Kpekawa sends out his Pompey reminder

Cole Kpekawa, right  Picture: Colin Farmery
Cole Kpekawa, right Picture: Colin Farmery
  • Youthful reserves bounce back from 5-2 defeat at Luton
  • Hardyman’s side contained only two non-teenagers

Cole Kpekawa started his long climb back into Pompey’s first-team by becoming the match-winner on his reserve bow.

The 18-year-old has switched from starting as left wing-back for two games to not even making the subsequent two squads under Andy Awford.

They really had to battle and fight for that right to play – and earnt the win in the end

Paul Hardyman

While Nyron Nosworthy turned in a man-of-the-match display against Plymouth on Saturday, the youngster who arrived on loan on the same day was sat in the stands.

With only five matches remaining of a loan spell which finishes at the season’s end, Kpekawa faces a struggle to return to Awford’s side.

However, he was yesterday given a run out for Paul Hardyman’s reserves against Peterborough at Furze Lane.

And Kpekawa netted the winner in a 1-0 victory for a youthful side, with Awford among the interested spectators.

The decisive moment arrived on 18 minutes when Ben Close’s right-wing corner was headed home by the QPR defender.

For Pompey, it was the desired response to last week’s 5-2 defeat at Luton which all but ends their hopes of claiming the Final Third Development League title.

And Hardyman was delighted with the performance of his team in an often full-blooded affair.

He said: ‘We went a goal up and then it’s one of those where it’s a real battle, which is part of the kids’ development.

‘In terms of outfield players, with the exception of Johnny Ertl and Ben Close it was a youth team. I would also still class Conor Chaplin as a youth-team player.

‘We are getting them educated in the need to go away from home, digging in and doing the ugly side of the game.

‘Obviously yesterday was a home match, but they really had to battle and fight for that right to play – and earnt the win in the end.

‘There was still some good football played at times, but not as much as when we played Bristol City and won 8-2. You don’t get games like that often when it is so easy.

‘There are times when instead you have got to dig in and do the ugly side. That is what it is about.

‘Peterborough have got the way they want to play and you have to match that, if you don’t you’ll get bullied and can get rolled over,. You have to stand up to them – and they did.

‘We deserved to win it as well.

‘There were maybe a couple of incidents from set-pieces where Peterborough caused us problems, other than that Michael Poke didn’t have a save to make and I thought we were the better team.’

Poke made his return to the reserves yesterday following time out with a back injury, keeping a clean sheet on his comeback.

That meant no place in the squad for David Cornell, the goalkeeper currently on loan from Swansea who had previously made two reserve appearances.

Skippered by Ertl, Hardyman’s side were largely in control throughout and could have won by a greater scoreline had striker Brandon Joseph-Buadi not struck the post in the second half.

Pompey Reserves: Poke, Davies (75 mins, Yates), Ertl, Granger (62 mins, Rwakarambwe), Kpekawa, May (69 mins, Oxlade-Chamberlain), Close, Haitham, Chaplin, Haunstrup, Joseph-Buadi.

Subs not used: Bass, Sayers.