A SLICK first-half showing paved the way for Cherries to chalk up a third victory of their pre-season campaign against south coast neighbours Portsmouth with a 3-2 win at Fratton Park tonight.

Goals from Tokelo Rantie, Brett Pitman and Harry Arter capped an impressive opening 45 minutes from Eddie Howe’s team – with Pompey’s ponderous defending aiding their cause.

Rantie opened his account when he poked a volley through the legs of Pompey goalkeeper Paul Jones before Pitman took his warm-up tally to four with a finely-taken header.

Arter capitalised on a mistake from former Cherries star Danny Hollands to make it 3-0 with James Dunne’s thunderbolt and Jed Wallace’s penalty reducing the deficit in the second half.

Eddie Howe’s starting line-up included six players who had featured for only 20 minutes against Southampton, while Matt Ritchie, who had a 45-minute run-out on Friday, also started.

Junior Stanislas, one of the sextet, saw his piledriver charged down by Nick Awford as Cherries looked to draw first blood before the visitors were gifted a third-minute lead courtesy of Jones’s mishap.

The Pompey goalkeeper, a new signing from Crawley, was left red faced after he allowed Rantie’s volley to squirm through his legs, with Simon Francis providing the assist with a long ball over the top.

Jones partly atoned when he got down smartly at his near post to turn away Arter’s driven cross as Rantie looked to pounce before the stopper watched Ritchie’s low drive fizz past the upright.

Pitman required treatment after being caught late by Awford’s robust challenge, the magic sponge clearly doing the trick as he added a second soon after.

The striker deftly guided his header into the bottom corner after outjumping a rather leaden-footed Pompey defence to meet Ritchie’s precision cross from the right.

Former Cherries favourite Hollands fired straight at Benji Buchel after being picked out by Andy Barcham’s raking pass before Shaun MacDonald’s deflected effort was saved by Jones.

Buchel, whose distribution was excellent throughout, was forced to help a Miles Storey shot over the crossbar as Pompey enjoyed a brief spell of possession.

Cherries extended their lead after 36 minutes when Rantie seized on an error by Hollands on the edge of the 18-yard box before rolling the ball to Arter who rifled it high into the roof of the net.

Pompey, who made no fewer than nine changes at the break, fashioned a chance when Dunne’s free-kick was headed across the face of the goal by Joe Devera but Pitman was on hand to clear the danger.

A superb move, orchestrated by Arter, ended with Rantie’s shot being deflected for a corner before Cherries made five changes with 20 minutes remaining.

Pompey goalkeeper Michael Poke smothered a long-range drive from Ian Harte and, just seconds later, the hosts reduced the arrears with the goal of the game.

Dunne, a summer recruit from Stevenage, unleashed a blistering volley from 25 yards which gave Buchel no chance as it whistled past him.

Pompey set up a grandstand finish when Jed Wallace netted a penalty eight minutes from time after Eunan O’Kane had been judged to have felled Jack Maloney.

Cherries: Buchel, Francis (Daniels, 70), Cook, Cargill, Harte, Arter (Matthews, 87), MacDonald (O’Kane, 70), Stanislas (Pugh, 70), Ritchie (Smith, 70), Rantie (McQuoid, 70), Pitman.

Pompey: Jones (Poke, h-t), Webster, Shorey (Ertl, h-t), Awford (Devera, h-t), Wynter (Butler, h-t), Whatmough (Dunne, h-t), Storey (Atangana, h-t), Hollands (Maloney, h-t), Wallace, Barcham (Westcarr, h-t), Agyemang (Bird, h-t).

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).

Attendance: 4,061 (including 267 away supporters).