Pompey’s performance against Barnet was one of the best of the season. The 5-1 victory was capped by goals from five different scorers, which must come as a huge positive for Paul Cook as it meant two players scored their first goals of the season. Milan Lalković and Danny Rose scored their first goals for the club, while Conor Chaplin scored his second of the season, Carl Baker his third, and Gary Roberts scored his sixth already this term. Ex-Pompey striker, John Akinde opened the scoring for Barnet but, all in all, it was a successful day at the office for the Blues.
No trouble against 10:
Once again, Pompey proved to be well capable of playing against ten men when Barnet had a man sent off. Pompey scored two goals from open play after Bira Dembele was given a straight red card for bringing down Chaplin in the area. Pompey retained possession very well, picking their moments to break the line and score.
Finesse up front:
Pompey scored three out of their five goals by playing through balls in behind the defence. Gary Roberts slipped the ball through for Conor Chaplin and Danny Rose, while Conor Chaplin assisted Roberts with a lovely ball. Pompey have had trouble breaking teams down in the past, but the increased potency from the advanced midfielders looks like it is starting to solve that particular issue.
Pompey’s rock at the back:
Although it will undoubtedly be the attacking players who grab the headlines tonight, the man I think is most deserving of the man of the match award is Christian Burgess. On several occasions he made goal-saving tackles when Barnet broke on the counter attack. He hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon and dominated John Akinde.
Although missing a penalty would not normally be described as a positive thing, it might actually be for the best. Until today, Gary Roberts had a 100% record when it came to penalties so he was always likely to miss at some point. In some ways, it is good that he missed in a match when Pompey won comfortably as it may make him more likely to score when it really matters.
Chaplin on target:
Pompey fans often clamour for the inclusion of Conor Chaplin in the starting lineup, and when he is included he regularly scores. He made his first league start since March when he lined up against Barnet and marked it with a goal. Interestingly, he operated as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 system, when Paul Cook has made it clear that he has reservations over playing Chaplin in that role due to him being too small.
Any win is a good win, but there is nothing like coming away from a game knowing that your team dominated both the play and the scoreline, and we’re good value for an emphatic victory. That is how Pompey fans will be feeling this evening, and they will be hoping the Blues can carry their form into Tuesday’s fixture against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.