Evans: Pompey deserved better against Cherries

Gareth Evans felt Pompey deserved a draw from their encounter with Premier League Bournemouth.

Sunday, 23rd July 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:00 pm
Gareth Evans in action against Bournemouth. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Benik Afobe’s 54th-minute backheel settled Saturday’s friendly 2-1 in favour of Eddie Howe’s visitors.

However, Conor Chaplin came agonisingly close to levelling on 82 minutes when his angled left-foot shot struck the inside of Asmir Begovic’s far post.

The striker had earlier cancelled out Lys Mousset’s ninth-minute opener, finishing off a controlled headed pass from Brett Pitman.

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Pitman also drew a save out of Begovic when clean through, while appeals for a penalty were waved away after Kyle Bennett’s pass struck the arm of Simon Francis.

Certainly, for Pompey’s right-back, there was plenty to be encouraged by in their penultimate pre-season fixture.

Evans said: ‘Early on I thought we were a little bit tentative on the ball, a bit nervous perhaps against a Premier League side who we probably expected to be a tougher test than we got, to be honest.

‘But we grew into it and in the second half had a few opportunities and were probably hard done by not to win the game.

‘We had a few good chances. Chappers scored a very good goal, Pitts had a one-on-one which he’s probably disappointed not to score, then Chappers hit the post.

‘There were opportunities to draw the game, if not to win the game.

‘We felt hard done by not getting something out of it but it’s a pre-season friendly and the signs are good. It’s something to build on.

‘After an early setback, the lads started to get on the ball and play the way we wanted to play, pressing them a lot better.

‘It was not just a case of being better on the ball but improving off it as well, getting possession back and doing some good things with it.

‘At one point I had Jermain Defoe stood in front of me, which shows you the calibre of player we were playing against.

‘We should definitely be pleased with that performance.’

For Evans, though, the overriding reason for cheer was Pompey’s fitness.

He added: ‘We made one substitution and they had a mass change on 59 minutes, bringing on a load of fresh legs, but the fitness levels were good.

‘The main thing you can take from that type of game is your fitness, you are not going to be playing against a Premier League team every week, although it was a good test.’