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12 July 2014

Blues start pre-season with a victory

Craig Westcarr, Ryan Bird and Ricky Holmes were on target as Pompey began their pre-season campaign with a comfortable victory over the Hawks at Westleigh Park.

There were no goals in a first half that was – unsurprisingly – played mostly at a leisurely pace.

But Westcarr netted a debut strike soon after the restart before Bird doubled the advantage.

And Holmes then added a third with a neat finish before Westcarr grabbed his second of the afternoon late on.

Andy Awford – without the injured Wes Fogden – used 26 players against the Conference South outfit as he looked to give his whole squad a run-out.

Pompey began by passing the ball around nicely in the warm July sunshine, although there were few meaningful openings for either side.

Andy Barcham did swing in a dangerous low cross, but it was cut out before the ball could reach a blue-shirted player in the Hawks box.

The game finally burst into life midway through the first half when Jack Whatmough ran through on goal and saw his drilled shot saved by Ryan Young.

Patrick Agyemang then teed-up Jed Wallace, whose effort from the edge of the box bent just wide of the woodwork.

Pompey made a flurry of substitutions on 32 minutes, but it was Wallace next to go close again with a shot that was well saved by Young.

The non-league hosts threatened for the first time late in the half as Michael Poke was forced to come off his line to deny Josh Huggins.

But there was still time for the Blues to go close twice before the interval.

First Bradley Tarbuck let fly with an audacious long-range effort that Young just about managed to parry to safety.

And then Nicky Shorey swung in a fine cross from the left that Ryan Taylor was not quite able to turn in at the far post.

Half Time: Hawks 0 Pompey 0

WESTCARR was among the seven changes made by Awford at the start of the second half and he immediately made the most of his Blues bow.

The striker was left to stab the ball home from close range after Scott Bevan had failed to hold Danny East’s cross under pressure from Taylor.

Westcarr might have had another moments later, but Dan Butler’s cross was cut out before it could reach him in the box.

Another smattering of substitutions followed before the lead was doubled on 65 minutes.

BIRD – who netted twice against the Hawks last season – got the goal, collecting Holmes’ pass and clamly sliding home.

Pompey were now in total control and Bevan had to be alert to palm away an angled effort from East.

Miles Storey then twice went close as the Hawks struggled to clear their lines against a hungry Blues attack.

And it was HOLMES who added the third goal on 82 minutes when he collected Bird’s pass and coolly lifted the ball over the keeper.

But there was still time for WESTCARR to roll home a fourth after Huggins had done brilliantly to keep out Danny Hollands’ initial effort.

Hawks (4-4-2): Young (Bevan 46 (Searle 81)); Huggins, Strugnell (Przespolewski 58), Woodford (c) (Harris 46), Cummings (Blanchett 46); Ciardini (Swallow 39), Ryan, Dutton (Monteiro 15), Donnelly; Hooper (Valeran 4), Bubb (Wedlake 76)

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Poke (Jones 46); Webster (East 46), Devera, (Chorley 46), Whatmough (Wynter 32 (Ertl 63)), Shorey (Butler 46); Atangana (c) (Hollands 46), Dunne (Awford 32 (Close 63)); Tarbuck (Bird 46), Wallace (Westcarr 46), Barcham (Maloney 32 (Holmes 63)); Agyemang (Taylor 32 (Storey 63))
Goals: Westcarr 50, 86, Bird 65, Holmes 82

Referee: Andy Laver

Attendance: 2,500

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