GUY ALERT TO SPECIAL ATTENTION
PORTSMOUTH boss Guy Whittingham concedes his side must learn to fend off the extra attention they receive in League Two after being held to a draw at Mansfield.
Pompey replied to Ben Hutchinson’s stunner through Andy Barcham and David Connolly strikes in the firsthalf, but the Stags levelled through Lindon Meikle midway through the second-period.
And Whittingham, who singled out a star performance from winger Andy Barcham, does not expect immediate results as his side get used to life in the Football League’s bottom tier.
“We are a new group and learning all the time, people raise their game against us and we need to learn to cope with the added pressure that that brings,” he said.
“Obviously the early goal gave them a lift, and we are a big scalp in this league and we realise this, teams are fired up to play against us.
“Despite the second goal I was pleased with the way we defended against them today – I was more frustrated that we didn’t manage to push on or create much in the second-half.
“Andy Barcham has been putting in that level of performance for a few games now, and we hope he will continue to assist and score goals, because he is an exciting player for us.”
Against the run of play Mansfield took the lead on 33 minutes courtesy of Hutchinson’s thumping 25-yard volley past an outstretched Phil Smith.
But just five minutes later, Jed Wallace pulled the ball back down Pompey’s right-hand side for Barcham to smash home his first goal of the season.
And Barcham nearly doubled up just before half-time only for his strike to rebound into Connolly’s path, who completed a quick turnaround.
After the restart Mansfield got their equaliser in the 72nd minute as Smith fumbled Ollie Palmer’s high cross – for Mansfield sub Meikle to eventually poke into the net.
Considering the sides were two divisions apart last season it was a good point for Town.
Neither team could dig out a winner but Stags manager Paul Cox admits he has plenty of options pushing for a first-team place after Meikle impressed from the bench.
He said:“Some of these boys keep giving me food for thought – they were chomping at the bit to get on.
“I thought Meikle did well when he came on and the front two who came on for us today were an absolute handful.
“Ben Hutchinson is capable of scoring a fantastic goal like that – what we want now is more consistency from certain individuals.
“It was a really good game of football for the neutral, but we shot ourselves in the foot with a mad seven minutes worth of defending. “If we learn from this we can become a decent side in this
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JUMP FOR JOY: Ben Hutchinson celebrates putting Mansfield 1-0 up
HOT SHOT: Ben Hutchinson fires Mansfield ahead