Pompey boss praises ‘special’ striker

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Gallen relishing Pompey’s FA Cup trip to Luton

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Paul Cook praised ‘special’ Conor Chaplin after rescuing Pompey at the death.

The half-time substitute rifled a 25-yard leveller to earn the Blues a 1-1 draw at Barnet.

Great credit to the lad, not only for the goal but having the confidence to even try to do it at that stage of the game

Paul Cook

Paul Cook’s men had been trailing to Mauro Vilhete’s 82nd-minute free-kick in Saturday’s forgettable trip to The Hive.

But Chaplin, on in place of Jamal Lowe at the interval, struck a ferocious right-footed effort on 89 minutes.

The goal establishes the striker as Pompey’s current leading scorer with eight, taking him ahead of Gary Roberts and Kal Naismith.

And for Cook, it was another moment of class from the 20-year-old in a match which frustratingly struggled for quality.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Conor is fantastic, it is so important he stays positive.

‘I put the substitutions on that early because I trust them and know what they can do, so I’m not trying to be clever.

‘There was no quality and I said to Conor if you stand in front of the centre-half you will get eaten, we have got to go down the sides and had to make their centre-halves turn and go back towards their goal.

‘Great credit to the lad, not only for the goal but having the confidence to even try to do it at that stage of the game.

‘It takes a special sort of player to do that and he deservedly gets the plaudits for producing it.’

It was Chaplin’s third career goal against the Bees, having netted twice in the Fratton Park clash last season.

Arriving in front of the noisy 2,430 away followers at The Hive, his stunning strike deprived head coach Kevin Nugent of a winning start to his Bees career following his appointment last week.

– NEIL ALLEN