Paul Downing salutes Portsmouth's character to battle from behind and defeat Northampton

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Paul Downing heaped praise on Pompey’s resolve after they battled from behind to defeat Northampton. 

The Blues booked their place in the third round of the EFL Trophy but had to do it the hard way in a 2-1 win at Fratton Park.

The hosts fell behind to the League Two visitors after just 12 minutes when Michael Harriman was left unmarked inside the area and headed home. 

But Pompey would level before half-time through Leon Maloney's maiden goal for the club.

Marcus Harness’ thumping 62nd-minute volley then moved the Blues into the last 16 of the competition they’re currently holders of.

Downing, making his first start for almost two months, admitted Kenny Jackett’s side were slow out of the traps.

Paul Downing  in action. Picture: Sean Ryan

Paul Downing in action. Picture: Sean Ryan

But the centre-back was delighted with how Pompey responded.

He said: ‘Getting through was the main aim and we wanted to keep our winning run going.

‘They started well and we didn’t really in the first 20 minutes but then all the boys grew into the game.

‘We played some good stuff, created some chances and got the job done in the end.

‘We knew Northampton were in good form, we didn’t underestimate them and prepared properly..

‘There were some experienced players on the pitch and we knew there was plenty of time left.

‘Shooting into our fans in the second half, we were always confident of getting the goals.

‘If it wasn’t for their keeper, we’d have scored some more goals. That was one disappointment but credit to their keeper because he made some great saves.’

Downing was one of nine changes Jackett made from Saturday’s FA Cup win over Altrincham.

He was one of several players who’ve not had a lot of recent minutes, having failed to feature in League One since September 17.

The ex-Blackburn man admitted the Blues struggled in the early stages because of rustiness.

He added: ‘Maybe some of us haven’t had the game-time we’d have wanted and were a bit rusty to start with but showed some good character to get back into the game.

‘It’s probably only natural. You can only do so much training and you need matches to get the sharpness.

‘We wanted to start positively at home but it can't always happen. You’ve got to give them some credit as well and the main thing is we got the win.’