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RESERVES REACH LAST 16 OF PREMIER LEAGUE CUP

27 February 2017

Close and Kabamba on target against Everton

Pompey Reserves fought from behind to beat Everton 2-1 and qualify for the last 16 of the Premier League Cup.

They only needed a draw to progress, while the Toffees required all three points and Bassala Sambou gave them a vital lead.

But second half goals from Ben Close and Nicke Kabamba ensured the Blues secured top spot in Group D.

Pompey made a bright start in a torrential downpour at Westleigh Park, although Jamal Lowe’s header from a corner was comfortably claimed by Joe Hilton.

But as the rain started to ease off, so did the hosts, who soon became embroiled in battle for supremacy.

They had the game’s first decent chance on 19 minutes, however, when Hilton did brilliantly to deny Close following good work from Lowe and Kabamba.

Liam O’Brien then had to be alert at the other end, denying Sambou after the striker pounced on a low delivery into the area.

But Sambou did break the deadlock soon after, lobbing the ball over Pompey’s keeper, having collected a fine through ball from James Yates.

Everton were firmly in control by this point and giving the Blues back-line a torrid time as they pressed for another goal.

Kabamba responded with a chance for the hosts, although his effort was well wide of its intended target.

Stanley Aborah went closer moments later, with Hilton scrambling across his goal as the midfielder’s shot flew just past the post.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Everton 1

The Blues made a sensational start to the second half when, after Drew Talbot’s cross had only been partially cleared, CLOSE beat Hilton with a fine strike.

They had another opportunity just past the hour mark, but Adam May’s attempt was wild and flew over the bar.

The match was firmly in the balance, with Everton needing a goal to stay in the competition and dump their opponents out.

But it was Pompey looking the more dangerous and when Talbot’s delivery caused a scramble, the ball had to be hacked cleared before Kabamaba could pounce.

KABAMBA did score on 77 minutes, however, forcing the ball home after Brandon Haunstrup’s cross had been put back into the mix by the impressive Talbot.

That stung Everton into life and Talbot did good work at the other end of the pitch to hack the ball to safety.

There were more threats to the Blues’ goal in the closing stages, but the defence dealt with them admirably as the hosts held firm.

Pompey: O’Brien; Talbot, T.Davies, Widdrington, Haunstrup; Aborah (Whatmough 79); Lowe (Chaplin 75), May, Close (c), Bedford (Oxlade-Chamberlain 58); Kabamba
Subs not used: Bass, C.Davies

Everton: Hilton, Yates, Feeney (c), Yarney (Denny 46), Foulds, Henen, Williams (Donohue 54), Kiersey, Byrne (Bramall 58), Broadhead, Sambou
Sub not used: Hunt

Referee: Carl Brook

Attendance: 378


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