Portsmouth began their defence of the EFL Trophy last night with a 1-0 victory over Crawley Town at Fratton Park.
Manager Kenny Jackett decided to make six changes from the club’s 1-1 draw against Blackpool with Alex Bass, Ellis Harrison, Gareth Evans, Sean Raggett, James Bolton and Leon Maloney coming into the side.
Pompey made a bright start to the clash as Evans went close on two occasions before Maloney was denied by Crawley keeper Michael Luyambula.
Following his side’s failure to break the deadlock in the first-half, Jackett decided to bring on Brett Pitman who would go on to have a telling impact for Portsmouth.
With the clash heading towards a stalemate, the veteran forward opened the scoring in spectacular fashion as he volleyed in from Brandon Haunstrup’s corner.
Although Crawley pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages of the clash, Pompey were able to hold on to secure victory.
Now that the dust has settled from this game, here are three things that Portsmouth would have learnt about their fringe players last night…
Bass is a fantastic back-up option for Craig MacGillvray
With Craig MacGillvray currently away on international duty, Bass was given a chance to impress by Jackett and duly produced an encouraging performance against Crawley.
As well as making a number of crucial saves during the clash, the shot-stopper was also very assured whilst in possession of the ball.
Whilst he is unlikely to overtake MacGillvray in the pecking order at Pompey, the fact that he is more than capable of stepping up to the mark will please Jackett who may have to call upon his services if his first-choice keeper suffers an injury.
Pitman is pushing for a start
Despite firing in 13 goals last season for Portsmouth, Pitman has been limited to substitute appearances this year due to the summer arrivals of John Marquis and Ellis Harrison.
Keen to prove a point to Jackett, the 31-year-old was thoroughly impressive at Fratton Park yesterday during his cameo performance.
Having now opened his account for the 2019/20 campaign, Pitman will be hoping to force his way into the club’s plans for their League One clash with Burton Albion on September 17th.
Maloney is an exciting young prospect
A product of the club’s youth academy, Maloney produced an incredibly impressive performance in what was his first appearance of the season.
The winger showed a willingness to take on Crawley at every possible opportunity and was unlucky not to score his first ever goal for Portsmouth.
Unquestionably talented, it would not be at all surprising if Maloney ends up featuring regularly for Pompey over the coming months.