UCD offered very little resistance to Pompey as the Blues cruised to an 11-0 win in Ireland’s capital.
The Irish Premier Division side sit bottom of the table with just four wins from twenty-two games and the performance did little to regain any confidence or momentum, although it is worth mentioning that the side fielded was not at full strength.
Pompey lined up with five new faces in the starting side including a central defensive partnership of Paul Downing and Sean Raggett with former Shrewsbury man, James Bolton alongside them at right-back.
Starts were also handed to Rangers stalwart Ross McCrorie and striker Ellis Harrison, who was very quickly in the game with a lunging slide tackle, studs up. A challenge that may have seen red had it been a competitive encounter.
Three minutes into the game and Pompey had their first attack, Brown’s ball over the top for Curtis to run onto was poked out for a corner.
Five minutes later Jamal Lowe showed good pace down the right hand side, worked his way into the box and shot from a tight angle. Kearns was down to his left quickly to save.
On ten minutes Dennis crossed from the right hand side where Ronan Curtis leapt highest to win a header and put Pompey 1-0 up, although Kearns will be disappointed he wasn’t able to keep it out.
UCD almost gave the perfect reply with some tricky footwork, clever step overs and shot on goal was parried wide by McGillvary for a corner.
Quarter of an hour into the game the impressive Dennis ran the ball into the penalty area from the left flank where he found Jamal Lowe just left of the penalty spot and last season’s top scorer opened up his body and curled into the bottom right corner for Pompey’s second.
Just a minute later he almost doubled his tally after bursting into the box and chipping the keeper who had gone to ground. A touch off of the keepers leg was enough to take the ball on to the cross bar and out for a corner.
Twenty four minutes on the clock and the Blues were awarded a free kick mid-way inside opposition territory on the left hand side.
Brown was quick to spot the run of Dennis and his swift, chipped free kick over the top of a napping defensive line set the former Bromley man away who slotted coolly into the bottom right corner.
The best strike of the game for the hosts came in the 35th minute, when Richie O’Farrell struck a half volley just over the bar.
Not long after that though, Pompey were back on the attack and in the 39th minute Ellis Harrison, over on the right picked out Curtis who was unmarked in the box with time to bring the ball down on his chest and rifle the ball into the roof of the net for four.
Just two minutes later and Dennis received a ball from Harrison around 30 yards from goal. A delicious touch and spin away from the on-rushing defender left him for dead and he was able to run in and fire into the bottom corner for goal number five.
UCD did find time for an attack at the end of the half, Jason McClelland was brought down on the edge of the area for a free kick which he duly took himself firing a strike past the six man wall, forcing McGillvary into a save to his left hand side.
HT: UCD 0-5 Pompey
Both sides changed their line ups entirely at the break but the story remained the same. Pompey were comfortable throughout and UCD struggled to get any kind of foothold in the game and the home sides defending was weak.
Andy Cannon seized on a dithering back line to steal the ball on the edge of the opposition area and cross to Brett Pitman, who’s acrobatic overhead kick went just wide.
A fired up Gareth Evans ran at the terrified defenders and attempted to slip in Cannon. Instead his pass was blocked but it fell perfectly back to him and he struck it like a rocket past the keeper for six.
Haunstrup played a neat, quick ball on half way line to Close who showed a good turn of pace, running through middle and rolling in Evans who took his shot first time.
Tom Murphy got down well to save as he did on quite a few occasions in the second half. He was the only one to come out of the game with any real credibility from the home side and pulled off a couple of good saves following attempts from Pitman and Walkes.
There was nothing he could do in the 61st minute though when Pitman took advantage of some woeful defending in the penalty area after failing to clear on a number of occasions, he stole the ball and there was too much power on the strike to keep him out this time.
Yet more poor defending was to cost UCD when Gareth Evans stood the ball up across the face of goal where James Daly headed down to put it on a plate for Pitman just a yard from goal.
The classy Pitman wasn’t done and on 78th minute he was in the box again, dropping the shoulder to watch the on-coming defender slide past him before pulling the trigger, forcing a save from Murphy which fell out to Hancott who took his opportunity to bag a goal.
The defending didn’t get any better and in the 81st minute Aaron McGrath was caught out dallying on the ball 25 yards from goal, where he was eased off by Pitman who duly buried from outside the box.
There was a penalty claim from Pitman a minute later where it looked as though he may have been shoved in the back. The referee showing some sympathy perhaps, waved it away but Ben Close was able to add to the score sheet four minutes from time.
A very wet and miserable late afternoon in more ways than one was finally brought to a close, much to the relief of many who had seen enough of the very evident gulf in class.
Pompey’s next game will be on Saturday when they visit Havant and Waterlooville at West Leigh Park, where they can expect a tougher test.
FT: UCD 0-11 Pompey