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Academy

Academy Battle Back Against Grecians

Young Blues draw 3-3 at Exeter

12 November 2023

Mitch Aston
Academy

Academy Battle Back Against Grecians

Young Blues draw 3-3 at Exeter

12 November 2023

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Pompey Academy fought from behind to draw 3-3 at Exeter in a thrilling Youth Alliance League contest.

They controlled the first half and deservedly took the lead when Mitch Aston (pictured) sent a free-kick into the top corner.

But the hosts hit back after the interval, with Theo Cutler and Tom Dean handing them the advantage before Cutler added another from the spot.

The young Blues recovered from that setback, however, and Luke Staight converted Brian Quarm’s cross with a diving header.

They kept pouring forward and grabbed a late equaliser when Sam Folarin combined with Connor May before firing home.

Lead professional development phase coach Sam Hudson said: “We dominated the first half and took the lead through a fantastic free-kick from Mitch.

“We defended high up the pitch and didn’t press as aggressively as we sometimes do, instead focusing on being compact in the middle.

“That came about through Michael Doyle and our analyst Jack identifying how Exeter like to build, so we came up with a strategy to deal with that.

"We were pleased with where we were, but for whatever reason, there was a 20-minute period where we stopped doing a lot of the good things we’d seen before the break."

Sam Hudson

“The lads delivered that superbly in the first half and the only thing we were really lacking was a second goal.

“We were pleased with where we were, but for whatever reason, there was a 20-minute period where we stopped doing a lot of the good things we’d seen before the break.

“Spaces suddenly appeared for Exeter and they scored three goals in that period – despite only having four efforts on target throughout the whole game.

“That’s disappointing because it’s not the first time when we’ve dominated for long periods and not capitalised on that, while our opponents have been more clinical.

“We then have to get after them and press higher, which meant that everything became a lot more chaotic.

“But we still managed to work lots of final third entries and got the two goals that drew us level, while we could have won it with a bit more composure.

“Ultimately, it was a fantastic first half followed by a sloppy period that saw us undo all that hard work and quality.

“We’ve come from behind on a number of times this season, though, and that shows a real strength of character. We just don’t want to put ourselves in that position in the first place.”

Pompey: Smith; Quarm, Howard (Sizer 39), Buckland, Mullins; Aston; Staight, Keteku (May 62); Murray; Folarin, Whitelock (Hurst 46)


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