Hawks 1 Pompey 2: Neil Allen’s match report

Conor Chaplin in action against the Hawks. Picture: Neil Marshall
Conor Chaplin in action against the Hawks. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Amid the growing belief football is coming home, there’s an increasing expectancy that one of Pompey’s own is going away.

So how beautifully fitting for Conor Chaplin to arrive off the bench and rifle in a late Blues winner at Westleigh Park.

It may be premature to label his scoring act against the Hawks as a romantic swansong. After all, Coventry’s opening bid has been rejected.

Nonetheless, Mark Robins is certain to return with an improved offer during attempts to persuade Pompey to part with the 21-year-old.

In the meantime, Chaplin registered a third goal in two pre-season appearances, his 84th minute winner securing a 2-1 triumph for Kenny Jackett’s men.

Ben Close supplied the pass, the striker surging towards the edge of the penalty area before unleashing an angled left-footed finish into the far corner.

It was vintage Chaplin.

With immaculate timing, in potentially his final Pompey outing, the forward with 25 goals in 121 appearances had struck again.

Minutes earlier, a fierce volley dripping with wondrous technique had flashed past the far post, drawing applause and nods of admiration among the 1,608 crowd.

Yet there was to be no denying Chaplin from having the final word on a sweltering afternoon at the home of the National League newcomers.

Jackett had once again installed his first-choice team for the opening 45 minutes, before signalling 11 changes at the break, among them Chaplin.

The manager afterwards spoke of his disappointment over the Blues’ first-half performance which saw them enter the interval at 1-1.

Alfie Pavey handed the Hawks the lead from the penalty spot when Matt Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Nicke Kabamba.

But five minutes later, good work from Jamal Lowe teed up Nathan Thompson for a lovely angled finish from inside the box to level.

And so the deadlock remained – until Chaplin dictated otherwise. Again.

POMPEY: MacGillivray (46 mins McGee), Thompson (46 mins Smith), Burgess (46 mins Casey), Clarke (46 mins Whatmough), Brown (46 mins Haunstrup), Rose (46 mins May), Naylor (46 mins Read), Evans (46 mins Close), Lowe (46 mins Dennis), Curtis (46 mins Chaplin), Pitman (46 mins Hawkins).

Subs Not Used: Johnston, Mnoga.

HAWKS: Young (56 mins Dudzinski), Strugnell (56 mins Harris), P.Robinson (56 mins Woodford), Rose (56 mins Molyneaux), Tarbuck (56 mins Whittingham), Stock (56 mins Ridge), Fogden (56 mins Lewis), Carter (56 mins A.Robinson), Huggins (56 mins Tuttle), Kabamba (56 mins Rutherford), Pavey (56 mins triallist).


Attendance: 1,608