CARL Fletcher displayed some mixed emotions after his Argyle side’s victorious start to the 2012/13 season against npower League 1 Portsmouth in the Capital One Cup.The Pilgrims emerged 3-0 winners after debut goals from Johnny Gorman and Paris Cowan-Hall were augmented by a late Nick Chadwick strike.
However, it was against a Pompey side fielding mostly youth team players, including eight debutants. Only goalkeeper Simon Eastwood and Ashley Westwood could be described as experienced professionals - and the latter went off injured in the first half.
Portsmouth have been beset by financial problems, the likes of which all at Home Park are no strangers to.
“A lot of credit has got to go to the Portsmouth players,” said Carl, “They put a real pride back in the shirt, they’ve done really well for the football club in really tough circumstances.
“Tonight was about how the Portsmouth players conducted themselves in the game. [There were] some real good quality players, and we know what a tough time everyone’s going through.
“It’s not so long ago we went through all the same stuff.
“You feel for everyone – the players, the staff, everyone who works at the club. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they can get something sorted out sooner rather than later, and get it done properly so that Portsmouth are around for many years to come.”
For Argyle, victory means a place in the second round of the competition for only the third time in twenty-one attempts, and a pleasant fillip ahead of the clichéd npower League 2 curtain being ceremoniously raised on Saturday.
Fletch said: “It was a potential banana skin, and it was all about professionalism and attitude for us.
“I’m pleased we got the three goals and a clean sheet.
“Early doors we had a few chances and it was nice to get that first goal just to settle us down a little bit.
“There are things we need to improve on, but from our point of view it was a tough game tonight. A real tough game, and a no-win situation. Winning the game, a lot of people would expect that. If you lose then you make the headlines.
“We knew had to be right both mentally and physically. It was a tough game, against some young lads at Portsmouth who showed some real quality.”