Reaction: Mick McCarthy knows Ipswich Town are lucky to still be in the FA Cup after home draw with League Two side Portsmouth

Luke Chambers in the back of the net with the ball following Ryan Fraser's equaliser from a free kic

Luke Chambers in the back of the net with the ball following Ryan Fraser's equaliser from a free kick in the Ipswich Town v Portsmouth (FA Cup) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 09 January 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted his side were lucky not to lose this afternoon’s FA Cup third round match against League Two side Portsmouth at Portman Road.

A much-changed Blues team produced a disjointed display, while Portsmouth – 46 places below Town in the Football League pyramid – dominated possession for large periods.

Tommy Oar put the hosts ahead against the run of play in the 53rd minute, but 95 seconds later Kyle Bennett’s classy side-footed finish levelled things up. Paul Cook’s men then looked on course for a well-deserved win when teenage substitute Conor Chaplin rifled home a low shot with four minutes to go, but sub Ryan Fraser’s crossed free-kick evaded everyone to drop in the net less than three minutes later.

The two teams will now contest a replay at Fratton Park a week on Tuesday, with the draw for the fourth round taking place on Monday.

“It wasn’t the result I wanted beforehand, but it certainly was the one I wanted with two minutes to go,” said McCarthy. “I don’t think Cooky (Paul Cook) or me wanted a replay, but we’ve got one.”


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In his usual searingly honest fashion, McCarthy continued: “We probably deserved to get beat. I thought they were excellent.

“I’m disappointed to concede almost immediately after scoring, but also delighted that we kept going and got a draw.

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“We didn’t deserve it, they deserved to win, but it’s testament to the players that they kept going and didn’t get beat.”

When it was put to him that it didn’t look like there was 45 places between the teams in the Football League pyramid, the Blues boss said: ““It didn’t. It probably looked the other way around to be quite honest. But they are one of the better League Two sides with a lot of quality and experience.”

And when told that Portsmouth had 74% of possession in the first half, he replied: “I can’t be any more honest then what I’ve been. I don’t know what I can add to what I’ve said. I think we were lucky to get a draw, I think they deserved to win. I thought they were excellent, I thought we were below-par.

“Maybe having Piotr (Malarczyk) playing, Diggers (Paul Digby) playing, Tommy Oar playing, Reg (Luke Varney) playing had an affect on it. Who knows? I’m not using them as an excuse though.

“They were excellent, they deserved to win, they didn’t and now we’ve got a bloody replay a week on Tuesday! But, as I said, when we were losing with two minutes to go I wanted that.”

Expanding on his comments about a few ring-rusty players not quite being up to speed, he said: “That’s the positive for me, because that could have been Leeds United on Tuesday night, or Preston on Saturday.

“If you get an injury you need a player that is ready to come in and play. The positives to come out of today is that a few players have got 90 minutes under their belts and they’ll be better for it.”

Barnsley loanee Paul Digby started at centre-back but switched positions with right-back Luke Chambers midway through the first half with the Town defence looking at sixes and sevens.

“Diggers did alright, I thought,” said McCarthy. “It was tough, seeing as he’s not been playing, to come into a game like this.

“I just wanted Chambo to be more vocal in the centre of the pitch. I had Piotr and Diggers in the middle of defence, neither of whom who have played much, and it just looked a little bit disjointed.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that Jonathan Parr – left out of the matchday squad – is closing in on a move to Norwegian club Stromsgodset.

“I think that’s his team and he really wants to go back,” said the Blues boss. “He doesn’t want to be here anymore, he’s got that chance to go back, his contract is up at the end of the season, so it’s better for him that he goes.

“He’s been a good player for me, he’s come on at Millwall and scored, done lots of jobs, but if that’s what he wants to do (go back to Norway) I think its’ best for all parties. It does leave me a player down though.”

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