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U23s | Portsmouth 2-0 Barnsley, Match Report.

12 September 2016

Goals from Noel Hunt and Kal Naismith knock the Reds out of the Premier League Cup.

Chris Howarth's very youthful Reds U23s side were knocked out after goals from Pompey's experienced players, Noel Hunt and Kal Naismith. 

Hunt opened the scoring mid-way through the first half with a well-timed jump at the back-post, heading home a whipped cross. As the Reds pressed for an equaliser in the second half, Naismith doubled the lead in second half stoppage time. He raced into the area and finished well under the legs of Walton with the majority of the defence further up the field trying to force extra-time.

The match began with Barnsley on the front-foot. Mottley-Henry caused chaos on the wing and was brought down four times in the opening 10 minutes, resulting in yellow cards for Pompey's Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naismith. Unfortunately nothing came from the resulting free-kicks, however.

Following that spell of pressure, former Doncaster Rovers man Kyle Bennett was getting on the ball at will. His link-up play with Chaplin, Hunt and Naismith was key for the home-side as they created chances but failed to capitalise. 

That was until Hunt opened the scoring. A sustained spell of Pompey pressure allowed him to head home Naismith's cross at the back-post. Hunt nearly doubled the lead a minute later but Jack Walton was alert to produce an excellent one-handed save. 

Efforts from Jake Charles and Jared Bird came for the Reds before the break but both players saw their shots miss the target, narrowly. 

Half Time: Portsmouth 1-0 Barnsley U23s

Portsmouth started the second half with some early pressure resulting in chances for Bennett. The wide-man used his experience of over 200 league matches to good use, creating space and producing some excellent skill, but he could not finish his multiple chances shooting off target on more than one occasion.

Pompey continued to control the match in large spells, but the Reds did have chances of their own. Omari Patrick and Jacob Brown linked up well to create shooting opportunities. However, the good work of Liam O'Brien in the Pompey net put a stop to any thoughts of a come-back by denying any attempts on target.

As the full-time whistle approached, Barnsley's young side threw everything forward and were caught out.

Naismith was played in one-on-one, remained calm inside the box and slotted the ball under Walton's legs to send the home-side into the next round of the Premier League Cup.

Full-Time: Portsmouth 2-0 Barnsley U23s

Head of Academy recruitment Bobby Hassell gave his thoughts after the match, and commented"It was a great test for the lads. Portsmouth showed us a huge amount of respect with the team they put out in order to try and get through. I thought the first-half was relatively even and then second-half we got too stretched, the scoreline was probably fair. 

"The big disappointment of the night was that we got in so many good positions in and around their box. With a bit more quality, we could have had a few goals of our own.

"It was just one of those nights where we lacked composure in front of the net. Mottley-Henry was unplayable, yet again. He played against a really experienced full-back who has played a lot of first team games. 

"Up front they had Noel Hunt who has made international appearances. Eight of that starting eleven have played first team football. They had roughly 800 league matches worth of experience compared to us having single figures, we can be proud that we gave them a good game.

"Chris Howarth has done a superb job with them recently and it was good to see Sham (Bertie) and Romal Palmer who are two Under 18s players come off the bench.

"The lads are now settled together and really look like a team, it was a great test for their development. They will learn a lot from that, but we are disappointed to go out of the Cup."

Barnsley: Walton; Kebbie, Rodriguez, Cowgill, Templeton (Bertie 59); Mottley-Henry, Bird, Kay (Palmer 72), Charles (Carvell 59); Brown, Patrick
Subs not used: Greatorex, Proctor

Portsmouth: O’Brien; Oxlade-Chamberlain (C.Davies 73), Hyam, Clarke, Naismith; Tollitt (McDowell 90), May, Close (c), Bennett; Chaplin (Bedford 81), Hunt
Subs not used: Hall, Bradbury

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