Portsmouth Academy exit FA Youth Cup following eventful 12-goal tie with Cheltenham

Pompey Academy exited the FA Youth Cup second round after losing an eventful 12-goal tie at Cheltenham.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 7:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 4:26 pm
Pompey Academy exited the FA Youth Cup at Cheltenham. Picture: Colin Farmery

The young Blues fell to an 8-4 defeat at Whaddon Road and missed out on what would have been exciting against with Arsenal in the next stage.

Mark Kelly’s side were in control shortly before half-time through goals from Harrison Brook, Alfie Stanley and Harry Anderson.

But the visitors couldn’t hold on and crashed out of the competition.

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Pompey were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at Cheltenham. Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey started on the front foot, with Brook cracking a shot over the bar after the hosts could only partially clear a corner.

Ten minutes later Stanley met Harry Kavanagh's cross but headed straight into the air and Cheltenham snuffed out the danger.

The Robins conjured up their first chance in the 15th minute but Leon Pitman comfortably saved a free-kick.

On 19 minutes it took a superb block from Liam Kelly to thwart a Callum Ebanks shot onto the bar before the Blues hacked away.

The breakthrough was clearly coming – and it went to the Blues in the 24th minute.

Gerard Storey found the run of Brook and he smartly finished over the keeper.

But the visitors' lead lasted only two minutes when Ebanks was set free and coolly found the back of the net.

It was proving an entertaining tie and Stan Bridgman went close to restoring Pompey’s advantage in the 28th minute when he met Kavanagh's cross but home stopper Freddie Lapworth kept out the effort.

Kelly’s side did again lead 14 minutes before half-time, though, when Stanley nodded home Harvey Rew's centre.

Then Stanley almost gave the away side a two-goal cushion but his stinging effort was finely denied by the fingertips of Lapworth.

Kavanagh’s deliveries were proving a threat from the right-wing and that’s where Pompey's third goal stemmed from in the 40th minute.

The skipper’s cross was met by Stanley and his saved effort fell kindly for Anderson who was on hand to slam home.

Yet Kelly would have rued how his troops’ concentration after the restart as they somehow went into half-time behind.

On 41 minutes, a cross was cleared only as far as Ebanks to net his second of the game.

Then a minute before half-time Cheltenham were level. Ebanks dispossessed Ethan Robb of the ball before teeing-up Charlie Stanton to finish.

And Kelly would have been incensed when the Robins went in front in stoppage-time as Toby Lawrence headed home.

The next goal in the second half was going to be key – and it went to the Robins.

That man Ebanks swivelled inside Pompey's box before slamming home to complete his hat-trick in the 52nd minute.

Then Cheltenham put the game beyond reach nine minutes later when Stanton headed home from a corner.

The Blues tried to claw themselves back into the game, with Bridgman’s 25-yard effort hitting the post.

But the hosts fired another warning when Tom Chamberlain cannoned a shot off the bar.

Brook went close to reducing the deficit but was repelled by Lapworth.

And with six minutes remaining Pompey conceded a seventh after Aaron Evans-Harriott tucked home beyond Pitman.

The Blues’ misery would be compounded by Ebanks notching a fourth of the evening with a minute remaining.

The visitors grabbed a consolation in added-time through Charlie Bell but it was ultimately a disappointing night for the Fratton Park youngsters.

Pompey: Pitman, Kavanagh, Robb, Rew, Kelly, S Bridgman (Lee 68), Storey, Brook, Anderson, Bell, Stanley.

Subs not used: Manderson, Jewitt-White, A Bridgman, Hughes.