Pompey given a ‘real’ test by Betis

Pompey's Luke Varney in action against Real Betis.
Pompey's Luke Varney in action against Real Betis.
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker  Picture: Shaun Boggust

Pompey’s Baker staking his alternative claim

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Pompey suffered a 5-1 defeat at Real Betis last night.

Steve Cotterill’s squad was hit hard by international call-ups and unavailabilities.

As a result, the Blues found it tough going against their Spanish opponents for the rearranged pre-season fixture.

And a late Luke Varney strike was all they had to show as the hosts ran out 5-1 winners.

Yet, for Pompey it was the opportunity to give plenty of fringe players a run-out in a competitive match.

Cotterill also blooded four youngsters from Andy Awford’s Academy side during proceedings.

Among them was a new face in 16-year-old defender Adam Webster, appearing as a second-half substitute.

Young guns Sam Magri, Lewis Tallack and Lewis Stockford joined him, along with regular first-team presence Ryan Williams.

They were all part of a 14-man squad lacking recent recruits Erik Huseklepp and Markos Futacs, who were both on international duty.

Also away were Liam Lawrence, Hermann Hreidarsson and Tal Ben Haim, while Kanu, Benjani Mwaruwari and Aaron Mokoena were unavailable.

Throw in Hayden Mullins (groin) and it was an understrength side Cotterill fielded against Betis.

The visitors conceded just two minutes into the fixture – and it was uphill all the way after that.

Castro found space on the edge of the box to curl a shot past Stephen Henderson, in for Jamie Ashdown.

The hosts them doubled their lead on 18 minutes through a penalty.

Tallack made a rash challenge in the area and Molina coolly stroked the resulting penalty into the bottom corner.

Just nine minutes later Montero received the ball in the box and curled home a fine shot from a tight angle.

It was 3-0 to Betis and only the impressive Henderson prevented them from adding to that.

Ezequiel added a fourth on 66 minutes when he hammered an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

The substitute registered the hosts’ fifth 11 minutes later as Henderson allowed a tame effort to slip through his fingers and into the net.

In the dying minutes Varney headed against the bar before finally netting in stoppage time with a strike from the edge of the area.

Pompey: Henderson (86 mins Ashdown), Tallack (46 mins Magri), Halford, Pearce, Rocha, Ward, Norris, Stockford (70 mins Webster), Varney, Williams, Kitson.

Real Betis: Casto (46 mins Goitia), Chica (46 mins Juanma), Amaya, Dorado (46 mins Ustaritz), Nacho (46 mins Isidoro), Sevilla (46 mins Canas), Iriney (46 mins Momo), Matilla, Montero (46 mins Ezequiel), Castro (46 mins Pereira), Molina (58 mins Santa Cruz).

Attendance; 10,307