Academy impress in Youth Cup defeat
Pompey’s FA Youth Cup campaign came to an end with a narrow Fratton Park defeat to Bolton.
But Mikey Harris was full of pride for his young side against top-ranked academy opposition.
Jamie Thomas grabbed the only goal of the third round tie early in the second half, before Lewis Gill and Brandon Joseph-Buadi both came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser.
And, despite the result, Harris was delighted with how the Blues handled the big occasion.
The academy coach said: “I was proud of the way that the lads applied themselves – particularly in the second half.
“We were disappointed with the goal we conceded, but we moved the ball around nicely and created a number of chances. Unfortunately, the ball just wouldn’t seem to go in for us.
“It was an exciting cup tie. Both sides had their chances, but they just about shaded it in both boxes.
“Football is all about fine lines, but we showed what we’re capable of as a team.
“You could see in the first half that there were a lot of nerves, but then we handled the occasion quite well.
“We didn’t hide away after going 1-0 down – if anything we went up a gear. I’m proud of them to a man.
“I told the boys afterwards that there’s a bigger picture for us to look at – their development as a group and as individuals.
“The idea is to get as many of them through to the first team as possible and this experience will stand them in good stead.”
Harris hopes that more of his players will follow in the footsteps of Conor Chaplin, who started against Bolton three days after making his first team debut.
He said: “Conor can be an inspiration for all of them. He’s made an appearance for the first team at Fratton Park and it shows there is that pathway here at Pompey.
“Andy Awford and Paul Hardyman know the lads well from their time with the academy and so they’ve got a good opportunity to progress at this club.”
Photo: The News