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17 November 2015

Pompey beat Bristol Rovers to reach third round

Alex Bass saved two penalties as Pompey completed a remarkable turnaround to beat Bristol Rovers in the second round of the FA Youth Cup.

It looked like being a miserable evening for Mikey Harris’ side at the Memorial Stadium when they conceded twice in the opening stages.

But three goals in nine incredible second half minutes turned the tie on its head, with skipper Calvin Davies bagging a brace before Harvey Bradbury also found the target.

Elliot Green halted the Blues’ charge by levelling in stoppage-time, however, and there were no goals added in the additional 30 minutes.

That meant a penalty shoot-out and while all three of Pompey’s takers were successful, the hosts were not quite so clinical.

Bass saved twice, while Connor Jones missed the target completely, ensuring it was the Blues who set-up a mouth-watering clash with Manchester City at Fratton Park in the third round.

In torrential rain and strong winds, it was the hosts who roared into an early two-goal advantage.

Both came from free-kicks that saw the ball helped on its way by the blustery conditions.

The first arrived on six minutes, with Tom Fry’s delivery inadvertently turned into his own net by Pompey defender Ousman Saidy.

And the second was scored just a few moments later, with George Corp’s effort sailing over everyone.

Jez Bedford’s shot was too high at the other end, as the Blues – faced with a mountain to climb – tried to find a route back into the tie.

But Bristol Rovers were soon back on the attack and Green’s strike was deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

The visitors, meanwhile, were incoherent with the ball, with far too many passes going astray.

And Alex Bass prevented them from falling behind on 30 minutes by thwarting Tyrone Tucker-Dixon at close-range.

There was another let-off soon after as Green hit a curling shot with the outside of his boot that came back off the post.

Pompey did survive to the break without falling further behind, but they had also failed to create a meaningful opportunity.

Half Time: Bristol Rovers 2 Pompey 0

Bedford opened the second half with a shot that was comfortably kept out by Charlie Phillips.

And the hosts seemed to content to soak up pressure as Pompey caused plenty of problems without really troubling the keeper.

Davies nearly reduced the deficit with a shot the whistled inches past the post, only for Oliver Mehew to do exactly the same at the opposite of the pitch.

But right-back DAVIES did hand his side a lifeline with a free-kick from wide on the left that sailed over Phillips.

Hope then turned to euphoria moments later as an effort from Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain came back off the bar and DAVIES was first to the loose ball.

Things soon got even better for Pompey when BRADBURY latched on to a pass from fellow substitute Sam Woodward and calmly slotted home.

But Bristol Rovers managed to stop the rot and levelled deep into stoppage-time, with Green converting yet another free-kick.

Full-Time: Bristol Rovers 3 Pompey 3

Chances were non-existent in the first period of extra-time, although there were a host of niggly challenges as both sides tried to avoid conceding again.

Bradbury thought he had won it for Pompey after the break, only for the referee to decide he had taken the ball out of Phillips’ hands before slotting it home.

Sam Hedges then sent a shot narrowly wide for the hosts, but the tie was still deadlocked after 120 minutes of action.

After extra-time: Bristol Rovers 3 Pompey 3

Both sides were successful with their first penalties, as Corp fired Rovers ahead, only for Davies to immediately level.

But Bass then kept out Sam Blake’s strike, which allowed Kaleem Haitham to give Pompey the advantage.

That was strengthened when Jones sent his spot-kick over the crossbar and Oxlade-Chamberlain netted to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.

It meant that Bradley Confrey had to score, but his penalty was superbly tipped over by Bass to secure Pompey’s progress.

Bristol Rovers: Phillips; Blake, Confrey, Leigh-Gilchrist (Jones), Fry; Green, Kilgour (c), Corp, Ellington (Lammiman); Tucker-Dixon, Mehew (Hedges)
Subs: Amrstrong, Iles

Pompey: Bass; Davies (c), Saidy, Widdrington, McDowell; May, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Joseph-Buadi, Bedford (Woodward 67), Haitham; Sayers (Bradbury 61)
Subs not used: Hall, Scutt, Wakley

Referee: Mark Derrien

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