Erith Town Academy 0-1 Portsmouth Academy
FA Youth Cup, 1st Round Proper – 3rd November 2021
Report by PAUL CARTER
Erith Town’s magnificent journey in the FA Youth Cup came to an end as Portsmouth edged them out 1-0 at Erith Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Dockers’ youngsters did themselves and the club proud on the night, but couldn’t find a leveller to Alfie Bridgman’s first half goal.
In a tight game, where both sides looked well matched, it was Erith who went agonisingly close to taking the lead as Tom Ash rose to meet Lenie Barnes’ corner but saw his header fly just past the post.
David Gokou-Siakouri then fired over before Pompey broke quickly and decisively to take the lead on the half hour.
Scott Rudd waved away the Dockers appeals for a foul in the Portsmouth half and the visitors moved the ball at lightning speed with Ben Gifford’s pass finding Bridgeman who calmly fired past Hugo Webb.
Liam Daish’s side should have doubled the lead early on one of the rare occasions they opened up the Dockers defence.
Charlie Williams broke past Ronnie McLean on the right and squared the ball to Gifford.
The Pompey striker has scored eight times in nine League games but his shot hit the inside of the post before falling to Jamie Howell who put the rebound wide with the goal at his mercy.
From that moment it was all Erith as the youngsters went in search of an equaliser, buoyed by a club record crowd of 444.
If there was one difference from the previous ties, it was Portsmouth’s defence which was superbly marshalled by skipper Izzy Kaba.
Every time an opening came it seemed a body was in the way and when a chance fell to Gokou-Siakouri, but he could only fire over.
Jay Baker and Jonas Petkevicius also went close before the referee brought a memorable evening to a disappointing conclusion.
The Dockers scholars can look back with pride on a great achievement progressing so far.