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ACADEMY EASE TO SOUTHEND WIN

13 March 2016

Widdrington, Haitham and Bradbury all on target

Pompey Academy produced a confident display to win 3-0 at Southend in Merit League One.

Following a goalless first half, they broke the deadlock just past the hour mark through Theo Widdrington’s clever free-kick.

And they doubled their advantage with a quick break, as Kaleem Haitham (above) broke clear and finished neatly.

His shot then hit the inside of the post and was only cleared as far as Widdrington, who launched a fierce strike.

That was just about tipped onto the crossbar by the home keeper, but the ball landed kindly for Harvey Bradbury to tap home.

Academy coach Mikey Harris said: “It was a difficult surface and both sides found it tough to get the ball down and play good football – although both tried.

“We were on the front foot from the first minute and there was plenty of urgency. We were in their faces.

“We pressed Southend high up the pitch and were able to create a few chances that we couldn’t convert.

“But we were better without the ball in the first half and when we got it, our decision making was poor. We were going too direct.

“So at half-time we spoke about improving in possession, while also maintaining our work-rate – and that’s exactly what the lads did.

“It looked like Theo was going to deliver his free-kick into the box, but he spotted that the keeper had drifted too far across and beat him at his near post.

“Going ahead was perfect for us because Southend now needed to score and that opened the game up.

“We looked very dangerous on the counter-attack and that’s how we got our second, with Kaleem getting in behind the defence and finishing well.

“Theo was unlucky not to score again with a superb strike, but I’m pleased that Harvey was able to follow up to score.

“He’s about to start a three-match ban, so I told him he had put the effort he would show across four games into 90 minutes.

“He never stopped running and his energy was frightening, so it was a very well-deserved goal for him.

“Credit must also go to our keeper Jack Collins, who stepped up from the under-16s and looked extremely confident throughout.

“I’m pleased for him and our back four – which included two midfielders – that we were able to keep a clean sheet and it was a very good overall team performance.” 

Pompey: Collins; Scutt, Saidy, Wakley, Widdrington; May, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Joseph-Buadi, Sayers (Bedford 55), Haitham; Bradbury

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