Ten-man Pompey Academy booked their place in the second round of the FA Youth Cup following an entertaining 5-0 victory over Eastleigh at Fratton Park tonight.
Mikey Harris’ under-18s looked to be making light work of their non-league neighbours when they raced into a 2-0 lead in the opening half-hour through Sam Woodward’s well-taken opener and Tommy Scutt’s cool penalty.
But Blues defender Ousman Saidy saw red for a reckless challenge 10 minutes before the break in a flashpoint that threatened to change the dynamic of the game.
It failed to prove costly, though, as the hardworking hosts – indebted to a fine save from Nick Hall to preserve their two-goal lead – regrouped superbly, with Woodward putting the game beyond the Spitfires with his second of the night at the start of the second half.
Skipper Theo Widdrington then came close to a fourth when his close-range header came back off the upright, before Hall performed more heroics to protect his clean sheet, superbly foiling visiting midfielder Dylan Kirkwood.
Instead it was left to Blues attacker Jez Bedford to put the gloss on an impressive win, firing home off the underside of the crossbar 20 minutes from time, before grabbing his second with a low strike into the bottom corner of the net with three minutes left on the clock.
And that proved to be that as a crowd of 758 saw the hosts close out proceedings with the minimum of fuss to enter the hat for next week’s second-round draw.
Pompey Academy: Hall; Chandler (Brooks 72), Wakley, Saidy, McDowell; Widdrington, Read (Smith 65), Scutt; Bedford, Woodward (Mayes 72); Bradbury
Substitutes: Collins, Casey