Portsmouth FC boss Danny Cowley admits Harrogate Town 'deserved' their shock FA Cup success

Magnanimous Danny Cowley conceded that Harrogate Town "deserved" their 2-1 FA Cup second round success over his below-par Portsmouth side.

Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th December 2021, 12:48 pm
Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley. Picture: Getty Images

The League Two Sulphurites upset their League One hosts at Fratton Park on Saturday, Jack Diamond netting a stoppage-time winner to send the Wetherby Road outfit into the competition's third round for the first time in their 107-year existence.

Pompey began well and created some decent opportunities to get their noses in front early on, only to then fall behind in the 44th minute as Luke Armstrong curled in his 10th goal of the season.

Ellis Harrison drew Portsmouth level almost immediately, though they failed to ever really threaten the away goal during the second period, while, by comparison, Town looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

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Harrogate Town players celebrate taking a last-gasp 2-1 lead in front of their travelling support. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Armstrong, Alex Pattison and Diamond all missed chances to restore the Harrogate advantage before the latter eventually did with almost the last kick of the contest, sealing a historic win that Cowley does not begrudge them.

He said: "I’m bitterly disappointed, I thought we got what we deserved today.

"Credit to Harrogate, they were humble, really hard working, played with an energy and intensity.

"We had a lot of good chances in the first half and didn’t take them. They scored and we did well to respond, but we were short.

"We’ve had a difficult week, with a lot of illness among the group. I don’t like to give excuses to players after poor performances, but maybe that affected us.

"Harrogate deserved to win and we respect that. I thought it was a performance full of energy, full of work rate. I thought they played with intensity, aggression and a real desire."