Bognor 1 Portsmouth XI 1: Stunning volley earns youthful Blues hard-earned draw in exciting friendly clash

A stunning goal from Harry Jewitt-White prevented a Pompey XI defeat at the hands of the Rocks.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 9:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 9:54 pm
Pompey grab a first-half equaliser through an excellent far-post volley from Harry Jewitt-White (out of the picture). Picture: Martin Denyer
Pompey grab a first-half equaliser through an excellent far-post volley from Harry Jewitt-White (out of the picture). Picture: Martin Denyer

The Blues found themselves trailing through Nick Dembele’s 20th-minute opener at a packed Nyewood Lane tonight.

Certainly the non-leaguers were well worth their lead following a bright start in which Danny Cowley’s youthful team were severely tested.

However, on 38 minutes, left-back Harvey Laidlaw put in a deep cross from the left which superbly picked out Jewitt-White at the far post.

The Wales youth international did the rest, showing magnificent technique to steer a right-footed volley into the net to make it 1-1.

It capped a tremendously entertaining first half, although the game failed to match that following the interval.

Jewitt-White had another cleared off the line, while Toby Steward and then substitute Josh Oluwayemi produced excellent stops at the other end.

Yet it finished all-square as 10 Blues players were given the full 90 minutes to maintain their pre-season work-out.

Ryan Tunnicliffe led the Blues’ first-team contingent in essentially a youthful Pompey XI, joined by summer signing Zak Swanson, along with Liam Vincent and Jay Mingi.

While there were also starting opportunities for Dan Gifford and Alfie Bridgman, who made such a favourable impact on loan with the Rocks last season.

Meanwhile, Bognor included former Pompey players Taylor Seymour, Calvin Davies and Bradley Lethbridge in their starting XI, with Charlie Bell and Liam Kelly on the bench.

Bognor started the game the strongest side and deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes,

Fine work by Bradley Lethbridge down the left saw him play the ball inside to Isaac Olaniyan, whose first-time shot was saved by Toby Steward.

However, the ball fell to Nick Dembele, who bundled it home from close range via the inside of the post to give the hosts the lead.

Suicidal play from Swanson in the centre circle then saw him dispossessed as he panicked and headed back towards his own penalty area.

Lethbridge broke through and, with Dembele racing away down the left, frustratingly over-hit his intended pass which would have put Bognor clean through.

It took 35 minutes before Pompey had their best chance, with Bridgman’s left-footed shot drawing an excellent save from Seymour.

The visitors drew level on 38 minutes through Jewitt-White’s stunning goal, surely drawing admiration from both sets of supporters.

Bognor should have regained their lead just before half-time when Josh McCormick’s cross from the right was headed into the ground and over the bar by Tom Bragg.

There were no Pompey substitutions at the break and, on 56 minutes, a stunning save diving to his right saw Steward push out Tom Chalaye’s swerving goal-bound shot.

The Blues made their first substitution on 64 minutes, with new signing Josh Oluwayemi replacing Steward.

The match was proving less eventful in the second half, although Davies did superbly to block Jewitt-White’s shot on the line when it appeared destined to give the visitors the lead.

In the dying moments, Oluwayemi somehow kept out Craig Robson’s header and it finished in a 1-1 draw.

Pompey: Steward (64 mins Oluwayemi), Swanson, Fox, Vincent, Laidlaw, Tunniclffe, Hurst, Mingi, Jewitt-White, Bridgman, Gifford..

Subs Not Used: Murray, Payce, Ashton, Quarm, Simpson.