Pompey Academy surrendered a two-goal half-time lead to lose their penultimate Merit League division one game of the season to Exeter 3-2 earlier today.
The Blues led midway through the first half when Brandon Joseph-Buadi pounced to fire home after Liam Sayers’ initial shot had been parried by visiting goalkeeper Kavanagh Keadell.
And on the stroke of half-time Mikey Harris’ side looked well on their way to a three-point haul when provider Sayers turned goalscorer, heading home from Kyle McDowell’s cross.
It was a brilliantly-worked team goal that put the Blues in control of proceedings.
But the Grecians, who had been denied on several occasions by impressive home keeper Nick Hall, began their fightback immediately after the restart when Mustafa Rehemi headed home from close range after his initial volley had rebounded back to him off the crossbar.
That man Rehemi then levelled matters two minutes later when Pompey failed to deal with a long ball over the top and the Exeter striker struck a low deflected shot which found its way past Hall off the inside of the far post.
The Blues rallied with Keadell saving superbly from Sayers’ point-blank header, before defender Eddie Wakley headed against the crossbar from the following corner.
But it was the visitors who took all the points when skipper Toby Down volleyed in from a corner with 10 minutes to play.
Harris said: ‘It was a very open game, from start to finish.
‘Both teams were trying to play on a surface which was not conducive to passing football so both teams were on top out of possession.
‘We were 2-0 up at half-time which I felt was a little harsh on Exeter – they had chances and Nick Hall made some great saves to keep us ahead.
‘The likelihood was that Exeter would change things and come out a different team in the second half, which is what happened.
‘They changed their shape and I resisted the temptation to change our shape to make it easier for us because I wanted the boys to work things out for themselves while sticking to our principles and beliefs.
‘We didn’t adapt quickly enough but once we started to get to grips with it, the disappointing thing is we switched off from a set piece at the end.
‘But today was a great learning curve and this week we will review the DVD together and look at what we could do differently in the future.’
POMPEY ACADEMY: Hall, Widdrington, Saidy, Wakley, McDowell; May, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Haitham, Scutt, Joseph-Buadi; Sayers (Bradbury 65)