Pompey cruise to win at Hawks

Chelsea's Ruben Sammut

Pompey close in on midfielder

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Pompey got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start as they cruised to a 4-0 win at non-league neighbours Hawks.

A second-half double from Craig Westcarr and one each from Ryan Bird and Ricky Holmes sealed the victory but more important for boss Andy Awford was to get some match minutes into 26 players in a useful workout.

Only three first-team players were not involved with Wes Fogden suffering a knee injury in training this week to join Tom Craddock on the injury list, while David Connolly was not selected.

Pompey showed early attacking intent with new midfield recruit James Dunne, showing he was not afraid to put his foot in, thundering into a tackle to win possession for his side.

He found Nicky Shorey, who then released Andy Barcham with a clever pass but the winger’s low cross was hacked away at the near post with Patrick Agyemang lurking just behind.

But there were precious few chances from either side with the game taking on the typical pre-season friendly pattern, as Pompey knocked the ball around while Hawks played a containing game.

Jack Whatmough made an enterprising run forward and after a one-two with Agyemang, saw his shot well saved by Ryan Young in the Hawks goal.

Jed Wallace then tried his luck moments later but his left-footed drive drifted just wide of the far post.

And the Blues midfielder attempted to provide the spark soon after the first batch of substitutions as he latched on to Jack Maloney’s good work, but his low shot saw Young make another save.

Hawks then hit back with an opportunity of their own but Shorey shielded the ball from Josh Huggins as he looked set to go through one-on-one with the under-worked Michael Poke.

Wallace was growing visibly more frustrated after he saw another snapshot from close range beaten out by the impressive Young.

Less impressive was Scott Donnelly’s free-kick from 30 yards moments later that sailed over the stand and disappeared off towards Leigh Park.

Bradley Tarbuck almost struck from way out as his low effort forced another good stop from Young while Taylor should have scored from a searching Shorey cross, only to steer his far post volley back across goal and wide for the last action of a goalless half.

After another flurry of substitutions, Pompey took the lead early in the second half as Westcarr netted from close range after Scott Bevan spilled Danny Easy’s high cross under a Ryan Bird challenge.

Despite the protests from the Hawks players - and they may have had a case - Westcarr needed no second invitation to tuck home a simple chance from eight yards.

Awford made the final raft of changes just beyond the hour mark and the move paid off in speedy fashion.

Holmes injected some pace into an attack, swapped passed with Westcarr and teed up Bird to fire home with a smart finish - just as he did in the corresponding fixture a year ago.

Danny East almost made it 3-0 with an angled shot, which Bevan did well to reach, while the Hawks keeper pulled off another brilliant reflex stop to deny Miles Storey with a close-range header.

Holmes finally made it 3-0 with a delightful chipped finish over substitute keeper, Charlie Searle, after good work from Ben Close to intercept Pedro Monteiro’s loose pass, before Bird put the winger clean through on goal.

Westcarr then wrapped things up as he poached his second of the afternoon with five minutes left, clipping into the bottom corner, after the ball dropped to him in the box when Searle had bravely blocked Danny Hollands shot.

All in all, it was a decent afternoon to get the pre-season fixture list up and running.

With unofficial crowd estimates of 2,500 from the home officials, there certainly looked more than that inside West Leigh Park who went home happy with a decent game.

POMPEY (first half): Michael Poke, Adam Webster, Jack Whatmough (Alex Wynter, 32), Joe Devera ,Nicky Shorey, Bradley Tarbuck, Jed Wallace, James Dunne (Nick Awford, 32), Nigel Atangana, Andy Barcham (Jack Maloney, 32), Patrick Agyemang (Ryan Taylor, 32).

POMPEY (second half) Paul Jones, Danny East, Alex Wynter (Johnny Ertl, 62), Ben Chorley, Dan Butler, Ryan Bird, Danny Hollands, Nick Awford (Ben Close, 62), Jack Maloney (Ricky Holmes, 62), Craig Westcarr, Ryan Taylor (Miles Storey, 62).

HAWKS: Ryan Young (Scott Bevan, h-t (Charlie Searle, 81), Josh Huggins, Dan Strugnell (Alex Przespolewski, 58) Ryan Woodford (Ed Harris, h-t), Warren Cummings (Dan Blanchett, h-t), Perry Ryan, Scott Donnelly, Brian Dutton (Pedro Monteiro, 14), Nic Ciardini (Ben Swallow, 39), JJ Hooper (Serge Valeran, 4), Bradley Bubb (Harry Wedlake, 76).