Pom­pey con­tinue to play up for Andy

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Sean But­ters To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

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.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

WOOD YOU BE­LIEVE IT: Ex­eter’s Craig Wood­man, cen­tre, af­ter scor­ing the opener

STAR MAN HAL­LAM HOPE

Bury

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