John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s “remarkable achievement” after the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

Pompey looked to be missing their opportunity in front of their own fans when, needing one point to return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, they were 2-1 behind after Devante Cole and John McAtee struck either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

But the hosts hit back in the final seven minutes with Colby Bishop scoring from the penalty spot and Conor Shaughnessy heading home the winner.

Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent Sport: “I think once everything settles down it will sink in properly. I’ve never experienced anything like that, the last 15 minutes, it was absolutely incredible.

“Even at 2-1 down, to get the momentum and the crowd behind us, I am just so proud of the boys. I’m genuinely just so pleased for everyone connected to the football club. They’ve gone through so much.

“When we got it back to 3-2 I thought we have played so poor, but found a way to win somehow in a game where we really struggled. It really does sum up the boys.

“A tough night, tough conditions, but they got the job done. It’s hard for me to sum it up, but I get what’s happened over the last 15 years at the club and how difficult it was, on the brink of liquidation, to come back and have a night like this is incredible to be involved in.

“To be head coach, it is a privilege. Hopefully we can have a few more nights like this.

“I never could have imagined this happening this quickly. This was obviously the goal at some point, but didn’t think it would happen with two games to go this season. It is a remarkable achievement. That is a serious effort to be crowned champions ahead of some of the big boys in this league as well.”

Play-off chasing Barnsley, having lost three of their last four games, are four points above seventh-placed Lincoln.

Boss Neill Collins told the club’s official website: “There are a lot of positives. But the biggest frustration is that all those positives didn’t add up to what I thought would be a deserved victory.

“We perform like that, we’ll be fine. We’ll win games. It’s just the fine margins. For me, it’s the fine margins that have gone against us the past four or five games.

“Tonight again, it’s some of our doing. But that’s what we need to concentrate on. That’s what the Football League is all about.”

John Mousinho hailed Portsmouth’s “remarkable achievement” after the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Barnsley at Fratton Park secured the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

Pompey looked to be missing their opportunity in front of their own fans when, needing one point to return to the second tier after a 12-year absence, they were 2-1 behind after Devante Cole and John McAtee struck either side of Kusini Yengi’s equaliser.

But the hosts hit back in the final seven minutes with Colby Bishop scoring from the penalty spot and Conor Shaughnessy heading home the winner.

Mousinho told BBC Radio Solent Sport: “I think once everything settles down it will sink in properly. I’ve never experienced anything like that, the last 15 minutes, it was absolutely incredible.

“Even at 2-1 down, to get the momentum and the crowd behind us, I am just so proud of the boys. I’m genuinely just so pleased for everyone connected to the football club. They’ve gone through so much.

“When we got it back to 3-2 I thought we have played so poor, but found a way to win somehow in a game where we really struggled. It really does sum up the boys.

“A tough night, tough conditions, but they got the job done. It’s hard for me to sum it up, but I get what’s happened over the last 15 years at the club and how difficult it was, on the brink of liquidation, to come back and have a night like this is incredible to be involved in.

“To be head coach, it is a privilege. Hopefully we can have a few more nights like this.

“I never could have imagined this happening this quickly. This was obviously the goal at some point, but didn’t think it would happen with two games to go this season. It is a remarkable achievement. That is a serious effort to be crowned champions ahead of some of the big boys in this league as well.”

Play-off chasing Barnsley, having lost three of their last four games, are four points above seventh-placed Lincoln.

Boss Neill Collins told the club’s official website: “There are a lot of positives. But the biggest frustration is that all those positives didn’t add up to what I thought would be a deserved victory.

“We perform like that, we’ll be fine. We’ll win games. It’s just the fine margins. For me, it’s the fine margins that have gone against us the past four or five games.

“Tonight again, it’s some of our doing. But that’s what we need to concentrate on. That’s what the Football League is all about.”

John Mousinho was pleased with Portsmouth’s 1-1 draw at Bolton despite the leaders’ bid for promotion and the Sky Bet League One title put on hold.

Abu Kamara’s seventh-minute goal put the visitors in front, but Aaron Collins’ fifth goal in three games after 36 minutes ensured Pompey need a point against Barnsley at Fratton Park on Tuesday to reach the Championship.

“It keeps Bolton at arm’s length which was an important thing for us to do,” said manager Mousinho.

“We came here for the win and during the game we made substitutions to try and win it. I think though on balance, Bolton probably deserved to win it.

“I was displeased how we reacted to going a goal up. I thought we were poor.

“We made some poor decisions, slashed at a few clearances and didn’t do enough to track runners.

“It took Bolton equalising for us to click back into gear and decide we wanted to play and be more recognisable.

“We regrouped at half-time and it was a much better performance in the second half. Hopefully, now we can get the job done on Tuesday.

“There was talk in the week whether it was better to go and do it at Fratton. But we were desperate to try and get the job done here.

“Obviously we couldn’t, but going back to Fratton with the opportunity to do it in front of the long-suffering home fans and needing a point will be a fantastic occasion.”

Bolton have three games remaining, but need a slip up by Derby in order to gain automatic promotion.

Collins’ header from Nat Ogbeta’s cross after 36 minutes was his seventh since joining the club.

The Trotters could easily have become only the fifth side to beat Portsmouth this season.

Instead, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson missed an easy second-half chance, while substitute Dion Charles hit the post late on.

“It is frustrating but it hard to be too critical of the players,” said manager Ian Evatt.

“Portsmouth are top of the league for a reason and bar the first seven to 10 minutes where we conceded a poor goal in transition to their most dangerous player, I thought we dominated.

“We had opportunities to win, missed a couple of big opportunities and had 19 shots to their five.

“When you watch a game you get a feel for who is the most dominant team and then the data backs it up. That was the case.

“It was a good performance and we deserved more. Now we have to pick everyone up because we haven’t lost it.

“There can be turns left, right and centre. So, the most important for us is to win the game on Tuesday (at home to Shrewsbury) and get it back to a point (on Derby).

“But we have to pick the players up because they are disappointed. They know we should have won the game. But now is not the time to be feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho saluted two-goal Colby Bishop as the league leaders moved to the brink of sealing promotion with a 3-1 win at home to Shrewsbury.

Top-scorer Bishop took his tally for the season to 20 to give Pompey the chance to secure a return to the Championship after a 12-year absence at Bolton next weekend.

Mousinho: “It’s a fantastic achievement for Colby to get 20 goals in successive seasons. He hasn’t played every game, so what he has achieved is brilliant.

“The result is the most important thing but the performance is important as well.

“With Peterborough and Derby not playing today, it gave us a chance to push on and extend the lead at the top. It wasn’t in spectacular fashion but we got the job done.

“I don’t think we played particularly well to be honest. We started well by getting the early goal but we became sloppy. We were slightly better in the second half but I think we were a bit jaded from Tuesday’s game. It was a difficult game to bounce back from.

“If you would have offered me a win having not played well, I would have taken it.”

Pompey took the lead after only three minutes when Conor Shaughnessy crossed from the left and Shrews skipper Chey Dunkley could only put the ball into his own net.

Shrewsbury levelled after 29 minutes when a break on the left saw the ball reach an unmarked Jordan Shipley in the box and he easily beat home goalkeeper Will Norris.

Pompey regained the lead three minutes before half time from the penalty spot after clever play by Kusini Yengi resulted in him being brought down and Bishop converted.

Shrewsbury played the second half with more purpose but Pompey finished the job off with 14 minutes remaining when Bishop slammed home from 10 yards.

Shrews boss Paul Hurst said: “To get a result, you must put your chances away.

“We had a game plan, which after three minutes we were thinking ‘do we tear it up’, but we had to make sure that we didn’t concede again.

“There was always the thought that we were going to be blown away but they didn’t perhaps play as they wanted to.

“I genuinely thought we would get something from the game but a soft penalty for them saw us going in at half time a goal down instead of level.

“The penalty was a terrible decision. If that had been at the other end, it wouldn’t have been given, trust me. An experienced referee got it wrong. It was an easy decision for him to make.”

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho was relieved to see his side take a point from their top-of-the-table clash at home to nearest challengers Derby after twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 at Fratton Park.

Substitute Owen Moxon’s 25-yard screamer 13 minutes from time ensured the League One leaders took a share of the spoils to move a step closer to sealing promotion to the Championship.

Mousinho said: “Having gone behind twice it always feels like a decent enough point.

“I just think overall we probably had enough of it but did not dominate the ball enough, but I thought on the whole, it was pretty good performance against a really good side so we will take the point and move on.

“We’ve just got to follow it up with a win at the weekend (against Shrewsbury).

“Derby sat in and they made it difficult for us, were really tough for us to break down and they countered us with pace. You have to deal with that and I didn’t think we dealt with it brilliantly.

“The first goal was a brilliant move and probably the first time we’ve properly moved it from side to side. I was really pleased with both goals; two very different goals because one was about a team move and the other one was a brilliant strike from the edge of the box.”

Derby went in front in the 23rd minute when the unmarked Joe Ward drove the ball beyond home goalkeeper Will Norris following a quick counter.

The lead only lasted four minutes as Colby Bishop flicked a delightful ball through for Abu Kamara to confidently slot home.

The Rams regained the lead 10 minutes before half-time as Ward’s effort from outside the box took a deflection before finding the corner.

In the 77th minute substitute Moxon latched onto a loose ball and thrashed the ball beyond Joe Wildsmith from distance to draw the hosts level.

The result keeps Pompey five points clear of Derby with five games to play, with third-placed Bolton a further four behind the Rams.

Derby boss Paul Warne said: “I’m not too frustrated at the point.

“If you had told me before the game we would come away with a point, I would have taken that. But it is disappointing to lead twice and not win.

“We’ve played a motivated, highly fit, confident, and well-organised side. The league table shows you that.

“We scored two goals and thought that it was enough to win the game, but we’ve conceded to a screamer which is disappointing as Joe (Wildsmith) hasn’t had a lot to do tonight.

“I think they’ve run out of ideas, which is why they’ve had to attempt shots from 30 yards. The players have worked so hard and I’m proud of them.”

Owen Moxon picked the perfect time to score a spectacular first Portsmouth goal as the league leaders twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to second-placed Derby at Fratton Park.

Moxon lashed home from 25 yards out 13 minutes from time as John Mousinho’s men moved another step closer to promotion to the Championship.

Derby went in front in the 23rd minute when the unmarked Joe Ward drove the ball beyond home goalkeeper Will Norris following a quick counter-attack.

The lead only lasted four minutes as Colby Bishop flicked a delightful ball through for Abu Kamara to confidently slot home.

The Rams regained the lead 10 minutes before half-time as Ward’s effort from outside the box took a deflection before finding the corner.

In the 77th minute substitute Moxon latched onto a loose ball and thrashed the ball beyond Joe Wildsmith to draw the hosts level.

The draw keeps Pompey five points clear of Derby and nine ahead of third-placed Bolton with just five games to play.

John Mousinho hailed a player he dropped for helping Portsmouth take another big step towards the Championship with a 1-0 win at Peterborough.

The Pompey chief left out two-goal midweek hero Kusini Yengi for a crunch clash at promotion rivals Peterborough.

But the Australian ace responded by climbing off the bench to grab the only goal that kept Portsmouth five points clear at the summit.

Yengi, sent on after Christian Saydee limped off in the first half, raced on to a pass from fellow substitute Gavin Whyte in the 77th minute to fire past Posh keeper Jed Steer.

Peterborough still look bound for the play-offs despite their five-match winning streak coming to an end.

Top-scorer Ephron Mason-Clark blasted against the bar midway through the first half as they drew a blank for just the third time all season in League One.

“I really feel for him,” said Mousinho about match-winner Yengi. “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave him out.

“He scored twice on Tuesday night and his overall performance was really good.

“He has been excellent whenever he has played and his goalscoring record is superb.

“It could have been a difficult one to take, but he was really professional about it when told yesterday. He trained really well in the afternoon, stayed positive around the place and thoroughly deserved his goal.

“At this stage of the season it is all about winning games, but it was a really good performance from us as well.

“The fans made it a special day. That was probably the best away atmosphere I’ve ever experienced.

“To be able to win the game and put in that performance was superb. It was pure relief at the final whistle.

“We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep winning as many games as possible.”

Posh boss Darren Ferguson said: “I’m really disappointed with the result, but really proud of the performance.

“We were by far the better team on the day and they’re really lucky to come away with a win.

“If anyone from Portsmouth says otherwise, they are kidding themselves.

“We controlled large parts of the game. Some of the play was fantastic.

“But football can be a cruel game and we just couldn’t get that first goal.

“You always need that bit of luck in big games, but we didn’t have it when Ephron hit the underside of the bar.

“I’m gutted for the players as they didn’t deserve to lose the game. You’d rather win and have a bad performance like on Wednesday.

“But if we play like that in the last eight games, we’ll be fine. I’ve still got a lot of confidence that we’re in a good place.

“The break has come at a good time to freshen up for a last push.”

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho praised two-goal hero Kusini Yengi after a 2-1 win over Burton retained their lead at the top of League One.

The victory moved leaders Pompey five points clear of second-placed Derby and six in front of Bolton in third.

Mousinho said: “It was a good result. It would be a shame to dwell on the last 10 minutes, because I thought we were excellent in those previous 80 minutes.

“But I said to the players at the end that we need to put games to bed because not doing so allowed them back into the game. Burton changed their shape and personnel which caused us problems at the end.

“We changed shape tonight because of player availability, and I thought it worked well with some good football. We played Kusini because we have options up front, and Colby Bishop has had a heavy workload.

“And, like tonight, he can score goals.”

Albion had the first effort at goal, with Rekeem Harper rattling the Pompey bar in the first minute.

Pompey found life difficult in the final third, but had a superb chance after 37 minutes when Yengi somehow shot wide of an open goal from two yards.

But he made amends in added time, when after having been brought down in the area, got up to score the penalty.

Pompey kept the pressure on in the second half, and despite Abu Kamara blasting high over the bar in the 57th minute, Yengi scored his second six minutes later when he tapped in from a hard low Kamara cross.

Burton pulled one back after 80 minutes when captain John Brayford fired home.

Albion boss Martin Paterson said: “We played a very good team tonight. One that can find holes in defences, so the team did tremendously well.

“My etiquette has always been to not discuss officials, but tonight that changes. The equilibrium of decisions and actions against my football club was not the same as theirs.

“I respect the decision for their penalty, but when my players put in the kind of effort they have tonight, and have an even better penalty shout turned down, it’s difficult not to say something.

“In the second half we made substitutions, changed shape, and scored a good goal.

“It’s totally unfair to my players not to have got a point out of the game. I was really proud of them tonight. We had them on the rack in the last 10 minutes, and the last two games we have been excellent.

“I think we will kick on from this having been denied.”

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho refused to be too downbeat despite his side being forced to settle for a goalless draw against 10-man Blackpool.

Pompey’s lead at the top of Sky Bet League One was cut to five points as they failed to get past the Seasiders, who were forced to dig in after Jordan Rhodes was dismissed just before half-time.

But Mousinho took plenty of encouragement from the way his side played even though they were unable to break down a resolute Blackpool side, who extend their unbeaten home league run to eight games.

“We’re disappointed with the point,” said Mousinho. “We wanted to come here and win the game regardless of whether we were playing 10 or 11 men.

“The context that we played against 10 men for the best part of 50-55 minutes and created plenty of chances as well, we’re gutted that we didn’t win it.

“There were a lot of pleasing points. We created quite a few openings. When you create as many chances as we have and their goalkeeper comes away with man of the match, I can’t complain too much.

“Blackpool have one of the best home records in the league. They beat Bolton here. They sit in and defend really well.”

Mousinho felt the red card shown to Rhodes for a raised arm on defender Joe Rafferty was harsh, but believed Blackpool still deserved to be reduced to 10.

“I thought the red card was harsh. Jordan Rhodes leads with his arm. We’d have been aggrieved if it was us,” Mousinho added.

“I thought the challenge on Callum Lang is far worse and that’s a straight red. That was the worse challenge of the two.”

That was a view echoed by opposite number Neil Critchley, who was delighted with a point given his side’s numerical disadvantage.

“I’m really pleased we’ve picked up a point,” he said. “You’d be pleased before the game with where they are in the league, but obviously we’ve gone down to 10 men quite early on.

“I think it’s a harsh sending-off. It really puts you behind the game and gives you a mountain to climb.

“I’m really pleased of the way the boys have dug deep to get something out of the game. We showed great character, especially after having a man sent off.

“We had some chances and, on another day, could have nicked it, but we take the point. They had their chances, of course they did. We had to defend well. They are one of the best teams in the league for a reason.

“The crowd were fantastic and really got behind us when we needed them. You fill the crowd with passion and it really helps. When everyone’s together it’s brilliant.”

Portsmouth manager John Mousinho was delighted with the League One leaders’ helter-skelter 2-1 win at home to Oxford.

Christian Saydee came off the bench to score the goal that fired Pompey a step closer to promotion after Cameron Brannagan’s penalty had cancelled out Callum Lang’s opener for the home side.

Mousinho said: “You could describe that as a pretty breathtaking display from both sides. It was an enjoyable game to watch and with both teams pressing, it created openings for us and them.

“I think it was a good advert for Division One football and I personally think Oxford would be feeling a little hard done by not to go away with at least a point.

“It was probably not our best performance of the season but after what has historically been draws between the sides, it was nice to get the win.

“We started well with the goal but then shot ourselves in the foot for their penalty.

“We seemed to feel a bit sorry for ourselves after that until half-time and we were in fact slow starters at the start of the second half.

“But once we got the second, I felt we were in control from that point on.”

In a fast and furious opening 45 minutes, the sides went in all square.

Pompey took the lead in the second minute when a powerful shot from Lang squirmed under goalkeeper Jamie Cumming.

But Oxford equalised after six minutes when Pompey gave the ball away and Sean Raggett brought down ex-Pompey midfielder Owen Dale for a penalty which was easily converted by Brannagan.

Mark Harris then hit the Pompey post on 13 minutes.

Oxford had the first chance of the second half but Josh Murphy was also denied by the woodwork.

Pompey regained the lead after 67 minutes when Saydee held off a strong challenge to run clear and place the ball wide of Cumming.

Oxford pushed for an equaliser but to no avail.

Oxford boss Des Buckingham said: “I think that’s our best performance since taking the reins. But that’s the frustrating thing because we have come away with nothing.

“We’ve done more than enough to have won the game. We’ve hit the post twice and have had opportunities cleared off the line in the second half.

“We did enough to have won a couple of games out there today. If we can perform for the next 10 games like we did today, I will be extremely happy.

“Although frustrating, we have to approach the next game in the same way we did for this game and if we do that we will position ourselves strongly for that.”

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho had mixed emotions after his side beat Reading 4-1 at Fratton Park.

Colby Bishop scored his 16th goal of the season to help Pompey maintain their six-point lead at the top of League One.

Mousinho said: “I am very pleased with the win, but obviously disappointed to concede as well.

“I thought Reading were excellent in the early stages and were causing us problems, and we were fortunate not to have conceded during that spell. They showed a lot of energy and a lot of purpose.

“We changed a couple of things after the first half-hour, which seemed to make them more open and direct. That helped us obviously as we have hit the back of the net four times.

“We weren’t organised behind the ball enough and lost too many challenges and second balls in the first half, but I thought we were excellent in the second half.”

The Royals dominated the first 25 minutes and had several chances of opening the scoring with efforts from Andy Yiadom on 11 minutes and Lewis Wing a minute later.

Paul Mukairu put the simplest chance over the bar from inside the six-yard box and the league leaders instead took the lead on 36 minutes as Abu Kamara broke down the middle and passed to Paddy Lane, who rifled the ball home off David Button’s body.

Marlon Pack and Callum Lang drove home and Pompey made it four thanks to Bishop’s strike, but the Royals got a consolation late on from Charlie Savage.

Reading manager Ruben Selles said: “I think we dominated the first half, and I think they were lucky not to be 2-0 down.

“We came here to defend higher up the pitch and to play well, and I think we did that very well.

“I think we continued to do well even after going a goal down, but the second knocked us back a bit and we lost our composure.

“There are areas we could do better but overall, I was very pleased with the performance, and showed we can compete with the top teams.

“It is hard to take that we have played that well but conceded four goals.

“There is nothing major in terms of injuries. Sam Smith was able to travel and got some valuable minutes under his belt.

“We have two home games now on Tuesday and Saturday and we need to build on how we’ve performed today.”

John Mousinho saluted goalscoring heroes Myles Peart-Harris and Abu Kamara as League One leaders Portsmouth came from behind to beat Cambridge 3-1.

Kusini Yengi won and converted a penalty to cancel out Danny Andrew’s opener, before Peart-Harris – signed on loan from Brentford in January – and Kamara scored in the second half to earn the points before Yengi gave way to top scorer Colby Bishop.

Mousinho said: “Obviously happy with the win. We seemed to lose our shape for the first half-hour, and to be fair I thought Cambridge deserved the lead because of how poor we had been.

“It seemed to kick us into life and up until half-time we were much better, and it was important that we pulled that goal back before then.

“We were excellent in the second half, and it was satisfying to see the two goals. It was great to see Myles get his first, and Abu just keeps growing in confidence.

“Kusini was excellent having come in after being away with Australia, and it shows what we can do even with your top scorer on the bench.”

The one sour note for Mousinho was an injury to midfielder Tom Lowery, who was forced off before half-time.

“Tom Lowery has felt his hamstring, and it doesn’t look good,” said Mousinho. “It was decided he was ready to start a game, and I take responsibility for making that decision. We’re all gutted for him.”

The opening half-hour saw Pompey dominate but Cambridge’s confidence grew, and they were rewarded with the opener after 38 minutes. A corner was headed goalwards by Andrew and Will Norris could not keep the ball out.

That seemed to spring Pompey into life, and within six minutes the hosts had equalised. Yengi was brought down in the box and dusted himself down to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Cambridge started out the better side in the second half, with Pompey struggling to get any fluency.

But after 59 minutes they found their spark and went ahead as good build-up play saw Peart-Harris slide in to score from a Paddy Lane cross.

Cambridge pushed hard for an equaliser but Pompey got a third after 71 minutes when Kamara smashed home via the crossbar.

Cambridge boss Neil Harris said: “I was very pleased with our performance. I thought we were excellent until their second went in. We had a plan, and we were very good on the transition.

“We got ourselves in front with a well-worked corner, and we needed to keep that lead until half-time against the top team in the league in front of a near sell-out crowd but unfortunately, we conceded the penalty.

“We started the second half well and had a couple of chances, but then you get punished. I asked for a reaction to the home defeat on Saturday, and I got that. But if you don’t put your chances away, then you get punished, so we must be more clinical.

“We go to Carlisle on Saturday and it will be the same squad travelling. We must make sure that it’s not three losses on the bounce.”

John Mousinho’s half-time verbal volley hit the target as Paddy Lane earned victory for League One leaders Portsmouth against bottom side Carlisle.

Boss Mousinho did not like what he saw during the first half but his strong words provoked the desired response after the break as Lane netted his 10th goal of the campaign – his third in two games – after 62 minutes to stretch Pompey’s lead at the summit.

“We had a pop at half-time,” confirmed Mousinho. “We knew if we had more quality and take care of the things we needed to take care of we would go on and win the game.

“The performance for large parts was really positive apart from the start. We started like a side weary from the travel but I am not giving the lads that excuse because we do things well enough for them to be at it from the first whistle.

“We dominated possession without creating a huge amount. Carlisle were decent in the first half and had a go.”

Tom Lowery drove a shot against the woodwork in the opening half, in which all United’s best efforts came from Jordan Gibson.

Stung by their manager’s interval dressing-down, Pompey improved to the delight of their 1,848 fans who made their longest trip of the season.

But it still needed Abu Kamara’s introduction to unlock a defence that has now failed to keep a clean sheet for a club-record 25 league games.

Kamara’s run and defence-splitting pass allowed Lane to drill beyond Harry Lewis.

“Paddy’s goals have been important for us all season,” said Mousinho. “When we have relied on Colby (Bishop) to score we’ve probably not been as good a side as we could be.”

Despite their plight, Carlisle fans still managed a good ovation for former favourite Owen Moxon when he came off the bench after 74 minutes.

Moxon was outstanding for the Cumbrians in their promotion season but swapped bottom for top on deadline day.

Despite the club’s position manager Paul Simpson is not throwing in the towel.

“There is a definite disappointment we didn’t get anything out of the game,” he said.

“They know they did a lot of good things but unfortunately the good things counted for nothing.

“There are still plenty of games to go and people may think I am clutching at straws saying that but we have to keep believing. We have to make sure we finish this season much stronger than we have been so far.

“But we have got to work goalkeepers, get shots on target and crosses in the right area, and score goals. Unfortunately, we are not.

“The truth is everyone will have looked before the game and thought ‘Carlisle have got no chance, Carlisle are already relegated’. But we have got to surprise people, maybe even surprise ourselves.”

Manager John Mousinho feels his Portsmouth side are back on track after thrashing Northampton 4-1 at Fratton Park.

Paddy Lane scored twice as the leaders cruised to victory despite having debutant Tom McIntyre sent off.

Connor Ogilvie and Callum Lang also netted while Colby Bishop missed a penalty for Pompey, who had debutant Tom McIntyre sent off, before Marc Leonard grabbed a consolation for Northampton.

It is now 10 points from four games for Portsmouth since a 3-0 home defeat by Leyton Orient.

Mousinho said: “I am delighted with the performance and everything we did in the first hour.

“We came out the traps showing we meant business and were determined to cast out the demon of the Leyton Orient result. I think that has been hanging over us since then.

“We were good value for the 2-0 lead. We missed a penalty and I felt we could have had more in the first half.

“We started the second half a bit cagey and of course the sending off changed things.

“But we kept our heads and put the game to bed. They got a late goal and even with the added 10 minutes I felt we weren’t in any danger.

“My initial reaction to the sending off was that I thought it was a great tackle. In terms of appealing, we’ll look at it in detail and then decide.”

Pompey took the lead after seven minutes when Marlon Pack’s free-kick from 30 yards was headed home by Ogilvie.

The second came after 16 minutes. A long clearance from Pack found Lane, who turned inside a defender to drive home.

Pompey were awarded a penalty two minutes before half-time after Harvey Lintott pushed Myles Peart-Harris over but Bishop’s tame kick was easily saved by Lee Burge.

Pompey were reduced to 10 men after 54 minutes when McIntyre was shown a straight red for a foul on Mitchell Pinnock.

But Pompey got a third in the 58th minute, Lane playing a one-two before slotting home.

It was 4-0 after 71 minutes as an in-swinging free-kick from Pack saw Lang pick up the loose ball and stab it past Burge.

Northampton got a consolation goal a minute from time when Leonard fired into the roof of the net from a corner.

Cobblers boss Jon Brady said: “It is very disappointing.

“We’ve conceded an early goal from a set piece, which we should defend better. The goals we gave away were more down to us giving them to Portsmouth rather than them executing them well.

“They’re fighting to win the league and we’re fighting to stay in it. We’ve had some great form recently but the last two games have been too easy for the opposition.

“Just look at the team I have put out. It’s nowhere near the team I had picking up three points not long ago.

“am Hoskins has come off with his hamstring which is a blow. Sam Sherring has felt his ankle in the warm-up, so we were unable to get him on, and Ben Fox has been out all season, so could only get 15 minutes on the pitch.

“We started looking like we had purpose when they went down to 10 but then we got sucker-punched with their third a couple of minutes later.”

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho felt the Sky Bet League One leaders “threw away” two points at Oxford.

Pompey came from behind at half-time to lead 2-1 – only for the U’s to snatch a point with a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

James Henry’s 90th minute header after goalkeeper Will Norris could only parry a Mark Harris shot salvaged a point for Oxford and took them back into the play-off places.

Tyler Goodrham had fired Oxford in front before Pompey turned it around through Colby Bishop’s 15th goal of the season and a debut goal from Callum Lang.

Mousinho said: “You could break the game down into three parts.

“In the first half we were very poor. In the second half we were good and deservedly got in front and then there was six minutes of madness at the end.

“I felt the pressure was building and building and building from us, and we got the second goal which was fully deserved, then we threw it away at the end.

“My big message to the players at half-time was that we were not showing enough bravery on the ball and we were going backwards too often, playing into Oxford’s hands.

“We deserved to be up…we let ourselves down in not having enough attacking players in the right positions and we weren’t positive enough in the first half.

“But we turned that around. It’s just that, at 2-2 with five minutes to go we’ve not locked the game up enough and that gives us a flat feeling.

“The two goals we conceded – I thought we were awful.

“It’s obviously nice to see Callum score, that was why we brought him into the football club to make an impact, and he’s done that straight away.”

Oxford head coach Des Buckingham said: “The pleasing thing for me is that, regardless of the changes we had to make because of injuries – to Fin Stevens and Jamie Cumming – is how this group stays together and how hard they work.

“Portsmouth are a good team, you’re not top for no reason, and we knew they would come hard at us for goals in the second half.

“But the pleasing thing for me is that at 2-1 down heads don’t drop and we deservedly got a second goal.

“I’m extremely happy with the reaction we showed at 2-1 down.

“The two goals we conceded were two scrappy goals, but it’s always hard as a goalkeeper coming on at half-time. I don’t think Simon Eastwood was at fault for either goal, we just need to defend better.”

Buckingham was booked late on for protesting at referee Darren Drysdale’s decision in not awarding a penalty when Goodrham appeared to be brought down.

“That’s the first yellow card of my professional career,” he said. “I was very unhappy with some of the decisions. But I can’t have a go at players for a lack of discipline if I don’t show discipline myself.

“When I came in as manager my assistant Craig Short said to me how James Henry always pops up with important goals at important times.

“He’s a model pro and I was delighted to see the goal he popped in tonight.

“Overall, it’s a good point and one we can take into our derby against Reading on Saturday.”

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