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Whatmough Returns As Reserves Draw With Foxes

Defender plays 45 minutes against Leicester

6 February 2018

Jack Whatmough returned to action as Pompey Reserves bowed out of the Premier League Cup with a 1-1 draw against Leicester at Nyewood Lane.

The centre-back played the opening 45 minutes in his first match since suffering a serious knee injury early in September.

Brandon Haunstrup was another defender to feature following a spell on the sidelines, while there were also starts for Conor Chaplin and trialist Jonathan Douglas.

Previous results meant the Blues could not qualify for the knockout stages and they were denied victory when Josh Eppiah’s late leveller cancelled out a goal from Leon Maloney.

Pompey made the brighter start and Theo Widdrington sent a free-kick wide, before Bradley Lethbridge was just off target when he snuck in to meet Chaplin’s cross.

Leicester might have been sitting at the top of the table, but they were offering little threat going forward.

Whatmough almost managed to punish them at the other end, although his effort was sent over the crossbar.

The hosts went even closer soon after, with Dan Smith not quite able to keep his header down after meeting Lethbridge’s left-wing delivery.

Alex Bass was finally called into action on 32 minutes, getting down well to deny Hamza Choudhury from Harvey Barnes’ cut-back.

It was the Blues who ended the half on the attack, though, and when the lively Chaplin laid the ball off, Jez Bedford fired past the post.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Leicester 0

Whatmough was, as planned, withdrawn at the break, being replaced in the back-line by teenager Joe Hancott.

Leicester improved once the game restarted and were immediately on the front foot, with Bass doing well to keep out a shot from Barnes.

The hosts were then forced into another change, as Maloney came on for Lethbridge following a heavy collision.

Chaplin was still proving a handful and saw an effort saved, but the Foxes were now providing much more of a test.

Bass had to be at his best to make two superb stops in quick succession, first from Barnes and then Eppiah.

But the Blues took the lead against the run of play on 70 minutes, with MALONEY meeting Smith's centre and finding the bottom corner.

Leicester put their opponents under intense pressure as they searched for an equaliser and Barnes was just off target following some good build-up play.

But they got their reward four minutes from time, as Liandro Martis sent the ball in from the right and Eppiah was there to fire home.

"It was great to see Jack return to action and there was plenty of hard-work from every member of a young side."

Mark Kelly

The visitors might have snatched victory at the death when Bass could only palm clear a shot from Barnes, but Choudhury cleared the crossbar when it seemed easier to score.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “It was great to see Jack return to action and there was plenty of hard-work from every member of a young side.

“Leicester put us under the cosh at times, but we thoroughly deserved something from the game and, without a bit of naivety at the end, might have got more from it.”

Pompey: Bass; Dandy, Casey, Whatmough (Hancott 46), Haunstrup (Chandler 67); Bedford, Douglas, Widdrington; Lethbridge (Maloney 51), Smith, Chaplin (c)
Subs not used: Collins, Read

Leicester: Bramley; Johnson, Knight, Hughes, Wood; Kaba Sherif (Ndukwu 46), Dewsbury-Hall; Choudhury (c), Barnes, Eppiah; Touray (Martis 46)
Subs not used: Yates, Ughelumba, Shade

Referee: Adam Penwell

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