Yeovil 1 Pompey 3

Craig Westcarr lobbed home a great third goal for Pompey at Yeovil. Picture: Joe Pepler
Craig Westcarr lobbed home a great third goal for Pompey at Yeovil. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey answered their manager’s calls for a reaction to Saturday’s Newport loss with a masterful second-half destruction of Yeovil to progress in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Andy Awford’s men slipped to a highly disappointing first league defeat at the campaign against the Welshmen.

But it was a different team and certainly a different scoreline at Huish Park last night as the Blues toppled their League One opponents.

There was little indication of the result to come, as both sides headed in at the break goalless following a drab opening 45 minutes.

With six changes from Saturday, including Johnny Ertl in the centre of defence, Pompey unquestionably matched their opponents who play a level higher.

But come the second period, however, there could be no comparison as the side featuring teenage pair Nick Awford and substitute Ben Close in midfield, seized control.

The brilliance of Jed Wallace provided the cutting edge, rifling home a 55th-minute opener, following an exchange of passes with Craig Westcarr.

They then put further distance between themselves and the Glovers with two goals in a minute.

Wallace finished Alex Wynter’s measured pass and then Westcarr lobbed keeper Chris Weale for a third.

Nathan Ralph crashed home a late finish to reduce the deficit but there was to be no coming back against the gutsy Blues.

And Awford’s much-changed, youthful side held out to claim a deserved 3-1 victory and perhaps dispel some of the doubts provided by that Newport loss.

Nicky Shorey, Joe Devera, Ben Chorley, Ricky Holmes, Ryan Taylor and Danny Hollands were rested from the squad completely at Huish Park.

That opened the door for Dan Butler and Ertl to earn recalls and come into the Blues’ back four.

There was also a second appearance of the season for Wynter, back in action following a bang to the head.

The 20-year-old lined-up at right-back, with rival Adam Webster among the substitutes.

Awford and Nigel Atangana started in a three-man midfield alongside James Dunne, a survivor from the Newport defeat.

An attacking three consisted of Wallace and Westcarr retaining their places, joined by the pacy Miles Storey.

With competition rules dictating a five-man bench, Pompey’s contained Michael Poke and Patrick Agyemang, back for the first time following injury.

Also among the substitutes were Close, Andy Barcham and Webster.

When the match kicked off, Yeovil threatened after just two minutes following good work by Ajay Leitch-Smith.

The forward was fed down the left and pulled back a cross which Sam Hoskins fired on goal, only for it to ricochet into the path of Kieffer Moore but the striker couldn’t control the ball and it ran out for a goal kick.

At the other end, Wynter’s deep cross was met with a Westcarr header, which flew comfortably over the bar.

Then a tremendous first-time pass from Atangana released Storey into the box down the left but Brendan Maloney came across to knock the ball behind for a corner.

Dunne became the first player of the evening to be booked following a foul on Hoskins.

But the Glovers’ free-kick struck the wall and bounced safely to Paul Jones.

Wallace fired in a left-foot shot from the right after cleverly cutting inside Nathan Smith, yet his effort found the side netting.

Yeovil had a decent shout for a penalty in the 31st minute when Hoskins’ rising pass struck Ertl on the arm inside the box, yet their demands were waved away.

Jones was drawn into his first save when Moore fired in a fierce low shot, prompting the keeper to dive to his right before gathering the loose ball.

The injured Atangana was forced off on 43 minutes, leading to a debut for Close, coming into the midfield area.

As half-time approached, Sam Foley’s corner was met by a powerful Moore header which flashed narrowly wide of the far post, much to the visitors’ relief.

Yeovil brought on James Hayter at the break in place of Moore.

But it was Pompey who caused the first problems when a superb Storey cross narrowly eluded the head of Wynter.

The hosts responded with Foley driving a shot from distance straight at Jones as the flat fixture threatened to liven itself up.

It was certainly game on in the 55th minute when Wallace broke the deadlock.

Awford started it off winning a tackle to feed Wallace, who exchanged passes with Westcarr inside the box.

The talented Blues star then slotted a superb left-foot finish past Weale.

It was a wonderfully-worked goal from the visitors.

And it was enjoyed by the 692 visiting supporters.

In the Glovers’ next attack, the impressive Ertl produced two block tackles inside the box to deny firstly Hayter and then Leitch-Smith as they attempted to test Jones.

There was understandably more urgency over Yeovil’s play.

And when Smith fired in a dangerous cross from the left, keeper Jones safely gathered at the near post with the minimum of fuss.

On 73 minutes the Blues extended their lead, through that man Wallace once more.

Wynter picked out the midfielder’s run with a delightful pass down the middle.

And Wallace did the rest, driving the ball across the keeper to go in at the far post.

The scoring didn’t stop there when a minute later Westcarr produced a moment of class to make it 3-0.

Storey delivered a ball from the left.

And the striker clipped the ball over the advancing Weale and into the now unguarded net.

Ralph ensured a tense finish with a ferocious shot from outside the area which entered the net six minutes from time.

Yeovil poured forward, their hopes heightened by four minutes of added time indicated by the fourth official.

Jones saved from substitute Kevin Dawson at the near post but there were to be no scares as the visitors marched into the next round of the competition.