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31 March 2015

McCallum and Westcarr efforts not enough for Blues

Pompey Reserves let slip a two-goal advantage to crash to a 5-2 defeat against leaders Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Paul McCallum and Craig Westcarr were both on target before the Hatters moved through the gears after the interval.

The result effectively ended the Blues’ chances of overhauling their opponents and claiming the Final Third Development League title.

It was Luton who were first to threaten in the opening seconds when Alex Wall sent a shot inches past the post.

But it was Pompey who broke the deadlock in extremely fortunate circumstances soon after.

Hatters keeper Craig King attempted a routine clearance, but only succeeded in striking McCALLUM, with the ball rolling gently into the net.

The Blues then survived a scare at the other end when David Cornell dropped Shaun Whalley’s corner and, in the ensuing melee, the ball was hacked clear.

Luton soon fashioned another opening through Ryan Hall on 12 minutes, whose effort was just off target.

The game then went off the boil, although Pompey were still showing plenty of nice touches as they tried to get forward.

And they doubled their advantage on 31 minutes when Nicky Shorey clipped a pass through to WESTCARR, who found the bottom corner from a tight angle.

The hosts almost got themselves back into the game, with Hall sending in a dangerous cross from the left that the diving Wall could not quite guide on target.

Luton were starting to look dangerous on the break and Whalley’s sent a drive fizzing inches past the post.

There was still time for one more chance before the interval, as Wall and Hall combined once more, but the latter headed the former’s cross over.

Half Time: Luton 0 Pompey 2

After a chanceless opening to the second half, Ben Close almost added to the Blues’ lead with an effort that just cleared the crossbar.

Instead, Luton reduced their deficit on 57 minutes after Johnny Ertl played a poor pass-back to Cornell, who was forced to use his hands.

Referee Wayne Cartmel awarded an indirect free-kick inside the area and when the ball was played to Wall, he smashed it home.

And the Hatters were level moments later, as Hall cut in from the right and found the net with a low strike.

As the hosts sensed they could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Wall tested Cornell with a shot that the keeper did well to save.

But Luton were ahead on 78 minutes when Scott Griffiths arrived unchallenged at the far post to convert Hall’s corner.

They then proceeded to rub salt into Pompey’s wound by adding two more goals in stoppage-time.

First, Wall was quick to pounce and volley home after Cornell had tipped Miller’s shot onto the crossbar.

Wall then returned the favour, sliding the ball across for Ricky Miller to grab Luton’s fifth and complete a remarkable turnaround.

Luton: King; Griffiths, Onyemah, Williams (Justin 80), Robinson; Doyle (Trotman 46), Hall, Galliford, Whalley; Wall, Miller
Subs not used: Gooch, Craig, Smith

Pompey: Cornell; Webster, Ertl (c), Haunstrup; Tarbuck (Rwakarambwe 88), Close, Chaplin, Shorey, Davies; Westcarr (May 72), McCallum (Joseph-Buadi 46)
Subs not used: Bass, Granger

Referee: Wayne Cartmel

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