Assistant boss delighted with Fratton Park comebackRoyals assistant manager Kevin Keen was delighted to have seen his side come from behind to beat Portsmouth in the cauldron of Fratton Park this evening, setting up a Third Round tie against either Barnsley or Everton thanks to two second half goals on the south coast.
"It was a fantastic cup tie, a brilliant atmosphere, good goals, an exciting finish, chances, saves...we're just really pleased we've come out on top and we're safely in the next round," he said after the match.
"Paul Cook has really got this team going here at Portsmouth, they've started the season well, they beat Derby in the last round, so to come back from 1-0 down here - I'm really pleased with the effort.
"Hal had a good chance in the first half, Simon Cox too, they had a couple of chances too - so it was nip and tuck in the first half, not much between the two teams.
"Then Nick has scored a great equaliser and it's great to see Garath come back, his first game back from injury, and he's got the winning goal. A 30 yard rocket as well!
McCleary in fact stabbed home the late winner from a few yards out to earn the Royals progression in a competition that Keen stressed we take very seriously.
"The League Cup is a fantastic competition - and we take all the cup competitions seriously. We got to the semi-final of the FA Cup last year and the supporters had a fantastic day out, nearly seeing us get to the final.
"We'll be looking to go on another run in the cup competitions again this season - you can see with the team we played tonight and the passion with which the players played, that we want to go as far as we can.
"It's fantastic to be winning. We're quietly on a decent run - that's five games unbeaten now which people probably haven't really noticed.
"We're not getting a lot of credit for our defending, and perhaps we're not getting the luck we deserve in front of goal. The two goals tonight, the winner coming from a couple of yards out, that's something that's not come about for us recently, so it's good to see."
The Royals now go to Brentford at the weekend for a final league game before the international break - and, after more than 2,000 travelled to the south coast tonight, the team will be followed by another big away contingent who will be fully behind the Royals at Griffin Park in their numbers.
"The supporters have been fantastic all season, home and away," Kevin continued. "In the last round at Colchester, they cheered us on through extra time, they were singing their heads off tonight, trying to compete with the Pompey lot and they had a real go."