Michael Doyle salutes Pompey character

Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey player Eoin Hand, right

Pompey favourite at Fratton Park to sign autobiography

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MICHAEL DOYLE lauded Pompey’s character after a sparkling second-half transformation kept alive automatic promotion hopes.

Paul Cook’s out-of-sorts troops approached the hour mark of Saturday’s clash trailing to Ashley Hemmings’ goal.

It looked like we were going into our shells a bit and needed to show that character – but once we got the goal everything changed for us

Neil Allen

It left League Two’s bottom club contemplating only a third home win of the campaign in all competitions.

Yet once Michael Doyle volleyed home an equaliser in the 59th minute, the visitors were devastating.

Christian Burgess, substitute Gareth Evans and Kyle Bennett all netted as the Blues ran out 4-1 winners.

And their skipper was swift to praise the remarkable turnaround.

Doyle said: ‘To be honest, it wasn’t looking very good for us 10 minutes into that second half, but at times like that you either go under or stand up and be counted.

‘And as players we showed a lot of character.

‘The manager had had a right go at half-time, telling us we needed to show a lot more, then in the second half our crowd got a bit agitated.

‘You don’t really listen to the crowd that much, but we could hear them, we weren’t playing well and knew how frustrating that must have been for them.

‘It looked like we were going into our shells a bit and needed to show that character – but once we got the goal everything changed for us.

‘The team could have gone under, some teams do. I have played in teams that would do in situations like when the fans have turned on them.

‘I am not knocking the fans for that because it must have been frustrating, they see performances like the last two weeks and Accrington and Bristol Rovers. They want to see that consistently and that has been an issue for us at times.

‘But we showed character.

‘With teams like Dagenham who are bottom of the table, once they concede it knocks them, it is a confidence thing, it automatically erupts and we were aware of that.

‘We knew if we got a goal we were going to try drive on, especially with the following – and we won it.’

It was another stunning left-foot strike from Doyle to haul the visitors level.

He met Gary Roberts’ left-wing cross with a rattling volley, to sit smartly alongside last month’s spectacular strike at Accrington.

He added: ‘I don’t score tap-ins!

‘Once I saw Robbo out wide I knew he was going to pull it back and made that run.

‘It sat up for me perfectly and I hit it on the volley. I don’t know whether the keeper thought I was going to take a touch, it looked like he was trying to get set and then has reacted. Luckily enough he didn’t get a strong hand onto it.

‘The way things were going, if Robbo had put the ball there and nobody was around the crowd would have been on the pitch probably baying for blood!’