Frustrated Evatt Expects Response

Ian Evatt expects his players to show the right response to a setback in their top-six challenge after Wanderers succumbed to a Pompey fightback at Fratton Park.

The Whites led 1-0 thanks to Dion Charles’ 18th goal of the season just after half-time.

But three goals inside the last 20 minutes continued Pompey’s revival as Wanderers missed out on a possible seventh win in eight league games – including a sixth win in February – and third place in the League One table.

“The frustration is we put ourselves in a really good position in the game,” said Evatt.

“We’d done the hard job and got ourselves ahead, had a big chance to go 2-0 up, and in the second half we looked relatively comfortable. 

“I think that’s the first time in a long, long time this group of players has lost a game when we’ve been ahead and I put that down to mental fatigue.

“We just switched off from set-plays which is really frustrating because it’s the basics and we didn’t do the basics well enough in the second half.

“We talk about the finer details and small margins in football matches and we’ve just not done our job for three goals from three set-plays.

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“It’s not like us really. We looked like a team that had played seven games this month.

“We looked fatigued and this is a really tough place to come. It always is and Wycombe the same. Those are the two games we’ve lost. Other than that I think we’ve done pretty well.

“It’s been a good return points-wise this month. We all want more, of course, and we’re all frustrated with tonight but there’s a long way to go and it’s about re-setting and having another opportunity to put things right on Saturday.”

Wanderers’ defeat was only their third in 18 games as they lost for just the second time this season after being in front.

The Whites now go to Morecambe on Saturday with Evatt looking to bounce back to reinforce their play-off push.

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“This group of players, every time they’re asked a question we get a response and I’m sure Saturday will be no different,” added the Wanderers’ boss who hopes a recurrence of Victor Adeboyejo’s leg injury in the warm-up is not too serious.

“All is certainly not lost. The players have given everything this month.

“Other teams are going to have to do the same. They’re going to have to play seven-eight game months. We’re in a strong position, so we’ll debrief the goals and go again.

“Every game, because of the position we have put ourselves in, is going to be a big game and a difficult game and Saturday is no different.

“We’ve got Morecambe to prepare for and make sure we get a reaction.”

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