Noel Hunt: I understand the Pompey need for boos

Fratton Park witnessed a Pompey side subjected to boos while leading 1-0.

Monday, 14th November 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:15 pm
Noel Hunt scored his first Pompey goal in the Blues' 4-0 win over Mansfield on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

Yet Noel Hunt insisted he empathised with those supporters registering their dissatisfaction so publicly.

Mansfield has been reduced to nine men by the 74th minute during their attempts to cancel out Gary Roberts’ 11th minute penalty.

Despite introducing Hunt and Kal Naismith from the bench, the Blues’ delay in obtaining a game-clinching second goal frustrated.

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It prompted boos from several sides of the ground in the direction of the team and manager Paul Cook.

Irrespective, Hunt scored his maiden Pompey goal in the 84th minute to open the floodgates for a 4-0 win.

And the veteran striker sympathised with fans who had delivered those boos.

He said: ‘You see a lot of teams get beaten by 10-men.

‘At Cambridge a few weeks ago we had 10-men for 29 minutes and were the better team and dealt with the pressure.

‘You have to be patient and it’s important for us, as players, not to get frustrated and disappointed. Everyone has to keep doing their jobs and doing the right thing for the team.

‘You can get desperate sometimes, but we are all good players and you have to believe.

‘The fans’ reaction was totally understandable, they were frustrated.

‘We were keeping the ball against nine men, but at the same time they still had nine men in the box. Most teams come here with 10-men in the box, which is one less yet still the same principle.

‘We needed to get the ball into the box early – which we did in the end.

‘I’ve heard boos before and sympathise with the fans sometimes.

‘For me, the game looks so easy from the stands. You think “Look at how much green grass there is on that field”. Yet when you are out there you only see bodies, you don’t see that green grass because somebody is in front of you.

‘I understand how fans get frustrated because I am a fan myself, but we came to do a job and did it. I hope they were happy.

‘We were in control all the time and that was the big thing for us.’

It was fellow substitute Kal Naismith’s pass from the left which created Hunt’s goal.

The former Reading man had the simple task of crashing home a finish from six-yards out.

Carl Baker then scored twice to complete the 4-0 scoreline and lift the Blues into fourth place in League Two.

After an injury-hampered start to life at Fratton Park, Hunt’s goal was his first in 11 appearances.

He has edged ahead of Michael Smith and Curtis Main to challenge Conor Chaplin for a spot.

And Hunt, who spent last season with Southend, was delighted at opening his Pompey goal account.

He added: ‘Robbie Blake said in the week I should be more ruthless in the box.

‘On Tuesday against Bristol Rovers I stepped over one for Danny Rose – but the two of us left it for each other.

‘You have got to take control, go and score and not care. I have to be a bit more selfish in the box.’