Portsmouth can edge out Plymouth in League Two play-off semi-final
Lee Gormley | May 11, 2016
Portsmouth v Plymouth Argyle
Pompey and Plymouth clash in play-offs
Fratton Park will be the venue for the first League Two play-off semi-final, as hosts Portsmouth contest Plymouth Argyle in their first leg encounter, with the two south coast rivals having finished the season in sixth and fifth place respectively.
Paul Cook’s Pompey will enter proceedings full of confidence as the 21/20 favourites with Coral to triumph on home soil, having won two of the last three fixture meetings and winning three of their final four league outings.
Although, Derek Adams’s visiting Argyle side emerged with three points on their most-recent trip to Portsmouth, earning a 2-1 victory in April, and they are 3/1 to prevail once again and take an away advantage into the second leg.
The previous three consecutive match-ups between these two teams have ended 2-1, with Pompey gaining the upper hand in two of those games, and the hosts are 8/1 to secure another victory by that same result.
Wylde to make it three-in-a-row?
Plymouth midfielder Gregg Wylde was on target in both league meetings between these play-off semi-finalists this current campaign, including when scoring an 86th-minute winner at Fratton Park this year, and he is a tasty 5/1 to make it three successful fixtures by netting anytime.
The visitors’ main attacking danger will be that of main marksman Jamille Matt, who bagged the equaliser in that most-recent clash with Portsmouth, and he is 2/1 to dispatch again, potentially adding to his season tally of seven strikes.
Attackers Reuben Reid (2/1 anytime), Jake Jervis (7/2) and Graham Carey (7/2) will also be dangers to the home defence, while Pompey’s best chance of scoring success in front of their own fans could be from Marc McNulty, who is 9/2 to open proceedings.
The 23-year-old Scot has fired in 12 times already this term and will be sure to cause Plymouth plenty of problems, while Conor Chaplin (6/5 anytime) and Conor Wilkinson (6/4) could also be threatening towards the visiting backline. Pompey midfielder Gary Roberts could shine too and is 15/8 to get on the scoresheet.
Goals galore set for Fratton Park
This south coast derby has produced plenty of goals in recent years, with the previous five successive encounters seeing three or more successful strikes. With that in mind ahead of the pair’s most important clash to date, exactly three goals to be scored here can be backed at 10/3, or 13/10 for over 2.5 strikes.
Portsmouth would see a draw as a poor result as they enter as the massive front runners to prevail, but a first leg stalemate can be had at 23/10, while the hosts are odds-on 8/13 to reach the final, with Plymouth 5/4 to qualify.
The hosts ended their normal league campaign with a defeat to Northampton, with that being their second loss in three previous home games, while Plymouth have been toppled just once in their last five away outings. Of curse, form can count for nothing in the lottery of the play-offs, as these two sides target taking a step closer promotion.