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BLUES SUFFER SEMI-FINAL DEFEAT

2 May 2017

Pompey concede three extra-time goals to exit Premier League Cup

Pompey Reserves missed out on a place in the Premier League Cup final after suffering a 3-0 extra-time defeat at Swansea.

Both sides played their part in an engrossing contest at the Welsh club’s impressive Landore training complex.

The hosts hit the woodwork on three occasions, while Ben Close missed the best of a series of excellent chances for the Blues.

But Oliver McBurnie and George Byers both struck in the first period of the additional 30 minutes, while the former added a late penalty to end Pompey’s remarkable journey in the competition.

Swansea were first to threaten when they won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Byers’ effort clipped the outside of the post.

But the Blues grew stronger as the first half progressed and carved out a number of decent openings.

Nicke Kabamba was first to try his luck on eight minutes with a shot that was comfortably saved by Gregor Zabret in the Swans goal.

Curtis Main then whipped a superb a cross into the box from wide on the left, but none of his black-shirted team-mates could get on the end of it.

And when Brandon Haunstrup’s delivery was only partially cleared, Jez Bedford dragged the loose ball wide.

It was Adam May who came closest to breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes, however, with an attempt from the edge of the box that curled inches wide.

But despite all that, Swansea almost snatched the lead when Byers’ effort flew past Liam O’Brien’s grasp and cannoned back off the post.

There was still time for one more Pompey chance before the break – and Close really should have gobbled it up.

Jamal Lowe raced through on goal and when he was denied by Zabret, the Blues skipper somehow fired wide with an empty net gaping.

Half Time: Swansea 0 Pompey 0

It might have been Pompey looking more likely to score before the interval, but Swansea came racing out of the blocks following the restart.

First Haunstrup had to nip in to prevent Adam King from converting Daniel James’ low cross and then McBurnie fired narrowly wide.

But the Blues responded when Lowe whipped the ball into the box from wide on the left and Main shot over from a tight angle.

Calvin Davies also cleared the crossbar with a volleyed effort when Haunstrup played a one-two with Lowe and picked out the right-back.

And another impressive delivery from Main just past the hour mark was then agonisingly out of reach for both Lowe and Kabamba.

Pompey were causing their hosts problems, with May finding space to collect Haunstrup’s throw and forcing Zabret to save low to his left.

And Calvin Davies soon drew an even better save from the keeper with a free-kick that was pushed clear from its top corner destination.

But the Blues were almost made to pay for their profligacy when Byers looked to sweep home King’s cross, only for O’Brien to fling himself to the left and palm the ball clear.

The tie became stretched as both sides attempted to find a late winner, but the deadlock remained unbroken after 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes: Swansea 0 Pompey 0

It was Tom Davies who had the first chance of extra-time, but the centre-back could only divert Close’s corner straight into Zabret’s arms.

James then had a couple of chances for the hosts, first firing into the side netting and then forcing a fingertip save from O’Brien onto the crossbar.

But Swansea did break the deadlock on 94 minutes, with McBurnie slamming home from close range after O’Brien had denied Tyler Reid.

And they soon doubled their advantage when Byers met King’s low cross and swept the ball into the bottom corner.

Pompey refused to accept defeat and kept pushing forward in search of the goal their performance deserved.

But it was Swansea who had the final say when Calvin Davies conceded a penalty that McBurnie tucked away.

Swansea: Zabret; Reid, Rodon, K.Davies (c), Roberts; Maric (Evans 103), Fulton; King, Byers (Biabi 119), James; McBurnie
Goals: McBurnie 94, 118 (pen), Byers 102
Subs not used: Thomas, Lewis, Plezier

Pompey: O’Brien; C.Davies, T.Davies, Whatmough, Haunstrup (Widdrington 97); May, Close (c); Bedford (Oxlade-Chamberlain 91), Main (D.Smith 97), Lowe; Kabamba
Subs not used: Bass, Mayes

Referee: Carl Brook

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