Chairman still proud of progress
Losing in the play-offs will always be a cruel way to be denied promotion.
But the hurt was even more pronounced for Pompey, as they exited 3-2 on aggregate to Plymouth.
With the tie heading for extra-time at Home Park, Peter Hartley rose to head home in stoppage-time and leave the Blues heartbroken.
Iain McInnes was among those left pained by the result, but is still pleased at the progress Paul Cook’s side have made this term.
Pompey’s chairman said: “We’re all gutted, but the truth is that we’ve come a long way this season.
“I went down to see the lads because they all gave 100 percent and we should all be very proud.
“I don’t often go down to the dressing room and there were grown men in tears – everyone’s disappointed.
“But they can be proud of themselves for getting as far as they did and next year we’ve got to look to go that step further.
“It’s got nothing to do with a lack of effort or commitment and nothing to do with how the club or the fans – who were brilliant yet again – conducted themselves.
“We congratulated Plymouth because it’s the right thing to do – you’ve got to show class when you lose as well as when you win.
“If we’re going to lose to anyone then it might as well be them, but we just have to regroup and be ready to go again next year.”
Pompey will now have the summer to prepare for a fourth successive campaign in League Two.
McInnes said: “It’ll take a long time to get over it, but we’d already started planning for next season, no matter what league we were in.
“We’ve got to improve on what we’ve done this year because we’ve fallen a little bit short.”