Potter thankful for Hawks’ help after masterclass

Oxford's Alfie Potter, centre, runs off in celebration after scoring his first on the day while Joe Devera and Johnny Ertl look for answers Picture: Joe Pepler
Oxford's Alfie Potter, centre, runs off in celebration after scoring his first on the day while Joe Devera and Johnny Ertl look for answers Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey chairman Iain McInnes. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Alfie Potter weaved his magic at Fratton Park and then thanked the Hawks for their role in his rise to prominence.

The diminutive winger was the star of the show for Oxford as the U’s spoilt the Pompey party on the opening day of the new League Two season.

His two goals, plus a brace of assists for Deane Smalley’s double, earned the visitors a 4-1 victory in front of a record 18,181 crowd for the division which was revamped in 2004.

It left the Fratton faithful somewhat subdued at the final whistle as they looked to celebrate a new era under the Pompey Supporters’ Trust with a victory.

But Potter’s heroics on the south coast shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

He was a key figure in the Hawks’ famous 2007-08 FA Cup run which saw them eventually knocked out in the fourth round by Liverpool.

An inspired performance that day at Anfield, plus his role in seeing off Notts County and Swansea in the rounds prior while on loan from Peterborough, made him a fans’ favourite at West Leigh Park.

And the respect is still clearly mutual as the 24-year-old paid tribute to his former club for their part in helping him make the grade in the Football League.

He also thanked the Pompey fans for their support, knowing they too would have played their part in cheering the Hawks on in their FA Cup bid.

‘Maybe I wouldn’t have been the player I am today if I hadn’t been at Havant,’ said Potter, who played 15 games for the Conference South side.

‘Before that, I never really had many games, so to get down there and play in the FA Cup run probably made me a better player.

‘I’ve got nothing but thanks for Havant & Waterlooville and the Pompey fans who followed me as well.

‘When we had the Cup run that year, there were quite a few Pompey fans who followed us about and supported us, so I have nothing but respect for the Pompey fans.

‘They’re brilliant, especially with what the club has been through.

‘But I think the Oxford fans are brilliant as well and I’m just delighted we put in a performance for them on Saturday.’

Potter joined Oxford in 2010 after several loan spells at league clubs following the expiry of his Hawks deal in February 2008.

He said he feared the worst after Patrick Agyemang headed the Blues in front on 25 minutes.

However, that never materialised thanks to the wing wizard’s individual display.

‘I had a few friends and family in the stands watching, so I’m just delighted I put in a performance,’ said Potter.

‘After going 1-0 down, we were getting a bit worried with the big crowd and that.

‘But I think we responded brilliantly, and I’m delighted to have got two goals in the win.

‘I’ve got a lot more experience now than when I was a kid with Havant. I look back at photos and videos and stuff and I was very small and wasn’t very strong.

‘I’m a similar player to what I am now on the ball and stuff.

‘But I’ve got a lot stronger, I’ve got a lot more know-how now and that’s all down to the time I spent at Havant.’