Mikey Harris believes Pompey Academy’s 3-3 draw with Swindon was a great learning curve for the team.
It was a rip-roaring contest with both teams playing some slick attacking football.
Conor Chaplin scored twice and also missed a penalty for Pompey.
Brandon Haunstrup netted the other goal with a precise free-kick.
Pompey fought back from 3-1 down to draw the match and Swindon were reduced to 10 players due to a red card, while they were perhaps fortunate not to go down to nine men.
With momentum completely with the Blues in the latter stages, it was a game the players felt they probably should have won.
But for coach Harris it was a brilliant exercise for his team and he felt they would have benefited enormously from the contest.
‘A lot of learning went on,’ said Harris.
‘What we want from players is progression as individuals.
‘That’s what we need because we are looking to progress players through to Andy Awford’s first team.
‘Individual development was there for almost everyone.
‘The lads will be disappointed they haven’t won the game.
‘But it is more about their development and there were plenty of positives.
‘They showed a lot of character and resilience to get back in the game.’
It’s been a busy schedule for the players this season.
Some of the Academy youngsters have been regularly lining up for the reserve team.
They were given a break this week with the rain forcing the midweek clash with Cambridge to be postponed.
Harris has also been able to bring through some of the under-16s.
Both Chad Field and Calvin Davis were rested from the Academy team at Swindon after playing lots of reserve football this season.
That meant a call-up for under-16 player Ousman Saidy who was given a start on Saturday.
Harris reckons it is a system that is working very well for the Blues this season so far, ensuring his players are kept fresh.
‘A few of the lads have stepped up to playing regularly for the reserves,’ said Harris.
‘Chad Field and Calvin Davis have been and we were able to give them a rest.
‘That gave the opportunity for Ousman Saidy to come up from the under-16s. It’s all very positive.
‘That’s what we are trying to do – push the youth team players up to reserves football and the under-16s up to the youth team.
‘That’s the challenge and it is a difficult challenge for them.
‘But we will give them plenty of support to help develop them as fast as we can.’