Blues did the homework and it paid off

Dave Kitson got back to goalscoring ways at Doncaster
Dave Kitson got back to goalscoring ways at Doncaster

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It was great to see a real doggedness and determination about Pompey.

I’m sure Steve Cotterill and his staff studied the video of the home game against Doncaster.

He will have seen how Pompey stood off them and allowed them to run the first half.

But they did their homework and they learned from that game.

There was a real feeling that Pompey were right in their faces from the first whistle.

That’s what you want from a team away from home up against a passing side.

They did it very well and they dominated the game from start to finish.

But they didn’t just bully them out of the game, they outplayed them as well.

The manager will be delighted with the clean sheet and I was pleased to see Ricardo Rocha back in the side.

It helped that there was only one forward to mark. It suits Rocha to play up against one striker.

They looked in control at the back but the test is when you play against a side who play with two strikers.

There is a different element to contend with and I’m surprised Doncaster took so long to change it.

I was really pleased for Dave Kitson – especially with the problems he has had to deal with this week.

Up until the goal, he hadn’t contributed too much. He hasn’t been too consistent in his overall play.

Playing as a lone striker, he sometimes makes some poor decisions but he made a very brave decision to go for that ball because he will have known he was just about to get his head kicked off.

Joel Ward gave the team energy, put tackles in and showed he has that composure in front of goal.

It was a deft finish – if it was Messi, everyone would be drooling over it and it would be played all over Europe.

It took ages to go in and I thought it would trickle past the post.

But for me, Ward has been the player of the season so far.

He has shown his versatility and his quality.

I also thought Jonathan Hogg was excellent.

Hayden Mullins must be delighted that he has a young pair of legs next to him.

That combination looks good to me.

Hogg will nick little tackles here and there, he’ll get around the park and he will make big tackles when he has to. He has grown into it already.

It was a really harsh sending off and he will be very disappointed to miss the game next weekend.

He looked like he was just getting into his rhythm, finding some confidence and settling into the side.

It feels like a big lift to get that win and they need to follow it with another against Barnsley on Saturday.