Mixed feelings for Pompey debutant

Ben Close in action for Pompey against Bury on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee
Ben Close in action for Pompey against Bury on Saturday Picture: Barry Zee
  • Midfielder makes his seventh appearance of the season
  • Close has been on Pompey’s books since the age of 10

It was a mixed day for Pompey fan Ben Close as his first Football League start ended in defeat.

The 18-year-old, from Fratton, was presented with his full league debut on Saturday following injury to James Dunne.

I think I did okay. Early on I was getting on the ball a lot and Bury realised that and put the second striker on me

Ben Close

Lining up in midfield at the base of a diamond system, he couldn’t prevent the Blues slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Bury.

It was a third successive defeat for the men from Fratton Park, leaving them in 16th spot.

But for Close it remained an occasion to savour, following three previous substitute appearances in League Two.

He said: ‘It was a great moment for me to make my full league debut, although obviously it was not the result I wanted.

‘I think I did okay. Early on I was getting on the ball a lot and Bury realised that and put the second striker on me.

‘That meant I usually had to lay it off or stay safe with the ball.

‘To lose the game was disappointing, especially the way the team played, the least we deserved was a draw.

‘It was a tight match, as soon as they scored they planned not to concede.

‘They weren’t interested in opening up or coming forward.

‘Bury are a good side, but we pushed them all the way, didn’t give up and unfortunately it didn’t happen for us.’

Close’s previous start for the Blues was against Northampton in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in October.

Saturday was the seventh appearance overall for the youngster, who is out of contract in the summer.