Clarke calls for Pompey killer touch

Matt Clarke netted early on for Pompey against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke netted early on for Pompey against Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman picked up a broken nose when scoring Pompey's opener against Fleetwood on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey bravery has seen many wounded refuse to quit action

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Matt Clarke has called for Pompey to unearth their killer instinct.

The Blues made painful work of finishing off Accrington on Saturday after roaring into a 75-second lead.

It could have been made easier scoring the second goal and killing the game off. Obviously it is a lot easier said than done

Matt Clarke

Clarke headed home Gary Roberts’ left-wing cross to put Paul Cook’s men on the way to a vital victory.

Yet it wasn’t until substitute Kal Naismith netted two minutes into time added on that the victory was wrapped up.

There were some nervy times until that moment of relief, despite the hosts’ dominance.

And Clarke admitted struggling Stanley should have been vanquished long before Naismith removed the Fratton Park tension.

He said: ‘Sometimes there wasn’t much quality in the game and the ball changed over quite a lot, which obviously gave it that frantic feel.

‘But, when you look back, there weren’t that many chances really, so it’s one of those where we would look to get two or three and kill the game earlier.

‘When Accrington went close with a free-kick late on we did feel the nerves and there will be a period of that in most games, no matter who you play.

‘There will be a stage when the opposition are on top, especially when you are only 1-0 up, you are almost inviting that pressure.

‘We had a few chances to breakaway, looking to score, when that comes off you know the game is won and you can relax and enjoy it.

‘When you are 1-0 up you want to call it off there and then, but it’s up to us to go from those positions and get it to 2-0 or 3-0 and kill the game off.

‘It could have been made easier scoring the second goal and killing the game off. Obviously it is a lot easier said than done.

‘But we are going in the right direction and creating chances, which is the most important thing.’

Pompey’s victory – and defeat for Carlisle – ensured Cook’s men are now four points off the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand.

They also moved up a place to sixth following a first win in three matches.

Elsewhere, other results went for the Blues, with Exeter and Wycombe slumping to convincing defeats to provide further encouragement.

Next up is the visit of Blackpool tomorrow (7.45pm).

Meanwhile, Saturday represented Clarke’s first goal this season – and second for the club in 53 appearances.

And the central defender insisted it was long overdue.

He added: ‘It’s about time I suppose, I go up for every corner and it gets to the stage where you’ve got to score and show why you are up there.

‘I was a bit unlucky not to score again, I didn’t quite connect right with a few, and there was one in the second half I thought was a goal, but it was a good save from their keeper.’