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Academy Held By Robins

Young Blues draw 2-2 with Cheltenham

3 December 2017

Pompey Academy in action against Cheltenham Town at Furze Lane
Photo: Charlotte Jeffes

Pompey Academy warmed-up for their FA Youth Cup clash with Leicester by playing out a 2-2 draw with Cheltenham at Furze Lane.

But it might have been an even better outcome, with the visitors grabbing a last-gasp goal to ensure a share of the spoils.

The young Blues were without the regular duo of Matt Casey and Bradley Lethbridge, who were both called up for first team duty.

And they fell behind after just seven minutes, with George Lloyd finding space to head home from close range.

Pompey were frustrated in their attempts to level, as Matt Mayes wasted one good opportunity and forced a fine save from Lewis Clayton with another.

A goal did arrive in the second half, however, after Alfie Stanley had been picked out in the box by Joe Hancott.

It looked like they had snatched all three points when Oscar Johnston found the net following a scramble in the box.

But Cheltenham equalised deep into stoppage-time, as Archie Brennan was teed-up by Will Dawes to tap home.

Academy head of coaching Shaun North said: “It was a scrappy contest, but that was down to the poor pitch rather than the quality of play.

"We were chasing for most of the game, so to go ahead late on and not see it out was particularly disappointing."

Shaun North

“We went a goal down from a header at the far post and we could have done more to stop the cross from coming in.

“Then we created a few chances and their keeper made some important saves. But we did get the equaliser and thought we had scored a winner.

“It was a poor decision by the referee to award Cheltenham a free-kick, although we just didn’t deal with it well enough.

“We were chasing for most of the game, so to go ahead late on and not see it out was particularly disappointing.

“But I need to point out that by the end of the match, there were no second years on the pitch, while six of our under-16s were out there. So it was a good effort and a look ahead to the future.”

Pompey: Pitman; Mnoga (Bridgman 66), Dandy (Robb 60), Hancott; Kavanagh, Read, Whiting, Johnston; Smith (Maloney 46), Mayes (c) (Christopher 60), Stanley

There was a better outcome for the Blues’ under-16 side, who ran out 3-1 winners against the same opponents.

Pompey host Leicester at Fratton Park in the third round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday (7pm kick-off) and tickets are on sale now. Click here for more details.

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