POMPEY ACADEMY’s unbeaten start to the Youth Alliance League south west division came to an end today with a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at home to Plymouth.
That’s after Pilgrims substitute Jason Vincent nodded home from a late corner to consign the league leaders to a first loss of the new season.
Things looked to have been going the way of Mikey Harris’ side, though, when they survived a poor first-half display to lead through Brandon Joseph-Buadi’s cool finish after the restart.
But an immediate response from the visitors was fashioned in the form of a crisp Alex Battle strike, before they provided a late sting in the tale.
Having hit Pompey on the counter attack, a corner-kick found the head of sub Vincent who rose highest to nod past Blues stopper Jack Collins.
The result was harsh on the home side and young keeper Collins in particular.
Called into action from a lower -age group by virtue of the fact that regular goalkeeper Alex Bass was on the first-team’s bench at Oxford this afternoon, Collins was the star of the first half.
Plymouth striker Alex Fletcher led the line well for the visitors but was unable to beat Collins from close range as the youngster expertly denied the front man an opening goal.
That followed a smart stop from Jack Calver’s free-kick for the visitors.
Pompey were second best but as is so often the case in football, they had a glorious chance to lead at the interval, only for Liam Sayers to fire over the crossbar when clean through on goal.
That appeared to matter little when Joseph-Buadi put the vastly-improved hosts ahead straight after the restart.
That lead was wiped out immediately, though, when Battle pounced to fire a smart reply.
From then on it was all Pompey as the hosts went close through Sayers, Adam May and Kyle McDowell – all denied by Pilgrims stopper Mike Cooper.
And with the game looking all set to end in a draw, up popped Vincent at the death to end the Blues’ unbeaten start to the campaign.
POMPEY ACADEMY: Collins, Davies, Saidy, Yates, McDowell, May, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joseph-Buadi (Bradbury, 78), Scutt (Bedford, 56), Haitham (Widdrington, 66), Sayers