Boss reflects on controversial Cambridge clash
With two red cards, a coach sent to the stands, a controversial opening goal and a Matt Tubbs brace, there was certainly plenty of incident at the Abbey Stadium.
Pompey had to fight from behind after Robbie Simpson fired Cambridge ahead early on, despite the linesman raising his flag for offside.
A scuffle at the break then led to dismissals for United skipper Mark Roberts and Blues coach Leam Richardson.
But two goals in under two minutes turned the match on its head, with Leon Legge sending the ball into his own net before Matt Tubbs fired Pompey into the lead.
Tubbs added a third for the visitors’ late on, but there was still time for Gareth Evans to be sent off for a late tackle.
But Paul Cook was keen to focus on an impressive fightback for Pompey rather than the moments of controversy.
The Blues boss said: “It was a good test for us at the break and I thought our ball retention and movement in the second half was great.
“We forced them back deeper and deeper, they got more tired and we were able to score two quick goals.
“We’re going to have bad days – that happens in football – but this was a good one and now we look forward to Newport next week.
“We’ll just keep going. I keep saying the same messages to everyone – but whatever position we finish at the end of the season is where we deserve to be.
“Our support was tremendous yet again and the fans were a credit to the club. They keep believing in us.”
Cook disagreed with some of the decisions made by referee Sebastian Stockbridge, but refused to condemn the official.
He said: “The first goal was offside, but I wouldn’t have criticised him even if we’d have lost 1-0 because we all make mistakes – I do as a manager.
“Then Gareth shouldn’t have made an attempt to challenge at that point because the game was over.
“It was a legitimate attempt to play the ball and I wouldn’t have sent him off, but he’ll learn from that.”