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9 December 2016

Scutt scores, but Blues are beaten

A plucky Pompey Academy side exited the FA Youth Cup with a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle at Fratton Park.

It was always going to be tough for the hosts against category one opposition, but they made the Magpies work hard for their victory.

Hopes of an upset were raised when Tommy Scutt cancelled out Owen Gallacher’s opener, only for the visitors to go back ahead through Lewis McNall just before half-time.

It was more of a one-sided affair after the interval, however, with Theo Widdrington’s own-goal and a Callum Smith effort wrapping things up.

Newcastle, unsurprisingly, dominated possession and carved open some good openings in the early stages.

Jack Collins – who replaced the injured Nick Hall between the sticks – had to get down quickly to push Smith’s curling effort around the post.

The keeper then denied Mo Sangare after the forward had turned sharply, only to have the sting taken out of his shot by hitting the ball into the ground.

Pompey began to see more of the ball as the half progressed, but it was still the visitors looking more likely to break the deadlock.

Mace Goodridge shanked a shot wide when well-placed on the edge of the box, while Smith flashed another chance narrowly past the post.

It then took a superb save from Collins to keep the scores level on 20 minutes, with the keeper somehow keeping out Kieren Aplin’s header from point-blank range.

Pompey registered their first opportunity midway through the half when skipper Widdrington curled a free-kick over the bar.

And they had an even better opening soon after, but the onrushing Harvey Bradbury could not quite guide Sam Woodward’s clever pass on target.

Instead it was the Magpies who made their pressure count on 30 minutes, with Gallacher creating space inside the box before drilling home.

The Blues came agonisingly close to grabbing an immediate equaliser when Nathan Harker failed to hold Widdrington’s ambitious long-range effort, only for the visitors to survive the ensuing scramble.

But the home support did not have much longer to wait before seeing their side score, as SCUTT neatly turned Woodward’s cross into the bottom corner.

And they did not stop there, with Widdrington flashing a shot over, while Bradbury glanced a Scutt cross wide.

Newcastle restored their advantage just before the break, however, when McNall met Smith’s cross and sent a firm header right into the top corner.

Half Time: Pompey 1 Newcastle 2

The visitors had a chance to extend their lead seconds after the restart when Eddie Wakley lost possession, but Smith was unable to take advantage.

And the same player then turned provider moments later, with an unmarked Gallacher unable to head his cross on target.

But Newcastle did add a third goal on 55 minutes when Widdrington tried to clear Smith’s delivery, but could only succeed in turning the ball into his own net.

And they almost grabbed a fourth just seconds later, but after rounding Collins, McNall fired into the side netting.

The game then hit a bit of a lull, with the Magpies seemingly content to coast to the final whistle and Pompey struggling to inject some urgency into the contest.

And any hopes of a comeback vanished on 70 minutes when Smith nipped in to steal the ball from Wakley before confidently sliding home.

But the Blues did at least finish with a flourish and a teasing low cross from substitute Ousman Saidy had to be hacked clear.

Then, from the resulting corner, Wakley headed narrowly over as the hosts went in search of a consolation.

It almost arrived in stoppage-time when Widdrington sent a dangerous free-kick into the box that Scutt turned against the post.

Newcastle saw out the final few moments, however, to secure the victory and book a fourth round home date with either Swansea or Wolves.

Pompey (4-1-2-1-2): Collins; Smith (Casey 70), Wakley, Widdrington (c), McDowell (Chandler 77); Read; Scutt, Bedford; Woodward (Saidy 57); Bradbury, Mayes
Goals: Scutt 34
Booked: Widdrington
Subs not used: Kitcher, Brooks

Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Harker; Spooner, Bailey, Cass (c), Aplin; Goodridge, Longstaff; Gallacher (Lowther 81), Sangare, Smith (Wilson 84); McNall (Allan 79)
Goals: Gallacher 30, McNall 42, Widdrington 55 (og), Smith 70
Booked: Goodridge
Subs not used: Huuhtanen, Aziakonou

Referee: Thomas Marshall

Attendance: 832

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