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25 August 2015

Boss praises players despite cup exit

A second cupset of the season looked on the cards when Conor Chaplin fired Pompey ahead against Reading.

The teenager took advantage of a fluffed Ali Al-Habsi clearance late in the first half before finishing with aplomb from a tight angle.

But Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary both netted after the break to send the visitors through to the third round of the Capital One Cup.

Not that Paul Cook was too disappointed after seeing his side impress against their Championship opponents.

The Blues boss said: “All in all it was a very positive night for us – it’s just a shame that we couldn’t quite get through and we wish Reading the best of luck in the next round.

“We’ve got a good work ethic at the club and you could see how high our fitness levels were and the appetite the players have for the game.

“The young players all did well – Webster looked outstanding, Close played very well, Chaplin scores goals for fun and Haunstrup’s coming through with flying colours.

“But I also thought that Kyle Bennett was very impressive at times and Paul Jones was excellent in goal – I could go on and on.

“We’ve got selection headaches, but I’ve had them since pre-season and we’re very lucky that we’ve got such good players.

“A massive pat on the back for all the lads because everyone put in a decent performance.

“To get a standing ovation at the end of any game means that you’ve worked hard and had to earn it – our players certainly did.”

The tie attracted a crowd of 18,190 to Fratton Park – Pompey’s largest attendance of the season so far.

Cook said: “It speaks volumes for the people of Portsmouth that so many people came out to support us and we’re grateful for their backing.”

Watch the thoughts of Cook below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full reaction from the manager and Chaplin.

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