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COOK: A GREAT POSITION

29 April 2017

Title race still alive after win at Mansfield

When Pompey dropped to fifth after a home defeat to Crewe in March, not even a place in the play-offs seemed guaranteed.

But automatic promotion was secured with three games to spare following an Easter Monday victory at Notts County.

And a fine run of nine wins from the past 11 games now means that the title could be secured at Fratton Park on the final day.

That is because a 1-0 away triumph over Mansfield leaves third-placed Pompey just two points behind leaders Plymouth, with Doncaster sandwiched in between. 

And Carl Baker’s second half strike at Field Mill left Paul Cook salivating about next Saturday’s clash with Cheltenham.

The Blues boss said: “It was a good day for us and we can go into that last game of the season at home with a chance to win the league.

“That’s fantastic and to be in this position is a great credit to all of our lads. The ground will be rocking.

“I’ve said it all along that after 46 games have been played you shake hands and get what you deserve.

“This is one of the best clubs in the country and our fans are delighted at the moment – that makes me so proud.

“There was another clean sheet for Fordey and our away record is so good. We’ve got some strong players here.

“It was always going to be a bit nervy at the end, although we probably should have scored on the break.”

It might have been different if last man Matt Clarke had been sent off early in the second half for a foul on Mansfield’s Danny Rose.

Cook said: “He’s got to go! You can sit on the fence all you want, but it was a poor decision by the referee.

“I’d love to know what he was thinking, but we’re obviously delighted that he only showed the yellow card.”

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