Portsmouth reserves 0-1 West Ham United reserves
A lively Craig Bellamy returned to action on Wednesday night but the away win was marred by James Collins being carried off with a first-half knee injury.
Bellamy was making his first competitive appearance since the 0-0 draw away to Portsmouth's first team in Premier League action at Fratton Park back on 27 October. It was the fit-again striker's perpetual pace that made the only goal in the 50th minute as he raced away on the right before a low cross forced home defender Jean Francois Christophe to put through his own net.
On a chilly evening, young right-winger Zavon Hines had the first chance, coming off the flank to meet a cross from James Tomkins, who had begun in an unfamiliar left-back role, but he could not direct the ball on target. Bellamy then combined well with 18-year-old strike partner Freddie Sears to set captain Jack Collison away but the offside flag denied him a clear run on goal.
The assistant referee was to be a busy man throughout the half with several stoppages as West Ham United, with Danny Gabbidon also back after injury, looked to play on the break. Chances were at a premium at the home of FA Cup giantkillers Havant and Waterlooville though with Joe Collins flashing Portsmouth's first real chance wide. Collison was next to go for goal but Asmir Begovic easily saved before Tomkins headed over.
In the 17th minute, Bellamy hit the post with a low drive from Reid's cross but had already been flagged offside. Four minutes later, Adda Djezeri hit the woodwork at the other end after Gabbidon lost his footing. Pompey were on top at this point and first Joe Collins forced Marek Stech to save before Danijel Subotic flicked a header just wide. On the half-hour mark, Tony Stokes won possession before stinging Begovic's hands.
The next incident of note was the unfortunate injury to James Collins who went over in the centre circle before an opponent appeared to fall on his right knee. He instantly waved to the sidelines and was carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Lorcan Fitzgerald, who went to left-back as Tomkins switched inside. There was a subdued finish to the half with a Stokes header and Tomkins long-range effort standing out before Udo Udogi had the ball in the net for the hosts only to be offside.
West Ham United were brighter after the interval and, within five minutes, the visitors were in front. Bellamy raced away down the right flank and his low cross forced Christophe to divert past Begovic. Bellamy had moved up a gear and was giving the home defence plenty to think about with some lively runs - ably supported by the driving runs of Collison and Stokes.
Bellamy particularly threatened when pulling on to the left flank against a Portsmouth team featuring just two players with first-team experience - Frank Songo'o and Sean Davis. Kyel Reid was also doing well off that flank and forced an opening before the play switched to the other end and Gabbidon had to be alert to stop Djezeri's similar surge.
As the game entered its closing stages, Bellamy had perhaps his best effort of the match, meeting a Hines cross and firing in a shot that just curled over the crossbar. His international team-mate Gabbidon then went off in the 76th minute to be replaced by Jordan Spence. Portsmouth also made a change two minutes later with Jordan Hughes on for Djeziri. Sears nearly made it two for the Hammers soon afterwards, racing away before unleashing a shot that Begovic did well to stop at his near post.
There was another scare in the final minutes as Tomkins limped to the sidelines, but it appeared to be nothing more than a case of cramp. With three minutes remaining, Bellamy walked off to generous applause from the 200 spectators as Jack Jeffery came on to partner Sears. Songo'o was cautioned for pulling back Hines and, from the resulting free-kick, Reid forced Begovic to save. One goal was to prove enough for Kevin Keen's men though, who were joined on the team bus back to London by Collins, who had walked away on crutches awaiting further tests on his right knee.
Portsmouth: Asmir Begovic, Ugo Udogi, John Page, Marc Wilson, Jean Francois Christophe, Sean Davis, Geraint Price, Adda Djezeri (Jordan Hughes 78), Danijel Subotic, Franck Songo'o, Joe Collins
Subs not used: Tom Smith, Andreas Govas, Ryan Woodford
West Ham United: Marek Stech, Christian Dailly, Danny Gabbidon (Jordan Spence 76), James Collins (Lorcan Fitzgerald 34), James Tomkins, Zavon Hines, Tony Stokes, Jack Collison, Kyel Reid, Freddie Sears, Craig Bellamy (Jack Jeffery 87)
Subs not used: Adam Street, Joe Widdowson