Clean Sheet for Pompey’s Toby Steward as Rocks Win at Horndean

By Jack Norris

The Rocks ran out 2-0 winners at Five Heads Park after a dominant display against Horndean.

First half goals from Isaac Olaniyan and Tom Chalaye were enough to secure victory for Robbie Blake’s side, who continue their impressive pre season.

Horndean were paid a pre-season visit from boss Michael Birmingham’s former side Bognor Regis Town in the Deans penultimate pre-season fixture ahead of the start of their 2022/23 Wessex League campaign.

Bognor came to Five Heads Park with young Pompey Academy keeper Toby Steward in their ranks, the Rocks borrowing him for the friendly after he featured at Nyewood Lane during the week, instead for Pompey.

It took just 11 minutes for the visitors to get in front, as a cross deep from the right side by Olaniyan was hit home on the volley by Tom Chalaye at the far post.

Just shy of 20 minutes the Rocks doubled their lead, as Luke Dempsey gave the ball away cheaply for Horndean, Olaniyan was quick to seize on the loose ball and tucked it past Scott to double Bognor’s advantage.

The first half was controlled by the Rocks, who dominated possession and kept the Deans’ defence under pressure. Their forwards cause Horndean problems throughout, and gave the Deans’ back line little room for movement on the ball.

Horndean struggled to show any threat in the first period, as they failed to keep hold of possession, giving the ball away rashly and being shut down quickly by a strong rocks defence. The Deans’ first real chance came just shy of the break, as an excellent cross from Rob Taw was half cleared as far as Kimber, who’s follow up effort was struck well by saved by Steward.

Bognor were quick off the blocks as the second half got underway, with Isaac Olaniyan continuing to be a handful in the Rocks’ frontline. He had an early effort blocked by Jeffes.

Horndean keeper Cameron Scott did well to keep the score at 2-0, with a couple of great saves, firstly denying Nick Dembele’s well struck effort from close range. As well as another superb stop to deny an effort from the unmarked Charlie Bell.

Bell was denied once again after another great peice of defending from Horndean’s Tom Jeffes, who’s acrobatic block kept the Rocks man out again.

Horndean enjoyed a slightly more positive final quarter of the match, with the introduction of Willett giving them more pace on the left flank. They came close when Josh Dean threaded a through ball to Rudi Blankson, who’s narrow angle shot was kept out well by Steward.

Some impressive defending late on from Horndean left the score at 2-0, as the Deans slip to a second consecutive defeat in pre season, whilst Bognor take their 2nd victory of the summer.

Main photo: Toby Steward in action for Pompey XI at Bognor Regis 20/7/22 Credit Tommy McMillan

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