Pompey 1 Bournemouth 2 – Neil Allen’s match report

Conor Chaplin scores. Picture: Shaun Boggust
Conor Chaplin scores. Picture: Shaun Boggust
Ian Darke

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The reinforcements entered the fray en masse, their number tallying eight.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe had elected to make the bulk of his Fratton Park introductions on 59 minutes, among them Jermain Defoe.

The visitors’ 2-1 scoreline subsequently remained unaltered, irrespective of the 21 players employed by the Premier League outfit.

Yet while Howe rotated his manpower in the necessity for match minutes and player scrutiny, Kenny Jackett’s Pompey pathway has long been constructed.

Crawley represent the final pre-season opponents in the approach to the August 5 kick-off against Rochdale.

And a manager renowned for his meticulous nature in planning and preparation is living up to his fine reputation.

Ever since the starting XI against the Hawks was unveiled in the second friendly outing, Jackett’s first-team preference has been obvious.

Swiftly during his formative Blues reign, the new manager identified his strongest side – and has focused selection on their essential presence.

Last weekend against Bognor, an entire starting line-up – including fresh recruits Brett Pitman and Luke McGee – completed the full 90 minutes, without use of the substitutes’ bench.

And while Bournemouth’s boss may have extensively shuffled his pack on Saturday, in contrast there was just the one mid-match change for Jackett.

A glance at the Blues side which performed so admirably against the Cherries provided a glimpse of the starting XI on the opening day of the League One campaign.

For Jackett, it has long been plotted – and some have sadly fallen away as a consequence.

Gary Roberts and Michael Smith were not included in the 21-man match-day squad having been informed they are surplus to requirements. Both are fit, each are willing, their commitment to the club is a characteristic which could never be disputed. However, it appears their time is up.

Carl Baker did, however, play the full 90 minutes against the Cherries, yet Coventry’s strong interest applies a question mark over his future.

Still, with Matt Clarke’s ongoing injury, at least 10 of Saturday’s team can expect to face Rochdale – and on Saturday’s showing deserve to.

The Blues endured a shaky opening in which they fell behind to Lys Mousset’s strike after Benik Afobe had beaten Tom Davies too easily on the byline.

However, they grew into the friendly fixture and in the second half provided some excellent attacking moments.

The recalled Kal Naismith put Pitman clean through only for Asmir Begovic to save, but they did level on 52 minutes when Conor Chaplin lashed home a left-footed finish after Pitman cleverly steered a header into his path.

The game was settled two minutes later, though, when Afobe backheeled the ball from close range.

Chaplin struck an angled shot against the inside of the far post on 82 minutes as the hosts came agonisingly close to levelling, nonetheless, despite defeat, the display was an encouraging one.

Pompey: McGee, Evans, Davies, Burgess, Holmes-Dennis, Bennett, Rose, Baker, Naismith (69 mins Lalkovic), Chaplin, Pitman. Subs Not Used: Bass, May, Main, Talbot, Close, Haunstrup, Whatmough, Kabamba, Lowe.

Bournemouth: Begovic (59 mins Federici), Francis, S.Cook (46 mins Worthington), Cargill (59 mins Ake), Mings (46 mins Daniels), Surman (59 mins L.Cook), Arter (59 mins Gosling), Fraser (59 mins Ibe), Mousset (59 mins King), Gradel (59 mins Pugh), Afobe (59 mins Defoe).Subs not used: Mahoney, Simpson, Whitfield.

Attendance: 7,182 (988 away)