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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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A

nd we always will love Ozil. I don't really mind if no other team can see just how brilliant he is, or if people think he is rubbish, because we know he is far from it. He is a fantastic player, and if people cannot see that it can only be a good thing, in that he will be at Arsenal for years to come, pulling the strings from behind a glass veil.

ganachus
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

I

like the list and Ozil in particular does seem under appreciated when you look at his stats (an odd thing considering his fee or maybe because of it). Palace have a few and I've always thought Dwight Gayle at Palace was under rated, certainly when you look at his goals per game ratio. You can probably also add Ryan Bertrand at Saints who should be in the England team in my view.

sensiblepoolfan
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

N

ew Shaun Wright Phillips, there I've said it. If any club offers stupid money we'd be stupid to say no, he's not a potential worldie by any stretch and I feel that after a few years warming the bench at city or Chelsea he'll be back at QPR smoking sheesha pipes under Harry Redknapp.

uncle monty
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