Burchill straight into stride

Portsmouth 4 Grimsby Town 2
Click to follow

Everything slotted neatly into place for Portsmouth's new blend of youth and experience at Fratton Park yesterday as they ended Grimsby Town's unbeaten start to the Nationwide First Division season, thanks in part to two goals from their new signing, Mark Burchill

Given that Burchill's strike partner, Peter Crouch, scored the other two and the whole impressive performance was inspired by the skills of the Croatian veteran Robert Prosinecki, it was now wonder that their manager, Graham Rix, was smiling.

"They are two very different players," he said of the strikers, "but they've shown what they can do and I'm looking forward to seeing them play together for the rest of the season. I was delighted with the performances of every player and I felt everybody contributed to the victory."

Burchill signed for Pompey in a £600,000 move from Celtic on Friday and marked his home debut with a goal in each half. His first came after 28 minutes when he met Kevin Harper's near-post cross with a diving header. Then he added the third with 12 minutes to go after Portsmouth, who had six teenagers in their starting line-up, had let Grimsby back in.

It did not help the visitors that they were done to 10 men by that stage after the dismissal of Menno Willems for a second booking and within a minute Crouch scored his second with a right-foot shot to wrap up the points.

The lanky former Queen's Park Rangers striker had scored his first after 62 minutes from a cross by Prosinecki after Danny Butterfield had equalised for Grimsby shortly after the break.

Leading 2-1, Pompey looked to be taking control with Prosinecki mesmerising his opponents. He had come within an ace of adding Portsmouth's second himself in the 53rd minute when his 25-yard free-kick hit the post, Crouch's follow-up header being saved.

But Grimsby's manager, Lennie Lawrence, sent on Michael Jeffrey and he equalised in the 73rd minute after beating the offside trap and lobbing over the advancing goalkeeper, Chris Tardif.

Portsmouth: Tardif; Buxton, Hiley, Zamperini (Crowe, 57), Pitt, Barrett (Bradbury, 89), Prosinecki, Quashie, Harper (O'Neil, 88), Burchill, Crouch. Substitutes not used: Vincent, Knight (gk).

Grimsby Town: Coyne; McDermott, Gallimore, Butterfield, Beharall, Pouton (Burnett, 89), Campbell, Groves, Willems, Rowan (Jeffrey, 73), Jevons. Substitutes not used: Allen, Ford, Ermes (gk).

Referee: P Walton (Northampton).

Comments