Blues ease to a third straight victory
Michael Drennan scored twice as Pompey continued their recent renaissance with victory at Dagenham.
Danny Hollands and Jed Wallace were also on target in a game that the Blues dominated for virtually the entire afternoon.
It was Hollands who opened the scoring early on, having already seen one effort hit the woodwork.
And Drennan soon doubled the advantage as the hosts struggled against their opponents’ free-flowing attacking moves.
Abu Ogogo did reduce the deficit before the break, but Drennan’s stunning second half strike secured a third successive Pompey triumph before Wallace added a fourth late on.
Andy Awford made two enforced changes from the side that beat Hartlepool the previous week.
Wes Fogden (knee) and Adam Webster (ankle) were both sidelined, so Daniel Alfei and Drennan returned to the starting line-up.
Before kick-off there was a minute's silence to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
When the game got underway, Pompey came flying out of the traps, stealing possession straight from kick-off and launching a quick attack.
Drennan – playing wide on the right – fired narrowly over the bar, while moments later Hollands glanced Ricky Holmes’ corner against the post.
But the Blues did break the deadlock from another set-piece routine after just three minutes.
Holmes’ corner picked out Jack Whatmough at the far post and although the teenager’s header was blocked, HOLLANDS was on hand to find the net with a deflected drive.
He almost grabbed another soon after, but Daggers keeper Chris Lewington made a fine save to keep out his fierce shot following a quick corner routine.
Pompey were all over their opponents and in the hunt for a second goal. It almost arrived on 18 minutes as Lewington just got a hand to Holmes’ cross to deny the onrushing Ryan Taylor.
But the travelling supporters did not have to wait too much longer to see their side score again.
Wallace latched onto Whatmough’s long pass and although his delicate chip was drifting just wide, DRENNAN arrived to nod the ball home from close range.
The Blues were rampant and Wallace was next to go close, cutting inside from the right and drilling a left-footed shot against the post.
Pompey were finding plenty of space going forward and another fine passing move almost resulted in a third goal on 30 minutes.
Holmes and Wallace combined well down the left and the latter’s cross found Drennan, whose stooping header had to be cleared from the line by Jack Connors.
It was a totally dominant display from the visitors, but suddenly Dagenham found themselves back in the game.
Medy Elito burst through on goal and forced a superb save from the previously unused Trevor Carson, but skipper Ogogo was on hand to tuck away the loose ball.
A further blow was to come for the Blues as skipper Simon Ferry went down injured and had to be replaced by Rhys McCabe.
But they were still looking a threat going forward and Taylor saw a shot deflected inches wide after turning sharply on the edge of the box.
Both sides then received a huge let-off in stoppage-time, with first the Daggers and then Pompey missing great opportunities.
The hosts thought they had equalised when Elito’s free-kick found Luke Wilkinson and the former Blues player saw his header crash against the crossbar.
The ball then fell kindly for Saah, but he could only fire against the post and Pompey were able to hack the ball clear.
But that was not the end of the action as the visitors launched a three against one attack and Drennan fed Taylor.
The striker’s first touch was poor and sent him wide, however, with his eventual angled drive saved by Lewington.
Half Time: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Pompey 2
Pompey started the second half as they had begun the first – on the attack.
Lewington had to come tearing off his line to stop Taylor reaching a long ball forward moments after the restart.
Wallace then tried his luck from the edge of the box, but could only scuff his shot straight into the arms of the Daggers keeper.
And the Blues did restore their two-goal advantage with a superb goal on 57 minutes.
McCabe picked out DRENNAN with a fine cross-field pass and the on-loan striker lashed an unstoppable 25-yard strike into the bottom corner.
They almost grabbed another goal soon after when Taylor flicked Nicky Shorey’s pass goalwards, but Lewington just about managed to keep it out.
Goal hero Drennan then went down with cramp and was given a standing ovation by the Pompey fans as he was replaced by Johnny Ertl.
But the Blues were still looking the more threatening side going forward as the game entered its closing stages.
And they managed to cap an impressive performance with a fourth goal late on as McCabe burst into the box and pulled the ball back for WALLACE to tuck home.
Dagenham & Redbridge (4-2-3-1): Lewington; Hoyte, Wilkinson, Saah, Connors; Howell (Obafemi 80), Ogogo (c); Shields (Azeez 62), Dickson, Elito; Norris (D’Ath 19)
Goals: Ogogo 34
Subs not used: Seabright, Bingham, Gayle, Saunders
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Carson; Alfei, N’Gala, Whatmough, Shorey; Ferry (c) (McCabe 38), Hollands; Drennan (Ertl 73), Wallace, Holmes (Agyemang 85); Taylor
Goals: Hollands 3, Drennan 21, 57, Wallace 87
Subs not used: Smith, Devera, Bradley, Racon
Referee: Stephen Martin
Attendance: 3,150 (1,374 Pompey fans)