18th Sep, 2019

Robins pays ode to "phenomenal" defending by nine-man Coventry in dramatic Pompey draw

Ben Tyler 21st Aug, 2019

SKY Blues manager Mark Robins hailed his “phenomenal” team for rallying to a 3-3 draw away to Portsmouth on Tuesday night – despite second-half dismissals for Fankaty Dabo and Gervane Kastaneer.

Trailing by two goals at Fratton Park despite Jordy Hiwula’s opener, ten-man Coventry halved the deficit through Matt Godden’s penalty, before Kastaneer also saw red.

After keeping themselves in the game, defender Michael Rose then popped up with a dramatic 86th-minute equaliser to spark wild celebrations.

Robins says the position that Coventry found themselves in at 3-1 down was of their own making, but praised each player on the pitch in contributing to the late comeback.

“We made a couple of mistakes that led to two goals and when they took the lead that really put us on the back foot,” he said.

“We were putting ourselves on the back foot, rather than it being anything that they did.

“We defended miles better with two men less and that has to be a lesson we look at and learn from.

“The way that all the individuals within the team defended when we lost the two men was nothing short of phenomenal.”

Hiwula’s third-minute drive into the roof of the net was matched by Godden’s looping pass into the striker’s path, giving Coventry the lead for all of seven minutes when Ronan Curtis leaped highest to meet Marcus Harness’ cross.

Both sides exchanged efforts at goal, with Marko Marosi and opposite number Craig MacGillivray kept busy throughout the half.

It was the hosts who dealt the next blow, when Brandon Haunstrup’s cross was deflected into the path of John Marquis – who made no mistake from a matter of yards out.

Portsmouth’s lead was extended after the break when Gareth Evans stole possession from Kyle McFadzean after a mistake before smashing the ball past the keeper.

Matters were made worse for the visitors just before the hour mark after a second yellow card was displayed to Dabo for a handball, as Coventry were seemingly heading further down the mire.

The Sky Blues had reprieve with 15 minutes to go, however, when Godden sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot after a foul on Liam Kelly.

But as quickly as hope returned to Robins’ side, their chances of a result were further dashed for a second yellow for Kastaneer after a late challenge three minutes later.

Coventry’s endeavour was rewarded in style, when a long throw was headed into the path of Rose, who directed the ball into the net to claim an unlikely point.

A home game against Gillingham awaits on Saturday (3pm), with the visitors without a win so far this campaign.

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