Thurrock FC 0 v 2 Portsmouth FC
By Liam Carson
THE highly anticipated friendly encounter between Thurrock and Portsmouth produced a memorable night at Ship Lane.
A double from Pompey’s new striker, Craig Westcarr, gave the visitors the win but it was the valiant Thurrock defending that shone throughout the game.
Thurrock held their own in the opening exchanges with, new man, Remi Sutton beginning to trouble the Pompey backline.
The Fleet’s early pressure however did not produce anything meaningful, allowing Portsmouth to take the reins in the match.
Andy Walker was able to warm up with a few fiery shots from former QPR striker, Patrick Agyemang, as the game started to gain momentum.
The game may have been titled as an exhibition match but the game’s intensity was showing much more than what had been billed.
Tackles were flying in all over the pitch, but it seemed to just ignite the crowd further.
The visitor’s Jed Wallace was having a good start to the match and was close to opening the scoring, cutting in to the box from the right to fire a shot narrowly wide.
The atmosphere started to build around Ship Lane and the chances started to come for both sides. It was not long before the visitors got in front.
A wandering ball into the box evaded everyone except Pompey’s Craig Westcarr, who volleyed past Walker.
It was 2-0 within minutes with Craig Westcarr grabbing his second of the game, he dragged it back on the centre spot to his favoured right-foot before slotting it into the back of the net.
The lively Westcarr nearly made Walker pick it out the back of the net for the third time but his powerful shot skimmed the top of the bar.
Thurrock came out after the break determined to get back into the match. Charles Honeness and Remi Sutton came close but both of their long range shots flew over the bar.
Portsmouth then took hold of the second-half and made several opportunities to increase their lead.
Former Premier League defender Nkcky Shorey had an opportunity and would have scored but for some classy defending from the Fleet backline.
From the resulting corner Shorey’s defensive colleague Alex Wynter had a free header from 6-yards but sent it wide.
With a flurry of substitutes midway through the second-half, chances kept arriving for the South Coast side.
Ben Close and Joe Several both had opportunities to extend the former Premier League side’s lead though both guided their shots narrowly wide.
Another goal for the away side looked imminent and it would have happened but for the woodwork. A cross into the box was stabbed towards the goal only for it to meet the upright.
Thurrock could have got back into the game when a sloppy pass across the Pompey defense was met by Callum Ibe, but the striker could not quite control the ball.