Pompey Academy took another step to finishing the season towards the top of the Football League Youth Alliance with a 1-1 draw with Stevenage at Broadhall Way this morning.
From the start, the Blues looked by far the better of the sides but it was the hosts who took the lead with a highly-controversial penalty on 10 minutes, Joe N’Guessan stepping up to beat keeper Lewis Ward from the spot.
Soon after the restart, though, the young Blues were awarded a penalty themselves which was also contested by a heated Stevenage rearguard but Bradley Tarbuck kept his cool to fire into the corner of the net for an equaliser.
As Pompey turned up the heat, a fine move started at the back with a Harry Medway clearance eventually fell into the path of George Branford who brought a flying save from Stevenage keeper Cameron Clarke.
Thanks to another highly-disciplined display, Paul Hardyman’s Fratton hopefuls continued to dominate and although they went in at the interval with the scoreline level, everything pointed to an entertaining second half.
But Stevenage also eyed taking three points and Ward did well to keep out a goalbound shot from N’Guessan, before Pompey responded with a tame Tarbuck finish that was followed up by keeper Clarke saving well from striker Lewis Horsburgh.
A number of bizarre refereeing decisions tended to spoil an absorbing contest that Pompey just about edged, though they had to settle for a share of the points and prepare themselves for a return to winning ways when Dagenham & Redbridge travel south to Westleigh Park next weekend.
Stevenage Academy: Clarke, Morrell, Joseph, Allen, Crilley, Timosi, Towler, Gordon, Casey, Pampas, N’Guesson. Subs: Horlock, Udoi, Greenbake, Cursons, Parsons.
Pompey Academy: Ward, Medway, Triggs, Awford, Warren, Whatmough, Maloney, Branford, Horsburgh, Close, Tarbuck. Subs: Chaplin, Haunstrap, Kim.