Reflections on Derby draw
Pompey's winless streak was extended to 10 games following the 1-1 draw with Derby at Fratton yesterday, although for a long time it looked as though this winless run would be extended with us losing again.
That was until Dave Nugent, having previously been guilty of missing a couple of chances, popped up with a belter in the dying minutes to salvage a point.
Steve Cotterill had plenty of thanks, and praise, for Nugent an thinks that we got the point we deserved: 'it was a wonderful goal by Nuge.
'We upped our performance after the break and it warranted us getting that little rub of the green where the ball dropped to him for him to score.
'We're thankful for the goal because it saved us a point. I don't think we deserved to be beaten because we created more chances.'
Confidence, and a lack of it, is something that Cotterill is constantly referring to.
He feels that he is a good confidence builder, that could be open to debate, and now concedes that it will be a 'rocky road' between now and the end of the season: 'we try to build confidence every day of the week. Confidence can take weeks and months to build, but you can lose it in hours. I'm always telling them what good players they are, but they have just lost it a little bit at the moment.
'I think it's going to be a bit of a rocky ride all the way through to May. We've just got to make the most of our up times.
'We've been fragile all season, and today was no different. We just need to carry on working hard until the end of the season.'
All in all, and rightly so, he admits that the performance was not good enough.
The conditions, which of course both had to deal with, did little to help either side though and this was something he expected: 'it was a horrible day with blustery conditions, and that never makes it a good day for football. When I looked out of my window this morning and saw the trees bending, I knew it was a bad sign.
'I thought there were two excellent goals scored, but there wasn't a lot of football played. It looked like two teams that hadn't won in a while. Our level of performance wasn't good enough, really. We were better in the second half than we were in the first, but that wasn't too difficult.'
Cotterill was conspicuous by his absence on the touchline in the second half, which saw one of the younger players - Pete Gregory I think - acting as a go between for him and Ian Woan, although despite an altercation with the referee he was not sent to the stands, the ref merely suggested it might be in his best interests to do so.
The game had defeat written all over it, and 'perhaps' the fact that we managed to dig deep and somehow claim a point could mean so much for the remainder of our season?
We WILL still have a major battle on our hands between now and May although I think that had we lost this game we might as well have called it a day as it would have been a big kick in the you know whats.
Our home form will 'probably' determine our future so it is vitally important that we secure as many points at Fratton as possible, avoiding as many defeats - and picking up wins - will decide a lot.
It was most definitely a point gained in the end although in terms of performance we took a step back from what we saw against QPR, which was a vast improvement than what we saw against Burnley...
Doncaster next week will be tough, and a point will be most welcome.
Whatever though this will make the Fratton double header against Barnsley and Palace all the more important with a return of at least 4pts a near must!
PLAY UP POMPEY!