Pompey Academy draw controversial clash with Plymouth

Tommy Scutt, right, was on target as Pompey Academy earned a 1-1 Merit League One draw against Plymouth   Picture: Neil Marshall
Tommy Scutt, right, was on target as Pompey Academy earned a 1-1 Merit League One draw against Plymouth Picture: Neil Marshall
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Jamal Lowe. Picture: Mark Robinson

Pompey v Blackpool: pre-match talking points

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Pompey Academy stretched their unbeaten Merit League One division run to four games with an incident-packed 1-1 draw at home to Plymouth earlier today.

The Blues were behind at the break in controversial circumstances as defender Theo Widdrington was adjudged to have handled an indirect free-kick inside his area.

While Widdrington protested his innocence, the actual award of the free-kick itself was still being fiercely debated, as the referee deemed Pompey keeper Nick Hall to have held onto the ball for too long while taking a routine goal-kick.

When the protestations eventually subsided, the visitors coolly converted from 12 yards to take a contentious lead.

Five minutes after the restart, though, the Blues were level – thanks to a goal of high quality.

Jez Bedford’s crossfield pass found Liam Sayers in space on the right and his direct run and cross from the byline was on a plate for the arriving Tommy Scutt.

The versatile midfielder gratefully accepted the gift with a neat, flicked header that nestled into the far top corner.

With the game an open affair as both sides sought the match-winning strike, it was visitors Plymouth who had a glorious chance to seal the points late on.

A second penalty went the way of the visitors when central defender Ousman Saidy was adjudged to have felled his man.

But this time, Hall read the mind of the Pilgrims striker and was down low in the centre of his goal to repel the effort.

The hosts could have then won it themselves in stoppage-time, when substitute Dan Smith fired narrowly wide.

Regardless, Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly was pleased with the character on display.

He said: ‘The conditions were horrible and I didn’t think the referee’s decisions were brilliant.

‘In the second half we showed character, put pressure on them and scored a really good goal.

‘Work rate and commitment was great but perhaps we needed to just be a little more clinical.

‘I was pleased for Nick, sometimes goalkeepers are called upon and he saved the second penalty very well.’

POMPEY ACADEMY: Hall, Widdrington, Wakley, Saidy, McDowell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, May, Haitham, Scutt, Bedford (White 87), Sayers