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ACADEMY BLUNT DAGGERS

PUBLISHED

11:30 19th February 2017

by Neil Weld

Young Blues hit five in Merit League win

Pompey Academy got their Merit League Two campaign off to the perfect start with a 5-1 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge.

They started brightly and deservedly took the lead midway through the first half when Theo Widdrington swung a free-kick into the box that evaded everyone and ended up in the net.

Matt Mayes then combined well with Dan Smith and the latter teed-up Jack Chandler (pictured) to open his account for the season.

And it was Smith who extended the advantage further just before the break, volleying home after Mayes had floated a fine pass into his path.

The Blues continued to pour forward at the start of the second half and Jez Bedford headed into the corner after swapping passes with Mayes.

Dagenham did pull one back, but it was the visitors who had the final say when Harvey Bradbury found Smith, who completed the scoring with a placed shot.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “We looked very vibrant in difficult conditions – the pitch wasn’t brilliant.

“We’ve had a look at the stats from recent matches and have been quite a way off the peak, so knew that the players had to pick up the tempo.

“It was pleasing to see how creative we were going forward – our movement and patterns of play were great, while the finishing was excellent.

“That’s something we spoke about before the game. We asked them to be more dynamic and they did exactly what was asked of them.

“We changed to a back three and looked really solid at the back. There was a real team ethic – we defended as a group and we attacked as a group.

“The lads really enjoyed themselves out there and that ensured we got the result we wanted, so it was a very positive day overall.”

Pompey: Hall (Collins 71); Saidy (Dandy 64), Wakley (c), Casey; Chandler, Smith, Widdrington, Bedford (Read 69), McDowell (Hancott 69); Mayes (Woodward 59), Bradbury

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