UCD 0 Portsmouth 11 - Neil Allen’s verdict: Sublime Louis Dennis the inspiration in UCD thrashing
Louis Dennis, the fringe player coveted by Leyton Orient, delivered a compelling first-team argument to a developing debate.
There remain those convinced that last season’s bit-part presence is worthy of a number 10 opportunity in the League One campaign ahead.
Kenny Jackett himself, the source of Dennis’ ongoing omission, has spoken in glowing terms about the attacker’s pre-season training impact.
Amid uncertainty over his Pompey future, the 26-year-old impressed sufficiently over the last two weeks to be awarded a surprise start against League of Ireland side UCD this evening.
Emerging ahead of Brett Pitman, Gareth Evans and Andy Cannon to operate in the hole behind the lone striker, a rare opportunity was thrust in his direction.
The response consisted of two goals and two assists during an eye-catching 45-minute cameo as the Blues crushed the struggling Irish Premier Division side 11-0.
In the build-up, Jackett had admitted he was relishing the chance to witness the rejuvenated former Bromley man in match action.
He could not have been disappointed with his selection, with Dennis instrumental in opening up a 5-0 interval lead at the picturesque UCD Bowl against opposition lining-up with nine first-team regulars.
The lively Ronan Curtis (two) and Jamal Lowe also registered during the first half, laying the foundations for a thumping victory in the opening friendly of the pre-season.
Wearing last year’s kit, with blue shorts instead of the customary white, the foundations were laid for Evans, Pitman (three), Joe Hancott and Ben Close to conclude the fixture 11-0.
Aside from Dennis’ timely contribution, the make up of Jackett’s starting XI also provided an intriguing statement.
Pompey’s boss earlier confessed the side facing UCD would be an indication of those to face Shrewsbury on August 3 in the League One opener.
Tonight’s starting XI included five of Jackett’s summer signings, with James Bolton, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Ross McCrorie and Ellis Harrison present,
The sole absentee among the new faces was Ryan Williams, who stayed behind on the south coast following a quad injury collected last week.
With Pitman and vice-captain Evans not starting, the captaincy was entrusted to Tom Naylor for the opening 45 minutes.
Pompey’s squad, though, was missing Oli Hawkins, nursing a back issue sustained during training while over in Dublin.
That ensured Academy graduate Hancott was among the 11-man bench which appeared at half-time as Pompey cantered to a thumping victory.