Fightback comes too late for young Blues at United

Pompey boss praise for riding out defensive storm

Pompey Academy came close to a thrilling upset but ultimately went down 3-2 at Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup last night.

It was far from the one-sided contest many would have predicted at Altrincham's Moss Lane.

And if the match had continued any longer Pompey may just have snatched an equaliser, after two goals from Aussie Ryan Williams in the last 10 minutes.

As it was the Reds looked decidedly relieved at the final whistle, with coach Ian Buckman's Blues thoroughly deserving their share of the appreciation from the crowd.

United took the lead when midfielder Paul Pogba let fly with a blistering drive from 35 yards that sizzled into the roof of the net.

The goal lifted United but the Pompey defence – in particular Dan Bennett and Sam Magri – battled to the keep the score down.

But disaster struck after the break as keeper Tom Fry somehow managed to punch the ball into his own net and Pompey were suddenly in big trouble.

With Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton watching on, impressive striker William Keane made it three on the hour.

Keane then had a goal ruled out, as did Gyliano Van Velzen, who was ordered to retake a penalty, after Magri upended Keane in the area.

Several United players encroached in the area as Keane's effort crashed into the back of the net and they were punished when Fry saved the second effort.

Pompey stormed back and Alex Grant and Dan Butler created the first for Williams, before a fine solo second had the hosts creaking.

Sadly, the rally came too late for Pompey.

Buckman hailed his troops. He said: 'Everyone of them have done themselves and the club proud.

'The way they hung in there and battled away, says much about their character.

Pompey clash with Arsenal in the league at the weekend.