VIDEO: Rocks Review: Rocks 2 Pompey 4

Terry Dodd and Harvey Whyte became the first players to score against new-look Pompey this season as the Rocks gave a great account of themselves against Guy Whittingham’s men at a sweltering Nyewood Lane.

The pair both struck in the second half - admittedly after the Blues had the game won - on an afternoon when well over 2,000 packed into the ground to give the Rocks a much-needed financial boost.

Action from a sun-baked Nyewood Lane as the Rocks and Pompey do battle  Picture by Paul Jacobs

Action from a sun-baked Nyewood Lane as the Rocks and Pompey do battle Picture by Paul Jacobs

For Pompey’s first visit to Bognor in many years, the Rocks included a few new faces in their side - with goalkeeper Mark Zawadski and forward Aaron Hopkinson making their first home appearances and central defender Jordan Knight guesting for them so Pompey could look at him. There were a number of youth-team players on the bench, too.

Pompey fielded a familiar-looking team that included Jed Wallace, David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang - but they also had one or two unknowns involved.

Pompey made the brighter start, although not before Agyemang had gone down under a heavy tackle from a defender just seconds after kick-off.

The big striker was first to threaten a goal - first glancing a header wide then lobbing a shot wide of the far post as Zawadski advanced to narrow the angle.

Harvey Whyte was almost in on Pompey keeper John Sullivan in the seventh minute after Zawadski rushed out of his area for a long clearance, but Joe Devara held him off to allow Sullivan to clear.

Pompey spurned two good chances to go ahead just before the 15-minute mark. First Wallace’s low cross from the right missed one team-mate but fell nicely for Andy Barcham, who took a touch before drawing an excellent save from Zawadski. Then a cross from the other dropped perfectly for Wallace, who rather hit his volley into the ground and saw it blocked.

Ollie Pearce and Whyte almost bustled through at one end but were muscled out of it, then Danny East sent a header into the side netting at Zawadski’s near post after Johnny Ertl floated a cross to him.

The Rocks had gone into the game with a few worries that it was very early in their pre-season for them to be taking on a professional club, but to their credit, they were matching their visitors stride for stride in most areas of the field.

Whyte was played into a clear position down the left by James Crane and his cross eventually fell for ex-Lewes striker Hopkinson, but he was crowded out.

On one of the hottest days of the year, it was no surprise to see both teams take a drinks break with 24 minutes on the clock.

The game became fairly slow-paced for a while, with neither side too desperate to overdo the energy levels.

Pompey started to turn the screw on the half-hour mark with two bouts of desperate defending needed to stop Agyemang and then Connolly from breaking the deadlock.

Connolly gave Pompey the lead their recent dominance probably warranted, taking one touch to fire the ball into the roof of the net at Zawadski’s near post after Wallace picked up the ball on the right and beat his man before crossing.

The Rocks won a free-kick just outside the box down the right two minutes before half-time when Dan Kempson was hacked down by Liam Trigg, but Kempson’s free-kick was straight at the keeper.

Barcham looked like he might be in for the second but a defender and the keeper combined to keep him out after Wallace’s angled pass played him in.

Then Agyemang was denied by Zawadski after controlling a through-ball and holding off Knight.

HT 0-1

Connor Cody came on for Daryl Wollers for the second half and the Rocks were continuing to make life hard for Pompey, who’d put five wuthout reply past Conference South side Havant on Tuesday night.

Pompey changed their whole team at the break and the Rocks made another change on 52 minutes, Terry Dodd replacing Pearce.

Tom Craddock, one of Pompey’s new boys and one of their big hopes for League Two goals this season, tried an ambitious shot from wide on the left after chasing a long ball and his effort was only a little way over.

A lovely cross-field pass by Adam Webster was taken first time by Yassin Moutaouakil and he surged into the area but couldn’t convert the chance.

There was another home change when Jon Marzetti was replaced by Rob Evans, who is on trial with the Rocks from Moneyfields.

Pompey went two up on 62 minutes when the classy-looking Romain Padovani lashed a shot into the top corner following a ball in from the right by Ricky Holmes, and a minute later Holmes made it three, running on to a square pass and firing emphatically past the exposed Zawadski.

Another substitution followed for the Rocks when Kempson was replaced by youngster Johan Van Driel.

Jack Maloney curled a shot high and wide on 72 minutes before the Rocks pulled one back.

Pompey made hard work of defending a free-kick - twice spuring chances to get it away - and eventually Terry Dodd’s persistence allowed him to volley past Phil Smith.

Immediately Pompey went down the other end and restored their three-goal advantage. It was a lovely move started in the centre by Padovani, who swept a pass out to Holmes and he crossed for Craddock to score.

Bognor wouldn’t give up, though, and scored a second through Whyte after a scramble following a corner that again saw Pompey slow to clear the danger - as can be seen in the video at the top of this story.

That came just after Holmes had forced Zawadski into an excellent save with a curling free-kick from 25 yards.

There was time for a couple more Rocks changes, with new man Ryan Barrett coming on for Kane Wills and young defender Corey Heath replacing Aaron Hopkinson.

All in all, both clubs will have seen this as an excellent workout for their squads - albeit in weather more suited to cricket.

The Rocks’ next game is at Pagham on Monday, July 22, while their next home friendly is against Havant on Tuesday, July 30.

Rocks: Zawadski, Marzetti, Tuck, Crane, Knight, Wollers, Kempson, Wills, Whyte, Pearce, Hopkinson. Subs: Dodd, Woods, Evans, Van Driel, Barrett, Cody, Heath.

Pompey: Sullivan, East, Devara, Bradley, Trigg, Wallace, Ertl, Awford, Bircham, Connolly, Agyemang. Subs: Brandford, Maloney, Warren, Smith, Webster, Padovani, Butler.

Pompey second-half team: Smith, Moutaouakil, Webster, Warren, Butler, Maloney, Padovani, Branford, Holmes, Harris, Craddock.

Ref: Ashley Slaughter

STEVE BONE