Crawley’s attitude was a compliment to Pompey

Gareth Evans   Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Gareth Evans admitted he knew within the opening minutes of the 0-0 draw with Crawley that Pompey were in for a night of frustration and believes teams are now scared of the Blues.

The former Fleetwood man was quick to realise any hopes of an open, attacking encounter were dashed with the home side parking the bus in a bid to cling on for a draw.

While there were sporadic counter-attacks, it was Pompey who dominated the game.

But they were unable to find a way through the massed ranks of red shirts and had to settle for a draw.

Evans said: ‘For Crawley to be so happy with a 0-0 draw at home shows how teams are scared of us.

‘They are giving us a lot of respect.

‘Fair play to Crawley and the way they set up. They stuck to it and came away with a point.

‘You realise how it’s going to be within the first couple of minutes.

‘You knew they were going to put men behind the ball so it was a case of trying to break them down after that and we couldn’t quite do it.

‘It’s something we have got to expect in every game.

‘We have been tipped that heavily to do well this season that teams will set up like that.

‘To see them so happy with a point at the final whistle is a huge compliment to us.

‘If that’s how they want to get points then that’s up to them.

‘It was a frustrating night but if we keep playing like that, we won’t go far wrong.’

While Evans felt Pompey carved out opportunities, they only had an early Matt Tubbs effort to show for their dominance.

Although the striker also had a goal controversially disallowed for offside, the Crawley goalkeeper did not have a string of saves to make.

Evans said: ‘I thought we created enough chances to be able to win the game.

‘It was just a case of sticking one in the net.

‘You sometimes get nights like that where it doesn’t quite happen.

‘On another night, we could have won 3-0 or 4-0.’

And the 27-year-old revealed he’d entered new territory after being asked to do a job at right-back with Ben Davies forced off early in the second half with a hamstring injury.

Evans said: ‘To be honest, it’s not something I have had to do in my entire career before.

‘But I will play wherever the gaffer tells me to play.

‘It’s as simple as that really.

‘With the amount of possession we had, I didn’t actually have to do that much defending.

‘It was almost like playing on the wing really.

‘I just had to get back in for set-pieces. I didn’t mind it too much.

‘I’d not even thought about it. Then I saw Ben going off and the gaffer pointing to me to go to right-back.

‘I quite enjoyed it, to be honest.

‘I’ve never had to do a shift at right-back but the way we were dominating, I just had to get back in every now and again.

‘I’m happy to do it if that’s what the gaffer wants me to do.’