Pompey 2 Reading under-23s 2 (3-4 on penalties): Gaffer for a day

Steve Tovey, 57, from Fareham, gives his take on the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Reading under-23s.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 10:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:23 pm
A post-war record low crowd of 1,355 saw Pompey and Reading under-23s battle it out in the Checkatrade Trophy at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler

You sound a bit grumpy, did you not enjoy that?

Not particularly. The first half was a waste of time, a real blank piece of paper in which we didn’t do anything.

The second sparked into life when we scored a goal after Gareth Evans had got us going by making a run and a cross to set up Curtis Main.

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I was never going to be particularly fussed about the result, all that matters is Saturday at Leyton Orient.

Which players stood out for you?

I thought Matt Clarke did really well, especially up against Joseph Mendes.

Everyone in football rates Mendes, he is involved in Reading’s first-team at the moment and represented them on Saturday.

However, Clarke had a superb all-round performance and really impressed me.

Curtis Main’s finishing was good but I don’t rate his all-round game, he clearly is solely a finisher.

That was a great ball from Kyle Bennett for the second goal, a typical Bennett assist when being himself, although he seemed to be arguing with Milan Lalkovic over corners and goals.

What did you make of the crowd?

There were a hell of a lot of kids paying on the night, they were aged around 14 and taking advantage of the discounts.

I thought there would be 500 walking up, taking the crowd to around 1,100. I never believed it would be as much as 1,355.

Typically, people have all that time to buy tickets, the club decides to close the booths and then people moan they have to queue to get seats!

The attendance summed up the competition – a farce.

And the bonus of a penalty shoot-out?

Well, that said it all. One of their players disappeared down the tunnel at the final whistle because he didn’t realise that was going to happen!

Gaffer ratings:

Liam O’Brien 8

Adam Buxton (Gareth Evans 7) 7

Jack Whatmough 7

Matt Clarke 8

Brandon Haunstrup 6

Milan Lalkovic 6

Ben Close 6

Amine Linganzi 6

Kyle Bennett 7

Curtis Main 8

Michael Smith 6