Gaffer: Portsmouth fans laughed at Reading, but there’s a difference between gentle ribbing and wanting a club to be liquidated

Colby Bishop was named man of the match against Reading by Gaffer For A Day Luke Atiyah. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Colby Bishop was named man of the match against Reading by Gaffer For A Day Luke Atiyah. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

Okay Luke, describe that game in five paragraphs!

Well, we were terrible in the opening 20 minutes. Whether that was to do with the tennis-ball stoppages, I don’t know, but things were happening which don’t usually happen, such as Conor Shaughnessy losing the ball and Will Norris a bit wild.

As soon as we got that first one back I thought “We aren’t losing this one”, although we were fortuitous to level just before half-time in lengthy stoppage time because of the tennis balls.

Then for the first 20 minutes of the second half, we absolutely blew them away. I have been critical of the club before, but our ability to cross the ball this season is incomparable. Jack Sparkes is our best crosser since the Premier League, I have no qualms saying that.

In that period you could see we were a level above Reading, although I wouldn't have wanted to play another five minutes. It was a little touch and go at the end.

As for John Mousinho, at the time I thought he was the cheap option, a left-field appointment. But I was completely wrong, he’s doing a very, very good job.

How do you view the Reading fan protests?

We have been there ourselves, so sensible, rational Pompey supporters do not want them to go out of existence.

Having said that, there’s a difference between gentle ribbing and urging a club to be liquidated. Many of us had a laugh at their expense on Saturday, but in our hearts we sympathise with them.

I certainly don't begrudge them throwing tennis balls onto the pitch, you do what you've got to do. You’re fighting to save your football club.

It used to gall me when other fans said Pompey deserved what happened to us. At what point do any supporters have influence over Balram Chainrai and convicted arms dealers?

Who stood out for you?

It’s a really tricky choice for man of the match, I’m torn between Colby Bishop and Joe Morrell. Although it could easily be Paddy Lane as well!

Morrell has been outstanding over the last five games, one of the best midfielders in League One. Since Marlon Pack has been injured, he’s stepped up, taking on his pivot role and continuing to do what he does best – snapping at heels and getting everywhere.

But Bishop was absolutely unplayable, they couldn't handle him, he was a nuisance all game and got a goal and assisted the winner.

I’m going to give it to Bishop, though.

What do you make of Tino Anjorin?

He's a funny one, you can see there's class there, he's clearly got a lot of talent, but he's not that player you can rely on to be quality for 90 minutes, like Alex Robertson.

Anjorin doesn't quite look match fit and cannot play more than an hour, but every now and again you see something from the league above. The quality of that finish for his goal was sublime, that's not a player of League One stock.

But you cannot expect the same levels of consistency from him like Robertson, Joe Morrell and Conor Shaughnessy. It’s always good to have him around, but he’s not there yet.

I expect Anjorin to dip in and out of the team – while Robertson has been brilliant and consistent over 90 minutes for the last 7-8 matches.

Will Norris – 7

Joe Rafferty – 7

Regan Poole – 7

Conor Shaughnessy – 7

Jack Sparkes – 8

Joe Morrell – 8

Alex Robertson – 8

Paddy Lane – 8

Terry Devlin – 8

Tino Anjorin – 7

Colby Bishop – 8