An impressive 3-1 win over Exeter City at Furze Lane today saw unbeaten Pompey Academy claim top spot in the early Youth Alliance League south west division standings.
In doing so, the hosts knocked their opponents off the summit with Harvey Bradbury at the double after Ousman Saidy’s first-half headed opener.
The Grecians netted a deserved late consolation through Cameron Hargreaves but the early-season signs are promising for the Blues, with skipper Theo Widdrington again catching the eye with a hat-trick of assists.
After the game, Academy manager Mark Kelly praised the home side’s game management.
He said: ‘The quality and control we had on the game was good.
‘We picked the right passes and the finishing was especially pleasing.
‘It was nice to see that the boys did not have as many chances as they usually do but they were a lot more clinical in how they took them.
‘It was efficient and there were a lot of pleasing performances.’
Pompey led on the half-hour mark when Widdrington’s free-kick picked out defender Saidy, who powered home an emphatic header from close range.
It was an advantage the hosts doubled early in the second half as Widdrington survived a handball appeal to fire in a low cross-cum-shot that the alert Bradbury steered into the net.
And just after the hour mark the same duo combined once more with Widdrington volleying a long clearance up field from the byline which Bradbury charged onto and coolly lobbed the onrushing keeper.
The scoreline was harsh on Exeter who had played some neat stuff and always looked a threat.
And they grabbed a late consolation for their efforts when Hargreaves slotted from close range.
One minor concern for Pompey was the fact five Blues players saw yellow – although a relaxed Kelly was quick to put that down to over-zealous refereeing.
He added: ‘The referee was getting a bit excited – he was joining in with the game a bit too much shall we say.
‘I don’t think there was any malice in it.
‘But the lads have to learn that the referee in the middle is making the decision so we have to work with it and learn from it.’
POMPEY ACADEMY: Hall (Collins, 77); Chandler (Brooks, 65), Saidy (Read, 79), Wakley, McDowell; Woodward, Scutt, Widdrington, Bedford (Smith, 57); Mayes (Casey, 69), Bradbury