Date: 3rd October 2010 at 1:19pm
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2-0 down at half time, especially away from home, and many would have been forgiven – especially over recent years – for almost ‘accepting’ the defeat although this is an improving Pompey, hopefully, that is on the up, again hopefully, and we fought back for a 2-2 draw at The Riverside.

7pts from the last 9pts available and out of the relegation zone is something that Steve Cotterill is more than happy with and said was the expectancy level going into this latest international break: ‘it’s now seven points out of nine, which I’m happy with. When we came back from the last international break, we said we wanted to be out of the relegation zone by the next international break, which we are.

‘Our next aim is to get into a comfortable mid-table area, then to push on to that top 10.’

Fitness, something that he had mentioned several times, has improved and he also feels that this has helped us – with this improvement helping us back into the game: ‘the boys are a lot fitter now. Right to the end, we were the dominant team. The only way I felt they were going to score was a counter-attack.

‘I was pleased with the point but I think we deserved all three. We were the better side for 90 minutes. We went in 2-0 down at half-time when we never should have been.

‘I was disappointed with the free-kick on the edge of their box which led to their first goal, although I don`t have any complaints about their penalty.

‘We were on our front foot all game. We had sustained periods of possession with some really, really good passing.’

The incident for the penalty that enabled us to equalise seems to be something that few, including the TV cameras, picked up, but we got it so that is all that matters – even the gamesmanship from their keeper with Liam Lawrence failed to put him off: ‘I spoke to the linesman, and he said their player swung an arm in Mokoena’s face.

‘A bit of luck has come our way now because we’ve been able to run the distances enough to find our luck. If we don’t get into those areas of the pitch late on in the game, we perhaps wouldn’t have found our bit of luck with the penalty.

‘The goalkeeper said to Liam Lawrence before he took it that he saw where he put the last one. But Liam said afterwards that he didn’t see this one! I suppose that was his little bit of a touché.’

Since his arrival Lawrence has made a lot of difference and this is something else that Cotterill had credit for him on – with him filling in as a right back in the 2nd half: ‘Liam’s an energiser at this football club. But not only does he cover distances on the pitch, he also gives energy in the dressing room.

‘I put him at right-back in the second half because I wanted us to be more attacking and knew he would get forward from there.

‘I asked him if he had ever played at right-back before, and he said ‘no’. So I said: ‘Congratulations, you’re going to in the second half!’

The run goes on, and that does me fine – whilst it would, of course, been nice to win again before the game I think most of us would have bitten the arm off of anyone offering us a point, having been offered this at 2-0 down you would not have even had to finish the sentence!

Has the international break come at the right time though? I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks time when we face Watford…

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