Goal threat earns Academy praise

Liam Sayers. Picture: Colin Farmery
Liam Sayers. Picture: Colin Farmery
Pompey's Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

Evans: Player talk has lifted Pompey form

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POMPEY’S Academy saw their losing run stretched to four games – and then found themselves praised for their efforts.

The under-18 side were on the wrong end of a 4-3 defeat at Exeter on Saturday in a nail-biting clash in Devon.

Mikey Harris

We threw the kitchen sink at Exeter.

That continued a disappointing run for the side as their results stutter in the Youth Alliance South-West League.

But their latest loss fails to tell the story of game full of incident which could easily have gone the other way.

And coach Mikey Harris feels the side warranted credit for their performance against the Grecians.

A lack of cutting edge has had too much to do with their downturn in results – with one goal arriving in the past three games.

They found the back of the net three times against Exeter, however, as they carved out a host of chances.

Harris admitted there has been times when positive results have been secured this season, but he’s been left disappointed by the team’s display.

The boot was firmly on the other this time around.

Harris said: ‘Credit to the boys.

‘They created a number of chances and I cannot fault their work-rate or desire.

‘We threw the kitchen sink at Exeter.

‘It was like the recent first-team game between the sides. They defended well and got blocks in.

‘It wasn’t to be for us but both teams deserved credit, and it was a great game to be involved in.

‘I wasn’t disappointed afterwards.

‘We’ve struggled of late to be clinical and take chances. We’ve been lacklustre in the final third.

‘We worked on trying to get into dangerous situations in the final third, create chances and score goals.

‘We scored three goals, so there’s the bigger picture to think about.’

Pompey found themselves a goal behind early on from poor defending before a slip from Alex Bass gifted the Grecians a second.

The Blues carved out a number of chances before Kaleem Haitham reduced the arrears.

A controversial third, which was offside, restored Exeter’s two-goal advantage.

Brandon Joseph-Buadi made it 3-2 and Liam Sayers levelled before poor marking allowed Exeter to take the win with 20 minutes left.

Harris said: ‘The emphasis is on performance with the lads but losing four games at any level is not good.

‘There’s a bit of pressure to get a result. We didn’t get a result – but we got a response from the lads.’