Whittingham: Harris goal sparked Pompey revival

Ashley Harris scores to get Pompey back in the match. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ashley Harris scores to get Pompey back in the match. Picture: Joe Pepler

For Guy Whittingham it was the timing of the goal rather than an inspirational substitution which came so close to sparking a comeback.

The Blues were 3-0 down to Shrewsbury when Adam Webster was introduced in the 60th minute for Gabor Gyepes, the side then switching to a wing-back system.

Within a minute Ashley Harris had pulled one back and in the 78th minute Patrick Agyemang netted to spark thoughts of an unlikely point.

In the end the leveller would not arrive but it was still an encouraging fighting late display from the visitors.

And Whittingham was pleased with his team’s second-half spirit.

The Pompey manager said: ‘Of course I am disappointed we lost because we all want to win every single game.

‘But I am very pleased at the way we were 3-0 down and suddenly rolled our sleeves up and got back into the game.

‘With a bit of luck we could have got a draw.

‘We didn’t, however. Still, we scored the last two goals – our fans outsung their fans, so I’m quite happy with that.

‘We scored just after the substitution but I don’t think there was any play in it, so although I would like to say it was down to that at that moment I don’t think it was!

‘But it certainly got us back in the game. We had players further up the pitch and Jed (Wallace) was causing problems in there.’

The Blues played the last 14 minutes with five products of the Academy system on the pitch.

Harris, Jed Wallace and Dan Butler started the match, while Adam Webster and Jack Maloney came on.

That is not even taking into account the presence of Shaun Cooper, who rose through the Fratton ranks a decade ago.

Whittingham, though, has warned such youth numbers in the first team will not necessarily be commonplace next season.

He added: ‘That second half shows we have promising players at our football club that we have brought through.

‘But it doesn’t automatically mean we will have five or six on the pitch next season.

‘Just because you have come through the Academy doesn’t mean you are playing, you have got to step up to the mark.

‘It’s men’s football now. It’s whoever best will be playing, so if they’ve got the appetite they will be playing.’

– NEIL ALLEN