JIMMY Phillips admits that Burton Albion let themselves down as he played 90 minutes for the first time in well over a year.
The last time Phillips started and ended a game for the Brewers was in April 2012’s 4-0 defeat at home to Aldershot.
That game, along with the 2-1 reverse against Barnet which followed two weeks later, also marked the last occasion Albion lost back-to-back home games before being beaten by Portsmouth on Saturday.
Those two facts are clearly unrelated, but as happy as Phillips was to return to the starting XI, he admitted it was a bittersweet afternoon.
“The gaffer’s said in there that we haven’t done enough to get a result out of the game,” said the 23-year-old former Stoke City trainee.
“They’ve got some good players, but nothing we shouldn’t be able to deal with.
“We’re good enough on our day if we work hard enough to beat any team and I think we let ourselves down a bit.
“I’m happy to get a start because my last one was against Gillingham in the last game of last season.
“The one before that was probably a year before because I spent most of last season out injured.”
Phillips’ cross led to Albion pulling a goal back through Zander Diamond with the last kick of the game, after Ricky Holmes and Simon Ferry had struck either side of the break for Pompey.
“I think I had some good bits in spells, and it’s always nice to play a bit of a part in one of the goals, but it would have been nice if it was 10 or 15 minute earlier,” he said.
“It’s important as a team that we perform better than we did.
“I’m glad to be back and hopefully I can get more starts now.
“It’s always been my aim to get in the team, and now I’ll just keep my head down, keep working hard and hopefully I can get a run of games.”
Both Pompey goals were opportunistic, as Holmes and Ferry reacted quicker than the Albion defence to net rebounds following saves from the returning Jordan Pickford.
However, the second goal had a touch of controversy about it, with Damien McCrory believing he had been fouled in the build-up.
Phillips, who was close to the incident, said: “You don’t want to blame it on the ref, but it just seemed ridiculous.
“And he never seemed to give the lads a reason why he didn’t give a foul either.
“It was a blatant foul in my book.”
As well as helping set up Albion’s consolation goal, Phillips also played a part in an earlier flashpoint, when he was the unwitting target of Yassin Moutaouakil’s moment of madness, with the Pompey defender red-carded for recklessly kicking out at Phillips.
“I honestly don’t know what happened,” he said.
“I tried to get between them, they made the tackle and I was on the floor and then he just kicked me.
“As far as I know, I didn’t do anything to provoke it.
“I just got tangled between them and I think he just lost his head.”
It is not the first time this season that Phillips has been involved in a potentially nasty incident, as the midfielder had to go to hospital following a challenge in the game against Accrington Stanley that left his head bloodied.
“It could have been a nasty injury, but the Accrington medical staff treated me well, and I want to mention them and thank them,” said Phillips.