What we learnt from Pompey’s 2-1 win over Hawks

Pompey's Conor Chaplin. Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey's Conor Chaplin. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Pompey writer, Jordan Cross, looks at what we learnt from the test offered by Hawks in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Westleigh Park.

Goodbye goalscorer?

Ben Close's assessment summed it up nicely.

'He looks like he will score when he plays,' the Pompey midfielder stated of his team-mate Conor Chaplin.

Chaplin had just followed up his two goals in the Blues' opening warm-up win against Cork City, with the decisive finish against Hawks.

The thought it may be the last time we see the 21-year-old hit the back of the net in royal blue was saddening, as intense speculation over his future continues.

We wait to see how Coventry's pursuit of the marksman pans out, after their opening bid for the striker was rejected.

Kenny Jackett evidently feels his side is short on attacking pace, and with Chaplin craving the regular playing time his manager hasn't offered a parting appears inevitable.

In his pursuit of a fleet-footed striker, Jackett will be losing not only a poacher but a player capable of making the improbable possible.

We saw that with 10 minutes remaining as an impudent volley drew gasps from the Westleigh Park crowd and flew narrowly wide.

It's the kind of Chaplin moment which will be missed in the event of his exit.

First team, first half

Pompey's pre-season status quo offers us clear clue to what lies ahead.

And so it proved once again, as Kenny Jackett opted to use what appears to be his strongest starting XI in the first half of the Hawks win.

On this occasion, though, the Pompey boss wasn't pleased with what he saw from his players in the first 45 minutes.

The Blues looked sluggish at times and short of pace over the first couple of yards, not an entirely unsurprising situation at this formative stage of pre-season.

Jackett was also disappointed his team didn't make more of the number of corners they had and asked more questions of the home defence.

With there a leaning towards a stronger team being played in the first half, there was an irony to the fact Pompey upped their performance after the break.

Oli Hawkins, in particular, caused a lot of problems with his height at the back post.

At this early stage a starting XI is a long way from being defined, but the challenge for the players will be to break into that first-half team of Jackett's.

Hawks on the rise

The previous two trips had seen Pompey score 11 goals without reply on the annual visit to Westleigh Park.

A repeat of the 6-0 and 5-0 scorelines never looked on the cards as the Blues were given a stiff test of their credentials by Lee Bradbury's side.

Out of an even opening, Kenny Jackett's men began to exert a dominance of the ball, but were then undone as old boy Nicke Kabamba burst clear of Matt Clarke.

There appeared to be a coming together of sorts as Clarke gave chase, but the amount of contact and where it took place was not so obvious.

Sadly there was no VAR on offer, leading to the assistant referee awarding the spot kick which Alfie Pavey dispatched.

There was much to admire about Hawks' performance as they prepare for their maiden National League campaign.

In Pavey, Kabamba and Alfie Rutherford they possess decent fire power.

At the other end, defender Jordan Rose impressed alongside Paul Robinson with Wes Fogden and Brian Stock showing their nous in the middle of the park.

An exciting season awaits Hawks - and they possess the players to enjoy their National League voyage.