Cotterill slams ‘pernickety’ ref

Referee Phil Crossley keeps an eye on Jonathan Hogg and Nicky Bailey
Referee Phil Crossley keeps an eye on Jonathan Hogg and Nicky Bailey
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Liam Lawrence helping out in the ticket office at Fratton Park

On this day: Pompey skipper hits out at punishment for players and fans

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Steve Cotterill accused referee Phil Crossley’s fussy display of ruining the clash with Middlesbrough.

Pompey played out only their second goalless draw of the season in Saturday’s disappointing affair.

At the centre of it was Crossley, who drew plenty of criticism from the Fratton faithful over his handling of the game.

The Kent-based official produced some bewildering decisions, especially in the second half.

And Cotterill was also infuriated with the non-stop whistling he believes blighted the game.

He said: ‘Any foul, any free-kick, took an age before the game restarted.

‘I thought the referee was very, very pernickety with absolutely everything.

‘There were a lot of stop-start silly fouls and nudges.

‘It’s a strong game now, these that go out onto the pitch are strong boys and I thought the referee swallowed his whistle for one minute, every time he breathed in it blew.

‘Every time the game threatened to start, there was a stoppage.

‘Somebody was down, somebody was holding their head, then all of a sudden they got up.

‘It must have been mended with a bit of brown paper because they were off and running again.

‘It was no advantage to us to have a slow game at home.

‘That isn’t how we would want to play – or how we have played.

‘It was like pulling teeth, really.’

Meanwhile, Cotterill admitted Pompey weren’t good enough against Tony Mowbray’s side.

Boro ventured to Fratton Park desperate for a point to help aid their fight against relegation.

And in the second half, especially, the Blues failed to impress.

Cotterill added: ‘When we have a poor game I come out and say “yes, we were poor”, I don’t try to spin anything.

‘We had a poor game.

‘It looked like our seventh game in 21 days, I thought we looked a bit jaded.

‘I said to the boys at half-time that we just needed one last effort, we’ve got a clear week and we just couldn’t quite produce it.

‘We could have been three up at half-time with the chances we had and there were a couple of calls for a penalty – you might not get one but might get another.

‘We needed that first goal to go in, then they would have had to open up a little bit more.

‘They got a lot of men behind the ball and made it very, very difficult for us.’