|Havant and Waterlooville||1-2||Portsmouth|
|Pavey (pen) 30'||Friendly||Thompson 34' Chaplin 85'|
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The Hawks had taken the lead through an Alfie Pavey penalty in the first half before Nathan Thompson equalised moments later.
The game kicked off in 29 degree heat in what was more a battle of attrition than that on the field magnified further when putting into context that both teams were playing in just their second friendly.
It would be Pompey that would have the first opportunity of the match 10 minutes into the encounter when Ronan Curtis burst through on goal and about to pull the trigger before Jordan Rose made a great last ditch challenge to send the ball out for a corner.
5 minutes later Pompey would have another chance as Clarke had an effort from the edge of the penalty area with was well saved by Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.
But at the other end it was the Pompey goalkeeper MacGillivery that almost came undone as he came out from his goal before giving the ball away with Strugnell picking it up and playing it along to Stock who from just inside his half unleashed a decent effort on goal but rose just above the South Stand crossbar.
In an all action opening 20 minutes action flew from one to another as just moments later Jamal Lowe, Pompey’s livewire in the opening period beat three Hawks defenders with some great trickery before Robinson blocks his oncoming cross into the penalty area.
Then 30 minutes into the game the Hawks won a penalty as Nicke Kabamba was pushed to ground inside the 18 yard box with the referee pointing to the spot.
The discussion in the stands was over who would be the penalty taker following Wednesday Night but it was Alfie Pavey that stepped up to the plate and coolly despatches the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
The goal seemed to galvanised the Hawks and put a spring in their step as just a matter of moments later Jordan Rose had a header which was steered wide of the goal.
But Pompey would get an equaliser ten minutes from the break as Thompson on the edge of the Havant penalty area drives the ball low into the bottom left hand corner, a great finish which left Ryan Young with no chance whatsoever.
And if it wasn’t for the heroics of Andreas Robinson seconds before the break Pompey would have had a half time lead as he puts his body on the line to stop Jamal Lowe’s thunderous effort from 12 yards out.
Pompey completely shuffled the pack for the start of the second period with Luke McGee, Jack Whatmough, Oli Hawkins, Ben Close and Conor Chaplin coming on to name but a few.
The first chance of the second period fell to the Hawks 5 minutes in as Stock’s effort from 25 yards following some good build up play fails to hit the target.
Then just a matter of minutes later down the other end Ryan Young pulls of a fabulous save as he gets a finger tip from Louis Dennis’ effort.
The resulting corner would see Whatmough’s effort go wide of goal.
Then some amusing scenes as halfway through the half at a dead ball the entire Hawks team was substituted to the amazed Westleigh Park crowd.
And the refreshed Hawks side nearly took the lead for a second time as Charley Tuttle played a dream ball into the path of Alfie Rutherford who beats his man before seeing his effort go just inches wide of the goal as the Hawks pressed for their first victory in this fixture since 2006.
And Ben Duzinski was looking to preserve it with a series of great saves with the best coming from Brandon Haunstrup’s effort which he tipped over the bar.
Conor Chaplin was possibly Pompey’s best player in the second half as first he has a perfectly laced volley go agonisingly wide of the target before getting into the penalty area again and slotting low into the right hand corner to break Hawks hearts.
Disappointment for the Hawks as they came so close to gaining a draw against a side looking at a top 6 finish in League 1 as a minimum requirement.
Post match Lee Bradbury said that “We done well. The first 60 minutes I thought the lads were very competitive and then the second half lads came on to try and contain them with some fresh legs but they’ve (Portsmouth) have got some really good quality no matter who plays.
It would have been nice to have got a draw from this game but I thought this game showed we’ve improved as a team and as a club.”
Next up for the Hawks is a home game against Horndean next Saturday with a 3pm kick-off. Tickets £5 for all.