Pompey lose but show encouraging signs
Attendance: more than normal for a pre-season!
Well Pompey's fledgling pre-season suffered a first defeat, 2 games in and the stats read won 1, lost 1, the first defeat was probably expected in most quarters, the victors were Chelsea, perennial winners over Pompey during our 7 year Premiership stint.
What the stats don't tell you, was the great promise Pompey fans will have seen in their heroes performance.
Luke Varney is already looking like he will be a fans favourite, he has pace and a desire about him that the Fratton fans will love, Greg Halford looks like carrying on from last term, while Jason Pearce also looks more than capable of making the step up to the Championship.
David Norris looks like being the captain for the season, we knew about his dangerous runs from deep and can see for ourselves the threat he will carry.
Chelsea came with as strong a squad as they could muster, all their big names were there, so much so they could field a different line up in each half, Pompey were back to the familiar story of 4 on the bench, 3 of which were Magri, Stockford and Williams , all teenagers.
Pompey almost took the lead themselves after a couple of minutes, Dave Kitson and Norris combining to almost get Varney on the end of a centre, Ashley Cole scrambling the ball away to clear the danger. The deadlock didn't last long however, Torres crossed from Pompey's right and Halford miscued a clearance into the air, the returning Ben Haim was first to it but could only inexplicably head the ball past Henderson in the Pompey goal, hardly the Fratton return the Israeli would want after his off field going ons.
Pompey didn't crumble though, Hreidarsson tested the Chelsea defence with a 30 yarder, while Turnbull in goal kept out a Norris flicked header.
Torres though had the chance of the half, he has the tag of a £50M misfit, he did little to wipe that clean, missing a clear header when unmarked from a centre.
Pompey continued to go toe to toe though and gave a good account of themselves in what was a well contested friendly fixture.
The second half saw the likes of Lampard, Anelka and Drogba all come on, along with Hilario who was to figure significantly later on.
Drogba threatened first, stretching for a centre but making no contact, Hreidarsson was next up for Pompey once more, hitting a 30 yard free-kick that Hilario did well to hold onto.
Pompey's big moment came when Varney rounded Hilario to go through, he was clipped and opted to take the spot-kick himself, but in a carbon copy of the 2010 Fa cup final the kick was saved, to be fair is was not a bad penalty, low to the 'keeper's left, but Hilario did really well to get down to it, guessing correctly to its destination.
Varney looked a lively threat throughout second half, almost getting on the end of a couple of misplaced defensive headers, even taking a boot in the face from John Terry in one surge.
Still 0-1 it remained, a performance of promise, the lack of numbers is still evident with a glance to the bench, but what Pompey lack in numbers they have in quality, Steve Cotterill will no doubt be actively trying to add to his numbers before we travel to America, the loan market now looks a likely option, but the promise is there for Pompey fans to digest.