Pompey boss rues ‘crazy defending’

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Michael Appleton was left cursing a ‘harsh’ Bramall Lane result following last night’s 1-0 defeat.

Sheffield United’s Nick Blackman netted a penalty in the 65th minute to separate the two sides.

That decisive moment came courtesy of Lubomir Michalik’s mistimed tackle on Chris Porter – a challenge the Blues boss himself thought was a worth a penalty.

It ensured the Scott Allan-inspired visitors maintained their dreadful run at the Blades’ home, with their last victory coming as far back as 1955.

For the Pompey boss, the loss was tough to stomach, particularly following a bright first-half performance during which Akos Buzsaky struck the crossbar from distance.

And he believes they deserved more than they received from last night’s televised encounter in Yorkshire.

‘We deserved at least a point, it was harsh to lose the match,’ said Appleton.

‘I didn’t really need to say too much to Lubo (Michalik) after the game.

‘In those situations you don’t have to – the players know themselves. I just tried to concentrate on what we were good at.

‘That was we were very, very good for large periods of the game.

‘Obviously, apart from probably the first 20 seconds when we let them in and Mikkel (Andersen) made his only save of the game.

‘Instead, a crazy little bit of defending from Lubo has cost us getting a point out of it.

‘Even if he didn’t touch him (Porter), he was daft enough to go to ground when he didn’t need to.

‘The boy was going out of danger, away from the goal and it was a rush of blood to his head which he didn’t need to do.

‘But we move on from that. I thought the performance was very good and there were some good individual performances in there.

‘We had them on the back foot and they were pinned in there in the end.’

It was the scintillating second Blues debut of Allan which had everyone talking afterwards. He only linked up with the squad at 1pm yesterday.

Even then that was because initial target and former Fratton favourite Chris Maguire had damaged medial ligaments in training with Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Regardless, Allan was a class act, reminding Pompey fans of the player they took to their hearts during 15 Championship appearances last season.

Appleton added: ‘I thought we caused them a lot of problems, especially in the first half, and Scott Allan at times was almost unplayable.

‘If we can get him up to real match fitness he should be okay in a few weeks.

‘We had to think on our feet very, very quickly when Chris Maguire got injured and I knew Scottie had gone back to West Brom from MK Dons during the week.

‘It was just an opportunity to get another quality player in the building.’