Aldershot 4 Portsmouth XI 0: Neil Allen's verdict - Late finale flatters National League hosts
The clandestine nature of a first-team encounter with Brighton rated as classified ensured supporters had to obtain their friendly fix elsewhere.
Instead it was a Pompey XI match at Aldershot which occupied the Fratton faithful’s focus on a balmy Tuesday evening.
And those present at the Recreation Ground would have enjoyed witnessing a spirited performance from the youngsters who gave an excellent account of themselves.
They held out until the final 10 minutes, with mysteriously-named ‘Triallist A’ squeezing an angled shot past Alex Bass sparking a late flurry as the match finished a flattering 4-0.
Unmasked as former Hawks striker Shamir Mullings, by that stage the visitors had already utilised 18 different players and, from that point, the Shots were ruthless.
Recent recruit Alfy Whittingham, whose father needs no introduction to Pompey followers added to the tally on 85 minutes, with Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Ethan Chislett also netting.
Aldershot had their victory, but youthful Pompey would have won plenty of praise from their own supporters in recognition of their tireless efforts in the summer heat.
And wasn’t it a young side employed against the team from the National League.
Earlier in the day, the first-team squad drew 1-1 at Brighton’s Lancing-based training ground for a behind-closed-doors occasion, although the Blues are forbidden from publicising the outcome.
Regardless of how they fared, it dictated a youthful side travelled to Aldershot later in the day.
Skippered by Matt Casey, the line-up also included Haji Mnoga, Leon Maloney and Joe Hancott as players with solely Checkatrade Trophy experience.
At least Bass has four senior outings, including League One involvement, yet it represented a team consisting of Academy graduates and current members of Mark Kelly’s youth set-up.
There was a senior presence, however, in the form of 26-year-old triallist Richard Brindley.
An attacking right-back by trade, he has seen Football League service with Chesterfield, Rotherham, Scunthorpe, Oxford United, Colchester and Barnet.
Last term he was a regular with non-leaguers Bromley yet, now a free agent, he was given a run out among Pompey’s young line-up at the Recreation Ground, starting on the right flank, ahead of full-back Haji Mnoga.
Meanwhile, Aldershot had their own triallist, striker Mullings, who earlier in his career spent two seasons with the Hawks.
He was the source of the Shots’ most dangerous moments in an even first-half in which the visitors were worthy of the goalless draw at the interval.
Indeed, the match was still goalless entering the final 10 minutes, then Aldershot seized control for a scoreline which flattered them.
Pompey: Bass, Mnoga (64 mins Kavanagh), Casey, Dandy (61 mins Rew), Hancott (69 mins Kelly), Robb, Bridgman (58 mins Stanley), Brindley (76 mins Brook), Bell, Teggart (69 mins Flint), Maloney (69 mins Lee).
Attendance; 1,790 (317 away)