Timely reminder for Chaplin in Pompey win

Conor Chaplin scored twice for Pompey in a behind-closed-doors friendly win over Reading yesterday    Picture: Colin Farmery
Conor Chaplin scored twice for Pompey in a behind-closed-doors friendly win over Reading yesterday Picture: Colin Farmery
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Conor Chaplin posted a reminder of his talents with two sublime goals as Pompey defeated Reading in a behind-closed-doors friendly yesterday.

With Paul Cook keen to bolster his squad’s match fitness, Martin Kuhl’s under-21s visited the Blues’ Copnor Road training home yesterday afternoon.

The result was a 3-1 triumph for the impressive hosts amid worsening playing conditions.

And Chaplin did his chances of a recall for Saturday’s trip to Cambridge United absolutely no harm as he shone in a lone striking role.

Overseen by first-team coach Ian Foster, Pompey fielded a strong side, with a large number of youngsters also among the 18 players utilised.

Gary Roberts, who featured for 90 minutes in Saturday’s goalless draw against Yeovil, started alongside Chaplin, Danny Hollands, Kal Naismith, Adam Webster and Nigel Atangana.

The fixture also marked the return of midfielder Ben Close, who was appearing for 45 minutes following a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Rommy Boco, who is currently on loan at the Hawks, was granted 90 minutes in a Pompey shirt for the first time since signing last month.

Certainly, the Blues were largely comfortable throughout, playing some eye-catching football to fully warrant their victory over the Championship side.

For the on-looking Cook, the displays of Chaplin, Naismith and Atangana, in particular, will provide him with food for thought ahead of this weekend’s Abbey Stadium visit.

In truth, it was Webster who was the outstanding performer over the 90 minutes as he attempts to force his way past the regular central-defensive partnership of Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke.

However, two magnificent goals from Chaplin were a timely return, considering Pompey’s recent problem of breaking open overly-defensive sides.

The first arrived on 36 minutes following a clever exchange of passes with Roberts to cut through the Reading rearguard, with the youngster finishing.

Then, on 54 minutes, the Blues won a free-kick almost 25 yards from goal and the forward stepped up to curl the ball into the far corner of the net.

Chaplin was also involved in Chad Field’s 30th-minute opener, when his corner from the left was forced home by the defender.

The 18-year-old’s outing lasted until the 73rd minute when he was replaced by Liam Sayers – one of seven substitutes used.

His departure arrived seconds after the Royals had pulled a fine goal back through the impressive Noor Husin’s direct free-kick.

The remainder of the match saw Boco and half-time substitute Darryl Flahavan accompany a young Blues side and the game became stretched.

There was still time for Flahavan to save superbly low down to deny Joe Topper in the 85th minute.

However, Foster’s side held on for a deserved victory in the Portsmouth rain.

POMPEY: Bass (46 mins Flahavan), Nilsen (46 mins Joseph-Buadi), Field, Webster, Haunstrup, Atangana (60 mins Oxlade-Chamberlain), Hollands (46 mins Close), Boco, Roberts (60 mins May), Naismith (73 mins Haitham), Chaplin (73 mins Sayers).