Stevenage and Portsmouth fought to a stalemate like two bare chested prize fighters and Steve Evans was clear about one thing - he would have loved to played in it.

The 0-0 draw in League One had everything but goals in the end, and while it wasn't always overflowing with quality, you were hard pressed to pull your eyes away from it.

"All players love playing in these games," said the Boro boss.

"Both teams could have played a little bit more, both teams could have got a little more quality in the game. 

"They are just a wonderful group of players, an array of talent, but we have got good players and we know we have gone toe-to-toe with a team that will be expected by the owner and their manager to win automatic promotion. 

"It was very feisty, not an inch given by either side, no quarter given.

"They had some chances but I think we had the better chances and never took them. 

"We had a lot of pressure in the second-half but never really took advantage when we got into good areas."

A lot of those chances came in the first period but Stevenage began the second period with a head of steam until a double red card, one for the host's Jake Forster-Caskey and the other to Pompey's Joe Rafferty, stretched the game.

Evans was happy with those parts of the game.

He said: "The first thing we had to do [after the cards] was identify if we needed to make any changes to our shape that we had affected at half-time. 

"There is no doubt that Portsmouth would have gone in [disappointed], not by clear-cut chances but because they have had most of the ball in good areas. 

"But we said to our lads that we are famous for winning football matches. We’re not famous for sitting in 

"We affected a positive change in the last third of the pitch and it and it clearly worked. Suddenly they had a real problem. 

"There's not a lot to split the teams at the end, if you take the whole 90 minutes. 

"Everyone will go home and say we'll take that point, it's hard-earned. 

"But if you’d listened to every pundit and every press report coming out of Portsmouth, you’d have thought we were lambs to the slaughter. 

"But our little lambs bite sometimes and we dug in to get a point." 

The dismissals came after a 50-50 challenge just inside the Portsmouth half 10 minutes into the second period.

And Evans admitted he hadn't seen the ensuing scuffle that brought the ultimate punishment.

"I’m not clear what happened," said the Boro boss. "I just heard the fourth official say it's two reds down the mic.

"I'll look back at that and if there's any action to be taken, we will take it, but that changed the momentum a little bit because we were so far on top of that stage. 

"I've just seen it as a coming together and as the ball’s broke, I'm looking around elsewhere to make sure our shape at the back is right and then there is a collision of legs. 

"I 100 per cent don’t see it but you know me, if I see it and my player is out of order, I’ll say so. 

"I'll get the video and if I think he is out of order, he’ll be fined."