Pompey beat Southend 2-1 in Premier League Cup
Conor Chaplin bagged a brace as Pompey beat Southend to progress in the Premier League Cup.
The competition is primarily a competition for under-23 players, but the Blues fielded a number of first team stars at Westleigh Park.
And it paid off as Chaplin scored either side of the break to secure the Blues’ passage into the second qualifying round.
Southend looked threatening in the early stages and Ousman Saidy was forced to make a timely challenge with Theo Robinson lurking.
But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, with CHAPLIN racing onto Adam May’s threaded pass and smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
The same duo combined to good effect again soon after, but this time the diminutive striker’s effort fizzed narrowly past the post.
Southend then carved out an opening of their own, with Dany N’Guessan quickly closed down and seeing his shot blocked.
But May and Chaplin were on fire for the Blues and when the latter cleverly completed a one-two by back-heeling into the former’s path, he forced a save from Ted Smith.
As impressive as Chaplin was, however, an effort from the halfway line was probably too ambitious with Ben Tollitt better placed.
But Pompey did survive a scare at the other end of the pitch late in the first half, with Theo Widdrington clearing off the line from Joe Bedford.
It was still the hosts looking more dangerous, though, and Smith denied Tollitt before having his fingers stung by Adam Buxton’s fierce strike.
Half Time: Pompey 1 Southend 0
Gareth Evans seized on a poor clearance just after the restart, but after taking the ball past two defenders, his shot was comfortably kept out by Smith.
Southend then almost grabbed a leveller on the hour mark, only for Robinson’s angled effort to be deflected wide.
And the visitors were soon made to rue that missed opportunity as, from the resulting corner, Pompey launched a counter-attack to double their advantage.
Tollitt broke quickly up the pitch and squared the ball for CHAPLIN to hit home his second goal of the evening.
Pompey were forced to make a change on 65 minutes, with Buxton being replaced by Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain following a couple of meaty challenges.
And the Shrimpers were soon back in the contest, as Harry Phillips’ free-kick was powerfully converted by the head of skipper Daniel Matsuzaka.
But the Blues continued to push forward, and Evans and Tollitt both narrowly failed to find the target.
May then found Chaplin with a brilliant pass and his shot appeared to be looping over Smith, only for the keeper to make a superb stop.
Southend nearly forced extra-time, but Evans somehow managed to get in the way of Robinson’s drive and divert the ball over.
There was still time for Evans and Tollitt to both have goals disallowed for offside, but the Blues had already done enough to book their place in the next round.
Pompey: O’Brien; Buxton (Oxlade-Chamberlain 65), Saidy (Bedford 81), Widdrington, McDowell; Close (c), Linganzi; Evans, May, Tollitt; Chaplin
Subs not used: Bass, Wakley, Bradbury
Southend: Smith; Williams, Lang, Bedford, Matsuzaka (c); Kyprianou, Batlokwa, Phillips, Cotton (Wabo 65); N’Guessan, Robinson
Subs not used: Bexon, Clifford, Walker, Bwomono
Referee: Ryan Atkin