Pompey fall to 1-0 Fratton defeat
Pompey Academy exited the FA Youth Cup with a narrow defeat to Bolton at Fratton Park.
Jamie Thomas’ impressive second half effort was enough to settle the third round tie.
But – watched by Andy Awford and first team stars like youth product Jack Whatmough – they produced a brave display against their higher-ranked opponents.
Lewis Gill and Brandon Joseph-Buadi had the best chances to take the game into extra-time, but could not quite force the ball home.
It was Bolton – who ply their trade in the Premier Academy League – who were first to threaten when Thomas curled over.
The visitors certainly provided more of a physical threat, carrying a height and weight advantage.
But the Blues carved open a decent opening when Fahad Rwakarambwe’s cross was claimed by goalkeeper Jake Turner following a fine passing move.
It was certainly not a game of clear-cut chances, however, with neither stopper being seriously tested early on.
Pompey were looking most dangerous on the break, with Callum Spooner forced to clear before Gill could meet Joseph-Buadi’s dangerous cross.
At the other end, Snorre Nilsen made two vital blocks in the box before Christopher Cvetko’s header was well saved by Alex Bass in the Blues goal.
The keeper then dealt with Kieran Nolan’s shot from distance, having to punch clear because of the power behind the midfielder’s effort.
And Bass made his best save just before the break, diving to his right to palm away Cvetko’s fierce long-range effort.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Bolton 0
Mikey Harris made a switch at the start of the second half, with Rwakarambwe making way for Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain.
But it was Chaplin who carved open a chance for Pompey, battling his way into the box before eventually being crowded out.
Instead it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 57 minutes, with Thomas brilliantly bringing down a pass and sliding past Bass.
The hosts were agonisingly close to levelling soon after, though, after Close’s cross had been headed back across goal by skipper Brandon Haunstrup.
The ball fell to Gill just a few yards out, but his effort was somehow cleared from the line by Alex Honeyball.
They had another fantastic opportunity on 75 minutes when Gill teed-up Joseph-Buadi.
He could not quite get his shot away at the first attempt, before turning sharply and drawing a smart save from Turner.
And the keeper made another fine stop moments later, getting down low to his right to turn behind James Granger’s drive.
Pompey were not having it all their own way, though, and Will Abbotts’ effort was deflected over after he had danced through the defence.
The hosts poured forward in search of a late leveller, but time ran out as Bolton held on to set-up a fourth round trip to Crewe.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Davies (Haitham 85), Nilsen, Field, Haunstrup (c); May, Granger; Joseph-Buadi (Sayers 89), Rwakarambwe (Oxlade-Chamberlain 46), Gill; Chaplin
Subs not used: George, Widdrington
Bolton (4-3-2-1): Turner; Spooner, Perry, Phillips, Honeyball (Abbotts 76); Nolan, Cvetko, Kennedy; Palmer, Garratt; Thomas
Goals: Thomas 57
Subs not used: Lonsdale, Allen, Abdo
Referee: Graham Kane
Photo: The News