Stevenage suffered defeat for the first time this Pre-Season as a strong Portsmouth side prevailed 1-0 at The Lamex Stadium...
There wasn’t much in the game for either team and aside from a Ronan Curtis second half header that gave Pompey the lead, goal-mouth action was kept to a minimum by two well matched sides.
Dino Maamria named two changes to the starting XI that drew 1-1 against Peterborough on Tuesday night, bringing in Charlie Carter and a Trialist for Tyler Denton and Kurtis Guthrie. Guthrie was allowed the weekend off to support his sister and England Netball Captain, Serena Guthrie in their World Cup Semi-Final against New Zealand.
The match got off to a rather ponderous start, with neither side able to establish themselves as the superior team. An early injury scare for Terence Vancooten after just five minutes quietened the crowd but the young defender was able to shake off his knock to continue the match.
The first big chance came 12 minutes in, as Sonupe was let loose down the right touchline following outstanding defensive work from Vancooten and James-Wildin to set up the counter. After failing to pick out the unmarked Newton who was charging towards the six yard box from a central position, Sonupe slashed his shot wide of the near post.
Promising signs were beginning to emerge though as Stevenage threatened to break with pace onto the Pompey back-line on a number of occasions inside the opening 20 minutes. Sonupe again was at the centre of the action on 16 minutes as he sent a looping shot from distance over the crossbar.
Portsmouth had their first chance of the match on 17 minutes when Close came ghosting into the box to connect with a cross that forced Farman into a quick reaction time stop. The visitors would get on top for the second half of the half, creating a number of good opportunities via corners and crosses but no finish to match.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first with neither team able to impose their will on the game. Maaamria's injury worries were multiplied on the 54th minute as emerging star James-Wildin limped off following an awkward collision with a Portsmouth forward.
With 63 minutes on the clock, Pompey took the lead as Ronan Curtis latched onto Jamal Lowe’s pin-point cross to head in at the back-post. It was a line of attack that Stevenage had already been warned about following the visitors' first half blitz through the air.
The goal brought about a number of substitutions as Parrett and Carter were replaced by Byrom and Smith in midfield. Stokes came closest to bringing Boro back level with a back-post header of his own on 70 minutes but he was unable to direct it below the crossbar and on-target.
Walkes came inches away from a spectacular sealer as he dribbled his way into position towards the edge of the box before attempting the cheekiest of chips, which had Farman back-pedalling as the ball landed on the bar.
Denton, Fernandez, Iontton and Smyth soon entered the fray but their inclusion couldn’t help reverse the scoreline as Portsmouth returned to the South Coast with the victory.