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Hudson: We Were Second Best

Academy coach reflects on FA Youth Cup exit

31 October 2023

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Pompey in FA Youth Cup action at Eastleigh
Photo: Graham Scambler

Sam Hudson lamented a ‘careless’ performance from his Pompey Academy side in the FA Youth Cup at Eastleigh.

A 2-1 defeat on a rain-soaked evening along the M27 ensured that the young Blues fell at the first hurdle.

Sam Godfroy and Lewis Colvin struck either side of the break for the hosts, with Maxwell Hurst’s stoppage-time header no more than a consolation.

And Hudson admitted that his side were just not good enough to hurt their opponents in the final third.

Pompey’s lead professional development phase coach said: “It’s extremely disappointing to be knocked out in the first round.

“For the majority of the game, we were second best in a lot of areas and that’s what is particularly frustrating.

“We were quite careless with the ball and inaccurate in our passing. There wasn’t too much rhythm and our positioning wasn’t great.

“They were getting in the way of each other at times and some of the basics of movement just weren’t there.

"If you’re not good in possession and don’t show fight or resilience, then it’s going to be difficult to beat anyone."

Sam Hudson

“Our press, our intensity, our running and our duels – which we pride ourselves on – were lacking for the first half and the start of the second. It’s unlike us.

“If you’re not good in possession and don’t show fight or resilience, then it’s going to be difficult to beat anyone.

“Eastleigh were well organised without the ball. They had two shots before the break and went in 1-0 up.

“Meanwhile, we had more than 40 penalty area entries and it just wasn’t falling for us. We didn’t have an edge in the final third.

“The only small positive I can pull from the evening is that Mitch Aston was the best player on the pitch and led with his performance.

“He didn’t hide at any point and is probably the only one from our side who leaves with credit. He can hold his head high.

“We’ve got three more cup competitions that we’re in, so there’s a chance to right some wrongs, but this is the most prestigious and it’s frustrating to be out so early.”

There was more bad news for Pompey, as Harvey Laidlaw limped off the pitch after the final whistle following a strong challenge.

Hudson said: “I went over at the end and it didn’t look great at first glance. His crossing was fantastic for the final 20 minutes, so hopefully it’s not too serious.”

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