Hawks 0 Pompey 6: Three things we learnt

Tariq Holmes-Dennis in action against the Hawks. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tariq Holmes-Dennis in action against the Hawks. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Rose fractured his left leg in last month's victory over Northampton Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey man looking up after plunging into despair

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Will Rooney looks back on three things we learnt from Pompey’s 6-0 win at the Hawks on Saturday.

Chaplin’s early repayment to his boss

Much like the majority of the Fratton faithful, Jackett is a significant admirer of Conor Chaplin.

The Academy graduate has talent in abundance but was principally used as an impact substitute under Paul Cook.

Chaplin is set to play a big part under his new manager – and he proved why at Westleigh Park.

The Worthing-born forward is an attacking delight who has rich potential.

All three of his goals against the Hawks were top draw.

Although his first was from close quarters, Chaplin had to lose his marker and gamble where the cross would fall to him.

For his second, he kept the ball close on the outside of his left foot and dragged the defender inside before firing into the near corner.

However, Chaplin’s hat-trick goal was the best of them all.

Receiving the ball from Kal Naismith, he only had one option in his mind – lash a first-time shot towards the target.

There were men crowding him and little margin for error between himself and the goal.

Nonetheless, Chaplin was conscious of the situation he was in. Brimming with confidence, he wrapped his foot around the ball and steered it into the far corner.

He wasn’t finished there, however. His hawk-eye vision picked out Naismith at the back post in the second half for Pompey’s fifth.

Although Jackett may not have a formation determined, it’s likely the Blues boss will be playing a system which makes Chaplin the executioner-in-chief.

Holmes-Dennis shines on debut

There was plenty of frustration when Enda Stevens was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Sheffield United.

The Irishman had been Pompey’s assist king during the League Two title-winning campaign and rarely produced a blighted performance.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis has been brought in by Kenny Jackett to be Stevens’ successor at left-back.

Judging by the Huddersfield loanee’s maiden Pompey performance at Westleigh Park, he looks a worthy replacement.

Holmes-Dennis is a typical modern-day full-back – athletic, powerful and always looking to bomb on forward.

Chaplin had to pay his appreciation to his new team-mate for his first goal.

Holmes-Dennis’ ball across goal was the sort that is a nightmare for an opponent’s defence.

It was whipped low and hard, splitting the centre-backs and goalkeeper which brought confusion among the Hawks’ rearguard.

With white shirts failing to take responsibility and clearing, it allowed Chaplin to slip his marker at the back post and tap home.

Crosses from the left-hand side were a huge slice of where Pompey sourced their goals last season.

Although it’s early days, Jackett may have found a like-for-like replacement for Stevens.

Fringe players look to make their mark

Every member of Pompey’s squad is desperate to impress Jackett – but some have more to prove than others.

Curtis Main and Milan Lalkovic both endured a tough first season at Fratton Park.

However, the duo have dismissed what happened under Cook and look to salvage their Pompey careers.

After catching the eye at Salisbury, Lalkovic again portrayed all of his attacking attributes against Lee Bradbury’s men after he replaced Chaplin.

He’s blessed with electric pace and menacing skill that, on his day, can be a nightmare for any defender.

The Slovakian almost scored his second goal in as many pre-season matches after he waltzed through the Hawks’ rearguard but was denied by Alan Walker-Harris.

Main’s clever through ball set Lalkovic up at Salisbury and he bagged one of his own at the Hawks.

The ex-Doncaster man skipped past two white shirts before brought down in the box. He subsequently stepped up to take the penalty and calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Competition for places is healthy at any club. As well as Chaplin and Bennett played, they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas as there are other candidates champing at the bit.