FA Youth Cup: Argyle 0 Portsmouth 3
May 45, Haitham 86, Davies pen 90
FOR the second successive season, Argyle were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Portsmouth in a first-round tie at Home Park.
The margin of Pompey's victory was a desperately unfair reflection of the Young Pilgrims' performance, especially in a second half that saw them press and pressurise back-pedalling opponents who had taken a lead deep into first-half injury-time through midfielder Adam May.
Portsmouth stood firm, though, and countered Argyle's considerable efforts with two goals in the last five minutes, from Kaleem Haitham and Curtis Davies, who scored from the penalty spot.
Until May's late first-half breakthrough, the two sides' respective captains had been to the fore of a tight opening 45 minutes that Kevin Hodges' Academicians shaded.
Pompey skipper Davies got forward from his right-back role to deliver a cross that, with slightly too much on it, ended up hitting the Argyle crossbar.
The Pilgrims responded through their own leader, midfielder Jack Calver, who sent a fierce first-time shot scudding over the Portsmouth goal.
It took more than half an hour for either side to register a meaningful shot on goal, with Pompey's Jez Bedford being easily bested by Young Pilgrims' goalkeeper Cory Harvey.
As it appeared the sides would remain deadlocked going in for half-time, Argyle failed to clear their lines at a corner and May thumped home Davies's dangerous low cross into the six-yard box.
The second half saw relentless Argyle pressure on the Portsmouth defence, the Pilgrims attacking down both flanks and through the middle, and forcing a succession of corners.
Again, clear-cut chances were few and far between, but centre-back Jordan Bentley went close with a couple of headers from Calver's corners before Jason Vincent fired a low shot just wide of Pompey goalkeeper Alex Bass's post.
Given their tremendous effort, especially after the beak, it was extremely hard on the Young Pilgrims that, rather than equalise, they conceded a second goal when Haitham finished off a rare Portsmouth incursion into the Argyle penalty area.
Further injury was inflicted two minutes into added time, when Haitham was brought down in the Argyle penalty area and Davies beat Harvey from 12 yards.
Argyle (4-2-3-1): 1 Cory Harvey; 2 Bill Palfrey, 5 Jordan Bentley, 6 Liam Knowles, 3 Jamil Roberts; 4 Aaron Taylor, 8 Jack Calver (capt); 11 Alex Battle, 10 Daniel Rooney (12 Connor McAuley 87), 7 Jason Vincent; 9 Alex Fletcher. Substitutes (not used): 13 Michael Cooper (Gk), 14 Joshua Richards, 15 Callum Rose, 16 Sam Ryan.
Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): 1 Alex Bass, 2 Calvin Davies (capt), 16 Ousman Saidy, 14 Theo Widdrington (6 Eddie Wakely 86), 3 Kyle McDowell; 4 Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, 8 Adam May; 10 Brandon Joseph-Buadi, 7 Jez Bedford (15 Tommy Scott 81), 11 Kaleem Haitham; 9 Liam Sayers (12 Harvey Bradbury 76). Substitutes (not used): 13 Nick Hall, 18 Same Woodward.
Booked: Davies 29, Bradbury 90.
Referee: Scott Jackson.