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Academy Hit Rovers For Six

Young Blues secure convincing victory

16 September 2018

Leon Maloney in action for Pompey Academy
Photo: Keith Woodland

Pompey Academy roared back to winning ways with a 6-2 victory over Bristol Rovers at Copnor Road.

Leon Maloney (pictured) opened the scoring after collecting a long pass from Ethan Robb and spinning his man.

And the striker soon doubled the advantage, meeting a cross from Stan Bridgman and finding the net with a header.

It was Bridgman who added a third for the hosts following a driving run, with Rovers netting either side of that through Harry Warwick and Jamie Bremner.

The Blues were totally dominant after the break and Oscar Johnston teed-up Josh Flint to restore the two-goal advantage.

Substitute Harrison Brook beat a defender to add a fifth, while Alfie Stanley swept home Liam Kelly’s cross to wrap up a convincing triumph.

Academy manager Mark Kelly said: “After the heavy defeat to Bournemouth the previous Saturday, we spoke to the players about managing things better.

“It’s been a hectic programme – with the under-23 games meaning many of them are playing twice a week – and they’re still learning to cope with that, particularly the first years.

"We told them to open things up a bit more during the break and that’s exactly what we did to take total control."

Mark Kelly

“We’ve now got the Hampshire Cup match on Wednesday and then another league fixture on the Saturday, but it’s giving the boys plenty of minutes and exposing them to what senior football is like.

“It’s important to deal with the mental pressures and we’ve been working on the training ground about making a more vibrant start to games.

“So it was pleasing to see Leon put us two goals up very early. We got a bit sloppy and didn’t defend a corner properly, which allowed Bristol Rovers to score when they didn’t look in the contest.

“They got another before the break to make it 3-2. It was offside, but we shouldn’t have been trying to play for that.

“We told them to open things up a bit more during the break and that’s exactly what we did to take total control with some impressive finishing.

“There are still things to for us to work on defensively going forward, but the application and attitude has been spot on in every game so far.”

Pompey: Pitman; Bruce (Mnoga 55), Dandy, Robb, Flint; Johnston, Bridgman, Read, Whiting (Brook 31); Stanley, Maloney (Kelly 46)

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