Ashley Harris netted a consolation as a Pompey XI suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Salisbury last night.
The Blues fielded their development squad, topped up with the likes of Harris, Adam Webster and Ryan Bird, in the clash with the Whites at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.
But they were no match for their Conference National hosts.
As first-team boss Guy Whittingham looked on, the visitors were left chasing the game when they slipped behind after just 10 minutes.
It was a somewhat fortuitous opener, though, as Rob Sinclair’s cross took a deflection in the six-yard area and trickled into the net.
Up to that point – and with Bird leading the line – the Blues had the Salisbury rearguard struggling.
The goal made a massive difference, however.
And it took a fine save from triallist Billy Granger in the Blues’ goal to prevent Ben Wright from doubling the advantage.
Moments later Wright took on Pompey’s defence again.
But after reaching the edge of the box he curled a left-footed shot against the crossbar.
On 31 minutes, Sinclair finished a fine move only for a late flag to rule the effort out for offside.
Meanwhile, the nearest Pompey came to an equaliser in the first half was a long-range effort from Nick Awford which flew over the bar.
And just before the interval, the hosts doubled their advantage as dangerman Wright crossed to the far-post for Wayne Feeney to net with a simple header. And it got worse for the Blues as five minutes into the second half they fell further behind.
Dan Fitchett – one of four Salisbury substitutes thrown on at the break – ran through the middle unchallenged before thrashing a shot low into the net.
Bird was finally given some service as Awford’s neat through ball fell nicely for the striker.
But he lost out in a tussle with Salisbury’s Jamie Clarke, who cleared the danger. And as play resumed, Bird was substituted for Korean Jae Heon Kim.
Salisbury, too, made a change with former Saint and Gunwharf resident Jake Thompson entering the fray.
And he so nearly increased the home side’s lead when he headed Josh Warren’s clearance back towards the goal where Granger managed to turn it behind.
The Blues kept plugging, though, and were rewarded with a consolation on 82 minutes as Harris blasted home a free-kick.
SALISBURY: Puddy, Ruddick, Clarke, Hart, Brett, S Sinclair, Lewis, Welland, R Sinclair, Wright, Feeney. Subs: Fitchett, Frear, McPhee, Kamdjo, Thompson, Winnett, Case, Flint, Edwards.
POMPEY: Granger, Haunstrap, Warren, Webster, Triggs, Awford, Tarbuck, Branford, Bird, Harris, Maloney. Kim, Rwakarmbwe, Neilson.