Pompey skipper ‘let himself down’

David Connolly faced up to his red-card nightmare and was told: You let yourself down.

Connolly’s dismissal proved the key moment as Pompey fell to a 2-0 defeat to Chesterfield on Saturday.

The Blues captain was sent off for a clash with Spireites midfielder Sam Hird, moments after a blatant penalty was not given after he was fouled by defender Liam Cooper.

Connolly apologised to his team-mates in the wake of the game with Pompey’s leading scorer now missing for three matches.

The penalty incident was one of a number of shouts not given by referee Steve Bratt in a weak display from the official.

Ricky Holmes insisted he was brought down in the box in the second-half as Guy Whittingham’s side battled for a return.

Holmes stated Connolly’s reaction was out of character but proved costly.

He said: ‘David is the most experienced man in the team.

‘He knows he let us down but he let himself down more than anything.

‘It’s out of character for David. It’s frustration.

‘The linesman has seen that incident but unfortunately he didn’t see the other stuff for us that happened. It went against us.

‘Dave wouldn’t dive for the penalty. He was past him. And it was a blatant penalty on me in the second-half.

‘You get some and you don’t get some, though. Some refs can have bad days like footballers can, too. The one on me the guy is facing up the pitch and it goes straight out.

‘I’ve nicked it, so he either books me for diving or gives a throw to them. He gave us the throw. It didn’t make sense.

‘You get them and you don’t but I guess we didn’t get the rub of the green.

‘I have to give credit to the fans, though, because they so nearly pulled us over the line.’

Holmes made his long-awaited first league start for Pompey against the high-fliers on Saturday. The 25-year-old didn’t disappoint either as he delivered a man-of-the-match performance with a high-energy effort.

The former Barnet man was downhearted to see his team leave the game empty-handed after showing promise.

But Holmes now wants more pitch time after showing what he is capable of.

He said: ‘We haven’t lost this season with 11 players on the pitch.

‘We had chances and we were destroying them in the first half hour with Pat (Agyemang) and me down the right.

‘We were getting in their box and had the better of the game.

‘The sharpness will come for me.

‘It was my first league game since February, so I’m happy to get out there and show what I’ve got.

‘I had the pre-season setback but I’ve had my chance now and hopefully I’ve taken it. I want more appearances.’