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Academy Win 'Mad' Game

Lethbridge bags hat-trick at Bristol Rovers

18 March 2018

Pompey Academy

Stan Bridgman scored a late winner as Pompey Academy battled back from three goals down to secure an incredible victory at Bristol Rovers.

It looked like the contest was all over by the break, as the Blues struggled to cope against a strong wind.

Their hosts took full advantage with an early opener, before adding two more goals late in the first half.

But Bradley Lethbridge (pictured) soon took control and reduced the deficit with a clinical finish after being teed-up by Alfie Stanley.

The striker then expertly controlled Freddie Read’s diagonal pass and drove a shot right into the top corner of the net.

He completed his hat-trick with a close-range finish from Leon Maloney’s cross, but Pompey were not done.

A remarkable turnaround was complete in the closing stages when substitute Bridgman powerfully headed home another Maloney delivery.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “It was a mad game and, like most other sides in the country, we had to deal with extremely poor conditions.

“We were kicking into a strong wind throughout the first half and we struggled with our decision making, as well as our quality on the ball.

"We showed a lot of character and ability to turn the game on its head, but we need to look at the 90 minutes in their entirety."

Mark Kelly

“There had actually been a few opportunities to take the lead, but instead we found ourselves a goal down and Bristol Rovers added two more, so we were really on the back foot.

“At the break we spoke to the boys about the need to be more technically proficient and to get the ball moving quicker, which is exactly what they did.

“Brad took all of his goals well, while I was delighted that young Stan came on to score the winner late on.

“It was a mixed bag for us overall and it certainly wasn’t a case of everyone patting themselves on the back in the dressing room afterwards.

“We showed a lot of character and ability to turn the game on its head, but we need to look at the 90 minutes in their entirety and work out how we can improve in the future.”

Pompey: Pitman; Kavanagh (Robb 67), Dandy, Mnoga, Hancott; Johnston (Stanley 60), Read, Whiting (Bridgman 46), Maloney; Mayes, Lethbridge
Sub not used: Flint

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