Halford spares Pompey’s blushes in USA opener

Levi Coleman puts Charleston Battery XI 2-0 ahead against Pompey Picture: Joe Pepler
Levi Coleman puts Charleston Battery XI 2-0 ahead against Pompey Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Greg Halford spared Pompey’s blushes as his second-half header secured a 2-2 draw with a Charleston Battery XI in the first game of their pre-season USA trip.

Pompey slipped to a shock 2-0 deficit as their spirited hosts coped far better in the stifling early-evening heat of the behind-closed-doors clash in South Carolina.

A tremendous Zach Prince strike put the home side ahead midway through the first half as he crashed an unstoppable effort into Jamie Ashdown’s top corner.

And things got even worse for Pompey when Levi Coleman showed a fearsome turn of speed to race away from Halford and double the advantage with a clever dinked finish over the advancing goalkeeper.

The Blues hit back within a minute of the restart as half-time substitute Joel Ward made an immediate impact as his right-wing cross was volleyed into the roof of his own net by Charleston defender Sean Flatley.

And with Steve Cotterill’s side looking much better in the second period in cooler temperatures, the Blues got a deserved equaliser when Halford rose unattended at the far post to bury a low header from Luke Varney’s deep right-wing free-kick.

While Pompey pressed for a winner, it was perhaps the home side who came closest to nicking the win when Ricardo Rocha was forced into pulling back Battery striker JC Mack when he looked to be going clean through on goal, with the referee showing a lenient yellow card to the Portuguese defender.