Lee Martin praises Chopra’s natural instinct

LEE Martin insists that Ipswich Town are on the rise, after Michael Chopra’s early goal heaped more woe on debt-ridden Portsmouth at a noisy Fratton Park last night.

Town chalked up their third win on the bounce, thanks to Chopra’s 11th goal of the season, to continue their progress up the Championship table.

Chopra again showed his goal-poaching instincts, with his fourth goal in three games.

Team-mate Martin, who had a sparkling display in what was a terrific team performance, was quick to pay tribute to Chopra.

Martin enthused: “I was just saying to Chops – ‘how does the ball get there? You just stand there and the ball comes to you!’

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“I haven’t got that knack. He says it’s instinct, I say it’s luck! But of course he is a natural.

“That is what Chops is there for, and all the lads are delighted for him to get his form back, because he is such an important player for us.

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“He makes something out of nothing. Everyone else switches off and yet he is in there in the box – fair play to him.

“Chops is vital. We play well and Chops gets the goal.

“We are all pleased for him because of all the off-field problems he has had,” added Martin.

Town had just one slice of luck, when Pompey had an equaliser ruled out in the 72nd minute.

Referee Darren Deadman decided that Greg Halford’s long throw flew straight into the net, without anyone getting a touch.

But Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton rued: “I’m disappointed that he (the refere) disallowed the goal. I’ve seen it again and (Jay) Emmanuel-Thomas kneed the ball into his own goal.

“Yet the referee said that Halford’s long throw went straight in.”

For Portsmouth, they have more pressing matters off the pitch with the south coast club facing the certainty of a second spell in administration, inside the last two years.

They will soon be hit with a 10-point deduction, which will leave them in the thick of a relegation battle.

Although seeing their side bow to another defeat, their fans were in full voice throughout the evening, and many of them stayed in Fratton Park long after the final whistle to sing and chant in support for their club.

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