Pompey get ‘valuable exercise’ at the Hawks

Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Hardyman declared himself pleased as a Pompey XI featuring several first-teamers played out a goalless draw with neighbours Hawks at Westleigh Park last night.

The swiftly-arranged friendly afforded Blues fans a first look at new goalkeeper Peter Brezovan – and valuable game time for squad members unused in Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory over Northampton.

Club captain Johnny Ertl, Andy Barcham, Ryan Bird, Adam Webster, Nick Awford, Ben Close and Jack Maloney were named in a strong Pompey line-up.

Dan Butler also started after his injury-time cameo against the Cobblers.

For Lee Bradbury’s side, it was an opportunity to assess personnel and systems as they look to end a three-game winless start to the Vanarama Conference South season against Staines on Saturday.

Pompey first-team coach Hardyman said: ‘I’m really pleased, the tempo was good and they (the players) took on board what we asked them to do.

‘Their keeper made three fantastic saves to keep them in it – the only thing that was lacking was a goal.

‘Most of the lads got 90 minutes which again was important and we chucked a couple of youth-team players on at the end which was a valuable experience for them.

‘Adam Webster got sent off at the weekend and probably would’ve been involved (against Northampton) if he hadn’t been suspended.

‘He’s needed a game and has got that, so he’ll now be rested and ready for the weekend and available for selection (against Oxford).

‘You’ve got Johnny, Birdy and Barch also who have needed time on the pitch, so it was a valuable exercise.’

The Blues started the brighter of the two sides, with Barcham denied by Hawks keeper Ryan Young.

The hosts responded well, though, with Ben Swallow firing wide.

Bird was next to be denied by the impressive Young when his close-range header was expertly tipped over.

Hawks defender Ryan Woodford then hurled himself in front of youngster Sam Matthews’ goal-bound effort to ensure it was goalless at the interval.

The Hawks changed their entire line-up at half-time with former Blue Ashley Harris entering the fray.

But it was Barcham who missed the next chance.

Shamir Mullings then fired wildly over for the Hawks, before Nick Awford’s exquisite chest control teed up a shot which Charlie Searle saved well.

A mazy run from Barcham gave Bird the chance to earn the win late on but the Blues striker volleyed wide.

Hawks: Young, Huggins, Blanchett, Dutton, Strugnell, Woodford, Swallow, Ryan, Hooper, Donnelly, Bubb. Subs: Searle, Przespolewski, Cummings, Stock, Monteiro, Medway, Ciardini, Wedlake, Harris.

Pompey: Brezovan, Davis, Butler, Awford, Ertl, Webster, Barcham, Close, Bird, Matthews, Maloney. Subs: Bass, Nilsen, Chaplin, Gill, Granger, Rwakarambwe.