Pompey assistant boss Gallen says Cornell saved Cobblers from heavier defeat

It was a good day at the office for Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
It was a good day at the office for Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Assistant manager Joe Gallen felt Portsmouth were always in control of their 2-0 Checkatrade Trophy second round win over the Cobblers, and that only David Cornell saved the visitors from a heavier defeat.

Pompey took control of what had been an even game when they scored the opening goal through Gareth Evans on 41 minutes, with Stuart O’Keefe doubling that advantage 11 minutes after the interval.

That second goal put paid to what had been an encouraging start to the second half by the Cobblers, with Luke McGee having to pull out an excellent stop to deny Ash Taylor an equaliser, but Gallen felt the result was never in doubt.

“I thought it was a very efficient performance from ourselves and very professional, we deserved to win the game,” said Gallen, who was on post-match duties instead of manager Kenny Jackett.

“It is always the aim to start the game solid, not to concede goals or allow too many chances and that is how it panned out for us.

“I was a bit disappointed how just after half-time we gave away what I thought was a bit of a needless free-kick and that led to their best chance with the header from Taylor – and our keeper made a brilliant save.

“It is fair to say, though, we probably could have scored a few more, their keeper had quite a good day in the second half and had a spell for 30 seconds where we seemed to save three or four goal-bound shots.

“Obviously we will take the two goals we scored and move on.”

Pompey’s opener came directly from a Cobblers attacking corner, with the home side breaking quickly after a Taylor pass to Matt Crooks was intercepted.

Portsmouth were at the other end in a flash, with Conor Chaplin teeing up Evans for a free header to break the deadlock, and the scorer admitted he and his team-mates have been working on their counter-attacking.

“It wasn’t a brilliant game but it was pleasing to score a goal,” said Evans.

“It’s not me being selfish to say it was a really good goal because it was a brilliant team move.

“It’s something we have been working on and the gaffer has been highlighting the need to concede fewer goals, so the clean sheet is another bonus for us.”