Pompey 3 Bournemouth 3 – Neil Allen’s match report

Gary Roberts opened the scoring for Pompey against Bournemouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts opened the scoring for Pompey against Bournemouth. Picture: Joe Pepler
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A nod to the past and a glance at the future, Fratton Park basked in sunshine smiles.

Paul Cook continues to play down the significance of pre-season performances, although the irrelevance of results can be agreed upon.

Yet on Saturday there was plenty served up to encourage Pompey fans from the latest summer friendly.

Bournemouth represented a considerable leap as pre-season opposition, having previously dipped the toe in against Irish sides and non-leaguers.

The response was heartening as Cook’s men produced enchanting play at times in a thoroughly-entertaining 3-3 draw.

Certainly those 5,153 present were handed an excellent afternoon of fluent football as both sides contributed to the rarity of an enjoyable friendly.

Of course, the mood was already upbeat before kick-off in the sweltering south-coast conditions on the occasion of Alan McLoughlin’s benefit fixture.

Recognised for almost 12 years of sterling service as a player, Academy coach and first-team coach, he watched proceedings from the Fratton end.

At one stage in the first-half, chants of ‘Sign him up, sign him up’ emerged as Macca stood up to film the touching supporter reaction.

A moment of class off the pitch and they were plenty of other occasions to savour on the field of play too as Cook’s men rose to their latest challenge.

And substitute Adam May’s 89th minute strike secured a throughly-deserved draw against Premier League opposition.

Excluding the goalkeeping headache and the scrap between Milan Lalkovic and Kyle Bennett, the starting XI reflected Cook’s strongest at present.

Bass took glove duties, with Paul Jones still not ready for action following injury and triallist Chris Konopka on the bench.

Noel Hunt and Amine Lindanzi were also among the substitutes, the trio given second-half outings as Cook still scrutinises their presence.

Unsurprisingly, it was to be the first-half contingent which would twice give Pompey the lead over Eddie Howe’s side.

Gary Roberts, an outstanding presence along with Carl Baker, opened the scoring on five minutes when he collected a through ball and held off Simon Francis before curling a left-footed shot into the far corner.

The visitors drew level on 24 minutes when Ryan Fraser forced his way down the right and squared for Lewis Grabban to net.

Withing a minute, Michael Smith had restored the Blues’ lead, pouncing after Enda Stevens’ shot had deflected into his path.

Cook’s men retained their lead until the 70 minute when Jordon Ibe wrong footed substitute keeper Konopka with a left-foot finish.

They then took the lead on 79 minutes when Dan Gosling converted Rhoys Wiggins’ pass from the left.

Yet on 89 minutes May’s shot from distance deflected past Adam Federici to grab an equaliser and cap a highly-entertaining match.

Pompey: Bass (Konopka 46 mins), Talbot (May 82 mins), Whatmough (Davies 78 mins), Burgess (Barton 78 mins), Stevens (Haunstrup 78 mins), Rose (Hunt 61 mins), Baker (Oxlade-Chamberlain 80 mins), Doyle (Close 69 mins), Smith (Main 61 mins), Lalkovic (Linganzi 52 mins), Roberts (Tollit 80 mins).

Subs Not Used: Chaplin, Bennett.

Bournemouth: Federici, O’Kane, Francis, Daniels, Wiggins (Butcher 83 mins), Fraser (MacDonald 46 mins), Cook (Gosling 46 mins), Arter, Pugh (Ibe 46 mins), Grabban (Mousset 46 mins), Wilson (King 45 mins).

Subs Not Used: Stanton, Travers, Cornick, Butcher, Jordan, Harfield, Buckley, Lee.

Attendance: 5,153 (531 away)