Spot-kick sorrow for academy at Colchester
Pompey Academy suffered penalty heartache as Colchester triumphed in the southern final of the Youth Alliance Cup.
But Paul Hardyman was full of pride after his side’s performance at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Dion Sembie-Ferris fired the hosts ahead with a near-post finish having collected a cross from the left.
But the Blues started to dominate as the half progressed and equalised after the interval when Conor Chaplin (pictured) won and then converted a spot-kick.
The goalscorer then turned provider, swinging in a cross that Kim Jae Heon rose to convert and give Pompey the lead.
Colchester managed to get back on level terms, however, when Callum Harrison drilled home from the edge of the box.
The tie went straight to penalties and Pompey got off to a perfect start as Charlie Searle kept out Sembie-Ferris’ effort.
Ben Close, Chaplin, James Granger and Kim all found the target, but Chad Field saw his spot-kick saved to take the shoot-out into sudden death.
Michael O’Donoghue scored for the hosts, but Harry Medway’s shot was repelled by James Bransgrove to ensure it was Colchester who progressed to the national final.
Academy coach Hardyman said: “The lads were absolutely brilliant and I’m proud of every single one of them.
“They were magnificent and gave absolutely everything. We haven’t lost a football match, just the lottery of penalties.
“I thought we were the better side and Colchester congratulated us afterwards for the way we played throughout the tie.
“We looked comfortable after taking the lead, but they equalised with a shot that somehow bobbled through a sea of bodies and into the net.
“It’s obviously devastating for the boys that we were unable to win the shoot-out, but we couldn’t have asked any more of them and they can hold their heads high.”
Pompey: Searle; Davis, Field, Medway, Haunstrup; Rwakarambwe (May 84), Close, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Granger 71), Kim; Chaplin, Horsburgh (Gill 79)
Subs not used: Greene, Smart