GARETH’S LOVING CHANGE OF ENDS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Joe Batch­e­lor

GARETH Ainsworth is loving life at the top end of League Two after a Sam Wood goal en­sured Wy­combe picked up a point and are un­beaten in six.

Wood di­verted a Peter Murphy shot past a stranded Paul Jones after 49 min­utes to give the Chairboys a de­served lead but they failed to hang on.

Portsmouth sub­sti­tute Johnny Ertl sub­limely volleyed a Dan But­ler cor­ner past Matt In­gram on 70 min­utes to en­sure both teams had to set­tle for a point.

The away team en­dured a dra­matic fi­nal day show­down last sea­son to stay in the Foot­ball League but are cur­rently sit­ting happy in the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion places and are yet to lose away from Adams Park.

Ainsworth said: “It is our away form that is re­ally good at the mo­ment but I won’t be talk­ing about any­thing other than get­ting to our sur­vival to­tal.

“The pres­sures be­ing at the bot­tom is hor­ri­ble and you have to try and keep the same pro­fes­sion­al­ism but be­ing at the top just breeds con­fi­dence and backs up what you are try­ing to do.

“I know my play­ers so whether the start has sur­prised me or not I will keep it to my­self and the main aim is to never ever re­peat what hap­pened last year at all.

“I am re­ally pleased, not many teams will come to Frat­ton Park and get a draw although it is gut­ting we didn’t get three points.”

Fresh from their 3-0 win over Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge in mid­week, Pom­pey started in top gear but no one was on hand to con­vert a teas­ing Jed Wal­lace cross after six min­utes.

The away side then dom­i­nated for large spells and Matt McClure almost caught out Paul Jones with a 25-yard shot which the goal­keeper scram­bled away.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Pom­pey de­fender Paul Robin­son then cleared off the line from Murphy on 43 min­utes after Jones had kept out McClure’s ini­tial shot.

In the end-to-end bat­tle, seconds later Craig West­carr went up the other end and re­ally should have brought the first cheer from the Frat­ton Park faith­ful but could only blaze a Wal­lace cross over the bar.

After Wood’s opener, McClure had the golden chance to put the game to bed but, when alone in the box, could only fire high into the stands.

The miss changed the game and James Dunne rat­tled the cross­bar with a 25-yard strike while Joe Dev­era and West­carr some­how wasted glo­ri­ous chances be­fore Ertl fi­nally hit the tar­get with his first goal for a year.

A frus­trated Andy Awford said: “I think Wy­combe have come in and done a re­ally good pro­fes­sional job and they de­served their point.

“When teams come here they have to slow the game down. Teams will do that be­cause they want to kill the game and to make the crowd flap and they did a very good job on us.

“We can’t stop that, it is down to the ref­eree to han­dle that. I think there should have been at least ten min­utes of in­jury time per­son­ally.

“Right from minute one there was a bit of slow­ness from them but I’m not crit­i­cal of Wy­combe for that, that's pro­fes­sional and that’s what teams do.”

PIC­TURES: De­nis Murphy/TGSPHOTO

STAR MAN AARON PIERRE

be Wy­com HAVE THAT: Jo­hannes Ertl of Portsmouth scores the equaliser

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