Cork win offers clue into Jackett’s Pompey thinking

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Kenny Jackett rolled out 22 different players for Pompey’s friendly opener, each individual’s outing spanning 45 minutes.

Yet despite such a fair distribution of match action, already his first-team preference is abundantly clear.

Conor Chaplin scored two goals in the 4-1 over Cork City

Conor Chaplin scored two goals in the 4-1 over Cork City

Last night’s encounter at Cork City yielded a 4-1 victory for the Blues.

However, aside from Conor Chaplin’s two-goal blast during the second half, the identity of Jackett’s starting XI provided the dominant talking point.

New boys Craig MacGillivray, Ronan Curtis, Lee Brown and Tom Naylor were all named for the opening 45 minutes in a line-up also featuring Matt Clarke, Brett Pitman and Jamal Lowe.

The resemblance to Pompey’s strongest side was obvious, albeit missing injured pair Dion Donohue and Ben Close.

Cork had made 10 changes for the Turner’s Cross fixture, including a debut for ex-Palace defender Damien Delaney.

Yet the Blues’ first-half performance was emphatic, Christian Burgess and Lowe netting for a 2-0 lead which should have been grander.

At the interval, the visitors made 11 changes, with Josh O’Hanlon pulling one back.

However, two excellent strikes from Conor Chaplin, who has something to prove to Jackett, claimed a 4-1 victory.

Expect the opening XI to take up the bulk of Pompey’s first-team fixtures during pre-season.

The visitors took the lead on 22 minutes when Gareth Evans’ right-wing corner was powerfully headed home at the far post by Burgess.

Pitman’s struck the underside of the bar before, on 28 minutes, clipping the ball through for Lowe to roll an angled shot into the far corner.

The hosts reduced the deficit on 53 minutes when John Kavanagh slid a ball into the six-yard post and Josh O’Hanlon forced the ball home.
The Blues’ two-goal advantage was restored on 58 minutes when Chaplin nicked the ball back and exchanged passes with Hawkins before firing a finish high into the net.

On 76 minutes Chaplin grabbed his second, a thumping left-footed drive from 25-yards which left the keeper rooted.

Pompey(1st half): MacGillivray, Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown, Rose, Naylor, Evans, Lowe, Curtis, Pitman.

(2nd half): McGee, Dandy, Whatmough, Casey, Haunstrup, May, Read, Dennis, Chaplin, Smith, Hawkins.

Attendance: 965