A training-ground run-out against the first team ensured Pompey Academy had no time to feel sorry for themselves after suffering their first defeat of the Youth Alliance League south west division season.
That’s the admission from Academy coach Mikey Harris as he took the positives from his side’s 2-0 loss at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
Blues keeper Nick Hall saw red early on for handling outside the area with the visitors trailing 1-0.
That decision was difficult to take, though, with covering defender Kyle McDowell well placed to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.
And despite their spirited attempts at finding an equaliser, it proved to be a day of frustration for Harris’ side as the Cherries added a late second – with 10-man Pompey feeling they should have been awarded a foul in the build-up.
Any lingering feeling of self pity was quickly swept aside on Monday morning, though, as the Blues’ youngsters were placed into an 11-a-side clash with the first team on their return to training.
‘The boys worked up against the first team on Monday which was a tough slog for them,’ said Harris.
‘In training we did some work – we do it quite a lot.
‘We do our best to help them prepare for their games and it is a great experience for the lads to come up against the first-team boys.
‘The players and the staff are great in terms of the support they offer and the experiences they give our young lads.
‘There was very little time to feel sorry for themselves after Saturday.
‘Yes, we went down to 10 men and worked very hard.
‘But on Monday morning, it was a case of go and play 11 v 11 against the first team – and get on with it.
‘It is great – that is what you want.
‘You want the boys to be challenged and to be pushed and again they responded really, really well.
‘It is another great experience for them and that is all you are trying to do in this environment – provide them with experiences to help make them better.’
Harris’ side will look to bounce back to winning ways in Saturday’s trip to Oxford United (11am).
Harris added: ‘We had a good learning experience at Bournemouth – and in terms of the attitude, application and resilience we showed, I was really pleased with that.
‘We now go into a tough game against Oxford off the back of a defeat but with a positive week of training.
‘We will look to take the positives out of the learning experience and move on.’
Keeper Hall is available to face the U’s before his one-game suspension kicks in for the following weekend’s clash with Cheltenham Town.
– JEFF MARSHMAN