‘The place was bouncing’: Derby County boss’ verdict on breathless promotion showdown with Portsmouth under Fratton lights

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Paul Warne saluted his side executing their counter-attacking game plan effectively and admitted he felt Pompey had ran out of ideas before striking back in the promotion showdown.

And the Derby boss reflected with pride on a raucous top-of-the-table clash that lived up to the billing on a wet and wild Fratton night.

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Warne’s side twice led before being pegged back by Owen Moxon’s wonder strike in the 2-2 draw, played out in driving rain and swirling wind.

A crowd of 20,129 packed into Fratton Park with the occasion matching expectations under the lights, as the top two went toe to toe.

Warne was pleased to see his side execute an approach which attempted to frustrate the home side, deny them spaces to exploit and then hit them on the counter.

It worked for both of Joe Ward’s goal, but the visitors couldn’t see the job out and remain five points off the leaders.

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Warne told Derby’s official site: ‘I'm really proud, I thought the lads were excellent. Credit to the analysts and Richie Barker and Matt Hamshaw who coach the lads and try and find a weakness in the opposition. I thought, overall, our performance was pretty good and the place was bouncing. This amount of people turning up to watch a game in the third tier is a joke!

‘A lot of effort has gone into this and I'm just disappointed that we've dropped two points from a 30-yard screamer. It felt like they'd got to a stage where they'd ran out of ideas and we always looked dangerous on the counter-attack. I have nothing but pride and that point could be massive come the end of the season.

‘All in all I'm pleased, but if we were losing 2-1 and got a draw we'd be buzzing but when you're winning 2-1 and feel like the game is just running out of steam it is different. I felt we'd ridden the storm but unfortunately it wasn't to be. It doesn't take anything away from how much effort the lads have put in, though.’

Warne reserve praise for the state of the Fratton pitch which stood up to the incessant rainfall, which would have put paid to many other matches taking place.

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He added: ‘I don't think the game was in any doubt because, in fairness to Portsmouth, their pitch is immaculate and is solid with grass. If it wasn't like a lot of League One pitches, it wouldn't have been playable. 

‘The wind was swirly but it's the same for both teams, I'm not being precious about it and it did make it so there were a few tackles looking a bit more lively than usual.

‘We wanted six points but if you'd have said to be going into it we'd get four points from Blackpool at home and Portsmouth away, I'd have taken it. It's disappointing because we looked pretty solid tonight, so it's disappointing we didn't take all three but it isn't through a lack of effort. 

‘Four points is good but it's only good if you back it up. If we go to Wycombe and don't back it up then this point looks worse. If you back it up with three, which is a big ask, this could be the point that defines you. The lads put so much effort in for one point but one point is still impressive at this time of the season and in this sort of pressure.’

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