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Academy Beaten By Cheltenham

Young Blues suffer home defeat

23 September 2018

James Whiting
Photo: Keith Woodland

Pompey Academy were undone by a poor first half display as they suffered a 4-2 defeat to Cheltenham at Copnor Road.

Olly Price, Ioan Richards and Charlie Stanton all struck to give the visitors a commanding lead at the break.

It was better for the Blues following the restart, though, and they reduced their deficit when Alfie Stanley nodded in Tom Bruce’s cross.

They pulled another goal back just past the hour mark, with James Whiting (pictured) angling a shot into the net.

But hopes of a comeback were dashed when Haji Mnoga was dismissed for a second bookable offence and Aaron Basford’s strike then wrapped things up for the Robins.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “We fielded a very young side, with three of our schoolboy players involved.

“There are a lot of games at the moment and they’re still coming thick and fast. We had many of our older lads involved at Andover during the week and some of them will feature in the match against Oxford on Monday evening.

"We’re looking to give the boys minutes when they need them and it’s not necessarily about picking a team to get a result."

Mark Kelly

“So it’s about giving different challenges to different people. We’re looking to give the boys minutes when they need them and it’s not necessarily about picking a team to get a result.

“There were a few defensive errors in the first half. The first goal could have been cleared, the second came from a corner and we got too tight for the third when we needed to drop off a bit.

“So we had a good chat at the break and looked to regroup. We wanted them to move the ball a bit quicker in certain areas.

“That’s what happened and a couple of decent finishes from Alfie and James got us right back into the game.

“We pushed all the way and, on another day,, Stan Bridgman would have scored three goals. He got into some great areas, but was just lacking that finishing touch on this occasion.

“Haji unfortunately got sent off and Cheltenham scored again to finish us off, but we had a lot of control before that and used the ball much better.

“There are some things for us to look at and try to sort out ahead of the next game, although I was pleased with how the younger lads adapted.”

Pompey: Ridley; Bruce, Robb, Kelly (Read 46), Rew; Kavanagh (Mnoga 46), Bridgman, Whiting, Flint (Maloney 51 (Brook 54)); Johnston, Stanley

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