Date:Tuesday July 31 2007
Tues 31-07-07, 7.45pm
Pompey were off to Harry Redknapp's old stomping ground of Dean Court on Tuesday night as pre season continued with a match against Bournemouth and Pompey ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in the end.
With a match against Newport coming up on Wednesday, not all the first team players were used, but it was still a team of some quality. Jamie Ashdown played his first match of pre season in goal and John Utaka made his first start.
A pedestrian first 45 minutes may as well have not happened really, but Pompey, after a host of changes turned it on after half time as Niko Kranjcar opened the scoring then Lomana LuaLua completed a 19 minute hat trick, before a late Brett Pitman consolation was scored for Bournemouth from the spot.
As you would expect, a typical pre season affair started - and basically continued for the whole of the 1st half - in fairly laboured fashion as neither side could establish any real foothold on the game, or pressing too much.
The first real threat at any end saw Jo Kuffour, who had earlier seen an effort wide with former Pompey star Darren Anderton waiting in the box, getting in behind Noe Pamarot who showing a lack of concentration allowed the striker to get away - but he was unable to threaten the goal.
I thought half time was never going to come, but when it did it arrived with neither keeper having to make a save, well Neil Moss had to from Matty Taylor in the opening minutes but this was very comfortable.
Half time saw plenty of changes made as Harry Redknapp brought on Asmir Begovic, Martin Cranie, Arnold Mvuemba, Lomana LuaLua, Benjani and Djimi Traore with Jamie Ashdown, Lauren, Hermann Hreidarsson, Gary O'Neil, Matty Taylor and David Nugent coming off.
The Cherries started the half brightly with Begovic threatened in the goal within a minute of the re start as they forced an early corner after Gareth O'Connor's effort across goal, with Pompey also starting the second couple of minutes of the half brighter than they had been in the previous 45.
John Utaka, who had changed shirts at half time was looking very lively and he created a chance for Lomana LuaLua, who could only shot straight at Moss, with Utaka himself forcing a save from the former Saints keeper shortly after.
The deadlock was broken, with Pompey taking advantage of the promising start to the half as Niko Kranjcar beat Moss low into the corner via a deflection in the 49th minute, as the match kicked into life with Kuffour forcing a save out of Begovic a little after.
Utaka, was causing problems with his pace and a ball across - which saw him then caught late but nothing was given - towards LuaLua but he could not quite get on the end of it. Unfortunately the late challenge from Pompey's own Jason Pearce that left Utaka injured ended his match, with him coming off and Franck Songo'o coming on.
LuaLua made it 2-0 with just under 20 minutes played in the 2nd half as he shot across Moss, who despite a hand could not prevent a well taken goal. Soon after this goal, the trialist Christophe, who had featured in the last couple of pre season matches came on for Kranjcar.
When put through one on one in the 76th minute, after showing good strength to hold off the challenges LuaLua took his chance as he finished well to score his 2nd and Pompey's 3rd. And he went straight into the crowd to celebrate with them and the hat trick was completed minutes later as he scored a fantastic goal, curling into the corner from outside of the area.
As time neared an end, Brett Pitman scored, as we conceded our first goal of pre season. A reckless challenge from Djimi Traore or Christophe, it is not clear who, saw a penalty awarded and Begovic was sent the wrong way as he made no mistake from the spot.
The 1st half was pretty non existent, but after Pompey injected some pace into the wide areas - and actually used the wide areas - after half time openings a plenty were created with a superb 2nd half showing of attacking football. It was a shame our clean sheet record was ended, but even this was after a needlessly given away penalty.
A worrying thing is the injury to John Utaka, who had changed shirts at half time and also moved out wide to devastating effect early in the 2nd half. It appeared Tony Adams wanted him to continue but he was unable to, hopefully this is nothing major, merely precautionary?
If we needed any more of an indication that Lomana LuaLua was up for the fight his showing in the second 45 minutes did just this. A dazzling 19 minute hat trick will only do his confidence a world of good and must surely have put any thoughts of letting him go - at least in this transfer window - to bed?
All in all another fine workout for many of the players, with the rest getting their run out on Wednesday against Newport, as they move closer to the season and build up their fitness even more.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Bournemouth 1 - Brett Pitman 88 (pen)
Pompey 4 Niko Kranjcar 49, Lomana LuaLua 63, 77 & 82
Jamie Ashdown (Asmir Begovic 45)
Lauren (Martin Cranie 45)
Hermann Hreidarsson (Djimi Traore 45)
Gary O'Neil (Benjani 45)
Niko Kranjcar (Christophe 67)
Matty Taylor (Arnold Mvuemba 45)
John Utaka (Franck Songo'o 60)
David Nugent (Lomana LuaLua 45)
Substitute Not Used
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Date:Tuesday July 31 2007
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