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Whittingham praise for Bird

Guy Whittingham hailed Ryan Bird after his two-goal salvo helped Portsmouth see off Exeter 3-2 in a five-goal thriller.

Last Updated: 02/11/13 at 20:47

Guy Whittingham: Hails on-song striker

Guy Whittingham: Hails on-song striker

Bird grabbed a late equaliser in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Torquay - the first professional goal of his career.

And the former non-league hot shot took his tally to three goals in two games at Fratton Park as Pompey overcame a late Exeter fightback to claim the points.

Whittingham said: "I was delighted for Ryan Bird. I know he has goals in him.

"I know from personal experience what it's like to come from non-league. He showed he's a confident player."

Bird and Patrick Agyemang both went close in the early exchanges as Pompey started the game well well in front of a bumper crowd of more than 16,000.

Exeter almost took the lead after 22 minutes as a Matt Grimes shot from 20 yards rattled the crossbar.

Pompey opened the scoring in fortuitous fashion moments before half-time when Ricky Holmes' attempted cross floated into the net.

Bird doubled the lead four minutes after the restart, planting defender Yassin Moutaouakill's centre into the bottom corner.

In-form Bird looked to have put the game out of Exeter's reach by nodding his second and Pompey's third after 71 minutes.

Danny Coles reduced the deficit with a header of his own from an Arron Davies cross four minutes later before John O'Flynn set up a nervy finish when he stabbed home the visitors' second five minutes from time.

Exeter would have snatched an unlikely point but for a brilliant save from Pompey goalkeeper Trevor Carson to deny Tom Nichols in the 88th minute.

Whittingham added: "At 3-0 we were in control but we knew they had it in them to cause us problems.

"When they pulled a goal back they had the momentum and they chucked players into the box as they had nothing to lose. I would have told our players to do exactly the same thing.

"With the ball coming in and a swirling wind something had to give but thankfully we had enough goals in the bank."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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