‘Cruel’ result for gutted Whittingham

Johnny Ertl, left, finds it hard to contain his emotions, alongside team-mates Adam Reed and Gabor Gyepes, during the defeat against Notts County
Johnny Ertl, left, finds it hard to contain his emotions, alongside team-mates Adam Reed and Gabor Gyepes, during the defeat against Notts County
Matt Clarke has found himself back in familiar surroundings in the centre of defence in recent weeks  Picture: Joe Pepler

Back home – but Pompey defender would switch back

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Guy Whittingham reflected on last night’s rain-sodden loss to Notts Country and insisted: That was cruel.

Pompey were condemned to a 2-0 defeat after the visitors struck two goals in the last nine minutes.

Up until then, the Blues were well worth a point against Keith Curle’s men.

As it was, goals from Jeff Hughes and Francois Zoko broke Pompey hearts after a spirited display.

Such were the levels of energy and effort put in by the hosts, the fans applauded them off the pitch at the final whistle.

For Whittingham, it was recognition of the hard work his players put in.

And despite a sixth successive defeat and 16 matches without a win, the caretaker boss felt Pompey deserved more.

He said: ‘Sometimes you do look and think when you haven’t won in so long “are we really that bad?”

‘Results will certainly say they are – but I thought cruel was the word to describe last night.

‘The fans are fantastic. They know that our hands are tied and there’s not a great deal we can do.

‘All they want to see is players giving 100-per-cent effort and I think the players did that.

‘All the players gave absolutely everything and I think we have in the past only done that in bits and pieces.

‘Even if you go back to the Swindon game, for 60 minutes they gave everything and then conceded that first goal.

‘You go to the Walsall game and we were probably the best side for the first 30 minutes and then concede a goal.

‘At least it went a bit further last night and we will keep striving for it.

‘There were some devastated people in there after the game and you can say a few things about whether you think they deserved to lose.

‘They did so well and then gave two goals aways which could have been prevented, really – like a lot of ours.

‘Do you sympathise with them or have a go at them for making it too easy for teams to score against us?’

Once more, Academy graduates Jed Wallace and Dan Butler impressed in successive league outings.

They were joined by Ashley Harris in the starting line-up, while fellow youngster Adam Webster was on the bench.

Led by the impressive Johnny Ertl, the Blues’ young guns produced mature performances.

And they were yet more positives for Whittingham to take on board from the Magpies’ visit.

He added: ‘What’s good for the fans is they see Pompey youngsters as well, the likes of Ashley Harris and Dan Butler out there.

‘They have come through the system here and Jed Wallace is another one.

‘I think that is fantastic for them to see.

‘It’s encouraging. The youngsters did well enough last night and they need to make sure they do well enough in the next one because they are now – as we are at this moment in time – League One players.’