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League Two

Portsmouth fight delights Andy Awford

26 April 2014

Portsmouth boss Andy Awford lauded his side's spirit as they fought back to claim an incredible last-gasp 4-4 draw at Bury.

The visitors scored three goals in 11 minutes to seal a point after Hallam Hope's hat-trick had put Bury in charge.

Their final goal came in the third minute of injury time and Awford hopes Portsmouth can carry that fighting mentality into next season.

He said: "We went direct at the end. Sometimes you have to do that and luckily it paid off.

"You have to dig deep and never give up. You look at the most successful team of the last 20 years, Manchester United, and how many late goals do they score?

"We always moan about 'Fergie Time' but they've still got to get the ball up that end of the pitch and they've still got to put the ball in the net.

"They're the best team at it that I've seen, with the amount of late goals they've scored over the years. If we can manage half of that, I'd be delighted.

"It was the Pompey spirit that got us over the line. We had a centre-half playing up front and we were launching it to try and get it in the box.

"We would have liked three points here today and we came to win the game but at 3-0 down, I'd have snatched your hand off for a draw."

Bury had raced into an early lead when on-loan Everton striker Hope headed into the top corner in the ninth minute.

Hope then doubled his tally on 34 minutes with a superb right-foot finish before Andy Procter headed home to make it 3-0 in the 49th minute.

Danny Hollands pulled one back for Portsmouth in the 53rd minute, firing home after Wes Fogden's shot had been blocked.

Ryan Taylor cut the gap further from Patrick Agyemang's cut-back on 82 minutes but Hope grabbed his third five minutes later.

Although Bury seemed home and dry, substitute Sonny Bradley poked home from an 88th-minute corner and Fogden scored from Hollands' long throw in the third minute of injury time.

"I've got to be careful I don't let the emotion of the last eight minutes ruin a fantastic run of form we've had at home," said Bury boss David Flitcroft.

"A 15-minute spell where we took a kamikaze approach to defending set pieces probably reflects the season as a whole.

"It's been a mad season with a lot of turbulence but we've really steadied the ship.

"So I'm not going to look too much into that last 10 minutes. They threw bodies on there and although I'm disappointed we didn't deal with it, I'm not going to let it affect how I feel about these players.

"I'm hurting at the way we've lost the goals but there are so many positives I can look at. I'd rather talk about our goals.

"I'll draw the good out of it. We're trying to design a football team here to win games in the right way and I'm going to stick to that principle."

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