Portsmouth Academy suffer heartbreaking late defeat at LiverpoolÂ

Pompey Academy fell to a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at Liverpool in the FA Cup third round.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 7:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:09 am
Bradley Lethbridge was on target for Pompey. Pictirue: Colin Farmery

Bobby Duncan's stoppage-time goal cruelly dumped the Blues out of the competition, after they'd battled from two goals down in the second half.

Bradley Lethbridge and Joe Hancott were on target for Mark Kelly's troops, who can hold their heads high.

Pompey had plenty of the ball in the early stages but it was Liverpool who looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

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On nine minutes Glatzel threaded a ball through for Duncan but his angled left-foot shot went just the wrong side of the far post.

The Reds came even closer to scoring three minutes later when Paul Glatzel headed Abdi Sharif's cross against the bar.

It was the hosts who took the lead in the 15th minute - but only because of a mistake from Haji Mnoga.

The defender failed to deal with Rhys Williams' long ball and Duncan latched onto it before keeping his cool to slot beyond Leon Pitman in the visiting goal.

Liverpool should have doubled their advantage moments later but Glatzel got Sharif's cross caught under his feet with the goal at his mercy.

To their credit, Kelly's troops responded gamely and were unlucky not to level.

In the 28th minute, Bradley Lethbridge cannoned a right-foot shot just wide of the target.

And on 32 minutes the Gosport striker had a close-range effort thwarted by the onrushing Liverpool keeper Vitezslav Jaros.

Despite their dominant spell, Pompey found themselves two goals behind in the 33rd minute.

Duncan slipped in an inch-perfect ball into the path of Sharif, who drilled his shot beyond Pitman.

The Blues didn't let their heads drop, though, and Leon Maloney had a cross-cum-shot thwarted by Jaros on 39 minutes.

And Mnoga made up for his earlier error when he charged down Duncan's goalbound effort on the stroke of half-time.

Pompey made a bright start to the second half and on 54 minutes Lethbridge dragged a 30-yard effort wide of the target.

And the visitors deservedly reduced the deficit with 25 minutes remaining. Lethbridge's free-kick hit the flailing arm of Duncan, with the referee pointing to the penalty spot.

It was the second-year scholar who stepped up to take it and he emphatically found the top corner. 

Buoyed with confidence, Kelly's youngsters searched for an equaliser '“ and got their reward.

Lethbridge showed great determination to hook a ball back across goal and there was Hancott to calmly slot a left-foot volley into the empty net. 

The Blues continued to dominate and had a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead in the 78th minute.

Lethbridge was at the heart of the move again, with his cross pinpointing Stan Bridgman's late run, but he headed wide. 

Extra-time was the least plucky Pompey deserved '“ yet were dealt a 93rd-minute sucker punch.

The hosts played a short corner, with Glatzel squaring for Duncan who slotted home from close range.

Nevertheless, the Blues certainly gave Liverpool a scare and return to the south coast with plenty of credit.