No lights, no action for Pompey youngsters

Liam Sayers. Picture: Mick Young
Liam Sayers. Picture: Mick Young

The lights have gone out on Pompey’s FA Youth Cup progress – for now.

But Mikey Harris is hopeful the cancelled second-round clash at Thamesmead can be resurrected next week.

Tonight’s scheduled trip to the Isthmian League club was scrapped yesterday morning.

Although initially believed to have been the result of recent bad weather, the cause was actually down to floodlight failure.

The problem originally cropped up on Tuesday night when the club’s fixture with Romford had to be called off before a ball could be kicked.

The issue has remained ahead of the anticipated visit of the Blues, prompting the match to be called off.

Harris has revealed talks are progressing on the match being rearranged for next week, with a home tie against Bolton awaiting the winner.

Regardless, it is more frustration for Pompey’s Academy, who last week had to play on the Furze Lane 3G surface to fulfil their league fixture with Swindon Town.

The under-18s boss said: ‘Thamesmead had a first-team game on Tuesday called off due to floodlight failure.

‘It is something out of their hands, so it is now about attempting to rearrange the fixture.

‘There was talk of the match not going ahead because of the weather but it is actually the floodlights.

‘We are hoping to rearrange it for some point next week, although it will be a challenge to fit around the lads’ education commitments, which is of paramount importance to them. We don’t want to disrupt their education, so are hoping for some sort of conclusion quickly.

‘In the meantime, we have a match at Exeter on Saturday and fingers crossed that will go ahead and we can put in another decent performance.’

The Blues beat Swindon 4-3 last weekend – their first match since defeating Plymouth Argyle in the FA Youth Cup on November 3.

Liam Sayers grabbed the winner 12 minutes from full-time on Saturday, with Conor Chaplin, Brandon Joseph-Buadi and James Granger also netting.

Although notably, the match was played on the University of Portsmouth’s 3G pitch.

Harris added: ‘We had two options – either cancel the game or play on the 3G surface at Furze Lane.

‘I am a bit of a traditionalist so it is not ideal but we had not played since the cup game and were in desperate need of a match.

‘Swindon were absolutely fine about it, there were no complaints whatsoever and it served its purpose.

‘I was assistant manager at Salisbury when we were beaten at Maidstone in the FA Trophy on an artificial surface when the players couldn’t deal with it.

‘Those type of pitches are a contentious issue and I would rather play on grass but for the long-term sustainability of clubs at that level it’s not a bad shout.

‘My personal preference, though, is football should be played on grass.’