A Tal Ben Haim own goal condemned Pompey to a 1-0 defeat in their Fratton Park pre-season friendly against Chelsea today.
The Israeli international accidentally headed a speculative Fernando Torres cross past fully-stretched Blues keeper Stephen Henderson in the sixth minute to grant new Chelsea boss Andres Villas-Boas his first win since taking over the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.
It was hardly the start Pompey were looking for, particularly with new owners Roman Dubov and Vladimir Antonov sitting in the Fratton directors’ box for the first time.
But the Russian duo will, nevertheless, have been pleased with the fighting spirit of Steve Cotterill’s side as they failed to let the early setback rattle them.
A Luke Varney effort stung the fingers of Chelsea keeper Ross Turnball just after the half-hour mark as the home side tested their visitors’ credentials.
And it was the former Middlesbrough keeper who denied Varney again in the second half – this time from the penalty spot after the striker was fouled in the box on 61 minutes.
Varney, making his Fratton Park debut, was handed the chance to rectify his miss almost immediately – not once but twice – as the Chelsea defence failed to clear their lines.
However, the former Derby forward was unable to add to his strike against the Hawks earlier in the week as the Chelsea backline just about managed to mop up the danger on both occasions.
A crowd of 19,345 was in attendance to witness the visit of the west Londoners.
Next stop for Pompey is South Carolina, USA, where they head to tomorrow for the next stage of their pre-season programme.