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Young Blues Exit FA Youth Cup At Cheltenham

Pompey suffer 8-3 defeat in second round

13 November 2019

Pompey Academy
Photo: Colin Farmery

Pompey Academy exited the FA Youth Cup after suffering an 8-4 defeat to Cheltenham in the second round.

It looked like Arsenal would be heading to Fratton Park, with goals from Harrison Brook, Alfie Stanley and Harry Anderson giving the Blues a 3-1 lead at Whaddon Road.

But the Robins hit back, with Callum Ebanks’ notching four goals and Charlie Stanton adding a brace, while Toby Lawrence and Aaron Evans-Harriott also found the target.

Both sides rattled the woodwork and the keepers made some fine saves on an eventful evening that finished with Charlie Bell’s consolation strike at the death.

The rain was falling heavily as the sides emerged from the tunnel on a bitterly cold night in Gloucestershire.

But it did not seem to bother the visitors, who quickly began to dominate and looked threatening every time they ventured forward.

It was Cheltenham who had the first clear-cut chance to break the deadlock, however, and Liam Kelly was forced to clear Ebanks’ angled effort against his own crossbar.

Pompey did then get the goal their early play had warranted midway through the first half, courtesy of a clever free-kick from Gerard Storey.

The midfielder slipped a neat pass through to BROOK, who made no mistake with a cool finish that was lifted over keeper Freddie Lapworth and into the net.

But the Robins grabbed an almost immediate leveller, with Ebanks sending a neat finish past a helpless Leon Pitman.

The Blues tried to hit back and it took a decent save from Lapworth to keep out Stan Bridgman’s header.

They did restore their advantage on 31 minutes, though, when Harvey Rew’s fine delivery was nodded home by STANLEY.

Pompey were threatening to run riot and Lapworth saved Stanley’s fine drive before palming behind Bell’s curler from the edge of the box.

But he could do nothing to deny ANDERSON from point-blank range soon after, with the striker quickest to react after Stanley had been unable to convert Harry Kavanagh’s cross.

The visitors appeared to be cruising, only for Cheltenham to score three times in quick succession before the break.

A close-range finish from Ebanks reduced their deficit, with the tricky forward then stealing possession from Ethan Robb and squaring for Stanton to level.

Pitman made two superb saves to deny Stanton in stoppage-time, but the Robins took the lead through Toby Lawrence’s header.

Half Time: Cheltenham 4 Pompey 3

Pompey took some time to regain their composure when the action restarted, although the tricky conditions were not helping either side.

But Cheltenham were able to strengthen their lead on 52 minutes, with Ebanks swivelling inside the box and slamming the ball home to complete his treble.

A period of pressure at the opposite end led to Bell’s shot being deflected just past the post, although the flag had already been raised for offside.

The hosts were looking dangerous themselves, though, and Rew cleared from the line to deny Aaron Basford following a mazy run.

But the danger was not over and the full-back stayed where he was to hack away a follow-up attempt from Ebanks.

Pitman then did well to deny Basford, but was unable to keep out Stanton’s header from the resulting corner.

It looked like Stan Bridgman’s chip would bring the Blues back into the contest, but with Lapworth rooted to the spot, the ball came back off the post.

Cheltenham also hit the woodwork moments later, with a thunderbolt from skipper Tom Chamberlain leaving the crossbar shaking.

Brook then forced a save from Lapworth at the other end after Kavanagh had done well to keep the ball in play and send it into the box.

But it was the hosts who were more clinical, as Evans-Harriott neatly found the bottom corner, before Ebanks slotted home his fourth of the night late on.

Lapworth then denied both Kavanagh and Stanley in stoppage-time before BELL fired in a consolation in the dying seconds.

Cheltenham (4-4-2): Lapworth; Jakeways, Horton, T.Lawrence, I.Lawrence (Hunt 67); Basford, Chamberlain (c), Woodall (Aldridge 74), Evans-Harriott; Stanton, Ebanks (Skurek 90+1)
Goals: Ebanks 26, 41, 52, 89, Stanton 44, 61, T.Lawrence 45+2, Evans-Harriott 83
Booked: Basford
Subs not used: Paterson, Marszalek, Bedford, Atwell

Pompey (4-4-2): Pitman; Kavanagh (c), Robb, Kelly, Rew; Bell, S.Bridgman (Lee 68), Storey, Brook; Stanley, Anderson
Goals: Brook 24, Stanley 31, Anderson 39, Bell 90+5
Subs not used: Manderson, A.Bridgman, Hughes, Jewitt-White

Referee: Shane Mansfield

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