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Academy

Young Blues Beaten In Merit League Opener

Academy let lead slip against Gillingham

26 February 2023

Pompey Academy
Photo: Jason Brown
Academy

Young Blues Beaten In Merit League Opener

Academy let lead slip against Gillingham

26 February 2023

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Pompey Academy began their Merit League campaign with a 3-2 defeat to Gillingham at Copnor Road.

They had recovered from conceding an early goal to level through Adam Payce, with Destiny Ojo then finding the net shortly after the interval.

But the visitors hit back to level and then managed to score again at the death to secure all three points.

Assistant professional development phase coach Sam Hudson said: “We wanted to make a good start in the new league, but unfortunately fell behind after just two minutes because of an individual mistake.

“That was less than ideal, but the group rallied and we were the better team for the remainder of the first half.

“The equaliser was well-worked and Adam probably made it harder than it could have been, but was able to work the ball onto his left foot and then finished nicely.

“He really deserved that for his efforts on and off the ball throughout the time that he was on the pitch.

“There was another goal that was disallowed and a few other chances, while Gillingham didn’t create anything more.

"Although the first two-thirds of the match were incredibly positive, it ended up being a disappointing start to the Merit League."

Sam Hudson

“So we were pleased with how we were playing and the message at the break was to keep up those levels, while being more patient in possession.

“We looked a far better footballing side than our opponents and wanted to use that to our advantage a bit more.

“A close-range finish from Destiny gave us the lead early in the second half and that was pleasing because it was his first 90 minutes for almost 10 months after suffering a leg break.

“He partnered well with Sam Folarin up front. They ran and pressed, pinning the defence back and causing problems.

“But another individual error allowed Gillingham to equalise and it’s a good lesson for the boys because the higher level you play, the more your mistakes get punished.

“It seemed to affect the group during the final 30 minutes and we didn’t really create anything. We didn’t look like ourselves.

“I think the goal knocked it out of us and that period was summed up by us conceding again with almost the last kick of the game.

“So although the first two-thirds of the match were incredibly positive, it ended up being a disappointing start to the Merit League and those fine margins were highlighted.”

Pompey: Smith; Quarm, Bosaka, Fox, Laidlaw; Mottoh (Kamavuako 82), Payce (Staight 76), Aston, Trialist (Howell 82); Ojo, Folarin (Hurst 71)


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