Blues beat Cheltenham to reach final
Pompey Academy beat Cheltenham on penalties to reach the southern final of the Youth Alliance Cup.
It looked like the Blues had done enough to win the Furze Lane clash inside 90 minutes after Lewis Gill (pictured) cut inside from the left and struck a sensational shot into the top corner.
But Danny Reynolds converted a free-kick five minutes from the end to take the tie to a shoot-out.
Jack Whatmough’s effort was saved and Ben Close struck his penalty over the crossbar, but Conor Chaplin, Jae Heon Kim and Bradley Tarbuck all found the target.
The Robins also missed two of their efforts – including a save from Alex Bass – to take the tie into sudden death.
And when the visitors failed to find the target again, Lewis Horsburgh was on hand to coolly stroke home the winning spot-kick.
Academy coach Paul Hardyman said: “We made hard work of it, but it’s great to get through to the final.
“The pitch was very heavy and kept cutting up which doesn’t suit the way we liked to play. We’d worked on some things in training and weren’t able to implement them.
“Credit to Cheltenham – they made life difficult for us, which is what you’d expect in a semi-final, but Lewis’ goal was good enough to win any cup tie.
“The equaliser was a sickener, although we don’t think the free-kick should have been awarded because it looked like a fair challenge.
“But we held our nerve to win the shoot-out and, after losing in the semi-finals last season, now we want to go on and win the tournament.”
Pompey: Bass; Haunstrup, Field, Whatmough, Medway; Kim, Chaplin, Close, Gill; Tarbuck, Horsburgh
Subs not used: Davis, Smart, May, Nilsen, Rwakarambwe