This time last year Portsmouth’s Ashley Harris was winning LFE’s Goal of the Month competition after scoring a spectacular overhead kick against MK Dons in the Academy League.
Now 12 months on, the teenage striker is proving his worth in League One. Harris is one of several young players that Pompey have pressed into first-team action due to the financial circumstances at the club.
And while it may take time for them to mature as players the early signs are looking promising.
Yesterday Harris climbed off the bench to open the scoring as Pompey registered their first League One win of the season against nine-man Crawley Town
Josh Simpson and Hope Akpan were both dismissed for two bookable offences either side of half time for the home-side.
Cue the entrance of Harris as a 70th minute substitute. Not only did he head home 17-year-old Adam Webster’s cross to set Michael Appleton’s side on the road to victory, he also turned provider 11 minutes later playing in Izale McLeod for Pompey’s third. In between his match-winning contributions, Luke Rodgers added the second curling in a 25-yard free kick.
The win which came in front of a record crowd of 5,058 at the Broadfield Stadium, lifted them six places to 16th in the League One table while Crawley slip to 6th.
“The biggest thing I am delighted with is the composure they’ve shown to play against ten men which was important,” said Pompey Boss Appleton.
“I was delighted that the [first] goal was made by a 17-year-old and scored by an 18-year-old. It couldn’t get any better for us.”