Pitman earns Pompey pre-season win at Crawley

Brett Pitman celebrates his equaliser for Pompey with Conor Chaplin at Crawley. Picture: Neil Marshall
Brett Pitman celebrates his equaliser for Pompey with Conor Chaplin at Crawley. Picture: Neil Marshall
Nathan Thompson, right, has returned from injury. Picture: Sarah Standing

Pompey defender explains importance of Wigan clash

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Brett Pitman’s double gave Pompey a 2-1 win at Crawley in their League One dress rehearsal.

Pitman’s superb 25-yard free-kick and dinked effort with 15 minutes left ensured Kenny Jackett’s side grabbed a final warm-up win.

But that didn’t tell the story of how the home side caused a host of problems for the Blues with their physicality.

Pompey looked disjointed for long periods and fell behind after just three minutes, as powerhouse Dutch striker Thomas Verheydt bundled in a corner with Luke McGee uncertain.

Harry Kewell’s side could have been further in front with Enzio Boldewijn skimming the bar from 25 yards after 25 minutes.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis acrobatically cleared off the line to deny Jordan Roberts three minutes later, before McGee kept out Verheydt’s left-footed drive.

Pitman’s superb dead-ball effort levelled 10 minutes after restart, however, before substitute Milan Lalkovic fed the skipper to chip home his second after 75 minutes.

Crawley asked a number of questions for Pompey ahead of their league curtain-raiser against Rochdale, though, with Jackett’s men still a work in progress.

The Blues boss has to decide whether to opt for Jack Whatmough or Tom Davies to partner Christian Burgess at the back, although Burgess missed the game with a knock.

Carl Baker, who passed the ball well in the middle, also put forward a strong case to start in the engine room.

Those decisions have to be made over the next week before the League One season starts against Rochdale at Fratton Park.