Curle: It was men against boys

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler

Hawkins prompts Pompey transfer rethink

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Keith Curle gave a brutally honest assessment of his Carlisle side’s performance after seeing them ‘dismantled’ by Pompey.

The former England defender pulled no punches but also refused to hit the panic button over a defeat that leaves Carlisle third from bottom of League Two.

Curle said: ‘I have to be honest about this one and say it was men against boys performance-wise.

‘Portsmouth deserved the result but it’s a game where it gave me another chance to look at our players.

‘I’ve said all along that now is not the time to panic.

‘We’ve come away to a very good team and we have been dismantled.

‘I can deal with that and I’ll have to accept it because there’s nothing I can say now to change what happened.

‘The way we started the game, particularly our decision making in key areas, was disappointing. That will change over time.

‘Portsmouth have got a lot of experienced players and we have young players who will learn by their mistakes.’

Curle also revealed that the noise inside Fratton Park played a part in his side’s poor start to the contest.

He said: ‘The early goal made life very tough.

‘At other stadiums you find you can lead the lads from the sidelines to help them through it but the noise made that very difficult.

‘They didn’t get their distances right and a team with experienced players like this will exploit that and leave you with an uphill battle.

‘This is a night where the players will go through some amount of self-analysis.’

Curle also suggested Hayden White only had himself to blame after his late red card.

He said: ‘He probably deserves a three-match ban for that first touch!

‘It was then a rash challenge but the lad was up very quickly once he knew it was a red card.

‘It wasn’t the best tackle and it probably summed up Hayden’s night.’

– STEVE WILSON