Tubbs hits a treble as Blues run riot
Matt Tubbs bagged a hat-trick as Pompey made a mockery of their poor away record by thumping Cambridge.
The Blues doubled their league goal tally on the road with a display of clinical finishing at the Abbey Stadium.
Jed Wallace opened the scoring in the early stages and then had a role in four of the other strikes.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s leveller was as good as got for the hosts, with Tubbs netting twice and Paul Robinson also finding the net before the break.
Robbie Simpson’s second half effort threatened a comeback, but Ryan Taylor dashed United’s hopes before Tubbs completed his treble on a memorable afternoon.
Andy Awford stuck with the same starting 11 for the fourth match in succession.
There was a familiar face in the opposition line-up, with former Pompey striker Ryan Bird leading the line.
Meanwhile, Mendez-Laing – who had a spell on loan at Fratton Park in 2012 – was handed his United debut having been borrowed from Peterborough earlier in the week.
But it was those still wearing blue who came roaring out of the traps, as the visitors took less than two minutes to break the deadlock.
Unsurprisingly, it was WALLACE who got the goal, cutting inside from the left and benefitting from a kind ricochet to bend the ball into the bottom corner.
Ryan Donaldson let fly from long-range at the other end, only to see his shot fly straight at Paul Jones.
But Pompey were dominant, constantly pressing Cambridge and forcing them back deep into their own half.
They came close to doubling their advantage when Wallace played a smart ball through to Taylor, but Us keeper Chris Dunn was quickly off his line to save.
Wallace was then fouled on the edge of the box and Tubbs stepped up to bend the free-kick narrowly wide.
However, Cambridge were gifted an equaliser on 22 minutes after Joe Devera played the ball straight into Simpson’s path.
James Dunne crudely halted the midfielder’s momentum, but referee Sebastian Stocksbridge played the advantage, allowing Jordan Slew to tee-up Mendez-Laing to fire home.
Pompey did not let their heads drop, though, and quickly restored their lead when Wallace slid a neat pass through for TUBBS to lash in.
The hosts might have grabbed an immediate leveller as Donaldson met Simpson’s free-kick, only for Jones to save from point-blank range.
Instead it was the Blues who forged further ahead on 33 minutes when Wallace’s shot flew through a sea of bodies and Dunn could only parry the ball.
It fell kindly to ROBINSON 10 yards out and the centre-back kept his composure to drill the ball into the net.
United tried to get back into the game, but Bird could not find the target from close range after Greg Taylor’s cross had evaded Jack Whatmough.
And they missed a great chance to reduce the deficit on 43 minutes when Mendez-Laing beat Josh Passley down the left and pulled back for Slew, who dragged his shot wide.
Pompey made Cambridge pay for their profligacy in stoppage-time, as Wallace sent in a dangerous cross and an unmarked TUBBS stooped to head home.
Half Time: Cambridge 1 Pompey 4
The visitors could have added a fifth soon after the restart, but Danny Hollands sent the ball wide after meeting a Wallace corner.
And Cambridge soon grabbed a goal back when Simpson diverted Taylor’s deep cross into the net at the far post.
Both sides were looking capable of adding to the scoring and Pompey were next to go close as Passley’s ball into the box took a huge deflection, forcing Richard Tait to hack from the line.
The action soon switched to the other end of the pitch and Simpson rose highest in a crowded box to head against the crossbar.
It was end-to-end stuff and, after Cambridge repeatedly fluffed chances to clear, Hollands volleyed narrowly over from 25 yards.
But Pompey did score a fifth on 74 minutes – and once again Wallace was involved in the build-up.
Tait made a mess of clearing his lobbed pass into the box and TAYLOR managed to prod goal-wards, with the ball rolling over the line.
The large travelling contingent were in dreamland, but things got even better on 82 minutes.
Substitute Johnny Ertl’s shot was deflected out wide and Taylor sent the ball back into the box for TUBBS to claim the matchball with a predatory finish.
The last few minutes passed by incident-free, although there was time for Conor Chaplin and Nigel Atangana to join the party, as the final whistle was greeted by delirious scenes from the delighted Pompey fans behind the goal.
Cambridge (4-4-2): Dunn; Hughes (Morrissey 75), Coulson, Nelson, Taylor; Donaldson, Simpson, Champion (c), Mendez-Laing; Bird (Tait 46), Slew (Kaikai 62)
Goals: Mendez-Laing 22, Simpson 55
Subs not used: Miller, Ball, Hunt, Dunk
Pompey (3-5-2): Jones; Devera, Robinson (c), Whatmough; Passley, Dunne (Atangana 85), Wallace, Hollands (Ertl 77), Butler; Tubbs, Taylor (Chaplin 85)
Goals: Wallace 2, Tubbs 24, 45+3, 82, Robinson 33, Taylor 74
Booked: Hollands, Whatmough, Atangana
Subs not used: Poke, Chorley, Barcham, Westcarr
Referee: Sebastian Stocksbridge
Attendance: 6,528 (1,433 Pompey fans)