Farnborough 4 Portsmouth XI 0: Gutsy Blues kids' resilience finally broken after brave display in semi-final bid

For an hour, Pompey’s gutsy youngsters eyed a potential semi-final place in the Hampshire Senior Cup.

Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 9:35 pm
Toby Steward put in another encouraging display as a Pompey XI were eliminated from the Hampshire Senior Cup. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com
Toby Steward put in another encouraging display as a Pompey XI were eliminated from the Hampshire Senior Cup. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Yet once Farnborough finally broke their admirable resilience and the brilliance of Toby Steward, a 4-0 defeat ensued.

Liam Daish’s side had given an excellent account of themselves against a club riding second in the Southern League Premier South.

Indeed, the quarter-final fixture was still goalless after 60 minutes, much to the credit of a youthful Blues XI.

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However, once Mitchell Parker lobbed Steward to break the deadlock, there was to be no comeback from the visitors as Boro ruthlessly pressed home.

David Pratt, a second for Parker, and substitute Michael Fernandes sealed victory for Spencer Day’s men to earn a semi-final clash at AFC Portchester.

Certainly the outcome was harsh on Steward, the goalkeeper who recently signed his first professional contract tying him to the club until the summer of 2024.

He was also one of the stars of last round’s victory over AFC Stoneham and once again caught the eye at Cherrywood Road, with a number a excellent stops.

Also featuring was Harry Jewitt-White, who was an unused substitute at Shrewsbury the previous night for Danny Cowley’s side, and Jamie Howell, who netted the winning penalty in the spot-kick success over AFC Stoneham.

The Blues were fortunate to escape in the 16th minute when the lively Terrell Egbri crossed from the left and Mitchell Parker sent a header against the far post.

The ball ricocheted out for a goal kick, nonetheless demonstrated the hosts’ attacking threat and, in particular, Egbri’s raids from left wing-back.

Then Parker picked out the run of David Pratt with marvellous vision, sending his team-mate racing clear with just Steward to beat.

However, the 17-year-old keeper came off his line and blocked at the Boro man’s feet to thwart a glorious opportunity.

On 34 minutes, Parker met a cross from the right and his header was somehow clawed out from underneath the bar by Steward, when a goal seemed certain.

The Blues were forced into a change of 35 minutes with winger Gabriel Kamavuako forced off with injury, to be replaced by Harvey Laidlaw.

The match was goalless at half-time, yet minutes into the second half Steward again pulled off a stop, this time at his near post to prevent Parker netting.

At the other end, the visitors created their best opportunity so far when, on 53 minutes, Jewitt-White pushed the ball through to Dan Gifford, yet he was crowded out as he attempted to shoot, winning a corner.

The deadlock was broken on 60 minutes, with Farnborough grabbing it.

A ball over the top was collected by Parker, who cleverly lobbed the advancing Steward and into the unguarded net to make it 1-0.

The hosts increased their lead on 65 minutes when Hughes was unable to cut out a ball through to Pratt, who got the wrong side of the defender before lashing an angled finish past Steward.

Parker grabbed his second in the 74th minute, taking advantage of Jewitt-White’s unfortunate slip to confidently drive a finish into the far bottom corner.

The match was wrapped up five minutes from time, with Fernandes wriggling into the box and crashing an angled finish into the net.

Although the final whistle was sounded in confusing circumstances after the game had been stopped for a Pompey fan to receive medical attention.

Pompey: Steward, Fox, Kaba, Hughes, Kamavuako (35 mins Laidlaw), Bridgman, Jewitt-White, Simpson, Bosaka (68 mins Hurst), Howell, Gifford.

Sub Not Used: Smith.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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