Mikey Harris told of his pride as a youthful Pompey Reserves team, comprised almost entirely of homegrown players, earned a 0-0 Premier League Cup draw at Norwich City last night.
Nine of the Blues’ starting XI who lined up against the Canaries’ well-fancied under-23s side at Carrow Road were past or present members of the club’s Academy set-up.
And under-18s coach Harris, who assumed managerial duties in East Anglia for the first of six group stage fixtures – to be played home and away against Norwich, Wolves and Everton – was impressed with what he saw.
He was not the only one, as Pompey boss Paul Cook – enjoying a watching brief – made his way into the changing room after the game to congratulate the visitors on a battling display.
Harris said: ‘The homegrown nature of our team speaks volumes.
‘Norwich may be a Championship side but they boast a Premier League Category One Academy set-up with excellent players and we were giving away a few years to them in some cases.
‘But all over the pitch the boys were really competitive.
‘The manager was there last night and he was just as proud of the performance.
‘He came and said well done to them after the game.
‘He’s the same as us, though, and there was a tinge of disappointment we didn’t take one of the many chances we created in the first half.
‘But if you had said before the game we would come to Carrow Road and keep a clean sheet, we would have certainly taken that!’
Defensive duo Adam Buxton and Dominic Hyam were the odd men out in the visitors’ line-up as a team of Pompey’s own making – captained by Jack Whatmough – dominated the opening half.
Indeed, Academy duo Harvey Bradbury and Theo Widdrington both tested busy Canaries goalkeeper Ben Killip early on, before Pompey stopper Alex Bass was alert to a number of Norwich efforts in the second period.
A combination of post and crossbar denied the hosts the breakthrough, although the Blues remained a constant threat with Calvin Davies and Kyle McDowell both going close to snatching a victory.
In the end a draw proved a fair, if frustrating, outcome.
Harris added: ‘Their keeper made some very good saves and I felt we were unfortunate not to win it in the end.
‘That said, the boys certainly answered all of the questions asked of them.’
Pompey Reserves: Bass; Buxton, Whatmough, Hyam, Haunstrup; May, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Davies, Widdrington (Woodward 37), Bedford (McDowell 46); Bradbury. Subs not used: Hall, Saidy, Wakley, Scutt.