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Academy

Pompey Academy 5 Bristol Rovers 2

Blues cruise into second round of the FA Youth Cup

24 October 2018

FA Youth Cup
Photo: Jordan Hampton

Pompey Academy eased into the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 5-2 rout of Bristol Rovers at Fratton Park.

Leon Maloney’s penalty was cancelled out by Harry Warwick, but goals from Haji Mnoga and Bradley Lethbridge saw them cruising.

A second for Warwick reduced the visitors’ deficit before the break, only for Lethbridge and Alfie Stanley to wrap things up in the second half.

There were several first team stars in attendance to watch the action, including academy graduates Ben Close, Brandon Haunstrup and Adam May.

Pompey made a bright start and it took a crunching Jamie Bremner tackle to stop Maloney getting a shot away.

But Scott Isherwood did not get his timing right, with a clumsy challenge on James Whiting seeing referee Alexander Mathieson point to the spot.

It was MALONEY who stepped up to take the penalty, sending Graeme Anderson the wrong way with a fierce finish into the bottom corner.

The lead lasted just two minutes, however, as Warwick collected Zain Walker’s pass and fired a fine shot past Leon Pitman.

Pompey’s under-18 games have seen plenty of goals this season and another one soon came along – this time for the hosts.

Freddie Read sent a deep free-kick into the box and MNOGA was waiting to power home a header and restore the advantage.

The Blues looked capable of scoring plenty more and Stan Bridgman’s effort was deflected wide, while Lethbridge could not divert Harry Kavanagh’s dangerous cross on target at the far post.

And Lethbridge soon went close again, this time seeing his shot catch a Rovers defender and fly into the side netting.

But it proved to be third time lucky on 31 minutes, although Anderson will not want to see the goal again.

His clearance was charged down by LETHBRIDGE, who then used his strength to hold off the keeper’s challenge before tapping the ball home.

Pompey looked on top, only for their opponents to find a route back into the contest before the break.

Lewis Clutton won the ball in midfield and threaded a pass through to Walker. His shot was about to cross the line, but Warwick made sure from a yard out.

Half Time: Pompey 3 Bristol Rovers 2

Rovers skipper Tom Mehew tried his luck with a free-kick from wide on the left early in the second half, but Pitman watched it sail comfortably over.

It was proving to be more of a sedate affair than before the break, although the hosts came close to restoring their two-goal lead.

Josh Flint had to stretch to reach Whiting’s delivery, but his looping header was going towards the net until Isherwood hooked it to safety.

It was only a brief respite for the visitors, though, as the Blues suddenly found their groove again just past the hour mark.

First LETHBRIDGE slotted home his second goal of the evening after playing a neat one-two with Stanley.

And STANLEY – who had only been brought on a few minutes earlier – then scored himself, glancing home a corner from Read.

Lethbridge clearly wanted a hat-trick and bulldozed his way through the defence before seeing his low drive saved by Anderson.

Liam Kelly – another substitute – almost got in on the act, with his sweet volley just about tipped over by Anderson.

Pompey were unable to find the sixth goal that would have seen them match the scoreline achieved in September’s league meeting.

But they would have still been satisfied with a resounding victory that sends them into the second round.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): Pitman; Kavanagh, Robb, Mnoga, Hancott (Kelly 46); Read (c), Bridgman (Bell 87); Maloney, Whiting, Flint (Stanley 61); Lethbridge
Goals: Maloney 7 (pen), Mnoga 16, Lethbridge 31, 62, Stanley 67
Subs not used: Bruce, Brook

Bristol Rovers (4-1-4-1): Anderson; Isherwood, Dillon, Bremner, Paul (Heal 68); Mehew (c); Hulbert, Raymond (Murray 68), Clutton (Fowler 81), Walker; Warwick
Goals: Warwick 9, 39
Booked: Hulbert
Subs not used: Thomas-Barker, Noble, Budd, Bailey

Referee: Alexander Mathieson

Attendance: 591


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