WIFC would’ve been the happier of the two sides when full-time blew on the most rare of all IFA-related scorelines outside of Worldnet’s shorter matches; the always-unlikely goalless draw.
Hosting the Internet ‘Orns for the first time since the 2006/07 season, Athletico Pompey struck the Watford bar from range during the first 45 minutes but, that apart, although enjoying the majority of possession they were kept largely at arms’ length thanks to a strong defensive display led by Man-of-the-Match Kevin Affleck – in control from centre-half on his debut.
Debutant guest players Reece Gohil, Liam Martin and Chris Marsh in particular all performed admirably as part of what was something of a scratch visitor’s line-up which also included Sol Tomlinson making his maiden appearance for the club – so five new faces in total.
It took until mid-way through the second half for Watford to start to find their passing range and apply some limited pressure to the Portsmouth goal. The best chances of the game fell to Richard Murphy – who lifted the ball over the crossbar as well as the keeper from 15 yards – and Charlie Wood, who steered his header wide from a raking Stuart Nicholls’ set-piece delivery.
Player-manager Richard Walker was relatively busy in goal at the other end, springing to his right to deny Pompey at close-range before the young referee – who handled a good-natured game admirably – called time on the stalemate.
Drinks were taken in the AFC Portchester clubhouse with Portsmouth promising an invite to a summer tournament to be held at Fratton Park.
Team, 4-4-2, R to L; Richard Walker; Reece Gohil, Chris Marsh, Kevin Affleck, Matt Ainsley; Liam Martin, Stuart Nicholls (c), Sol Tomlinson, Cleveland Brandy; Richard Murphy, Charlie Wood. Subs used: Andy Myall, John Sitkowski.