Bognor 1 Pompey 1

Matt Tubbs tucks home the opener for Pompey. Picture: Tommy McMillan
Matt Tubbs tucks home the opener for Pompey. Picture: Tommy McMillan
Blackburn Rovers winger Elliott Bennett

Elliott keen to extend bragging rights over Pompey brother Kyle

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Pompey drew 1-1 at Bognor, yet it was an injury to Gary Roberts which was the chief talking point.

The influential midfielder cut a frustrated figure as he sat on the Nyewood Lane pitch when the half-time whistle sounded last night.

Moments earlier he took a knock during a skirmish for the ball with Doug Tuck.

Following treatment, Roberts was able to continue.

But he didn’t last much longer and spent half-time receiving attention from Pompey physio Sean Duggan on the treatment table situated down the tunnel.

Roberts did not reappear after the break – with Adam McGurk brought on as substitute to replace him – sparking concerns over the extent of his injury.

The midfielder was sporting a brace on his left knee as he left Nyewood Lane and, according to Paul Cook, will have a scan on the injury today to see the extent of the damage.

In Roberts’ absence, Bognor substitute Alfie Rutherford cancelled out Matt Tubbs’ eighth-minute goal as the Rocks hauled themselves on to level terms.

It was a well-taken effort by the former Pompey Academy striker, who enjoyed a prolific season at Moneyfields last term.

There was no regaining the lead for Paul Cook’s side, who failed to match a highly-impressive first-half during which they were dominant and deserved their lead at the interval.

Admittedly, there was late drama when Paul Robinson contrived to head the ball against the crossbar from two yards only for the linesman’s offside flag to spare his blushes a little.

Nonetheless, it was a second successive 1-1 draw for the Blues in their pre-season programme as they head to Gosport Borough today.

Pompey named a squad of 18 for the Nyewood Lane clash as Cook shuffled his pack to combat two matches in as many days.

It was a strong starting line-up for the Blues, with the vast majority likely to face Dagenham & Redbridge on the opening day on August 8.

In addition, the side operated in the manager’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system, having rolled it out in the second half at Westleigh Park.

Paul Jones was in goal, with Robinson and Christian Burgess the central defenders and Enda Stevens named at left-back.

Michael Doyle, the goalscorer against the Hawks, started as one of the two holding midfielders and was joined by Nigel Atangana.

Kyle Bennett, Roberts and triallist Gareth Evans were the attacking three, while Tubbs led the attack.

Another triallist, Ben Davies, occupied the right-back slot.

Once again Johnny Ertl and James Dunne were not involved, while Blues’ Academy goalkeeper Alex Bass lined up for the Rocks in the first-half as he continues to fight for a loan deal.

It was an encouraging start from Pompey.

Firstly, Bennett showed quick feet to leave behind Stuart Green and then fed Davies, whose centre from the right was put out for a corner.

Then an Atangana ball from his own half found the diminutive former Doncaster man and he fed Roberts with a delightful pass before the hosts managed to clear.

In the sixth minute, a patient Pompey build-up presented the ball to Roberts, whose left-foot shot from 25 yards deflected wide after striking a Rocks body.

From Roberts’ resulting corner, Burgess sent in a powerful header from the edge of the box which was comfortably collected by Bass.

Pompey did break the deadlock, however, on eight minutes when Doyle threaded a wonderful pass through to the overlapping Stevens.

With the linesman’s flag staying down, the left-back opted to unselfishly square the ball to Tubbs, who slotted a right-foot finish into an unguarded net.

Minutes later, Evans headed down a ball into the box and, with Tubbs waiting to swoop at the far post, Craig Robson popped up with a goal-saving intervention and put it out for a corner.

The visitors remained in total control and when Tubbs reacted to Roberts’ pass forwards, he rounded Bass, rushing well out of his goal, only for Robson to comfortably intercept the resulting angled shot.

Evans then got in on the act on 25 minutes, when he cleverly turned his man from a central position and rifled a right-foot shot narrowly over the bar from long range.

There was a moment to applaud for Bognor fans, however, when a deep cross arrived from the right and Jason Prior met it with a spectacular flying volley which flashed wide of the target.

Moments later, Green crashed a first-time, right-foot shot from the edge of the area which smacked against the crossbar and bounced clear, with Jones well beaten.

Roberts took a knock on 40 minutes after getting into a tangle with Tuck as the Bognor man attempted to shield the ball while on the ground.

The midfielder had to receive treatment but carried on before again falling to the ground in discomfort moments before the half-time whistle.

Roberts didn’t return, with McGurk thrown into the action despite not having been named on the team sheet handed out to the media.

Pompey struggled to pick up the momentum they displayed during the opening 45 minutes but they appeared in complete control.

That was until the 56th minute when Bognor hauled themselves level through Rutherford’s smartly-taken goal.

A ball was pumped forward and the former Pompey Academy striker outmuscled Robinson to leave the skipper on the floor before rounding Jones and slotting home.

Evans had a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead once again minutes later but his far-post header from Davies’ right-wing cross was comfortably wide.

McGurk then fed the ball in from the right and Doyle took a touch before rifling a left-foot shot narrowly past the post.

The Irishman was becoming increasingly involved and when Davies fed him down the right he cut inside, skipped a tackle and drove a left-foot shot straight into the arms of Bognor’s second-half goalkeeper Lyall Beazley.

Then Beazley did magnificently to finger-tip away a fierce drive from Doyle – once again the midfielder trying his luck from long range.

But the second goal would not come for the Blues as they were held to another draw in their pre-season campaign.

Pompey: Jones, Davies, P Robinson (Field, 86min), Burgess (Nilsen, 86min), Stevens, Atangana, Doyle, Evans (Hassan, 87min), Roberts (McGurk, 46min), Bennett, Tubbs (T Robinson, 66min). Subs not used: Poke, Haunstrup, Close