by Neil Weld at Victoria Stadium
Pompey’s makeshift side of youngsters and trialists were comfortably beaten in their opening pre-season friendly aganst Gibraltar.
George Cabrera’s fine finish and an Aaron Payas penalty gave the hosts a two-goal lead at the interval.
Lee Casciaro then added a second-half brace, much to the delight of the 1,000 Gibraltar fans in the crowd, who saw their side lift the Jubilee Cup.
There was not much to talk about in the opening stages of a match played on a bouncy artificial surface.
The evening heat no doubt played its part in a sluggish and shapeless start at an unusual venue.
If Pompey’s several hundred travelling supporters turned to the left they saw the Rock of Gibraltar.
A glance to the right revealed an airstrip, with EasyJet planes taking off just behind the goal.
There were 18 minutes on the clock before either side registered a shot – a wild effort from Gibraltar’s Payas that flew high over the crossbar.
At the other end Luke Rodgers curled wide, before Blues keeper Simon Eastwood sharply saved Lee Casciaro’s quickly taken free-kick.
Pompey had a good chance to open the scoring on 22 minutes, but Izale McLeod slipped as he shot and the ball flew straight at Jordan Perez in the Gibraltar goal.
Eastwood soon had a more difficult save to make and showed fine reflexes to keep out Cabrera’s close-range strike.
But it was Cabrera who opened the scoring on 34 minutes with a powerful finish and things quickly got worse for Pompey.
Julien Lopez’s crude challenge on Lee Casciaro in the box was spotted by the referee and Payas coolly slid home the spot-kick.
Half Time: Gibraltar 2 Pompey 0
Appleton made two changes at the start of the second half, with David Preece replacing Eastwood in goal and Ashley Harris coming on for Lopez on the left.
Pompey wanted a penalty of their own on 50 minutes when Lloyd Sam went down in the box, but the referee waved away his cries.
But it was Gibraltar who went close to scoring again soon after, with Liam Walker – whose family come from Waterlooville – firing into the side netting.
They did have a third goal on 66 minutes, although it did arrive in fortunate circumstance as Lee Casciaro’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat Preece.
Gibraltar kept going forward and almost immediately added a third, but Cabrera could not quite connect with Robert Guilling’s cross.
Joseph Chipol then forced a fine save from Preece with a fierce shot from distance that the keeper did well to palm to safety.
Dan Thompson, Jed Wallace, Dan Butler and George Colson were all given a run-out in the second half as Appleton looked to give his young players experience of first-team football.
But Gibraltar were unsurprisingly playing like the more settled side and completed the scoring through Lee Casciaro’s calm finish into the bottom corner.
Gibraltar: Perez; Robba (Chipol 46), R.Chipolina, R.Casciaro, J.Chipolina; Payas (Sergeant 90), Duarte (K.Casciaro 58), Walker, Guilling (Pons 90); L.Casciaro, Cabrera (M.Casciaro 84)
Goals: Cabrera 34, Payas (pen) 39, L.Casciaro 66, 84
Pompey: Eastwood (Preece 46); Dumbuya, Magri (c), Webster, Harley; Sam (Wallace 61), Gillett (Colson 78), Howard, Lopez (Harris 46); McLeod (Butler 78), Rodgers (Thompson 61)
Referee: Joseph Barcelo
Photos: John Shephard