Cook: A good Pompey week despite awful Barnet game

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
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A return of seven points from a potential nine in just over a week.

Yet despite such the positive haul, Paul Cook admitted his Pompey side had been disappointingly below-par in their 1-1 draw at Barnet.

We restricted a good Barnet side to very few chances, so all-in-all I think it’s a fair result so shake hands and move on

Paul Cook

The Blues headed to The Hive on the back of successive victories to bolster automatic promotion hopes.

Ultimately, however, they were grateful for a point following Conor Chaplin’s 89th-minute intervention.

The striker appeared as part of a double substitution alongside Danny Rose at the break following a dreadful opening 45 minutes.

Their entrance in place of ineffective duo Jamal Lowe and Kyle Bennett also prompted the switching to a 4-3-3 system.

Regardless, Mauro Vilhete’s 82nd-minute free-kick looked to have settled matters in the Bees’ favour.

But Chaplin thundered in a 25-yard right-footed shot for the leveller to earn a prized point.

And for Cook, the team’s performance had been hugely disappointing.

He said: ‘Our players showed a great desire to get going and grab the 89th-minute goal, it has been a good week for us and now we go to a great game next week at Carlisle.

‘But, in that first half, it was apparent we were passing in the wrong areas.

‘We were not getting our full-backs out and couldn’t move up the pitch because if we gave the ball away cheaply John Akinde is capable of hurting you at any given time.

‘At half-time we made two substitutions because we were trying our best and wanted to win.

‘We wanted to play basic football and have a front two who were dead honest and could get us a goal, while Gary Roberts would hopefully create a bit of magic.

‘We then had a nice flat midfield three, with Amine Linganzi, Danny Rose and Michael Doyle because there was no quality in the game.

‘Barnet weren’t threatening with any quality, it’s not like they had good wingers or penetration, they go to Akinde quickly and he hurts you, so we wanted to get three players at the top end of the pitch.

‘It was a difficult game for us so I’m quite pleased we got a point, we showed great character.

‘We restricted a good Barnet side to very few chances, so all-in-all I think it’s a fair result so shake hands and move on.’

With barely any goal-scoring opportunities for either side, it was certainly a forgettable fixture.

Barnet were just as ineffective as their visitors on a pitch Cook believes was not conducive for playing passing football.

For new head coach Kevin Nugent, it was a decent start.

But Cook was not happy with the playing surface which staged the 1-1 draw.

He added: ‘We are very much a passing team and turned up to try to work the channels, but the pitch was bobbly and rock hard.

‘I am not blaming pitches, the league table is what it is and you have to come away from home and get on with it, it’s not an excuse.

‘But when we went to Newport we were prepared for what was coming, although Saturday caught us out.

‘We were led to believe, and certainly watching the videos, that it was a good surface. I don’t know why there was no water put on it.’