Doyle savours special Fratton atmosphere

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle    Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

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MICHAEL DOYLE believes a bearpit Fratton Park served up one of the best atmospheres he’s ever seen last night.

Pompey’s 2-2 play-off showdown with Plymouth delivered drama and excitement on an evening of frenetic action.

It also produced frenzied noise from a crowd of 17,622 who reacted to the intensity of the action.

The volume was high from the outset with the 1,902 travelling Pilgrims fans contributing to the occasion.

Doyle has played in plenty of memorable games in a long career which has taken in spells at Sheffield United, Leeds and Coventry.

But the 34-year-old feels what he played in last night is right at the top for noise levels in games he’s featured in.

The Blues skipper felt the Pompey fans contributed to pulling his team back into the match as they struggled after falling behind.

Doyle said: ‘I played in some incredible atmospheres at Sheffield United and Leeds in big cup games.

‘But that atmosphere was right up there.

‘The noise was brilliant and when we scored it was something else.

‘Even before the game the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck.

‘That support made a difference at times.

‘We were struggling at half-time.

‘The manager got us in and sorted us out tactically.

‘We then came out in the second half and the fans drove us on.

‘I was delighted we got the goal for them.

‘We wanted the fans to raise it and they did that.

‘Look at the difference it made. Everyone was flying around the park and flying into challenges.

‘It was brilliant, just brilliant.’

Marc McNulty set Pompey on their way when he broke the deadlock after three minutes of a breathless opening.

Two goals from Jamille Matt then turned the game on its head, however, as he remained on the pitch after appearing to use his head in a clash with Doyle.

A furious Paul Cook was sent to the stand for his reaction to referee Oliver Langford allowing Matt to stay on the pitch.

Pompey carved out plenty of chances but it took until the 51st minute for Gary Roberts to level matters from the penalty spot.

Opinions differ over who now has the edge – but Doyle feels the game is finely poised.

He said: ‘The tie is wide open.

‘It’s only half-time now. There’s still a big 90 minutes left, if not more.

‘We go down there now and bring our game to them and see how we go.

‘We’re desperate as players to go out there and do it for the fans now.

‘Hopefully we can go out there and put in a performance which is worthy of our supporters.’