Starring role against Arsenal, but Portsmouth's talented Adam May desperately needs Swindon Town development
There were no match ratings to reflect the calibre of player performance, a policy applied by The News to early Checkatrade Trophy matches.
Regardless, those present on that December evening would have been unanimous in the recipient of Pompey’s man of the match – Adam May.
Unfortunately for the midfielder, just 3,109 were in attendance to witness the occasion, such was the draw of the maligned competition at that stage.
Nonetheless, he conjured up arguably the finest display of his fledgling Blues career against Arsenal under-21s that Fratton Park night.
There have been other eye-catching showings, of course, namely May’s involvement in the February 2018 trip to Fleetwood.
Possessing an average age of just 22.5 years, Kenny Jackett’s youthful side won 2-1, with the home-grown midfielder the stand-out performer.
Then there was that Checkatrade Trophy visit of Arsenal – and a potentially career-changing performance from May, such was its magnificence.
Invigorated following an Aldershot loan spell, he rattled the post from 25-yards, crashed another attempt against the bar from 30-yards and deliciously dictated play throughout the 2-1 success.
Yet the 21-year-old would make just three more appearances during the remainder of the season, restricted solely to cup competitions.
Following the FA Cup replay at QPR in February, May never featured for Pompey again.
There were sporadic presences on the substitutes’ bench, five in total, yet on each occasion sat unused, including the Checkatrade Trophy final.
It’s a reflection of the daunting challenge facing May in his ongoing task to break into Kenny Jackett’s first-team.
There have been 30 Blues appearances since an April 2015 debut presented by caretaker boss Gary Waddock, climbing off the bench aged 17 years.
But opportunities have dwindled during the past 12 months, crucial development proving increasingly elusive.
Now Swindon have stepped forward – a fresh scenario which can be the making of the ever-promising May.
A succession of Pompey managers have regarded the Academy product highly, similarly team-mates speak in glowing terms of the young talent among their midst.
May’s long-range passing is excellent, he possesses a natural ease on the ball, unflustered and blessed with time.
He just lacks games to aid footballing evolution – and a season-long loan at Swindon may well provide that missing ingredient.