FIT-AGAIN Michael Duckworth felt the game was there for the taking for his goal-shy Hartlepool United team-mates writes - writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
The 22-year-old had missed the previous four matches with a hamstring injury but returned to the side at right-back on Saturday afternoon.
Duckworth admitted the defence was hanging on at times during the opening 30 minutes, when Andy Awford’s Pompey should have really taken the lead.
But Pools did edge their way back into the match and could have snatched all three points late on.
Duckworth said in the end Pools were satisfied with a point but he felt they could have taken all three if only they could had found a way to score.
“We are happy with that point, as a team, but I think we did enough to take all three points,” said Duckworth.
“You could see the way they were holding on at the end and if the game had gone on a bit longer we could have snatched a goal.
“They had their backs against the walls for the last 10 minutes or so but we had to make sure we were solid at the back for their counter-attack.
“We had to do a lot of defending in that first half hour and we felt like we had our backs to the wall, with Scotty [Flinders] pulling off some good saves but overall we kept it solid.
“We are not scoring many goals but we are creating chances.
“We need to be better in the final third.
“It is easier for the back lads when we are on the front foot and if we improve in that final third then we will win these types of matches.
“When we get the first goal the confidence boost will be massive and we will go on to get two, three and four.
“We’ll take a point though, it was one more than we had at the start of the day.”
The right-back loves nothing more than to bomb forward and he had a chance to open the scoring in the first half.
He dribbled his way into the box but his fierce strike was well blocked by Jack Whatmough for a corner.
Duckworth added: “My eyes lit up when the chance came to me and I thought to myself “head down and hit it”.
“It was on my left foot, my weaker side, but I struck it well.
“It would have been nice to get my first goal.
“I have had the same celebration lined up since last season and if I would have scored I would have been doing it!
“Hopefully I can at some point soon this year,” added Duckworth, who admitted it was a relief to be back in the side after missing the majority of September with that hamstring injury.