LEE BRADBURY praised his debut duo after Hawks fought out a 0-0 draw with Dorchester Town in the mud at the Avenue Ground.
Pompey youngster Alex Grant and Jesse Kewley-Graham, on loan from Wycombe, were excellent.
They showed enough to signal they can be major players during their respective spells at Westleigh Park.
Bradbury was delighted with the pair.
He said: ‘Jesse is a fit lad and gives us a lot of energy.
‘He is a footballer and because of the conditions we probably didn’t see the best of him.
‘Sitting alongside Eddie Hutchinson, he helped our defence pick off their long balls forward.
‘Alex gives us a greater physical presence at left-back and he also worked hard.’
It was a tough outing for both teams as the spell of snow and rain in recent weeks took its toll on the surface.
Hawks had to muck in for a scrap, rather than play some slick passing football.
Bradbury, though, was pleased with the way his men handled the situation.
‘In the end the pitch dictated the way we had to play,’ said the Hawks boss.
‘You couldn’t pass the ball on it and it was also very slippery on top.
‘It was the same for both teams but they play on it week in week out and probably play the way they do because of it.
‘We wanted to pass and move the ball but in doing that we started to lose possession in dangerous areas.
‘I had to change it at half-time, go back to a 4-4-2 formation and try to play a bit higher up the pitch.
‘At times you need to be versatile and adapt to different situations and I felt we did that well.’
Both defences were largely on top, with chances few and far between.
Hawks had the better of the tricky opportunities that did arrive.
Grant was unable to get a decisive contact at the near post and Chris Arthur was inches away from touching in Ollie Palmer’s low ball to the far stick.
The Magpies’ best chance fell to Ben Watson, who was denied when Hawks keeper Clark Masters raced off his line to parry away.
The ball ran loose to Mark Jermyn whose shot was blocked before another effort was deflected over the crossbar.
Striker Sahr Kabba replaced midfielder Perry Ryan at the break but Hawks had to settle for a point.
‘I told the players at half-time that one goal was likely to win the game and impressed on the need to keep a clean sheet,’ said Bradbury.
‘It was difficult to create anything and their was little end product for both teams.
‘Both teams defended well and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.’
HAWKS: Masters 7; Newton 7, Grant 7, Hutchinson 8, Harris 8, Strugnell 7, Nanetti 7, Ryan 6 (Kabba 45mins – 6), Palmer 6, Kewley-Graham 7, Arthur 7 (Ramsey 65mins – 7).
Subs not used: Pearce, Jones, Hinshelwood.
Referee: J. O’Brien