John Mousinho lauds Portsmouth’s first-half performance in win at Barnsley

By Sports Desk September 19, 2023

Manager John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s first-half showing against Barnsley as one of the best displays since he took charge after they clung on for a 3-2 win at Oakwell.

Colby Bishop, Paddy Lane and Connor Ogilvie all struck inside 16 minutes as the Blues made a dream start before second-half strikes from Barry Cotter and Callum Styles led to a tense finish.

However, Pompey held on for the win to go top of Sky Bet League One.

Asked if the first half was one of the best performances since he took over, Mousinho said: “It definitely was.

“We started on the front foot, we got the goals we deserved – the only thing that was lacking was the fourth or fifth goal that we definitely could have got.

“It’s one of the big areas of improvement for us to make sure we put games like this to bed because you saw second half that they come out, they make the changes and the whole game transforms.

“I thought we started to make poor decisions at certain moments.”

Mousinho’s side are now 19 games unbeaten in the league stretching back to March, a run which was preserved by Bishop’s stoppage-time equaliser at Derby on Saturday.

“I’m absolutely delighted – if you’d offered me four points from these two games I’d have snapped your hand off,” Mousinho added. “Being top is a bonus at this stage of the season.

“You saw the quality Barnsley have; they’ve won 7-0 here, they’ve won four on the spin without conceding and to do that to them, I’m really delighted.”

Pompey had already gone close twice when they were awarded an eighth-minute penalty.

Lane beat two players before feeding the ball to Gavin Whyte on the right and Bishop’s attempt to convert his low centre saw him fouled by Barnsley keeper Liam Roberts.

Bishop converted the spot-kick and 30 seconds later the visitors doubled their lead when the former Accrington striker’s flick-on found Lane and he calmly finished.

Ogilvie added the third when he headed home Joe Morrell’s cross from the right after 16 minutes.

Having failed to mount an attack of note before the break, Barnsley pulled one back just four minutes after the restart when half-time substitute Sam Cosgrove found Cotter, who drilled a low finish past Will Norris.

The hosts scored again with 13 minutes left when Norris fumbled Styles’ header and the ball trickled over the line.

Barnsley boss Neill Collins said: “I think I’d say that it’s important we don’t take anything out of proportion – I say that about both halves.

“The first goal really affected us because within a minute you’re 2-0 down.

“You can’t start a game like that but lots of positives and we went right to the very end; we could have been sitting here with a point.”

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