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27 October 2016

Academy side praised after cup victory

Mikey Harris has often bemoaned the lack of a clinical touch for Pompey Academy this season.

But the young Blues certainly found their shooting boots to cruise past Eastleigh at Fratton Park.

The hosts eased into the second round of the FA Youth Cup, courtesy of braces from Sam Woodward and Jez Bedford, and a Tommy Scutt penalty.

That was despite Ousman Saidy’s dismissal for a reckless first half challenge with the score at just 2-0.

And Harris was delighted with the reaction to that setback and the confidence his players displayed in front of goal.

The Academy coach said: “I’m delighted for the boys and it was a great learning experience to play for that length of time with just 10 men.

“I’ve got no complaints about the decision. There was a bad touch, a rush of blood to the head and he’s dived in two-footed.

“But fair play to the rest of them – they stuck to the task and were excellent out of possession. The shape and discipline were both good and chances were taken when they came along.

“The boys took on the information we gave them really well and to go out and score three more goals is a fantastic achievement. I’m really proud of them.

“One criticism that we’ve levelled at ourselves this season is that we haven’t been clinical enough, despite creating a lot of scoring opportunities.

“But they certainly picked the night to put that right – in front of a great crowd and on a decent surface at Fratton Park.

“It was an all-round pleasing performance and we're thrilled to have progressed to the second round.

“A big thank you must go to the groundsmen and all of the staff who have worked so hard to put on such an enjoyable night for the boys.”

More than 700 fans – as well as Paul Cook and the first team squad – turned out to cheer Pompey to victory.

Harris said: “This is one of the greatest stadiums to play football in and we always get a great following because, in my option, they’re the best fans in the country.

“They all got behind the boys and I’m sure they won’t have gone away feeling disappointed at what they’d seen.”

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