Pompey Down Sky Blues

Last updated : 21 July 2015 By Jim Bonner

Portsmouth won their second consecutive friendly match after beating League One Coventry City at Westleigh Park tonight.

Pre-match in The Heron was a little different than usual as Paul Cook and Ian Foster strolled in to order some food (giant gammon for the gaffer) and drink (non-alcoholic, of course) as they spared some of his time to chat to fans and pose for photos.

As for the match, young Ipswich centre back Matt Clarke and Dutch defender Frank van der Struijk, a player with over 250 appearances in the Eredivisie for Willem II and Vitesse Arnhem, were the latest trialists in Cook's starting line-up.

It took just four minutes for Conor Chaplin to open the scoring after he tucked away a loose ball following a save from Paul Robinson's header by goalkeeper Lee Burge.

The rest of the half was a patchy affair that saw Pompey match their higher division opponents and barely be troubled by them. Despite Paul Cook's reputation to get teams passing along the ground, tonight's side were quite happy to play direct at times although there wern't many chances created.

As fans were streaming out the ground for their half-time beverages, Pompey added a second goal thanks to a incisive pass from Chaplin which found Gareth Evans who finished the move with aplomb to double the lead just before the break.

The second half began with Coventry on the attack with saves and last-gasp challenges made. However, it seemed like the entire outfield team stood still when George Thomas took the ball down and lobbed the onrushing Paul Jones to produce a superb goal out of nothing.

Pompey got their act together and were close to restoring their lead at times during a fragmented second half littered with substitutions, but they were guilty of overplaying at times when it would have been a better option to shoot on sight.

The visitors very nearly equalised late on when Michael Poke was forced to tip the ball onto the crossbar from a point blank header but the rest of the match was seen out for a deserved victory in the end.

It was a good team performance although, as with every pre-season match, you can only read so much into it although it is satisfying to see the team win without its two best attacking players in Matt Tubbs and Gary Roberts.

Chaplin did shine during the game having scored a goal and assisted another. He seems to have a good football brain on him and is capable of producing defense-splitting through-balls. He probably won't start matches ahead of Tubbs but could well force his way into the side as the player just behind him if he keeps performing like he is.

If there is to be a "boo boy" this season then it may be Kal Naismith. From what has been seen of him so far, he seems like a winger with no end product and is currently being outperformed by Evans who may well earn himself a contract.

Pompey's next friendly is Friday night at Woking where Cook should have something close to a final squad in place with the start of the season on the horizon.