Evatt | I Can’t Be Critical

Evatt interview Portsmouth

Ian Evatt insists nothing is over yet for Wanderers as they look to get over the frustration of failing to beat the League One champions-in-waiting, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites were held to a 1-1 draw by Portsmouth, which leaves Ian Evatt’s men four points behind second-placed Derby County with a game in hand.

That comes at home to Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night before the final two fixtures of the campaign.

And Evatt isn’t giving up on an automatic promotion place after his side out-played the league leaders for much of a pulsating clash which saw the in-form Aaron Collins cancel out Abu Kamara’s early opener for the visitors – who need one more point to go up.

“Football is a game that can be cruel sometimes and I think the players’ performance today deserved the win,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

“We were punished on a transition from a throw-in to their most dangerous player and made it really difficult for ourselves. But after the first 10 minutes we were dominant and had all the opportunities.

“I can't be critical of the players. Of course, we needed to win today and wanted to win but the performance was excellent, and we have to focus on that and while there's still hope you never know.

“It can change quickly in football. There are still points to play for and games to go. We have to win the next one and that lowers the gap and then you never know.

“The atmosphere was electric today. The fans were excellent and the players were excellent but sometimes it doesn't go your way.

“I think we hit the post twice and had a big chance towards the end. There were some frustrations, but I'm proud of our football club today even though we haven't done what we needed to do.”

Another superb crowd of over 25,000 saw Wanderers give everything to try and keep their fate in their own hands.

And the backing of the fans will be needed again as the Whites look for successive home wins in their final two games of the regular season at the Toughsheet Community Stadium after Pompey held out to extend their unbeaten run to 16 games.

“They are resilient and haven't lost many this season for that reason and you have to give them credit for that,” Evatt added. 

“They came under heavy pressure and managed to withstand it, but we created enough to win the game probably should have done.

“There's no point feeling like we've given it away today, or lost what our season stands for today. There’s still so much to play for and that's the feeling now, that we have to pick everybody up and go again. 

“We have to put pressure on by winning on Tuesday. That's non-negotiable and get the gap back to one point and you never know. They (Derby) then have a tough away game (at Cambridge) and we have a home game and things can change again.

“We have to let this go quickly, even though there's some disappointment in the changing room. We have to pick the players up, pick the supporters up and keep believing. We've seen enough twists and turns in this division to know it's certainly not over yet, so we go again.”

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