton Orient461912156061-169
17Notts County46149235483-2951
23Dag & Red46810284681-3534
View full League Two table

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