Mikey Harris spoke of his delight after his Pompey Academy youngsters saw off Gillingham in extra-time to progress into the FA Youth Cup second round.
A double from skipper Matt Mayes gave the Blues a 2-1 win at the Priestfield Stadium last night.
The decisive moment arrived in the 103rd minute – amid tired limbs and players cramping up.
It booked Pompey a home fixture with Lewes in the second round, with a date yet to be decided.
And under-18s coach Harris was pleased with how his side fared against their testing opponents.
He said: ‘On balance, I thought it was a very tight game and we probably deserved it.
‘It was a great response from the boys after not the best of starts going behind so early on.
‘The lads showed their character throughout the game to dig in against a strong Gillingham side who gave us problems, worked very hard and epitomised their coach (Mark Patterson), who we know very well.
‘We knew it was going to be a tough game.
‘I’m just delighted we came out on the right side of it.
‘To be honest, I don’t think our decision making was great.
‘It could have been a lot, lot better and that is something we have to work on.
‘Also our lads kept cramping up, the occasion of the FA Youth Cup really gets to the boys.
‘There is a lot of nervous energy and excitement in the build up and that has an impact physically.
‘Luckily, we managed to keep enough players on the pitch most of the time to see it through.
‘The main thing about these games is getting through – and we did just that.’
– NEIL ALLEN