Ward gutted as Pompey fail to win for owners

Vladimir Antonov and Roman Dubov
Vladimir Antonov and Roman Dubov
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has been looking for the right blend of youth and experience. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss bidding for right blend

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Joel Ward welcomed Pompey’s new owners to Fratton Park but admitted: It’s a shame we didn’t win for them.

Roman Dubov and Vladimir Antonov made their Fratton Park debuts on Saturday as the Blues played host to Premier League Chelsea in their second pre-season friendly of the summer.

The third partner in Convers Sports Initiatives’ ownership, Chris Akers, was unable to join them in the directors’ box as he was on holiday. But Dubov and Antonov would have enjoyed their first taste of a matchday at Fratton Park since the completion of their takeover on June 1.

A bumper crowd of 19,345 – a record turnout for a Pompey pre-season home fixture – turned up to welcome the duo to their new home, creating a special atmosphere for the visit of Andre Villas-Boas’ side.

The Blues lost the game 1-0, with former Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim’s seventh-minute own goal proving decisive.

And Ward was disappointed the players couldn’t reward the performance of the fans with victory against last season’s Premier league runners-up.

‘We wanted to show them what the club’s about and give a good performance,’ he said.

‘It’s a shame, though, we didn’t get the draw or nick the winner.

‘But, I think, as a team we did well and we created our own chances and that is the main thing.

‘Obviously Chelsea are a top side and it’s tough playing against those sorts of teams because of their experience and the class of their players.

‘You know they’ve proved that week-in, week-out and at international level as well, so to play against them was a great experience.

‘To do well against them is even better, though.’

The 21-year-old added it was a privilege to play in front of a record-breaking Fratton Park crowd on such an historic occasion.

‘It is always going to be full or near enough when you have got one of the top teams in the world coming down,’ said Ward.

‘It was good to be involved and to play in front of that crowd. It was a good experience.’

– MARK McMAHON