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Pompey Academy 2 Southend Academy 1
by Neil Weld at Fratton Park
Pompey Academy came from behind to beat Southend and book their place in the second round of the FA Youth Cup.
The Blues will now host either Carshalton or Woking following a 2-1 victory at a bitterly cold Fratton Park.
Southend dominated the first half and took the lead through Marlon Agyakwa’s long-range finish.
But Pompey – watched by first team stars like Brian Howard, Jon Harley and Jack Compton – were much better after the break.
Bradley Tarbuck’s penalty drew them level early in the second half and Liam Triggs’ header secured their passage into the next stage.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start and Jack Whatmough was forced to make a brave block to keep out Jack Payne’s shot after just two minutes.
But the Blues soon settled, with Tarbuck’s dangerous cross headed clear by Harry Jeffrey before Lewis Horsburgh could make a connection.
Neither side really looked like breaking the deadlock, although Connor O’Hara made a regulation save to keep out Mitchell Pinnock’s header.
Pinnock had a better opportunity to test Pompey’s keeper when George Branford conceded a free-kick on 23 minutes, but his 25-yard effort flew high and wide.
But the visitors were ahead soon after. Agyakwa’s free-kick was played straight back to him and the midfielder either curled home a fine strike that dipped just underneath the crossbar or got lucky with an attempted cross.
O’Hara was caught off his line for the goal, but looked more assured on 38 minutes when he gathered Pinnock’s low drive.
Southend were still looking dangerous and it took a fine challenge from Jack Whatmough to halt Agyakwa’s goalward surge.
Jason Williams then headed Agyakwa’s corner narrowly over the bar as the visitors finished the half with a flourish.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Southend 1
Pompey had been below par in the first half, but whatever Andy Awford and Paul Hardyman said to them at the break appeared to do the trick.
The Blues were level within a minute of the restart after Triggs had been tripped in the box by Agyakwa.
Referee John Pike pointed straight to the spot and TARBUCK (pictured) smashed home the spot-kick with the confidence of a seasoned professional.
But Pompey let their guard slip on 53 minutes, although fortunately for them an unmarked Aaron Tatham headed Agyakwa’s cross wide.
The visitors were obviously not too keen on the thought of an extra 30 minutes at a nippy Fratton Park as they poured forward to try to retake their lead.
But they were finding Whatmough in imperious form and the defender made another key challenge to dispossess Southend substitute Nico Cotton on 72 minutes.
It was Pompey who went ahead soon after, however, as Tarbuck sent a free-kick into the box from deep on the right and TRIGGS rose to send a perfectly-placed header past the reach of Southend keeper Edward smith.
Whatmough made sure they kept their advantage intact, hacking a dangerous low cross off the line on 83 minutes.
Southend poured forward in the closing stages to try to take the game into extra-time, but the Blues held firm to progress.
And there was further woe for the visitors in stoppage-time as their frustrated skipper Jack Edwards shoved Jack Maloney and was sent off.
Pompey: O’Hara; Close, Warren (c), Whatmough, Triggs; Awford, Branford; Maloney, Kim (Hartson 75), Tarbuck; Horsburgh
Goals: Tarbuck 46 (pen), Triggs 79
Booked: Warren, Maloney
Subs not used: da Costa, Chaplin, Field, Rwakaranbwe
Southend: Smith; Jeffrey (Snook 87), Tatham, Banton, Farrell; Bridge, Edwards (c); Agyakwa (Cotton 70), Payne, Pinnock; Williams
Goals: Agyakwa 29
Sent off: Edwards
Subs not used: Russo, Barlow, King
Referee: John Pike