A game like no other.
That was Mikey Harris’ verdict on Pompey Academy’s astonishing 6-5 defeat at Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
The Blues’ under-18s threw away their lead on three separate occasions to lose an 11-goal Youth Alliance League south-west division thriller at the Robins.
Harvey Bradbury’s double, and goals from Jez Bedford, Tommy Scutt and Dan Smith looked to have given the visitors a memorable three-point haul with the clock ticking down in Gloucestershire.
But two late goals from the hosts left stunned Pompey licking their wounds on the return journey south.
‘It wasn’t like any game I have ever seen – I’ve never experienced anything like it in football,’ said coach Harris.
‘You get a myriad of different situations in the game but that was certainly a new one on me.
‘To go away and score five goals and lose, especially given the fact we were 5-4 up with 87 minutes on the clock, beggars belief.
‘All we can do, though, is learn from it.
‘The boys have watched the game back, reviewed it and looked at different things.
‘All they can do is learn from the experience.
‘They can take massive confidence into the next game, though, in the way they played with the ball and the goals we scored.
‘There were some good individual performances, it was just a really weird scenario in all honesty.’
Harris pinpointed the Blues’ play in between the two boxes as a positve, although his side’s defending left a lot to be desired.
He said: ‘Quite simply, we were excellent with the ball and created a lot of chances and scored some good goals.
‘Cheltenham, to be fair, scored a couple of good goals but the rest from our point of view were absolutely preventable.
‘It was disappointing for us to concede those goals.
‘Defensively we were very poor.
‘But between both boxes we dominated the ball and possession.
‘You certainly don’t expect to score five and come away with nothing.
‘The game, though, is won or lost in both boxes and on the day they were better than us in those areas.’
Next up for Pompey is a trip to Newport County on Saturday (11.30am).
Harris added: ‘It’s another opportunity for the boys to go and express themselves out there.
‘It will be interesting to see how we defend as a team and how we respond to this week’s work.
‘There are some consistent performers playing well individually at the moment and we hope that continues at the weekend.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN