Blues concede two late goals at Wimbledon
Pompey Academy began their Merit League One campaign in memorable fashion with a thrilling 5-5 draw at AFC Wimbledon.
They broke the deadlock with just 35 seconds on the clock, when Harvey Bradbury got in behind the home defence and slotted home.
The game was quickly turned on its head, however, as Nick Hall and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain both conceded penalties that the Dons converted.
And they soon added a third with a fine finish after the Blues had failed to deal with a long ball forward.
But Sam Woodward reduced the deficit with a fierce shot after a cross had been deflected into his path.
He then turned provided for the equaliser, breaking down the right and cutting the ball back for Bradbury to finish.
Pompey started the second half brightly and forged ahead when Tommy Scutt headed home from a corner.
Kaleeem Haitham then launched a quick counter-attack and teed-up Woodward to give them a 5-3 advantage.
But Wimbledon refused to accept defeat and pulled a goal back before levelling in the sixth minute of stoppage-time to ensure a share of the spoils.
Academy coach Mikey Harris said: “We got off to the perfect start by scoring with under a minute on the clock, but then we conceded two penalties – and I’ve got no arguments about either of them.
“The second one happened because we were trying to play out from the back, but we encourage that, so I can’t be too critical.
“Their third goal was a great finish from the Wimbledon lad, although the defending was poor from our point of view.
“But we got back into it before the break and then had a long discussion about the areas where we could improve.
“The lads took it all on board and Tommy put us ahead, before Kaleem held on to the ball for just long enough to slide Sam through.
“Wimbledon then threw caution to the wind, as you would expect, while we were guilty of some bad decision-making and were left far too stretched.
“We might even have left with nothing because their lad went down in the box right at the end. It was a stonewall penalty, but the referee booked him for diving.
“The game was a good lesson for the lads about not thinking you’ve already won before the final whistle.
“I was very pleased with our attacking prowess and the goals we scored, but we were very disappointing defensively.”
Pompey: Hall; Widdrington, Saidy, Casey (Wakley 60), McDowell; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Scutt; Bedford (Smith 84), Woodward, Haitham; Bradbury