Pompey boss: Draws are '˜killing us'

Paul Cook rounded on draw-specialists Pompey after another promotion set-back.

Monday, 21st March 2016, 5:01 am
Updated Monday, 21st March 2016, 12:30 pm
Kal Naismith challenges Mansfield keeper Scott Shearer, who saved a penalty from Marc McNulty. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues were held to a 1-1 stalemate at Mansfield on Saturday as once more they failed to sparkle.

The visitors had to rely on Ryan Tafazolli’s 44th-minute own goal to secure a point following Matt Green’s opener.

The outcome may have been different had Marc McNulty netted from the penalty spot when the scoreline was goalless, yet Scott Shearer superbly saved.

As it was, below-par Pompey were forced to settle for their 15th draw in 37 League Two games this season.

In the top four divisions, only Oldham have picked up more draws, with 16 from 36 league fixtures.

And it is a frustrating statistic which leaves the Blues fives points adrift of third-placed Bristol Rovers in the automatic promotion spots.

Cook said: ‘Marc McNulty missed a penalty and you talk about what-ifs.

‘You can live in those worlds, but I don’t live in those worlds.

‘Do you know what, we haven’t lost again, our defeats are seven in 37 games, that is three defeats away from home.

‘Instead it is the draws that are killing us, the draws that are hurting us.

‘We haven’t looking like losing any of those draws but you have to win games, football is about winning. We all know the rules.

‘With us we just haven’t got that little bit of an edge that good teams have, that is where we are at.

‘I certainly think from my point of view there is a strong basis to build a team from.

‘From the supporters’ point of view the impatience to be promoted is valid.

‘Everybody says we have been in this league too long but until you get out of it you could be here a lot longer.’

Bristol Rovers’ fifth successive victory has seen them break into the promotion spots.

With Plymouth’s third defeat in four games on Saturday, others are beginning to take advantage.

Pompey, though, have now produced two highly-disappointing performances since an eye-catching win at Accrington.

With nine games to play there is every opportunity to get automatic promotion.

Yet hopes are fading with each out-of-sorts display as the Blues struggle to produce a consistent winning run.

Cook added: ‘It is difficult to come away from home, some of the pitches are very bobbly and not conducive for good football.

‘But we got a foothold in the game and never went on and that is the disappointing thing.

‘We just don’t seem to manage these game situations well enough and that is my responsibility.

‘I must manage the team and the players to make sure that when they play in these type of games they are educated to do better.’