POMPEY ACADEMY’S character has been saluted as they signed off from 2017 with victory.
A late goal from Bradley Lethbridge ensured a young under-18’s side delivered three points from their trip to Newport County.
That arrived in the same week as the team turning out at Fratton Park in their extra-time FA Youth Cup defeat to Leicester.
A decent attitude was shown as the team returned to Youth Alliance League action and a trip to Wales.
The side included schoolboys Harry Kavanagh and Haji Mnoga along with seven first-year scholars.
But they dug in against the Exiles and were rewarded as Lethbridge grabbed the only goal of the game in stoppage time.
Academy head of coaching, Shaun North, said: ‘They did really well and it was a real pleasing performance.
‘It was a very cold and very poor pitch in a school.
‘After the environment of playing in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night and playing so well, the character was absolutely first class.
‘It would’ve been dead easy to leave at 7am and the players to feel sorry for themselves.
‘They didn’t though, they went and rolled their sleeves up and deserved the 1-0 win.
‘They trained well when it was freezing cold at the university on Thursday.
‘We told them the youth cup’s over now. We can say well done but we have to move on.
‘To be fair to them their attitude and character was first class.’
North explained Pompey have sent all their second-year scholars out on work experience to pick up game time over the Christmas period.
Jack Collins and Jordan Brooks have joined Wessex League side Alton Town as they search for senior minutes.
Matt Mayes has joined Gosport, but has been frustrated by their past two games being postponed.
Matt Casey and Dan Smith are to follow the striker, after their involvement with the first-team set-up.
North feels picking up some minutes is important for the players with the next under-18 game not until they go to Swindon on January 6.
He said: ‘The second years are all going out loan.
‘Jordan Brooks and Jack Chandler are going to do some work experience at Alton Town.
‘Mayes, Smith and Casey are with Gosport on work experience, too. We feel it’s important for them.’
Pompey will send an under-17 team to face Cheltenham on Saturday. The squad for the friendly is set to be made up of schoolboys and first-year scholars.
– JORDAN CROSS