Appleton: Lions were cuter than us

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton was left cursing a costly refereeing decision after slipping to a controversial Millwall defeat yesterday.

Dany N’Guessan scored in the 82nd minute to send the Blues to a 1-0 loss – their first defeat in five matches.

However, the match-winner came in debatable circumstances.

N’Guessan appeared to push Hayden Mullins over before turning and lashing the ball past the helpless Stephen Henderson.

Several Pompey players complained to referee Nigel Miller at the time, while Liam Lawrence and Mullins confronted him at the final whistle.

Replays backed up their angry claims.

And Appleton admitted he felt the decisive goal should not have been allowed to stand.

He said: ‘From Millwall’s point of view it was probably a good goal.

‘We are a bit disappointed, though. We thought it should have been a foul.

‘The players were angry as it looked a foul all day.

‘I have looked at it again on the DVDs and it looks a genuine foul.

‘He (N’Guessan) basically just barged into Hayden but he’s a bigger boy.

‘First and foremost we can stop the cross.

‘If we can’t win the first one we make sure we win the second one.

‘It’s difficult from Hayden’s point of view because he thinks he is just about to clear the ball and the next thing he knows he ends up on his backside. That was the difference in the game.

‘Certainly if it was in their box, we would have been delighted if someone like Kits had done that.

‘We would have said he was using his brain and being a bit clever by leaning into him.’

Pompey themselves barely threatened the Millwall goal enough to warrant a win.

David Norris’ third-minute strike was their only on-target effort during the entire 90 minutes.

Regardless, Appleton’s men largely bossed the first half – only to suffer through a lack of cutting edge.

And the Blues boss thought his side deserved a point.

He added: ‘The lads were disappointed because we felt comfortable in the game.

‘They were probably a little bit cuter in the ugly side of the game, such as the second balls in the box and in and around the box.

‘It looked as if it was going to be a 0-0 all day.

‘The N’Guessan moment could have gone either way and I think, if anything, the boy was a little bit cuter than Hayden at the time.

‘He obviously went into Hayden but from our point of view we will get those decisions later in the season.

‘It’s swings and roundabouts.’