Decimated and without a goal in six weeks: Fleetwood boss’ delight at Portsmouth result

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The former Sunderland and Bristol City boss was delighted with what he saw from his players at Fratton Park

Lee Johnson saluted his Fleetwood side for halting their freefall with a battling Pompey point.

The Cod Army grafted to a 1-1 draw at the League One leaders despite being without 13 players through injury.

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Johnson’s side had lost their past six games and not scored in six weeks, but came back from a goal down to get a richly deserved return through Josh Earl’s second-half finish.

The former Sunderland and Bristol City boss felt Pompey shouldn’t have been given their first-half penalty, but was delighted with his side’s response.

Johnson told Fleetwood’s website: ‘It was a really charismatic performance and we executed the game plan to perfection. We know how good their midfield is. I’ve had two of their players with me before at Bristol City.

‘I thought we were superb. We have a lot of strength and athleticism in midfield. Stocks (Stockley) put a shift in and a real battling performance and we defended better.

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‘It was disappointing to go in 1-0 down off the back of the individual error and then the poor refereeing decision. That’s happened too many times but we rallied the boys and the boys rallied themselves.

‘We came out on the front foot and continued to win our battles, continued to deal with their threat and cause a threat of our own.

‘It was a big performance from our lads given the circumstances and we have 13 players out. It’s great from our academy to have eight available from the squad and the Waterford link. It shows as a football club we can compete on any given day.

‘We need quality and injured players back, but this has to be the staple defensively and add quality going forward.’

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The point was just the second Fleetwood had earned against a side in the top half of League One this season, but Johnson felt their reward could’ve been even greater.

He added: ‘Portsmouth are absolutely riding a wave. We didn’t completely spoil the party, but we came and did our bit. I did (think they could’ve won). A player of Jack (Marriott) and his quality has had two or three opportunities.

‘The second one he went through would’ve needed to be an unbelievable finish and he would’ve needed to shoot through somebody.

‘The potential when we didn’t cut it back to him on the six-yard box and then I thought the keeper was off his line. It’s easy for me to say that. Jack’s had to deal with that but came on and built himself some confidence.

‘To come to Portsmouth which was pretty much a sellout in this festive period and perform like we did I’m very proud.’

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