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Fixture News

Cowley: A Crazy Game

Boss reflects on Papa John's Trophy victory at Exeter

7 January 2022

Danny Cowley
Photo: Graham Hunt

There is clearly something in the water whenever Pompey and Exeter meet in the Papa John’s Trophy.

For the second time in succession, the side from Hampshire netted in stoppage-time to secure a 3-2 victory and leave their opponents stunned.

The latest occasion was in Devon and – unlike two years earlier – booked a spot in the last 16 rather than a trip to Wembley.

But it was still dramatic fare at St James Park, as George Hirst’s early opener was immediately cancelled out by Matt Jay.

Archie Collins then netted for the Grecians after the break, only for Curtis to score twice at the death and leave Danny Cowley wondering what he had witnessed.

The Blues boss said: “If you can work out football, then please let me know! It was a crazy game and it was a performance that reflected everything there is to like and dislike about our team.

“We had total dominance in the first half, with almost 80 per cent possession and created chances, but weren’t ruthless.

"I said to them afterwards that I don’t know whether to cuddle them or strangle them. That’s how they make me feel at times."

Danny Cowley

“We were up against a good Exeter side and not many teams win at their ground, but we needed to be more clinical.

“I didn’t like us after the break and was really disappointed because we didn’t play with intensity or win our duels.

“We just assumed that we could come out and regain that control – but that’s not how football works.

“There was resilience and fight eventually, though, to get first the equaliser and then the winner. Michael Jacobs had a big influence on that and obviously Ronan did as well.

“I said to them afterwards that I don’t know whether to cuddle them or strangle them. That’s how they make me feel at times.

“There were a lot of positives for us, but you also have to keep it real. I’ll enjoy the win and it’s great that we get to go back to Cambridge on Tuesday.”

Curtis’ leveller means he has now edged clear of Yakubu as Pompey’s highest goalscorer in the 21st century.

Cowley said: “I’m really pleased for him because he needed that goal to get the record and to then find the winner is typical of him.”

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