POMPEY ACADEMY paid the ultimate price for missed chances as they fell to a late Youth Alliance South-West League 2-1 defeat against Plymouth at Furze Lane.
That’s the view of Academy boss Mark Kelly, who watched on in frustration as the Pilgrims performed a smash-and-grab job at the weekend.
Conor Chaplin’s second-half strike looked to have put a dominant Blues side on their way to a first three points of the season.
But a hatful of missed chances later and the visitors had levelled from a corner, before stealing all three points through a volleyed effort at the death.
Kelly said: ‘We dominated the game.
‘Plymouth had one shot in free play and during the 90 minutes we probably had 10-15 really good chances – it was that many.
‘But the further the game went on and we hadn’t killed it off, Plymouth changed the way they went about it.
‘They went to a 4-2-4 formation and started to hit everything long.
‘We had to soak up a little bit of pressure but unfortunately, after negating everything they’d thrown our way, we switched off from a corner and that drew it to 1-1.
‘The boys were still pushing to go and get the winner and we had another four or five good chances to score again after that.
‘But their goalkeeper pulled off a couple of good saves and we didn’t really have that killer instinct in the final third.
‘They went down the other end late on and it was a set-piece in the box that their lad struck in.’
Despite the setback, which means the Blues have registered one point from their opening two league fixtures – following an entertaining 3-3 draw with Bristol Rovers – Kelly was satisfied with large elements of his team’s play.
He said: ‘It’s a learning curve and there’s a bit of game management and understanding that we have to pick up on.
‘But as for absolutely controlling the game and working the way we did, I can’t fault too much of that.
‘We’ve just got to learn that, like everything, if we don’t take opportunities when we get into good areas to go and win games, anything can happen.
‘And unfortunately, that’s what happened.
POMPEY ACADEMY: Bass (George); Widdrington (Haitham), Granger, Nilsen, McDowell; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rwakarambwe; Joseph-Buadi (Sayers), May, Chaplin; Gill
n Pompey Academy are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they host Gillingham in the Youth Alliance Cup at Furze Lane (2pm).