Goal and assist for Haji Mnoga in Portsmouth reserves' win over Luton

Haji Mnoga scored one and created on as Pompey reserves ran out 2-1 winners over Luton Town under-21s at Privett Park.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:19 pm
Haji Mnoga. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Close was also on target to give Blues manager Kenny Jackett a reminder during his time on the first-team fringes.

Mark Kelly’s side also featured two triallists – one being Manchester United defender Max Taylor – who both duly impressed in their bid to win Fratton Park deals.

Mnoga was a shock inclusion ahead of this evening’s crunch League One clash against Sunderland – especially after missing Saturday’s loss to Northampton with a groin problem.

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He was one of three first-team players involved, along with Close and Paul Downing.

The game started at a decent tempo and Luton should have taken the lead on seven minutes when they rattled the crossbar twice.

On 12 minutes, Mnoga went close when he was first to Close’s dinked free-kick but glanced just wide.

Then seven minutes later, the second triallist, a midfielder, almost handed Pompey the lead when his long-range left-footed effort struck the crossbar with the visiting keeper well beaten.

However, the Blues would break the deadlock in their next attack when Mnoga got across his marker to nod home Harry Kavanagh’s teasing delivery.

But the home side almost gifted the Hatters back a goal in the 25th minute. Downing’s early free-kick smashed off the back of Mnoga and a Luton man picked up the ball but bent his shot over with keeper Taylor Seymour off his line.

On 30 minutes, Taylor made a good recovery to block a goalbound shot.

And two minutes later the other triallist bent a free-kick just the wrong side of the left-hand post.

Pompey continued on the front foot in the second half, with Mnoga glancing another header wide from a corner.

And in the 69th minute, they doubled their advantage through a fine team goal.

Aflie Stanley showed great awareness to hold the ball up and set Mnoga free. He then picked Close out inside the box, who finished with aplomb.

Luton reduced the deficit with five minutes remaining when the ball took an unfortunate bobble as keeper Taylor Seymour tried to clear and swiped at thin air, leaving a Hatters forward to finish into an open goal.

However, Pompey hung on for what was a deserved win.