BOGNOR general manager Jack Pearce paid tribute to Pompey’s ‘enormous’ gesture of returning to Nyewood Lane.
The Ryman League premier club hosted their annual pre-season friendly against the Blues on Saturday in front of approximately 2,500 spectators – a gate that offered the hosts precious revenue.
But while the result did not go the Rocks’ way in a one-sided 6-1 defeat to their League Two neighbours, Pearce was more than satisfied with the ‘wonderful occasion.’
He said: ‘The difference this game makes to a club at our level – keeping us going – is enormous.
‘We are very thankful to Andy (Awford) and the board of directors at Pompey for choosing to visit our club.
‘I’m sure that they get inundated with requests from teams who want to play them because of their travelling support.
‘The nice part was we had a wonderful turn out – mainly from Pompey fans – which was good.
‘The police were absolutely delighted with the way the day went.
‘From a business and PR perspective, it was a wonderful occasion.’
Pearce took a philosophical view of on-pitch matters and explained the Rocks have become a victim of their own recent success.
After finishing the season in third place, Jamie Howell’s side lost to Lowestoft Town in the play-off semi-finals.
He said: ‘On the pitch we have to look at it balanced, as we have only just got in training.
‘We’ve lost nine players from last season’s squad because we overachieved and then other teams came in offering more advantageous deals.
‘From our point of view it’s a good fitness work out and shows the players the difference between the two side’s levels and how far they have to go to achieve it.’
Pearce had no complaints about the scoreline, either.
He said: ‘The score doesn’t flatter Pompey in any way – they were worthy 6-1 winners.’
Rocks assistant Darin Kilpartrick, who took charge of the side in Howell’s absence, echoed the sentiments of Pearce.
He said: ‘Pompey’s pressurisation of the ball was outstanding and their hunger was exceptional.’