Mokoena’s backing for Ashdown

Aaron Mokoena looks on helplessly as Jamie Ashdown spills Adel Taarabt's shot
Aaron Mokoena looks on helplessly as Jamie Ashdown spills Adel Taarabt's shot
Luke McGee

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Some have struggled to come back from costly mistakes.

But Aaron Mokoena believes Jamie Ashdown is the type of strong character who can shrug off his QPR howler.

Ashdown has been one of the consistent Pompey performers in a season that has seen him as the last line of defence behind an ever-changing back-four cast list

But goalkeepers know when they sign up to play the position their careers will be lived out on a constant knife-edge.

It’s simply an occupational hazard that one mistake almost certainly leads to an opposition goal and instant vilification.

It would be unfair to point the finger of blame at Ashdown in a season where he has finally got his hands on the coveted number-one jersey after playing second fiddle to David James for such a long period of his Blues career.

Ashdown has had to bide his time more than most for his chance behind Shaka Hislop, Sander Westerveld, Dean Kiely, James and even Kostas Chalkias in his seven-year stay at Fratton Park.

But Mokoena insists Pompey’s number one has the mentality to forget his handling error that allowed Adel Taarabt’s shot to squirm into his bottom corner in midweek.

And the Pompey skipper reckons he’ll bounce right back to the standards he has set all campaign.

Mokoena said: ‘Mistakes do happen. Jamie has been absolutely outstanding for us – one of our best players this season.

‘What happened against QPR can happen to anyone.

‘We know that he has played a big, big part this season so what happened at QPR goes out of the window – we don’t even care.

‘He is that type of character who doesn’t want to make mistakes – no player wants to make mistakes.

‘But in football, unfortunately it happens sometimes.

‘It’s all about how you respond and having the character to stand up and go for it again.

‘We need him again and he is a strong character. We know he will bounce back from what happened.’

Blues boss Steve Cotterill was also quick to defend the former Reading man in a week where several other goalkeepers suffered a similar fate.

Cotterill said: ‘There is not a lot you can say about Jamie’s mistake.

‘But it seems to be catching – there were a few around this week.

‘It must be a funny week. There are three good goalkeepers there who have perhaps made mistakes that on another day would mop them up no problem.

‘Jamie has done great. He’s one of our top three performers this season, for sure.

‘He could even be in the top two. He has been absolutely fantastic this year.

‘Some of the saves he’s made when we have been 2-1 up or 1-0 have kept us in the game. So it’s not too bad that he has got to February before he has dropped a ricket.’