The challenge for Portsmouth after uplifting response to Ipswich Town and Rotherham United horror shows with Bolton Wanderers now on horizon

Danny Cowley saluted his players’ fighting response to those questioning their character as they showed their mettle at Accrington.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:55 am

But the Pompey boss admitted he still feels the footballing gods are against his side, as they passed up a stack of chances to return to winning ways in Saturday’s 2-2 draw.

The Blues clocked up 19 shots on goal at the Crown Ground, with a number of those opportunities clear openings.

A first half of dominance returned a one-goal advantage, before John Coleman’s side turned the game on its head after the restart.

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After crumbling in similar circumstances in the past two outings, Pompey found a response to adversity when Marcus Harness levelled with three minutes left.

The character seen from their side was enough to send the majority of the 892 travelling fans home satisfied.

And that was the same for Cowley in what proved a testing trip north for a number of reasons.

He said: ‘We should have taken our chances, but this is not a time for me to be critical of my players.

Danny Cowley applauds the Pompey fans at Accrington. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/

‘They’ve had a tough week, had a lot of criticism and are probably full up with it.

‘It’s for me to commend their resilience, grit and determination they showed.

‘They also responded to conceding the second goal, and that gives us a platform to hopefully build and push on from.

‘We now have a run of home games - and we have to capitalise on that.

‘We should have come in more than 1-0 up at half time. I don’t think they had a shot on goal in the first half.

‘It’s not easy going to Accrington. I think they’ve won four of their five games there.

‘When they scored you’re thinking this is how it is for at the moment.

‘The football gods are definitely against us.

‘It took us until 10.30pm to travel up on Friday. Everything which could go wrong on the travel did. This is how it is for us at the minute.

‘But no one cares about excuses, so we have to show fighting qualities.’

Cowley made it clear the challenge is for his players to build on the positive aspects of their outing on Saturday moving forward.

Pompey potentially have five games on the spin coming up at home in all competitions, which the 43-year-old sees as the perfect chance to harvest a string of positive results.

He added: ‘I was pleased with the way we came together.

‘It’s been a testing week, for sure, and I was pleased with their response to that.

‘Today was a step in the right direction.

‘When you’ve let yourself down and let others down, you can’t usually turn that around in one foul swoop.It usually happens over a number of games.

‘So we’ve shown we can come back in games away from home and we’ve shown we can control games.

‘We’ve shown the qualities needed to be a good away team.

‘But we’ve got to do that consistently now, because if we don’t do it consistently it means nothing.

‘What I’m shouting from the rooftops is we need to do that on a consistent basis.

‘What we have do now is bring our quality, grit and determination on a regular basis.’