Joey Barton praised his ‘goalscoring defender’ Harry Souttar after he netted at both ends to earn Fleetwood a 2-2 draw at promotion rivals Portsmouth.
Fleetwood took the lead through Barrie McKay only for Sean Raggett to draw Pompey level, before Souttar turned past his own goalkeeper but made amends moments later in an eventful second half.
Manager Barton said: “Two goals in a game for big Soutch, so he’s a goalscoring defender!
“When you look at the own goals, at the top of the charts is usually the best defenders.
“He won’t bother about that, he’s picked himself up and dusted himself off and gone down the other end and got the goal back so credit to him.
“It’s enormous credit to the lads. They worked really hard in the analysis of the opposition and the analysis of the weaknesses and we felt we spotted a weakness in a very big physical Portsmouth side. I thought we were unlucky not to score three or four from corners.”
Fleetwood were the better of the two teams for much of the game and deserved their 19th-minute lead. Ched Evans nipped in at the near post before squaring for McKay, who was able to bundle home at the second attempt after his initial flicked effort was saved by Alex Bass.
Raggett got Pompey level somewhat against the run of play with a looping header over Alex Cairns from Ross McCrorie’s deep cross eight minutes before half-time.
However, Barton thought there should have been a free-kick in the build-up to the goal.
He said: “I think Raggett’s read too much into where our club’s based and thought he was taking a ride on one of the donkeys on the beach.
“He looked like he had a saddle on him and it was more reminiscent of Cheltenham (horse-racing festival) than a football match.”
Pompey turned the game around three minutes after the restart when Souttar turned Ryan Williams’ pull-back into the roof of his own net.
The defender made up for the own goal seven minutes later by heading in from close range after Gareth Evans nodded a corner back across goal.
Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett said: “I felt like both sides had 20-minute spells of being on top and looking like they were going to win the game.
“Pleased with the comeback and then going 2-1 up, and then we conceded from a set-piece.
“We were a little open defensively, we have to value it, we haven’t had enough clean sheets and we needed one tonight.”
The result leaves both teams two points off second-placed Rotherham.