SCARCELY had Home Park’s massive Dockyard Derby crowd dispersed, ruminating on Portsmouth’s 2-1 victory...
...before Argyle defender Gary Sawyer was targeting an immediate response from the Pilgrims when Carlisle come west on Tuesday night.
Gary conceded the 86th-minute penalty from which Gary Roberts scored Pompey’s second goal, echoing the pattern of the first half when Portsmouth won a spot-kick a minute into stoppage time after Hiram Boateng tangled with Enda Stevens. Matt Tubbs converted.
“It was very frustrating from our point of view, and especially from a personal point of view,” said Gary, “me being one that gave the penalty away. There’s not a lot I can do to defend myself – he got the better of me. We have just got to look to bounce back on Tuesday.
“We know what we’ve got to do now against Carlisle, and all thoughts are towards that. We can’t sit here and cry about losing to Portsmouth, myself included – I’ve given a penalty away; I have got to go out and right that wrong.”
The Argyle left-back paid due tribute to the Pilgrims’ old naval adversaries for stunting Derek Adams’ side’s attacking threat but believes that Argyle can challenge Sky Bet League 2 title favourites Portsmouth.
“They are good side, very capable,” he said, “but I still think that, when we’re really on it, we have got a good side. We can only look to ourselves.
“Their shape stopped us a little bit in certain areas and we didn’t attack as well as we have done in previous games and as well as we can do. We left Rubes [Reuben Reid]a little bit isolated at times and it was hard for him to get anything going. There were big lads up against him.
“We need to be a bit more professional and have a bit more savvy about us.
“When you get to my age, playing this game, you’ve had enough ups and downs to last you a lifetime. It’s the way the season is. When games are coming thick and fast, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, your highs and lows come quickly, depending on how the game goes. We need to bounce back on Tuesday.”
There were nearly 11,500 at Home Park for the latest Battle of the Ports, bringing sweet memories of Argyle’s Championship years when Gary first played for the Pilgrims before leaving for a six-season exile that took in both Bristol clubs and Leyton Orient
“Brilliant,” he said. “One of the main reasons I came back was because of the fans; the fanbase is so big and the club’s massive. To have our first home game against Portsmouth, which will always bring out a few more...it was fantastic support, but it always is. For a League 2 level game, that was unbelievable.
“Everyone wants to play in the occasions like it was today; it does give you a little boost. But we’re all professional enough to know it’s the same prize at the end of the game – it’s still only three points and that’s what we’ll be trying to get on Tuesday.”