Pompey boss insists leveller is key

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Michael Appleton believes Joel Ward’s late equaliser will prove a key moment in Pompey’s season after stretching their unbeaten run to four games.

After a scrappy south-coast derby ended with honours even, the new Blues boss has not tasted defeat since his first game at the helm.

Appleton knew how important it was for the club not to lose the game against their arch rivals – even if his side failed to hit the heights of some of their recent performances.

He said: ‘From a momentum point of view, it was so important not to lose the game.

‘Obviously, with us being at home, I would have liked for us to have created a few more chances than we did. But it wasn’t to be.

‘That momentum is still there after four games unbeaten.

‘There’s a great belief in the side with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude and they don’t want to be beaten.

‘If you were to choose how a draw happens, you’d want to equalise – and it keeps that momentum going.

‘So we go into the next game having fallen behind to the team that’s top of the league and pegged them back for a point.’

Appleton also saluted the character of the players as they claimed a draw

He said: ‘It would have been very easy to fold and to give up the ghost a little bit when being one goal down at home.

‘But it shows the character and the belief the players have in themselves to keep going and going when things are against them.

‘After going behind, the players really stuck at it and they got a bit of reward.’