Portsmouth reserves 1 AFC Bournemouth 2

Bradley Lethbridge was on target for Pompey reserves against Bournemouth. Picture: Colin Farmery
Bradley Lethbridge was on target for Pompey reserves against Bournemouth. Picture: Colin Farmery
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A youthful Pompey reserves opened their Central League Cup campaign with a 2-1 loss to AFC Bournemouth.

Bradley Lethbridge was on target for the Blues in a highly-entertaining game at Nyewood Lane. 

Matt Casey was the only first-team player who lined up for Pompey, although Lethbridge, Joe Hancott andJosh Flint – who have all been involved in this season’s EFL Trophy campaign – also started. 

Alex Dobre had the first sight on goal for Bournemouth in the second minute but home keeper Petar Durin was well placed to make a comfortable save.

On 15 minutes Corey Jordan was left in all sorts of space at the back post from a free-kick but couldn’t steer his volley on target.

And moments later the Blues almost broke the deadlock, with Flint dragging a shot just wide when slipped in by Lethbridge.

In an entertaining first half, Jake Scrimshaw crashed a shot off the outside of the post in the 22nd minute.

Then Pompey went up the other end with Harrison Brook cracking an effort that went just over the bar.

In the 29th minute, the hosts conjured a swift counter-attack – only for Brook to not quite get on the end of Eoin Teggart’s cross.

The Blues started to take control, with Lethbridge shooting narrowly wide in the 34th minute when teed-up by Flint.

It was six minutes before half-time when Pompey went agonisingly close to opening the scoring. Pompey’s high press paid dividends and Lethbridge’s bending effort looked in all the way but for Cherries keeper Will Dennis to tip around the post.

And with a minute remaining, Dennis made another good stop from Brook after he was played in from Gerard Storey’s clever backheel. 

But Pompey were caught cold after the interval and paid the price.

In the 48th minute, Jaidon Anthony finished from close range to open the scoring.

Two minutes later, the Bournemouth forward had his second when he beat the offside trap and finished with aplomb. 

To their credit, the Blues made a decent response as Hancott fired into the arms of Dennis while Harry Kavanagh had a free-kick kept out.

And they reduced the deficit in the 74th minute through an emphatic finish from Lethbridge.

Brook’s intelligent cross found the Gosport forward at the back post and he crashed home.

It was Pompey who took the initiative and searched for an equaliser, which almost arrived in stoppage-time.

Liam Kelly’s inviting cross found Lethbridge and he pulled a ball back for Alfie Stanley, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

In one final salvo, Ethan Robb headed Flint’s corner into the arms of Dennis.

It was a plucky and brave performance from Pompey, but they ultimately didn’t take their chances and will rue how the started the second half. 

Pompey: Durin, Kavanagh, Casey, Dandy (Robb 46), Hancott (Kelly 61), Brook, Storey (Bridgman 81), Flint, Teggart, Lethbridge, Stanley.

Subs: L Pitman, Anderson.