Date:Thursday July 19 2007
Wed 18-07-07, 7:45pm
Pompey's second game in 24 hours saw us off to Eastleigh tonight. It was meant to be a 7:45 kick off, but with the players out early we started a little ahead of time. Pompey had to work hard but came away with another win, this time 1-0.
Only 14 players were taken, but the starting 11 was very strong with only Canadian keeper Asmir Begovic, who came in for David James, being the only non-first team squad regular starting. The majority of the starters started the Yeovil game, although Richard Hughes and Benjani came in for their first football of the summer for Pompey.
Not always pretty, but it is another step in the right direction as players move towards match fitness, a goal for Benjani will help his confidence too.
Only seconds in and Pompey were threatening the Eastleigh goal, Benjani broke forward, passing to Niko Kranjcar who had his effort blocked by a defender for a corner, which was well claimed by their keeper.
The Eastleigh winger Scannell was proving a few problems for Lauren, much enough for him to once hack him down, while Begovic saved well for Andy Forbes
Kranjcar and Pedro Mendes were combining well, with some nice touches being had by many and Benjani looking hungry, but chances were not really being created, those that were fell to Kranjcar, firstly he shot into the side netting, then secondly he had the keeper scrambling across his goal as it went wide.
Having tried his luck a minute or two before, when his long ranged effort was safely gathered by the keeper, Pedro Mendes went much closer soon after. Good work from Benjani saw him pull the ball back, which Niko Kranjcar left for Mendes who shot narrowly wide.
32 minutes in Pompey were ahead as Benjani slid in to put home from 5 yards. Sulley Muntari's superb ball found Martin Cranie who pulled back towards the forwards and Benjani finished.
Benjani continued his good work, when he created an opening for Craine - who had also seen a shot saved right after the goal - but he was unable to hit the target.
Pompey were in control but Eastleigh were having a few half chances but did not really test Begovic until late in the half when he had to save well twice from Forbes, once turning away for a corner.
Pompey made one change at half time as trialist Ryan Harper came on for Richard Hughes, who this fella is I do not know?
A very quiet second half did not really get going for a good 15 minutes, although if anything Eastleigh were looking more dangerous. However Kranjcar tested the Eastleigh keeper, who saved well, Benjani followed up but his effort was blocked.
Shortly after Kranjcar's clever flick put Benjani away a poor touch saw the ball get away from him, that proved his lot for the Zimbabwean as the trialist from Lens apparently Christophe came on in the 65th minute for him, this left Harper to play up front alone.
With nothing really happening apart from the fact time was going by suddenly Eastleigh put a header against the top of the bar, through Danny Smith.
The fella most likely to do something for Pompey looked like being Kranjcar and it was he that got a head to, or at least seemed to get a head to Lauren's cross, this was saved by the keeper. And then the Croatian went on a mazy dribble, but he could not find the finish as the defence recovered.
Another typical pre season game and although I had to listen to it on the radio, from what I could gather it seemed the most lacklustre performance so far. Although it was a third straight win and a third straight clean sheet, we cannot ask for much more and the main thing is this is another game towards full match fitness.
Benjani seemed to work hard, with Martin Cranie also sounding like he had a good game and combined well with Lauren along with Niko Kranjcar also playing well.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Pompey 1 Benjani 32
Richard Hughes (Ryan Harper 45)
Benjani (Christophe 65)
Substitute Not Used
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Date:Thursday July 19 2007
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