Blues cruise to Burnham win

Adam McGurk.  Picture: Steve Reid Blitz Photography
Adam McGurk. Picture: Steve Reid Blitz Photography
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Adam McGurk marked his injury comeback with a goal as a Pompey XI comfortably defeated Burnham 5-0.

The 26-year-old had been sidelined by a thigh problem since the third pre-season friendly against Gosport.

Yet he returned to action last night at The Gore as first-team coach Ian Foster stepped into the hot-seat to oversee the final friendly.

And McGurk would open the scoring in the 25th minute with a clever header over the advancing Burnham keeper.

The Irishman would feature for 65 minutes before making way among six substitutions at the same time by Foster.

Jayden Stockley doubled the advantage over the non-leaguers in the 72nd minute, rifling home a free-kick from 30-yards.

A Brandon Joseph-Buadi tap in, a thunderous Adam May shot and then Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain in the final seven minutes wrapped up a 5-0 victory for the visitors.

Meanwhile, for McGurk it puts him in the frame for Saturday’s League Two opener against Dagenham & Redbridge.

In his starting line-up, Foster named five of the substitutes who came on against Gillingham at the weekend.

Danny Hollands served as skipper, partnering Ben Close in the holding midfield two.

Elsewhere, Alex Bass featured in goal, Ben Tollitt was named among the attacking three midfielders, with Jayden Stockley the lone striker.

There was also another start for Brandon Haunstrup, following his encouraging Priestfield Stadium outing in place of the unavailable Enda Stevens on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Adam McGurk was given his first appearance since the friendly victory at Gosport, having recovered from a thigh problem, although Adam Barton was unavailable for the Blues.

It was the forward who almost broke the deadlock in the 11th minute following a tempting ball from the right delivered by Snorre Nilsen.

McGurk popped up at the far post and unleashed a ferocious left-foot volley which crashed against the bar and post before ricocheting to safety, with the keeper well beaten.

Unsurprisingly, Pompey were well in control and in the 23rd minute a superb pass from Tollitt picked out Stockley who clipped in a cross from the byline agonisingly over the head of McGurk.

The Irishman did break the deadlock, however, in the 25th minute with an excellent goal.

Hollands delivered a deep ball from the centre circle and McGurk rose on the edge of the area to flick a clever header over the advancing keeper and into the vacant net.

Moments later, Stockley latched onto a ball from the right with a first-time shot which Zaki Oualah did well to save low down.

Tollitt was looking in positive mood, willing to drive the ball forward, and in the 34th minute he surged down the middle before drilling a right-foot shot comfortably wide of the far post.

The Blues led 1-0 at the break - and the same starting line-up reappeared for the second half.

On 52 minutes McGurk won a foul 25-yards out and the forward picked himself up to take the free-kick, firing it narrowly over the crossbar.

Burnham thought they had equalised on 61 minutes when Kane Jones powerfully headed home a deep free-kick from the right.

Yet the striker was left with his head in the hands upon seeing the linesman’s flag raised for offside as the visitors retained their slender lead.

Foster made five changes on 65 minutes, with Nilsen, Chad Field, Close, Hollands and McGurk all making way for Academy youngsters.

They included May, who last week signed first-year professional forms, occupying a holding midfield role alongside fell substitute Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Pompey increased their lead on 72 minutes when Stockley hammered a free-kick from 30-yards which gave the keeper absolutely no chance.

A delightful move involving Tollitt and Stockley then put Sayers through in a tight penalty area, yet the youngster shot over from eight yards out when he should have netted.

Joseph-Buadi then got on the scoresheet in the 83rd minute, converting Tollitt’s excellent right-wing cross from close range.

May to netted the goal of the game two minutes later which a ferocious drive from 30-yards which screamed into the net.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain wrapped it up with a shot from inside the box in the 90th minute.

Pompey: Bass, Nilsen (65 mins Davies), Field (65 mins Yates), Webster, Haunstrup, Close (65 mins May), Hollands (65 mins Oxlade-Chamberlain), McGurk (65 mins Sayers), Joseph-Buadi, Tollitt, Stockley.

Sub Not Used: Haitham.