Second half recovery secures draw
Pompey Academy fought back from three goals down to snatch a Youth Alliance League point at Southend.
It was the first time the young Blues had been in action since beating Dagenham & Redbridge before Christmas.
But they got off to a disastrous start and found themselves three goals down at the interval.
The deficit was reduced after the restart, however, when Lewis Gill broke down the left and his cross-shot was turned in by Lewis Horsburgh.
Pompey dominated the second half and Bradley Tarbuck rounded the goalkeeper and coolly slotted home to pull another goal back.
And a point was secured when Gill (pictured) cut inside from the left and steered a shot into the net.
Academy coach Paul Hardyman said: “We hadn’t played in more than two months and that showed at the start.
“But we told the lads at half-time that they can’t use that as an excuse. The effort they produced was not what we expect at Portsmouth Football Club.
“We did have a few chances, but credit to Southend – they took their opportunities and we didn’t.
“I think it was a shock to the system for some of our players. We’ve beaten them twice already this season and maybe they thought they just had to turn up to do that again.
“Thankfully our second half performance was a million miles away from the first, although Southend did well to weather the storm initially.
“But we kept going and got back on level terms. In terms of a side dominating one half, it reminded me of when I was playing and we were 4-0 up at the break against Fulham only to end up drawing 4-4.
“Despite our disappointment with the first half, the boys showed plenty of determination to get a point and didn’t give up.
“We might have even ended up winning, but perhaps I’m being greedy and a draw was probably the fair result.”
Pompey: Bass; Davis, Rutherford (Smart 72), Field, Haunstrup; Rwakarambwe (Gill 46), Close, Nilsen (Chaplin 46), Kim; Tarbuck, Horsburgh