Pompey beaten on penalties at Oxford
Pompey Academy exited the Youth Alliance Cup at the first round after losing on penalties at Oxford.
A side containing seven first-year scholars were well below-par before the break and went in a goal down after Graham Bryan converted George Jeacock’s cut-back.
But the Blues looked a lot stronger in the second half and when a corner was only partially cleared, Liam Sayers (above) reacted quickest to equalise.
Harvery Bradbury and Brandon Joseph-Buadi then both missed good opportunities to grab a winner, while Dory Yates saw his header come back off the crossbar.
With Pompey unable to force a winner, a shoot-out was needed to settle the tie, with Calvin Davies, Sayers and Yates all finding the target from the spot.
Alex Bass also saved an Oxford penalty, but efforts from Theo Widdrington and Joseph-Buadi were both kept out by Manni Agboola to ensure it was the hosts who progressed.
Academy coach Mikey Harris said: “The first half was very poor from our point of view and we couldn’t seem to get going at all.
“We were unable to show what we’re capable of and it was Oxford who created the better chances, with Alex making a string of fine saves to keep us in the game.
“The interval gave us a chance to regroup and a few words were spoken. We asked for a lot better and the lads responded well.
“There was more desire, more quality and Liam got the goal to draw us level as we began to take control.
“We had plenty of chances to win inside the 90 minutes, but unfortunately couldn’t quite manage it.
“It’s always cruel to lose on penalties, but it was a good learning curve for the younger players in our side.
“We go to Oxford again in the league this weekend and hopefully we can produce a more consistent performance then.”
Pompey: Bass; Widdrington, Saidy, Yates, McDowell; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Scutt; Woodward (Joseph-Buadi 74), Bradbury (Davies 81), Bedford; Sayers