Bristol City 3 Portsmouth 3 - City player borrowed by Blues helps secure pre-season friendly draw
Pompey were indebted to a player borrowed from Bristol City for preventing a friendly defeat at Bristol City.
Once again this afternoon, the shining light was Gassan Ahadme, the Norwich striker surely poised to seal his stay.
Ahadme’s two first-half goals took his tally to seven in three appearances during a highly-impressive pre-season.
Available on a season-long loan from Norwich should Danny Cowley be willing, the 20-year-old continues to look a classy customer.
However, it was Marlee Francois who secured a 3-3 draw after Cowley took him from Bristol City.
With a pre-match agreement to play additional 30 minutes after full-time, irrespective of the scoreline, the Australian international was asked to temporarily switch allegiances.
And he finished off Jayden Reid’s pass to make it 3-3 over 120 minutes to ensure the occasion was all square.
It was a curious finale, yet shouldn’t detract from Ahadme, who maintained his scoring streak, following on from his Hawks hat-trick and a double in Friday’s behind-closed-doors game,
When he was among 10 changes on the hour mark, Pompey were still clutching a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately, replacements which included eight triallists, couldn’t hold on to the scoreline they inherited as the Championship side edged into a 3-2 lead.
Nigel Pearson had named a strong side for the fixture, with their starting XI including summer signing Rob Atkinson and mainly first-team regulars.
And it was their own player – Francois – who had he final say in the stalemate.
Pompey opened confidently, with Shaun Williams attempting to lob City’s keeper from 25-yards.
However, the left-footed attempt was collected without too much trouble, right from underneath his bar.
The deadlock was broken on seven minutes – through that man Ahadme.
Lee Brown’s cross from the left was met with a far-post header from the Norwich man, directing it back across goal and into the net.
He celebrated with a Ronan Curtis hug, marking another favourable impression from Ahadme.
Minutes later, Brown was forced off after suffering a knock to his left knee, with Williams initially standing in at left-back, before Brandon Mason was introduced.
Pompey were looking extremely comfortable for their lead and Mason at the back post did well to hook away George Nurse’s excellent ball in from the left.
Then Kasey Palmer fired a 25-yard free-kick narrowly over the bar, which had Alex Bass scrambling.
On the stroke of half-time, John Marquis fed Ahadme from the right and the striker was brought down by Nurse for the most obvious of penalties.
The Moroccaan took the spot kick himself, sending the keeper the wrong way with a right-footed finish.
The Blues headed in at half-time with a 2-0 advantage amid heightening heat at the exposed training ground.
There were no substitutions at the break – and, on 56 minutes, the hosts had reduced the deficit.
Zak Vyner’s deep cross from right was headed back by Jay Dasilva and Andy Weimann fired a first-time left-footed shot past Bass.
The Blues introduced 10 substitutes on the hour mark, with just Mason remaining following his earlier-than-anticipated call-up from the bench.
The game was all-square on 64 minutes when Palmer popped up on the left and placed a smart finish past Corey Addai to make it 2-2.
The new-look Blues had it all to do and Mason sent over a delightful cross from the left which Ellis Harrison headed over the bar.
Then a loose pass among the City defence gifted the ball to Harrison, but his low right-footed drive from the edge of the area was straight at the keeper.
At the other end, Palmer saw his angled shot tipped around the far post by Addai when it appeared to be heading towards the net.
From the resulting corner, City entered the lead for the first time when Chris Martin scored from the penalty spot having been sandwiched moments earlier.
With the game scheduled for another 30 minutes after full-time, Mason came off and was replaced Francois, leant to Pompey by City.
Bizarrely, the Australian winger grabbed the Blues’ leveller, shrugging off a tug on his shirt in the build-up to convert Reid’s pass from the right.
And the match, over it’s 120-minute duration, finished 3-3.
Pompey: Bass (60 mins Addai), Freeman (60 mins Mnoga), Raggett (60 mins Johnson), Robertson (60 mins Habergham), Brown (16 mins Mason (91 mins Francois)), Williams (60 mins Goss), Tunnicliffe (60 mins Triallist), Harness (60 mins Hackett-Fairchild), Curtis (60 mins Reid), Ahadme (60 mins Mingi), Marquis (60 mins Ellis Harrison).
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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