Latest Maloney debutant creates Portsmouth history

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Leon Maloney is Pompey’s latest home-grown debutant.

And by following in the footsteps of brother Jack, they represent the only siblings to have represented the Blues’ first-team during the post-war era.

Leon Maloney made his Pompey debut against Southend on Tuesday night. Picture: Joe Pepler

Leon Maloney made his Pompey debut against Southend on Tuesday night. Picture: Joe Pepler

Hailing from the Isle of Wight, second-year scholar Leon replaced Bradley Lethbridge in the 54th minute of the Checkatrade Trophy victory at Southend.

He joined Academy graduate Dan Smith in making Pompey bows during Tuesday night’s 2-0 success which ensured progress into the competition’s quarter-finals.

Aged 17 years, seven months and seven years, Leon has accompanied Academy team-mates Lethbridge, Haji Mnoga and Freddie Read into the Blues’ first-team this season.

Meanwhile, it’s another notable achievement for the Maloney family, which are based in Ryde.

Jack Maloney featured 11 times for Pompey. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Jack Maloney featured 11 times for Pompey. Picture: Allan Hutchings

Older brother Jack made 11 first-team appearances for Pompey before his release in March 2015.

The left-winger was a month older than his brother when lining-up at Plymouth in the Capital One Cup in August 2012.

Michael Appleton’s youthful side also contained debutants Jed Wallace, Dan Butler, Sam Magri and George Colson, with Jack Whatmough an unused substitute.

Jack Maloney went on to make 10 appearances during that 2012-13 League One campaign, including starting a 1-0 Fratton Park win over Tranmere in April 2013.

His final outing ironically arrived against Southend – as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat in November 2013.

Later representing Bognor and Salisbury, Jack is presently with Wessex League premier division side Horndean, where he plays alongside another Maloney brother – Josh.

Leon has been on the Blues’ books since the age of nine and in November featured once for Bognor during a brief loan spell.

Having occupied Pompey’s bench as an unused substitute against Arsenal under-21s last month, he was finally handed a first-team opportunity on Tuesday night.

Previously, the last brothers to represent the Blues were Jack and Willie Smith in the 1930s.

The pair even lined-up in the same team for the 1934 FA Cup final against Manchester City, which ended in a 2-1 defeat.

Hailing from Whitburn, in Scotland, the Smith brothers spent six seasons as team-mates for Pompey’s first-team.

Jack, an inside-right, featured 289 times, scoring 68 goals, before moving to Bournemouth in March 1935.

Left-back Willie, younger by 11 years, was sold to Stockport County in July 1938 following 335 outings and two goals.

Meanwhile, during the 1923-24 campaign, right-half Arthur Foxall joined brother Harry in Pompey’s team against Hull.

The Blues lost 5-0 – and it proved to Arthur’s final match.

Harry went on to make 166 appearances, scoring 10 times, while skippered the side which won promotion to Division One in 1927.