Match Report: Portsmouth 0 – Chelsea 1
Andre Villas-Boas recorded his first win as Chelsea coach at Fratton Park against Portsmouth, courtesy of an own goal from former Blue Tal Ben Haim.
In front of a virtually sell out Chelsea away end we began the game with a mix of youth and experience, with Billy Clifford and Tomas Kalas both in the starting lineup.
A frantic start at Fratton Park saw both teams come close in the opening five minutes, with Florent Malouda and Dave Kitson both squandering chances.
The deadlock was soon broken however, as Chelsea old boy Ben Haim handed us the lead after he planted his header past Portsmouth goalkeeper Stephen Henderson in the seventh minute.
We continued to assert ourselves without really looked like extending the lead, with young midfielder Billy Clifford creating opportunities and Fernando Torres looking sharp, but unable to take advantage of some good chances.
Daniel Sturridge was handed an opportunity to play alongside Torres in place of Didier Drogba, and he almost showed new boss Villas-Boas just what he can do as his free kick had Stephen Henderson at full stretch.
Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull had been untested, but caused a little panic in the backline on the stroke of half time, as he rushed to the edge of his box, but eventually made amends with a fine save from Portsmouth new boy Luke Varney.
Villas-Boas rang the changes at the break, with Lampard, Drogba and Anelka all being introduced for the second 45 minutes.
We had complete control in the early stages of the second half, until the 62nd minute when Hilario made a rash challenge in the box on Luke Varney. A penalty was awarded and the Chelsea ‘keeper received a yellow card for the foul.
Varney brushed himself off and stood up to take the penalty but Hilario chose correctly diving to his left hand side to deny him an equalizer and ensure victory for us.
All in all a typical pre-season game which amounted to more about experimenting, try- outs and gaining fitness than a result.
Yes footy is back and the celery is flying – literally!!
Gill Reeves – CSG disabled rep.