Moutaouakil delivers apology to Pompey supporters

BACK ON TRACK Yassin Moutaouakil responded to his early setback by providing the cross that led to Jed Wallace's leveller and making a   game-saving tackle to deny Reuben Reid late on. Picture: Joe Pepler
BACK ON TRACK Yassin Moutaouakil responded to his early setback by providing the cross that led to Jed Wallace's leveller and making a game-saving tackle to deny Reuben Reid late on. Picture: Joe Pepler

Yassin Moutaouakil apologised to the Fratton faithful after his Plymouth blunder.

The French right-back gifted the Home Park hosts the lead on Saturday when he miscontrolled the ball on his chest in front of his own goal.

His slip allowed Conor Hourihane to pounce to give the Pilgrims a 21st-minute lead in front of the watching television audience.

Jed Wallace ensured Guy Whittingham’s men grabbed a point – his 39th-minute equaliser stemming from Moutaouakil’s initial right-wing cross.

Yet it was the 27-year-old’s error which left fans talking, providing another entry to the growing list of high-profile defensive mistakes this season.

And Moutaouakil was quick to hold his hands up and accept responsibility.

He said: ‘We wanted to come back home with three points but unfortunately came back with just one and I am part of the reason.

‘I would like to apologise to the fans, my team-mates, staff and the gaffer.

‘I feel confident with my game. There are some parts of the pitch where you need to clear the ball.

‘The goalkeeper told me to chest it and told me I had time but I had a bad touch and they have scored.

‘I tried to chest it to myself so I could clear it but it was a bad touch.

‘I have done that clearance in training, in a couple of games and I wanted to do it on Saturday but it didn’t work. It was a mistake.

‘I didn’t want the mistake to get into my head and I think after that I came back into the game and caused the goal Jed scored.

‘Every player makes a mistake. I saw Ashley Cole make a mistake a couple of years ago against Sunderland and he responded really well.

‘I am really happy with the way I responded.

‘I tried to respond really well by crossing the ball when Jed scored – and in the second half when the striker had his (open goal) chance.’

Moutaouakil’s rescue act came in the 72nd minute when Plymouth substitute Lewis Alessandra crossed form the right.

Reuben Reid was left with an open goal at the far post, only for the full-back to get in a crucial challenge.

It was a goal-saving stop, capping a good response to that first-half error.

He added: ‘He was going to score.

‘The keeper was beaten by the cross. It was just me left with the striker and the goal wide open.

‘I had to win my battle and I have done it.

‘We could have lost 2-1 so I am part of the draw!

‘Plymouth started really strong and got in our faces by pressing us.

‘We were losing too many balls and not getting in their box – the keeper has not had a lot of stuff to do.

‘But everyone responded straight away and on the positive side, we didn’t lose any games in the last week.’