Matt Casey continues Portsmouth development - still takes comfort from passing Ivan Toney test

Pompey youngster Matt Casey     Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pompey youngster Matt Casey Picture: Habibur Rahman
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He was the scourge who put paid to Pompey’s automatic promotion hopes. 

Fans aplenty were calling on Kenny Jackett to go after Ivan Toney this summer, after Peterborough’s 3-2 win at Fratton Park in April.

Matt Casey shrugs off Peterborough's Ivan Toney to win a header during Pompey's 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win in January. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Casey shrugs off Peterborough's Ivan Toney to win a header during Pompey's 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win in January. Picture: Joe Pepler

The striker was a torment all game, with his double condemning the Blues to the League One play-offs.

But when Toney had played at PO4 three months earlier in the Checkatrade Trophy, he was barely able to make an impact. 

It was youngster Matt Casey – currently with the senior set-up on their pre-season trip to Ireland – who had the task of nullifying the former Newcastle man.

In just his third professional game, the centre-back delivered a superb performance alongside Christian Burgess, limiting Toney and the experienced Lee Tomlin to few goalscoring opportunities. 

David Wheeler’s late strike handed Jackett’s side a 1-0 success.

Of course, the Blues would go on to lift the silverware at Wembley.

And Casey’s toughest challenge to date played a significant role in that run to Checkatrade Trophy glory.

The academy graduate, who featured in Pompey’s win over UCD, said: ‘It was a challenge because Toney’s big and strong. 

‘Marking him was my hardest challenge yet. I don’t know how I dealt with it, I just took everything as it came.

‘I stayed tight and tried to stop him as much as I could.

‘I didn’t really look at who I was going to mark before the game.

‘It was when I saw him walking out and getting into their team shape before kick-off, I thought “Jesus, this is going to be a tough one”.

‘Because I’m so young and it was my third professional game, marking him was obviously tough.

‘But he didn’t really have any shots on target or do much. It was a big step up for me from non-league and youth football.’

Casey was handed his Pompey debut against Arsenal under-21s, before also featuring at Southend. 

Making his Blues bow was special – but the win over Peterborough was just as pleasing. 

He added: ‘I don’t know whether my debut was more satisfying or beating Peterborough.

‘My debut was a great feeling but beating strong League One opposition was also a great feeling.’