Second half fightback not enough for young Blues
Pompey Academy were beaten 4-3 at Exeter, despite creating plenty of chances down in Devon.
They got off to a terrible start and found themselves two goals down within the opening 10 minutes.
The hosts took advantage of some sloppy defending to open the scoring and an unfortunate slip from Alex Bass allowed them to double their advantage.
But the Blues soon found their feet and began to dominate, with Kaleem Haitham sending a curling shot into the top corner.
It was Exeter who were next to score on the stroke of half-time, however – albeit in controversial fashion, as the referee overruled an offside decision from his assistant.
Again Pompey fought back, though, and they reduced the deficit after the interval when Brandon Joseph-Buadi collected Theo Widdrington’s pass and smashed the ball home.
And Liam Sayers then converted following an almighty goalmouth scramble to draw the Blues level.
They pushed forward in search of a winner, but ended up with nothing as poor defending from a corner allowed the Grecians to snatch all three points.
Academy coach Mikey Harris said: “Unfortunately, it appeared we were still on the minibus for the opening few minutes.
“The first goal was very sloppy from our point of view because we had chances to get the ball clear, while you can’t really legislate for what happened with the second.
“But the lads deserve credit for the character they showed from that point and Kaleem’s strike got us back in the game.
“Their third goal was another blow, however. We stopped playing when the flag was raised, but the referee ignored it. To be fair, the linesman apologised to us for the mistake.
“At half-time we spoke about how we could get something from the game and I was really pleased with our response.
“Brandon deserved his goal because he was very lively once again and when Liam scored we thought we would go on to win it.
“We were playing with so much confidence, only to shoot ourselves in the foot by giving their lad a free header from a set-piece.
“After that we threw the kitchen sink at Exeter and had about seven players up front, but just couldn’t convert any of our chances.
“There were some individual errors and a lot of lessons to be learnt – as a team we have to start games better and won’t use the long journey as an excuse.”
Pompey: Bass; Scutt (Bradbury 71), Widdrington, Saidy (Casey 66), McDowell; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Woodward (Bedford 46); Joseph-Buadi, May, Haitham; Sayers