GALLERY: Rocks 1 Pompey 6: Blues too slick for Bognor

POMPEY were too slick for Bognor as a huge crowd flocked to Nyewood Lane for the sides’ annual pre-season friendly - but both teams will have found it a useful workout in conditions more suited to cricket.

Goals by Ryan Taylor, Miles Storey, Danny Hollands, Jack Maloney, Andy Barcham and Jed Wallace gave the Blues a comfortable win against one of manager Andy Awford’s former clubs.

Harvey Whyte on the run in the Rocks' friendly loss to Pompey  Picture by Chris Hatton

Harvey Whyte on the run in the Rocks' friendly loss to Pompey Picture by Chris Hatton

But the Rocks had a fine finish by Alex Parsons to cheer and gave Pompey a good work-out for most of the afternoon.

It was the second season in a row Pompey had visited Nyewood Lane for a friendly and, as was the case last year, there was a big crowd present to see it, possibly around the 2,000 mark.

See the action in a gallery of pictures by Chris Hatton at the top of the report

Kick-off was delayed to cope with the numbers coming into the ground and to allow for a couple of Bognor players who were held up in heavy traffic on the A27.

It was a fairly low-key start to the game with both teams putting some nice passing moves together but neither finding space to test the goalkeeper.

Pompey’s first corner, after six minutes, eventually fell to Storey but his shot from outside the box was wide.

Taylor glanced a header wide from close range after Storey crossed from the right, then Rocks keeper Chris Winterton almost got himself in trouble as James Dunne closed him down - his kick cannoning off the midfielder and going over.

Pompey were starting to look dangerous and a run down the left by Ricky Holmes ended with a cross towards Taylor at the near post which a defender put out for a corner that came to nothing.

Ben Close was next to set up a chance, beating his man and cutting into the box for a low ball across the face of goal - but there was no Blues man to touch it in. Soon, Storey found space down the same flank, reached the area - but found a white shirt, not a blue one, with his ball in.

Pompey were enjoying most of the possession but the Bognor defence were holding firm.

Dunne tried a shot from an angle 25 yards out but it was too high to trouble Winterton.

The pressure was growing and it led to Pompey going ahead on 23 minutes. Bognor failed to clear a corner and when Storey crossed it back into the far post, Taylor, with his back to goal, hooked the bouncing ball in.

Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Storey took a pass in his stride, ran the ball wide to buy some space and fired it across Winterton and into the far corner of the net.

Far from being rocked back on their heels, the Rocks came straight back at Pompey and got one back. Charlie Oatway was the creator with a lovely through-ball to Parsons, who drew Paul Jones, took it past him and slotted into the empty net.

Taylor might have restored the two-goal advantage within a minute but his shot from a corner struck a defender and looped up in the air for Winterton to claim.

The first two of many changes of the afternoon saw Storey and Craig Westcarr replaced by Jack Maloney and Brad Tarbuck for Pompey.

Taylor missed a sitter on 35 minutes as Dunne played a square pass to leave him with only Winterton to beat eight yards from goal.

For Bognor, Lewis Horsburgh replaced Parsons.

Dunne drew a superb fingertip save out of Winterton five minutes before the break with a curling 20-yard effort.

It was 3-1 when Hollands rifled in the rebound from a tight angle after James Crane had blocked a free-kick.

HT 1-3

Ollie Pearce replaced Harvey Whyte at the start of the second half while Pompey made a raft of changes, their subs including many of last season’s first-team regulars, like Patrick Agyemang, Joe Devera, Nicky Shorey and Adam Webster. Ex-Hawks midfielder Nigel Atangana was also on on the Blues.

Sub Tarbuck rolled the fourth past Winterton after a well-timed pass from midfield caught the Rocks back-line flat-footed.

The non-stop changes continued with Dan Sackman coming on for Harry Medway and Jed Wallace, Andy Barcham and 16-year-old keeper Alex Bass being introduced for Pompey.

Bird missed a decent chance from a few yards out when he rolled a shot the wrong side of the post with only Winterton in his way.

Then a strong run to the byline by Barcham saw him cut it back to Agyemang, but he couldn’t get a proper connection on the ball.

Barcham did get Pompey’s fifth just after the hour, his effort going in off the unfortunate Winterton.

Bognor were not having much chance to attack and when they did get forward on one occasion down the left, Crane overhit a cross and it flew out for a goal-kick.

Jamie Strong came on in the Rocks midfield in place of Doug Tuck while Johan van Driel was another sub.

Wheeler almost burst through the Pompey defence but was blocked by the last man after a surging run. Then Bird curled a header over the bar at the other end following an accurate cross into him on the penalty spot by Shorey.

It was 6-1 with four minutes left as Wallace - who’d looked dangerous since coming on with several marauding runs - fired a drive past a helpless Winterton.

A minute later, Wallace was denied another shot and likely goal by a superb last-ditch tackle by van Driel.

Pompey were still going forward in search of more goals but the Rocks defence were working hard to the end.

All in all it was a successful day for both clubs. Bognor will have been pleased to see so many people come through the gate and their new faces getting another game under their belts, while for Pompey it was a step up for their fitness levels ahead of their week-long training camp in Essex.

Rocks: Winterton, Hinshelwood, Crane, Tuck, Robson, Medway, Wheeler, Oatway, Parsons, Whyte, Johnson. Subs: Horsburgh, Pearce, Sackman, Hayes, Strong, van Driel, Morey.

Pompey: Jones, Close, Butler, Dunne, Chorley, Hollands, Storey, Ertl, Taylor, Westcarr, Holmes. Subs: Maloney, Bass, Tarbuck, Wynter, Webster, Devera, Shorey, Awford, Atangana, Bird, Wallace, Agyemang, Barcham.


See full coverage in the Bognor Observer - out Thursday