Spot of bother for Pompey reserves

Adam May, right, in reserve action for Pompey. Picture: Colin Farmery
Adam May, right, in reserve action for Pompey. Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey’s reserves missed two penalties as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Gillingham.

Fahad Rwakarambwe and Brandon Haunstrup both spurned goal-scoring opportunities from the spot in yesterday’s Furze Lane fixture.

Rwakarambwe wasted the chance to give Paul Hardyman’s side a 22nd minute lead when he shot wide after Haunstrup had been fouled.

Then late on Haunstrup, who had been named as captain, saw his effort saved when the scoreline was 3-1 to the visitors.

Liam Sayers and James Granger did net for the Blues, yet they still fell to defeat in the Final Third Development League fixture.

It also evaporated any lingering hopes of beating Luton to the title, a tall ask in the first place following a recent Kenilworth Road defeat.

Yet Hardyman will see the Gillingham match as another point on the learning arc for a team which yesterday consisted entirely of Academy players.

Having defeated Peterborough 1-0 on Tuesday, the Blues rested Johnny Ertl, Ben Close, Conor Chaplin, Michael Poke and Cole Kpekawa.

Of those, realistically Close, Chaplin and Poke can expect to be on the substitutes’ bench for the first-team at Morecambe tomorrow.

Replacing them in the reserves’ starting XI were Alex Bass, Dory Yates, Chad Field, Rwakarambwe, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sayers, while Kaleem Haitham dropped to the bench.

Pompey had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock too, only for Rwakarambwe to shoot wide from the spot after 22 minutes.

Barely five minutes later and Greg Cundle had given the Gills the lead.

That advantage was doubled on 32 minutes when Yates inadvertently headed past his own keeper.

Sayers did pull one back in the 47th minute when keeper Tom Hadler’s clearance deflected off the Pompey man and into Gillingham’s net.

Yet the visitors made it 3-1 on 74 minutes, scoring from the penalty spot through Aiden Blanchard, following a foul on Elliot Lutt by Bass.

Haunstrup was the next to miss for the Blues, Hadler pulling off a save.

But shortly before full-time Granger netted direct from a free-kick to seal a final scoreline of 3-2 in a match where Pompey were left to rue their wastefulness from the penalty spot.

Pompey Reserves: Bass, Davies, Yates (Widdrington 59), Field (Nilsen 46), Haunstrup, Rwakarambwe, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granger, May, Sayers, Joseph-Buadi (Haitham 46)