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Dagenham & Redbridge manager Wayne Burnett believed his players looked ‘scared’ to play in front of a 15,000 strong crowd at Fratton Park yesterday.

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The Daggers were second best for much of the game, and failed to test Pompey goalkeeper Trevor Carson throughout the encounter as Romain Padovani’s first half header gave Richie Barker his first win as Portsmouth boss.

And while beforehand Burnett hoped the big Boxing Day crowd would inspire his side, it turned out that too many of his players failed to rise to the occasion.

“You should come out here and it should inspire you,” said Burnett. “Instead people looked scared to be here. If players want to go on and further their careers and play at a higher level they are going to play in front of 15,000 every week. If they can’t handle it they are in the wrong game.

“I said to the players before the game, if someone could ask you what you wanted to do today and get paid for it in front of people what would it be? I would have given everything to play today.

“Every time you have the ball they are watching you, what a great stage, atmosphere and theatre to play in front of. Some of our players didn’t take to it very well.”

Daggers were never really at the races throughout the game, though were always in it with the scoreline as it was.

Burnett was particularly frustrated that they couldn’t get going until the latter stages of the contest, and felt Pompey were there for the taking.

“I think it is one of the most frustrating performances of the season. And it’s even more frustrating that we have conceded from a set piece again,” he added.

“We couldn’t get hold of the ball today, we couldn’t put two or three passes together until the last 20 minutes when we get going.

“It’s easy to get going with 20 minutes to go, there’s no fear element left, you have nothing to lose.

He added: “They were there for the taking but we didn’t start great. You come to a place like this and the first thing you have to do is keep the crowd quiet. We did that and for 44 minutes, although they had the better chances than us it’s still 0-0.

“You go in at half time and that would have changed the game but instead it’s 1-0 and that changes the complexion of the game. We didn’t really get going until 15-20 minutes. That’s too late.”

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