Havant & Waterlooville vs. Portsmouth
West Leigh Park
5th August 2008 7.45
A sultry summer's evening at West Leigh Park was the setting for Pompey's final pre season friendly before the (perhaps not so friendly) Wembley curtain-raiser on Sunday.
Having played only 24 hours earlier, it was no surprise that Pompey made wholesale changes to the starting line up, which was
GK Jamie Ashdown
LB Marc Wilson
RB Glen Johnson
CB Hermann Hreidarsson
CB Linvoy Primus (captain for the evening)
LM Arnold Mvuemba
RM Glen Little
CM Sean Davis
CM Richard Hughes
On the bench were Jean-Francoise Christophe, Richard Duffy and Paris Cowan-Hall
Pompey dominated from the start, though Jamie Ashdown was the first keeper called into action with a save from the Hawks' No.9
Short passing out from defence and quick ball through the midfield was the order of the day and after 7 minutes Pompey were one up as Mvuemba threaded a ball through to Sahar who comfortably beat the keeper from 10 yards.
Sahar continued to show strong running throughout the opening 15 minutes and Utaka was given the freedom of the last third of the field by the Havant back four but over elaboration let him and a number of other players down at the last minute.
Sean Davis played his usual competitive game and had to apologise to the opposition and the referee on more than one occasion. After 20 minutes his shot from 25 yards was just the wrong side of the post with the 'keeper beaten. This was quickly followed by a header from Linvoy from a corner, which brought a huge cheer from the crowd.
The game lacked any width until Hermann switched to left back with Marc Wilson moving into the centre, allowing Hermann to make a number of charges up the wing but the crosses came to nothing. On the right hand side, Glen Little, who looked sluggish throughout, seemed content to confine his involvement to neat one-twos with Glen Johnson, allowing the latter to make regular forays up and down the touchline.
Five minutes from half time, Little decided that a cross in to the centre might pay better dividends than the normal return pass to Johnson and Sahar out jumped the central defender for a neat header in to the corner.
Half time Havant 0-2 Pompey
Richard Duffy replaced the ineffective Marc Wilson for the second half and slotted in at left back, allowing Hermann to resume a central position.
Pompey continued to dominate and another Johnson cross almost allowed Sahar his hat trick. Johnson then followed this up with a pile driver of a shot, which the keeper saved well. They then upped the pressure further and four successive corners saw Mvuemba, Johnson and Utaka all go close.
Jean-Francoise Christophe replaced Sean Davis after 75 minutes and immediately forced a corner, from which Johnson hit the cross bar.
With Havant visibly tiring, and making numerous changes (Guy Butters and Luke Nightingale both appearing as second half substitutes), Pompey were now in total control. A stirring run from Richard Hughes saw both Utaka and Mvuemba go close and both should probably have done better than they did. Havant's efforts on goal were restricted to long range shots, none of which troubled Jamie Ashdown.
With five minutes to go a cross field ball from Little found Utaka; his neat back heel to Mvuemba set up a stunning drive in to the top corner. 0-3
In the final minute a short corner found Richards Hughes who fed Glen Johnson and from an acute angle he thumped the ball high into the net for a goal richly deserved.
Havant & Waterlooville 0-4 Pompey
Sahar 7, 40
A one sided game. Given what I have read about him on site, Glen Little was a big disappointment. He looked laboured in his movement and seemed very right footed. Sahar is a strong lad though both he and Utaka were non existent in the second half.
It was nice to see Linvoy in a Pompey shirt again though for the first 15 minutes he looked hesitant. Other than coming up for one corner he was content to be the last line of defence.
It was a shame Cowan-Hall didn't get a run out in the latter stages, particularly as Pompey were so dominant.
Glen Johnson was tireless in his efforts all game; he and Hermann were perhaps the class acts of the evening.
It's hard to decide what Harry will get from this game as I can't see more than 2 or 3 players making the starting line up on Sunday. Perhaps, given the previous game was only played the day before, that's all it was ever going to be.
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