Mullins: We proved a point

Hayden Mullins. Picture: Steve Reid
Hayden Mullins. Picture: Steve Reid
Christian Burgess

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A first defeat of the Championship season, a second defeat at Fratton Park inside four days.

Nonetheless, Hayden Mullins believes Pompey’s players proved a point during the 1-0 loss to Brighton.

And he has called on them never to revisit the dark, dark day against Barnet.

The midfielder was part of the side which suffered the embarrassment of Carling Cup elimination by Barnet last week.

In the angry aftermath, the players held a dressing room inquest which lasted more than an hour.

Steve Cotterill himself made four changes to the team which slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat.

The result against Brighton was an identical scoreline but a vast improvement in quality.

Had Liam Lawrence not struck the post with a last-gasp penalty, their step up in energy and commitment would have been rewarded.

And, regardless of the result, Mullins believes the performance was so much better.

He said: ‘We definitely played a lot better on Saturday – that was to be expected from us.

‘The Barnet game was very disappointing for everyone as a whole.

‘After that match we had a chat about things but that is normal.

‘The standards the manager wants from the players of this football club are far better than that.

‘As players we know what is expected.

‘Against Brighton we really wanted to pull out a positive result but that wasn’t to be.

‘Liam was very disappointed but you expect him to be. He loves the club and wants to do well.

‘That hurt him, it hurt everyone. He misses, we all miss.

‘We knew we had to put it right after the Barnet match and started the second half, in particular, really positively.

‘Brighton did well in the first half and kept the ball really well.

‘Going a goal down we had to force it but we did that well and created a number of chances.

‘It was just unlucky at the end there was not an equaliser.’

The match produced eight bookings in what was an often full-blooded south-coast derby.

Referee Neil Swarbrick was a controversial figure during his handling of proceedings – the home fans even booing him off at half-time and the final whistle.

And Mullins, too, admitted it had been a frustrating occasion.

He added: ‘The referee stopped the game a lot, which got our backs up a little bit.

‘There were a lot of bookings but it wasn’t that sort of game.

‘We were trying to get tight and trying to pressure them, but the referee was seeing fouls left, right and centre.

‘That’s his job, I suppose.’