Pompey: Conor Chaplin cleared of diving by Paul Cook

Stuart O'Keefe in action against Bury. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Conor Chaplin has been cleared of diving by Paul Cook.

The young Pompey forward was shown a yellow card in the 2-1 win at Bristol Rovers after taking a tumble in the opposition penalty area.

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

The referee felt it was simulation in an attempt to win a spot-kick and booked the 18-year-old.

Meanwhile, Chaplin’s reaction appeared to show him apologising to his opponent.

On first viewing, Cook felt it was a penalty but then changed his own mind based on the reaction of his players.

But he has since revised his opinion again after watching the DVD.

I’ve seen the video and the lad puts his leg out. I felt there was contact

Paul Cook

Cook said: ‘I thought the ref had given a penalty initially, then he made his decision to book Conor.

‘I’ve seen the video and the lad puts his leg out. I felt there was contact.

‘My reaction was off Conor. It looked like he apologised to their player.

‘I always go off players’ reactions. If it’s a penalty that is not given, there is usually a big reaction.

‘But I thought our reaction was very subdued and that’s what made me think he dived.

‘He’s a young lad learning and his reaction wasn’t that of a player thinking it should have been a penalty.

‘I’m happy that it wasn’t a dive.’

Cook is keen to ensure there is no prospect of a reputation growing for the team or the player himself.

He said: ‘If I felt he was diving, I would speak to him about it as we don’t want that.

‘It’s not something I want around us as a club.

‘He’s got that low centre of gravity. He is very quick and nimble so any contact can knock him off balance.’

Meanwhile, Gareth Evans is hoping he will get another opportunity to impress after netting his third goal for the club and also going close to a stunning solo effort at the weekend.

The former Fleetwood man said: ‘I got through a few challenges and then the keeper made a good save, so I was a bit gutted.

‘But I made up for it when I scored with the header.

‘I enjoyed the game and it felt like I had a lot more opportunities to run at the defenders. Hopefully, I get the chance again but it’s not always like that.

‘Sometimes it’s down to a way the team sets up but I will be looking to do it a lot more.

‘I don’t think I have played badly but I don’t think I have had as big an influence on the game as I should have lately.

‘At Bristol Rovers, I felt back to my old self.’