Patrick Agyemang believes he is paying the price for his own honesty.
The powerful Pompey striker is expected to lead the attack again at Torquay tomorrow and has become a key figure in Guy Whittingham’s side this season, with four goals to his name.
But opposition sides also know he is a major threat and believe if they can stop him, they can blunt much of Pompey’s attacking impetus.
While that sees the 33-year-old subjected to regular physical battles against defenders, he has no intention of going to ground more often – even though it would surely earn him more decisions from referees.
Agyemang said: ‘I think I get penalised because of my size.
‘Sometimes, I literally hardly touch defenders and they go down.
‘But the other way around, they go through me and I’m not going down.
‘I’m not one of those players who goes down when I get a nudge.
‘I’ve been taught from a young age to stay on my feet.
‘Sometimes that kills me because I could probably get more fouls than I do.
‘Maybe I’m too honest and I’ve got to cheat like some other players do.
‘I think it’s detrimental to my game sometimes.’
Agyemang may well have had a penalty in the abandoned midweek clash with Wycombe had he gone down in the box when a defender was clearly hauling him back.
The striker said: ‘He was pulling my shirt but it’s not the first thought in my head to go down.
‘I don’t want anyone to be stronger than me so I would rather stay up.
‘I wasn’t brought up that way, that’s all – but I don’t mind a fair, physical battle.
‘I haven’t always been like that but I’ve had to learn to adapt over the years.’
It has almost become an accepted part of the modern game for strikers to win free-kicks after any contact from an opponent.
But Agyemang insists his natural instinct is to stay on his feet if at all possible.
He said: ‘I grew up playing football in five-a-sides and you get kicked and punched or whatever.
‘But you don’t go down.
‘Whereas some players are more clever and as soon as they get a clip, they go down.
‘I’m just old school. Really, I should be going down more for the amount of tackles and the hard challenges I get.
‘It used to be that strikers wouldn’t want to go down. It’s gone the other way now.
‘Any little nick they get, they fall over.
‘It’s just the way they play. Credit to them to do that if they think like that, I suppose.
‘I find it hard to think that way.
‘I would rather hold it up and lay it off but they look for penalties and free-kicks.
‘It’s not the way the game should be played but if they get penalties and their team scores, I guess it’s advantage to them.’