Pompey starlets ‘could have scored more’

Leon Maloney was on target for Pompey Academy against AFC Bournemouth. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Leon Maloney was on target for Pompey Academy against AFC Bournemouth. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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Mark Kelly believes Pompey Academy are starting to marry up the mental and physical sides of their game after a fourth successive victory.

The young Blues came from behind twice to defeat AFC Bournemouth 3-2 in the Youth Alliance south west division at the club’s Roko training base.

Bradley Lethbridge, Leon Maloney and Dan Smith were all on target as Pompey built on their FA Youth Cup second-round success against Lews on Friday.

Kelly was pleased with his troops’ performance and feels Pompey could have easily scored more.

The academy chief said: ‘There was a lot of control in a lot of areas and we could have had a few more, to be honest.

‘We exploited spaces really well and with a bit more composure in the final third, it would have seen us cruise to victory.

‘For me, we started slowly and didn’t get into a pattern quick enough which led to their first goal.

‘But when we did and started shifting the ball into wide areas earlier, we started to stretch the game and took a foothold from there.

‘Dan’s finish was composed and Bradley’s goal was very good, as was Leon’s.

‘However, the boys could have made it a bit more comfortable being a bit more clinical in the final third.

‘Nonetheless, we had a lot of control and played some really good football at times.

‘The lads are in a good place and have their mindset right.

‘The mindset and the technical components are coming together at the moment.’

The games continue to come thick and fast for the fledgling talents.

Pompey travel to Exeter City on Saturday on the hunt for a fifth straight win.

Kelly is expecting the clash to be another stern test of his side’s character.

‘The boys are vibrant where they are at the minute and they have to keep building on what they’re doing,’ he added.

‘Liam Daish is in with them at the moment with Shaun North and I’ll go out on the training ground and be out there.

‘They’re in a good place but they have a long trip to Exeter.

‘That’s always tough and it’s going to be an early start for them – about 6.30am – and they will have to overcome the travel.

‘The boys have to keep going and deliver again –which is the ask.

‘We are trying to get some consistency out of them at the moment.

‘That’s a major thing for us for the under-23s and downwards.’