Pompey continue to play up for Andy
PORTSMOUTH’S spirit knows no bounds these days and Andy Awford praised their “mental” run after seeing it extended by two late goals in a thriller at Gigg Lane.
Two first-half strikes from Hallam Hope put daylight between the sides as Pompey failed to create any clear chances before the break.
Andy Proctor increased the lead just after halftime before Danny Hollands and Ryan Taylor pulled goals back for the visitors.
Hope’s hat-trick goal appeared to kill any chance of a fight-back, but late goals from makeshift forward Sonny Bradley and Wes Fogden rescued a point for the visitors and made it six games unbeaten – their best run in three years.
“It was mental but it was Pompey spirit that got us over the line,” said Awford.“The spirit’s good in that dressing room and well done to the boys for the second half, but the first half needed to be better.”
Bury manager David Flitcroft was less than enamoured with his team’s defending, but emphasised the importance of remaining undefeated at Gigg Lane since November.
“I don’t want the emotion of the last eight minutes to ruin a fantastic run of form we’ve had,” he said.
The Shakers went ahead within ten minutes as Clive Platt headed Tom Soares’ cross on to Hope, who floated his shot over Trevor Carson. Pompey looked a shadow of the side that had just recorded five straight wins and on 33 minutes Soares dinked a ball through to Hope, who volleyed low from the edge of the box to make it 2-0 with 33 minutes played.
The Portsmouth boss lamented his side’s firsthalf display, but was quick to take some of the blame.
“Maybe a couple of them were a bit tired so it took us a little while to get going,” said Awford.
“I take a bit of responsibility for the first half because our shape wasn’t right.”
After the break Proctor glanced Danny Major’s cross in with a diving header.
But sloppy Bury defending led to Hollands pulling one back four minutes later. With eight minutes remaining Taylor made it 3-2 before Hope got his hat-trick and seemingly killed off hopes of a comeback.
However, Pompey launched a late aerial assault and two set-piece goals in four minutes from Bradley and Fogden made it 4-4 – an exhilarating finale which left Flitcroft fuming.
“It was a kamikaze approach, us not defending set-pieces,” he said. “They’ve thrown bodies on and we’ve not dealt with it.”
WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT: Exeter’s Craig Woodman, centre, after scoring the opener
STAR MAN HALLAM HOPE