POMPEY ACADEMY have only themselves to blame for surrendering their unbeaten start to life in Merit League 1 last weekend.
That’s the opinion of coach Mikey Harris after the Blues slipped to their first loss of the campaign with a 2-0 reverse at Luton Town.
When you give yourself that mountain to climb through indiviudal errors you are always going to struggle against a good side like LutonPompey Academy coach Mikey Harris
The visitors’ hopes of avoiding defeat for a sixth successive game were effectively over at half-time after they had gifted the Hatters a two-goal advantage.
The Blues trailed from the penalty spot when Calvin Davies was adjudged to have felled Daril Ngwala inside the area – with the striker promptly picking himself up off the turf to fire the hosts in front from 12 yards.
It was a case of déjà vu moments later, as Ngwala’s second spot-kick of the day doubled Luton’s lead.
Pompey midfielder James Granger was the guilty party this time as he felled Hatters counterpart Isaac Galliford.
Though Harris’ side improved after the break, they were unable to find a way past inspired home goalkeeper Liam Gooch, who denied Fahad Rwakarambwe, Adam May and substitutes Brandon Joseph-Buadi and Tommy Scutt.
Harris said: ‘To be fair, we gave them two goals by giving away two penalties.
‘I don’t think either of them were necessary.
‘When you give yourself that mountain to climb through indiviudal errors you are going to struggle against a good side like Luton.
‘The boys have got to take it on the chin.
‘They are all disappointed but from my point of view it’s an excellent learning experience for them.’
Harris admitted complacency from his players – who had won three and drawn two of their previous five Merit League 1 division games – may have contributed to the result.
But the former Salisbury City boss backed his side to learn from their mistakes.
Harris said: ‘We haven’t had a defeat in a long time.
‘Perhaps there was an element of them starting to get a little bit comfortable.
‘It’s a great lesson for them to take on board, though.
‘If you are not on it 100 per cent, then football has a nasty habit of biting you on the backside.
‘That is what happened at the weekend.
‘We (Harris and Academy boss Mark Kelly) hope they learn from the mistakes made and become better for it – that’s what it is all about.’
Pompey Academy will bid to return to winning ways in Merit League 1 when they host MK Dons at Furze Lane on Saturday (11.30am).
n Conor Chaplin has been shortlisted in the LFE League Two apprentice of the year category in April’s prestigious 2015 Football League Awards.
Prolific striker Chaplin has netted 21 goals in 19 games for the Academy this season and signed a professional deal with the Blues in October.