Strikers among the goals as Portsmouth sign off friendlies with Woking victory

So the friendlies are over and what have we learnt? On the evidence of the final warm-up not a lot we weren’t already aware of.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 8:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 1:15 am
Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup at Woking tonight. Picture: Andrew Hurdle
Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup at Woking tonight. Picture: Andrew Hurdle

Brett Pitman remains the club’s most predatory finisher, as showcased by two deadly flashes of his right boot in the Surrey evening at Kingfield Stadium.

Everyone is desperate to know about Pompey’s interest in John Marquis and where that sits with Wigan’s pursuit of Jamal Lowe, as 393 travelling fans underlined as they searched for their transfer tit-bits.

And both James Bolton and Oli Hawkins are back in business after pre-seasons interrupted by injury, the latter on the goal trail with two pieces of goal sniffing.

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Beyond that, the 4-2 win over National League new boys gave youngsters Haji Mnoga and Josh Flint a platform to showcase their potential, one they both took impressively.

But the suspicion is Kenny Jackett’s mind will now be largely made up when it comes to his selection for Shrewsbury.

The Pompey boss indicated he would use those on the bench in the weekend win at Crawley at Kingfield Stadium.

That proved the case with the exception of Jamal Lowe among the continued noise surrounding Wigan’s interest and Louis Dennis.

The first significant incident of the game brought the opener as Richard Brindley, given another run out despite Jackett already indicating he will not pursue a deal, teeing up Pitman who was rashly brought down in the box by Moussa Dierra. The Pompey skipper despatched the spot-kick without hesitation.

Ben Close’s fizz over the top after being teed up by busy youngster Josh Flint followed before Pitman took the next opportunity to showcase his status as Pompey’s most predatory finisher in the 14th minute, as his 20-yard free-kick nestled beyond Sam Howes after the Woking keeper cleaned out Oli Hawkins.

It was three five minutes later, with Hawkins this time the beneficiary as the striker slid home Brindley’s cross.

The sight of Hawkins going to ground with no one in attendance nine minutes before the break was enough to furrow a few brows after his recent back problems, but the striker gingerly continued.

The last action of the half brought the Cardinals some reward for their endeavours as Josh Casey’s free-kick prompted a melee in the Pompey box with Manny Parry getting the final touch.

After the break, Haji Mnoga’s blotted a bright evening when being caught in possession on the edge of the box but saw Andy Cannon spare his blushes, before the promising defender gave more evidence of his potential to deny Jake Hyde a certain goal with a last-ditch block.

But there was little of the early vim to the game, although Pompey could be thankful to Alan Dowson’s side for the competitive nature they brought to the evening.

That was until a late flurry when Pitman turned provider for Hawkins to slide his second in at the back post seven minutes from time.

And then Moussa Dierra headed in from a corner at the the death, to please the home crowd on a night which proved a useful exercise as the pre-season phoney war came to a close. Now the long League One campaign awaits Jackett's men.

Woking: Howes (Ross 46min), Gerring (Triallist), Parry, Dierra, Cook (Collier 46min), Ferdinand, Donnellan (Triallist), Casey, Poku (Kretzschmar 46min), Tarpey (Triallist 65min), Hyde (Hodges 79min).

Subs: Ross, Hodges, Triallist, Kretzchmar, Skinner, Collier, Triallist, Triallist, Morrison.

Pompey: Bass, Bolton, Mnoga, Casey, Haunstrup, Brindley, Close, Cannon, Flint (Maloney 88min), B Pitman, Hawkins.

Subs not used: L Pitman, Kavanagh, Hancott, Stanley, Robb.

Ref: Charles Breakspear

Attendance 1,603 (393 away fans)