Pompey Amputee’s delight despite first defeat

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Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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PORTSMOUTH Amputee FC have made history after playing their first-ever match.

And despite a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, the newly-formed club are optimistic for the future.

Earlier this month the team were invited to play London Amputee FC for what was a maiden competitive fixture.

England amputee international Spike Westbrook was in Pompey’s ranks, along with Mike Beal, Karl Ives, George McNamara, Chris Waller, Nolan Dickman and 14-year-old Che Gray.

The visitors subsequently fell to a 3-1 defeat, with Fareham’s Gray netting the consolation at the Premier League ground.

However, Pompey in the Community disability development coordinator Mike Pink was delighted with how they fared and he is keen for the side to be involved in more fixtures.

He said: ‘It was incredible. The facilities were unbelievable, the pitch we played on was great and the tour of the stadium was a nice touch as well.

‘The match was a brilliant experience, a great day. The players were so exited about it, they played really well, and considering it was their first game they put in a really good performance.

‘Some of these players have only been playing for a couple of months, so for them to compete and give London Amputee a good game was a credit to the team.

‘The goal was the icing on the cake because we were playing really well at 2-0 down and thinking to cap this day off it would be brilliant if we could score a goal and experience that feeling.

‘When it happened people were going crazy – the subs ran onto the pitch and joined in with the celebrations.’

Pompey found themselves 2-0 down in the opening third, but Gray reduced the deficit when he turned in a shot after his first attempt was blocked.

However, the experienced London Amps ran out 3-1 winners in the end from a match the visitors took plenty of heart from.

Pink added: ‘We’ve been training once a week for a couple of months.

‘London Amps invited us so it gave us our first opportunity to play as a team in a friendly match against a side who has been playing for a few seasons.

‘Last season there were four teams competing in the league and they’d meet up four occasions a year and play each other once.

‘What we are looking to do is to become the fifth team.

‘A lot of the time I’m learning on my feet and talking to the players because I’ve never played football on crunches before, so I always ask them for guidance.

‘I’m so glad I got involved because they’re brilliant people, very keen and great to work with.

‘We are looking forward to putting on more sessions and improving our skills before going into the league.’