Boss reflects on dramatic Carlisle draw
A 2-2 draw at Carlisle stretched Pompey’s winless run to five league games.
But as the team coach finally returned to the south coast after a mammoth journey home, those on board will still have been wondering how they did not secure all three points.
The visitors totally dominated the opening 45 minutes at Brunton Park, only to fall behind to Danny Grainger’s penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Caolan Lavery and Marc McNulty both scored in the space of two minutes after the restart, however, to turn the match on its head.
But with victory seemingly in the bag, Grainger hit a stunning stoppage-time strike to ensure the spoils were shared.
And after watching his side produce an impressive display, Paul Cook felt that the outcome was harsh.
The Blues boss said: “They scored two goals deep into each half, but I thought we played really well overall.
“If you’re a football purist and enjoy seeing the game played in the right way then you would have liked what we did in the first half.
“We shouldn’t have gone in 1-0 down at the break, but unfortunately we did – even if it was a contentious decision.
“But we did great to get back in the game and go ahead, although fair play to Carlisle because they kept probing away and got that wonder goal late on.
“It was good for Lavery and McNulty to both get on the scoresheet and the supporters were able to see what they bring to us.
“We had some really encouraging performances and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t win, but we just have to move on to facing York on Tuesday now.”
The game changed with the introduction of Ben Tollitt and McNulty in the second half, as the former created Pompey’s first goal and the latter scored their second.
But the on-loan Sheffield United striker then had to be substituted after suffering a head injury while defending a corner.
Cook said: “Marc wanted to stay on and it was the physio who brought him off, so hopefully he’ll be alright for Tuesday.
“He’s going to get more and more game time as we go on and Tollitt is forcing his way into the reckoning.”
There were almost 1,000 Blues fans who made the long trip to Cumbria and Cook was full of support for their backing.
He said: “Credit to our supporters because they were absolutely fantastic and never stopped singing – even after the disappointment of that late equaliser.
“I really hope that one day we’ll be able to deliver success for them because they really do deserve it.”
Listen to Cook's thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and skipper Michael Doyle.