Pompey 1 - Fulham 0

Sonny Bradley, right, will face his old side this weekend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Bradley: Pompey clash is the one I look forward to

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During despondent Pompey times, Linvoy Primus has long insisted out of the darkness comes the light.

So how fitting the man himself should emerge carrying the torch.

Saturday may have been a day of delicious nostalgia, focusing on the man who has given so much to the club for the past 10 years.

But it also produced a day of cautious optimism.

Suddenly the outlook is not nearly as depressing for the coming months. Well for the minute anyway.

That’s Linvoy for you, a talismanic figure pure and simple.

Being in his company cannot help but raise a smile and boost morale. And that is why this true legend will forever be in the hearts of Pompey fans.

Against Fulham, the spirits of even the gloomiest souls would have been uplifted by witnessing the 36-year-old in action for one final time.

The sum of his 11 minutes and 38 seconds spent on pitch were two successful passes and at last a fitting farewell to the fans, having previously had that pleasure cruelly deprived through injury.

And when David Lampitt strode purposely on to the pitch at the final whistle to reveal the Milton end would be named after him, there was a lump in everyone’s throat.

Likewise, victory over a Premier League side stoked up the hope that perhaps, yes perhaps, the Blues can hold their own in their new surroundings after all.

Buoyed by the returns of John Utaka, Prince Boateng and Kanu and strengthened by Ibrahima Sonko’s debut, suddenly everything seemed brighter.

With Aaron Mokoena also expected to be back today, Steve Cotterill’s squad is no longer as threadbare as it was. For the time being at least.

Meanwhile, unbeknown to most, in the background a band of supporters spent the hours before the game broaching the subject of a community buy-out.

Led by the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust, the group held a two-hour Fratton Park meeting with Lucius Peart and Portsmouth city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Initial talks have been described as encouraging, with more conversation expected over the next week.

With a tentative £15m price tag put on Pompey, it remains to be seen if the finance can be raised to persuade Balram Chainrai to relinquish control.

Nonetheless, it’s encouraging such movement is under way to try to save a football club whose future continues to remain bleak.

Fittingly, all this emerged 10 years to the day a certain Linvoy Primus arrived at Fratton Park.

Just a shame then only 6,685 fans turned up to share the landmark occasion with the great man.

Primus is a footballer who has played no part in the actions of those who have systematically destroyed the club and left it, once again, on the brink of liquidation.

But sadly on Saturday, he felt the full brunt of supporters’ current apathy towards their club, an innocent caught in the crossfire. Harsh.

That should not be allowed to detract from what was a memorable day for those who were present to pay tribute to his Pompey career.

And the match which unfolded produced the best performance of the pre-season for Cotterill’s men.

Clearly it was no coincidence the 1-0 triumph was achieved by comfortably his strongest line-up yet, of which Primus was part of.

At the back, debutant Sonko partnered Marc Wilson, who was intriguingly named captain again ahead of the likes of Richard Hughes, Michael Brown and Hayden Mullins.

John Utaka was given a first pre-season outing as a central striker, with David Nugent and Tommy Smith asked to operate either side.

Meanwhile, the bench consisted of both Kanu and Boateng players whose Fratton Park futures remain in doubt.

Even Tal Ben-Haim was spotted training on the pitch beforehand, although he looks set to at last clinch a switch to West Ham during this coming week. Of course, all eyes were on Primus during the opening stages and with just under two minutes gone he controlled the ball before passing to Smith.

The roar reverberated around the ground and fans were treated to one final touch before he made his way from the pitch to be replaced by Kanu.

Almost 12 minutes had gone, but that was enough for the one-time player of the year who had his treasured opportunity to say goodbye on his own terms.

In turn, chants of ‘We love you Linvoy’ and ‘There’s only one Linvoy Primus’ filled the air.

By that stage, Fulham should have been ahead after a strong start from Mark Hughes’ new side.

Zoltan Gera crossed from the right and Bobby Zamora saw his close-range header blocked on the line by Mullins before being cleared.

The hosts slowly improved and Nugent saw a shot comfortably saved before Utaka failed to connect cleanly from a Matt Ritchie cross when he should have done better.

On 27 minutes, the Nigerian wasted another glorious opportunity when Mark Schwarzer’s clearance cannoned off Kanu and straight into his path.

Presented with an open goal, he could only steer his shot over the bar, with Schwarzer touching it for good measure.

Pompey did take the lead, though, on 31 minutes in what would prove to be the only goal of the game.

Ritchie’s right-wing corner was met by Wilson’s run at the near post and he comfortably beat the keeper.

For Ritchie it was assist number four from what has proven to be an impressive pre-season, the majority of which has been spent at left back.

After the break, the Blues were comfortable rather than outstanding, but continued to frustrate Fulham.

Nonetheless, Jamie Ashdown produced a brilliant near-post stop to keep out the unmarked Bobby Zamora’s header on 48 minutes.

The striker also failed to capitalise when Sonko missed a high ball, only to strike his shot into the side netting.

As the game wore on, Boateng was introduced for Kanu and promptly fired in a shot from distance which the keeper did well to stop low down.

Yet 1-0 it remained for a priceless confidence-booster before the Championship season begins at Coventry next season.

As for Primus, as ever it was a pleasure to be in his company.