All the key talking points as Portsmouth progressed into the third round of the Hampshire Senior Cup with penalties victory over Basingstoke Town
There were a number of talking points at full-time last night following Pompey’s 5-4 penalties victory over Basingstoke Town in the Hampshire Senior Cup.
The Blues used the competition to expose a number of academy hopefuls to senior football, while also handing much needed minutes to a handful of first team players.
Paul Downing captained Pompey at the Winklebury Stadium, and lined up alongside Connor Ogilivie. Gassan Ahadme also led the line, while Michael Jacobs and Alex Bass also featured throughout.
In a relatively uneventful match with both sides cancelling each other out, the Blues held their nerve to progress to round three on penalties.
Gassan still needs time
With 90 minutes under his belt in consecutive cup games, respectively, it’s evident that Ahadme will need more time to adapt to senior football. It wasn’t for the lack of trying against the Dragons as to why he didn’t get a sniff at goal, but more for the fact he found himself often isolated.
He would sometimes drift into the pockets between the centre-backs and fullbacks, without maintaining possession of the ball.
There were a few occasions where he found himself veering offside, while being tightly man-marked when staying on. There were a few flashes of brilliance, especially when bringing others into play that proves he has the ability to play at League One level.
Valuable minutes for first team fringe
Each senior member that featured last night played the match’s entirety. Not only will this bring them further up to speed to the demands of League One football, but it also provides Danny Cowley with more options to choose from.
It’s no secret that goals have been hard to come by for Cowley’s side so far this season, so the former Lincoln City manager will be buoyed by the introduction of Jacobs.
Operating down the left flank, Jacobs grew into the match and proved to be a bright spark at Pompey pushed for a winner. Only two players have registered assists for the Blues so far in the league this season, so being able to unleash the 29-year-old to turn the screw in league matches will be a bonus.
Calmness personified from young trio
With the match to be decided by penalties, Pompey’s hopes rested on young shoulders.
It would have been easy for members of the academy to buckle under the pressure of a packed Winklebury Stadium, but those who volunteered showed nerves of steel.
Dan Gifford and Harry Jewitt-White made no mistake from the spot, with the latter cheekily silenced the home crowd after slotting the ball past Paul Strudley.
Another member of the academy contingent, Harvey Hughes, gave Pompey match point before Bass saved to secure the Blues’ place in round three.
The performance from all three that scored was a reflection of their attitude and calmness throughout the 90 minutes, and each deserved to be on the winning side