Reflections on Doncaster win
It was not pretty; far from it at times, at Doncaster yesterday although we were by far worthy winners and a 2-0 win was the least that we deserved.
Steve Cotterill was not only pleased with the win but the clean sheet to go with it that brought a win, that was needed, and been warranted for a while.
I think his thoughts about being 'well disciplined', which we were, were a key factor: 'we've deserved a win for a while, and it's always pleasing to get a clean sheet.
'I thought we were very disciplined. When you come to good footballing teams like Doncaster and Swansea you've got to nullify their threat to get yourself into the game. And I thought we did that well.'
As much as we were pretty dominant with possession we were not creating a host of chances although when a chance came to Dave Kitson, taking a whack in the face in the process, he finished well.
Cotterill has revealed that his son has been ill in hospital this week so he was not even sure he would make it: 'it's been a tough week for Kits. He's not trained a lot. I'm sure he won't mind me saying his lad has been poorly in hospital this week.
'It was a big ask for Kits to play. I wasn't quite sure before the game if he was going to be right. At 1pm I asked him if he would be okay to play.
'But I'm delighted he did and that he scored. He's got a fat lip and a goal for his troubles and hopefully his little lad will be okay. Hopefully this will be the start of a good week for him.'
Suddenly Joel Ward is becoming quite an important player for Pompey, featuring in a variety of positions in recent months.
At Donny his latest role was almost as a support striker in a more attacking midfield role and he marked this with a goal - another fine finish too!
Again he earned praise from his manager, a manager that continues to be proven wrong by his ability: 'Joel Ward has got great energy and did well in that role in the centre in midfield in behind the striker.
'He's got bundles of energy and is capable of nicking a goal, which he did. We knew his running would be important.'
Not wishing to harp on about it but I cannot help but keep thinking had Cotterill given others the chance that he has Ward, even it was 'forced upon him', others could have followed him in progressing into the 1st team...
The negative from the day was the sending off of Jonathan Hogg for, what I would say was two harsh yellow cards - the second particularly so!
I was surprised that a free kick was even given for the handball, although you see them given, but for him to go for it too was cruel.
Cotterill had plenty to say about the on loan Villa man and felt for him: 'it was a very harsh sending off, which we can't appeal because it was a second yellow. It was ball to hand. Jonathan's devastated about it.
'He's a great lad and right little power pack. He's the ultimate professional and covers so much ground around the pitch. He's a passer, so competitive and a really infectious character. I love him.'
It was not the greatest spectacle, or advertisement for football in many ways, although collecting the 3pts was the main thing - and even the most passionate of Donny fans would be hard pushed to admit anything other than the fact we deserved the win.
We needed this win to relieve the pressure that was mounting.
Whilst it would be foolish to 'expect' anything I reckon there is a 'decent' chance that we can now string together a run of results to ensure our safety in this league.
That 'hoodoo' against the sides in the lower reaches of the league, not to mention that winless streak, has been broken, now we MUST build on this against others sides in the bottom half of the table with back-to-back games at Fratton against Barnsley and Palace.
4pts, minimum, 'should' be the target for these next two games...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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