Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett hailed his side’s “resilience” after seeing them keep the pressure on the top two in League One with a last-gasp victory over Burton.
Defender Matt Clarke earned Pompey a 2-1 win after finding the back of the net in stoppage time following a scramble in the Albion box – a goal that the home side felt should have been disallowed.
Pompey had led from the 31st minute courtesy of a fine strike from midfielder Ben Close, only for Liam Boyce to cancel it out two minutes into the second half with a thumping header.
Portsmouth’s sixth successive league victory keeps them two points behind second-placed Barnsley and four adrift of leaders Luton, who play Accrington on Saturday.
Jackett said: “We showed a resilience today that we needed.
“Although we took the lead Burton came out at the start of the second half and dominated, deserved to get back into the game and then it could have gone either way.
“I thought our subs did make a difference. We then came through it and to some degree turned the tide and looked a threat and we worked hard to get that goal at the end.
Jackett would not be drawn on vociferous Burton claims of both offside and handball against Nathan Thompson in the build-up to Clarke’s winner, choosing to focus on the quick turnaround to their next game with the race for promotion heating up.
“We train tomorrow before we face Coventry on Monday so its not at the forefront of my mind,” he said.
“That goal keeps us in the hunt. Barnsley have won as well and all we can do is keep pressure on second spot. It’s been nip and tuck and we are still in there with four games to go.
“Congratulations to the players. 83 points out of 42 games which is excellent.”
The result saw Burton’s five-match unbeaten run come to an end and leaves them ninth in the standings, nine points off the play-offs.
Boss Nigel Clough was pleased with his side’s performance but felt Portsmouth’s winner should not have stood.
He said: “We played extremely well again today against one of the top sides in the league with vastly greater resources than ourselves and at times we passed them off the park.
“If a bit of quality goes in in the last minute or someone puts one in the top corner then we hold our hands up, but when you lose to a double mistake from the officials it becomes even more difficult to take. He’s offside and it’s handball. End of story.”
Clough added: “We are very pleased with our performance today.
“If teams get promoted by scoring goals that shouldn’t be allowed then that is a little bit unfair I think over the course of a season. But Portsmouth are up there and they probably deserve to be and we deserve to be higher than we are and challenging for the top six, but unfortunately sometimes it isn’t fair like today and we have had that a few times this season.”