It’s hard to imagine what it was like in the dressing room at Portsmouth at full time on Saturday with a group of players who knew they’d given it everything, in front of a set of fans who had done exactly the same.
“They were quiet, just massively disappointed,” manager Paul Simpson revealed. “I said to them that they deserved to take something out of it.
“The next one comes around quickly and we have to lift ourselves. There can’t be any disappointment on Monday. We’ve got to come in bright-eyed, ready to go again, ready to put the same amount of effort in, really dig deep and try and earn ourselves three points on Tuesday night.
“We have to take the positives from it. That’s what we have to do. I thought every single one of them was outstanding.
“I thought the two full backs were outstanding, Fin and Jack put in real solid performances. I thought we had good control in the midfield. Let’s not take anything away, Portsmouth are a good side.
“You don’t end up at the top of the league and unbeaten since March if you aren’t a good side. I thought we dealt with the game for 90 odd minutes, and even once they scored the goal I thought we dealt with everything really well.
“It’s just the fine margins and we’ve come on the wrong side of it again unfortunately. I’m not angry at the players but I’m angry we’ve got nothing from the game, that’s what football does to you sometimes.
“We’ve picked ourselves up properly after the disappointment from a home defeat. We’ve gone about it in the right way, we had a game plan and the players have stuck to it, but I’m angry they haven’t got a reward from it.
“Even if the reward was one point, it would have been a magnificent point to come here. This is a difficult place to come, which is shown in their record so far. We have to just keep going and keep our heads. We have to take the positives out of it but we have to keep improving.
“And yes, I can take positives from it, but I am very frustrated by it as well. It’s the hardest part of the game, sticking it in the back of the net. That’s what we’re striving to try and get, it’s a big thing to try and get players who can do that.
“We’ve got players who on training days and in spells are showing it, you don’t need to be a genius to realise we’ve not been consistent in those ends.
“It would have been nice to be talking about the fact we’ve scored a goal and that header gets them an equaliser at the end, but if you don’t do it right in both boxes, over 95 minutes, you’re not going to get anything out of games.
“People don’t care about unlucky or being lucky, people only care about points. I want the performances to get the points.
“We’ve had the performance on Saturday and I’m quite sure if we can consistently get that performance, we will pick up points.”