Pompey beaten 2-1 by Manchester City
Pompey exited the FA Youth Cup with their heads held high following a narrow defeat to Manchester City at Fratton Park.
Watched by first team manager Paul Cook, a host of senior players and a healthy number of fans, they more than played their part in the third round tie.
The visitors took an early lead through Lukas Nmecha, but anyone expecting an avalanche of goals was to be disappointed.
Instead, the Blues were rewarded for a battling display when Harvey Bradbury came off the bench to draw them level.
But, with extra-time approaching, Brahim Abdelkadel Diaz’s impressive solo goal ensured it was City who would progress.
Mikey Harris kept faith with the same side that beat Plymouth and Bristol Rovers to reach this stage of the competition.
And they kept their illustrious opponents at bay in the opening stages, with Blues keeper Alex Bass not being over-worked.
They even had a good chance on the break on nine minutes, but Jez Bedford’s effort drifted wide of the post.
But the hosts fell behind moments later when Nmecha latched onto Rodney Kongolo’s through ball and fired home from the edge of the box.
Diaz should have doubled the advantage, only to somehow turn Javairo Dilrosun’s cross wide at the far post.
Aaron Nemane then flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal that none of his team-mates could connect with.
The visitors were, unsurprisingly, looking more dangerous going forward, but Pompey did have their moments.
They enjoyed a bright attacking move midway through the first half, but Brandon Joseph-Buadi delayed his pass and Bedford’s shot was blocked.
Bass then did well at the other end, diving to his left to push clear a curling effort from Dilrosun that was heading for the corner.
The keeper then came bursting from his line to deny Nmecha after the striker had burst through on goal.
Pompey’s best chance of the half arrived on 36 minutes when, following good work from Calvin Davies down the right, Bedford’s shot was smartly pushed over by Daniel Grimshaw.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Manchester City 1
Bass’ impressive evening continued early in the second half when he reacted quickly after Nmecha’s strike had taken a deflection off Kyle McDowell.
Diaz then did well to beat Theo Widdrington inside the box, only to curl his effort wide of the post on 56 minutes.
There was a nervy moment just past the hour mark when referee Graham Kane pointed to the spot following a challenge by Bass on Nmecha, but he had not noticed assistant David Ellis’ raised flag.
And the linesman rescued Pompey again moments later, with Nmecha given offside as he slotted the ball home.
The hosts had struggled since the restart, but levelled with their first decent chance of the half on 70 minutes.
It was substitute BRADBURY who made the packed South Stand roar with delight when he steered home Bedford’s low cross.
The Blues’ confidence was now soaring and a crunching – but fair – challenge from skipper Davies roused the crowd further.
Dilrosun had a chance to restore City’s advantage on 80 minutes, however, cutting inside and hitting a low shot that was smothered by Bass.
But the Pompey keeper was beaten soon after by a fine individual effort from Diaz, who burst past a couple of challenges before finding the target.
Bedford had a shot saved by Grimshaw as the Blues sought another equaliser, but they were unable to breach the City defence for a second time.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): Bass; Davies (c), Saidy, Widdrington, McDowell (Scutt 87); Oxlade-Chamberlain, May; Sayers (Bradbury 57), Bedford (Woodward 87), Haitham; Joseph-Buadi
Goals: Bradbury 70
Subs not used: Hall, Smith
Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Grimshaw; Duhaney, Oliver, Adarabioyo (c), Davenport; Wood; Nemane, Kongolo, Diaz, Dilrosun (Buckley-Ricketts 84); Nmecha
Goals: Nmecha 13, Diaz 81
Subs not used: Haug, Humphreys-Grant, Dele-Bashiru, Fernandes-Cantin
Referee: Graham Kane