Chaplin delights in maiden Blues start

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Academy product makes his full Pompey debut
  • Previously Chaplin had scored once in eight substitute appearances
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Conor Chaplin savoured another Pompey landmark to cap a remarkable personal campaign.

The 18-year-old was granted a first Blues start in Saturday’s season finale against York City.

It was a proud day for me, though, my family were all there hoping to see my first Fratton Park goal and although I couldn’t do it for them I’m sure there will be next season

Conor Chaplin

Chaplin partnered Matt Tubbs up front in a diminutive strikeforce as the sides shared a 1-1 Fratton Park draw.

The result ensured Pompey finished in 16th spot, their lowest-ever Football League placing in a thoroughly depressing season.

Yet the youngster from Emsworth’s appearance has been a plus point and, following eight substitute appearances, he finally had his full debut.

He said: ‘It was a proud moment for me and my family.

‘The night before I had dreamt about scoring a late winner and it so nearly happened, but fair play to the guy, he has come out of nowhere and tackled me when I was through.

‘That would have been the icing on the cake.

‘I also had one blocked off the line, their player (John McCombe) told me straight away it was handball, but it has gone now, it’s football, you don’t get everything you deserve.

‘Wadds wants us to play out from the back and get it on the floor and that suits a lot of players in our team. We are all ball players and at the start of the season the aim was to play that way.

‘On Saturday we showed we could do that, but it would have been nice to get three points and I think we would have deserved it. Unfortunately that has been a theme of our season.

‘It was a proud day for me, though, my family were all there hoping to see my first Fratton Park goal and although I couldn’t do it for them I’m sure there will be next season.’

Chaplin’s breakneck progress through the Blues’ system has seen him finish top-scorer for both the Academy and the reserves.

Of his fellow youngsters who featured against the Minstermen, Ben Close, Bradley Tarbuck, Dan Butler and Adam Webster are all out of contract.

Yet the Worthing-born striker is one who definitely will be at Fratton Park next term having signed his first professional deal back in October.

And he’s relishing going again next term.

He added: ‘I just went to have a good pre-season, impress the new manager and get a starting line-up place as early as I can.

‘You have always got to set yourself challenges and ambitions otherwise you are not going to achieve anything. It spurs you on each time you achieve a challenge.’

– NEIL ALLEN