Gosport Borough were handed no favours in their friendly with neighboring Portsmouth, with the young, fluid away side running out as 4-1 winners.
The match, set up as an official opening of Gosport’s new Harry Mizen stand, was overly one-sided, even with Bradey Norton grabbing a consolation goal for the home side.
And it was Pompey’s Dan Thompson who proved to be the ultimate difference between these two sides, taking, as he did, the away sides complete haul of four goals.
That will get Michael Appleton thinking about Thompson ahead of their Capital One Cup clash with Notts County at the weekend but, in truth, this game was supposed to be all about the hosts.
And, in the opening stages, Borough boss Alex Pike would have been somewhat impressed with his team’s composure. They fell short of dictating play but they were allowing Portsmouth little space and even less time on the ball.
But, when four leagues separate two sides, resilience can only last a certain amount of time. 24 minutes to be precise.
Appleton was watching on from the stands as Thompson put Pompey into ascendancy. Liam Walker, of former Gibraltar fame, was classy throughout and provided the assist, with Thompson finishing from close range.
Moments later, Walker struck the post from a free kick and the warning shot wasn’t enough to tempt Gosport into tightening the ranks.
Jack Maloney this time got the assist with Thompson again providing the final touch.
He should have scored his third soon afterwards after Borough goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore made a hash of controlling the ball. Thompson had the goal at his mercy but, perhaps in an attempt to preserve home dignity, sought to roll the ball wide.
It was the kind of moment that could have easily spurred Gosport into life, but it didn’t happen. Their most exhilarating first half moment was a shot from the half way line.
Thompson secured his hat-trick five minutes later and it was up to Ashmore to deny him his fourth moments into the second half. The Borough goalie was as resolute as you may have expected but, understandably, his earlier error somewhat tarnished his display.
Sammy Igoe, of former Pompey fame, then made way for Norton to grab his five minutes of fame. Portsmouth, under the tutorship of Guy Whittingham, began to sit back and settle into relative safety.
It allowed Gosport to push further forward and Norton’s goal was both deserved and one of genuine quality. But the respite was brief and normal services soon resumed.
Another former Gosport and Pompey player, Steve Claridge, was caught looking on from the sidelines but his most recent side only imploded further. He enjoyed his last moments in football at Borough’s Privett Park, helping them to promotion to the Southern League Premier Division.
They have looked weak so far in their new league though, and Thompson rounded off the evening, heading home from a free-kick.
4-1 to Portsmouth it was and the new Harry Mizen stand emptied in relative silence, more in awe of Dan Thompson than their fresh, new piece of architecture.