Close: What an incredible Pompey feeling

Ben Close celebrates his maiden Pompey goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close celebrates his maiden Pompey goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Ben Close toasted his first Pompey goal and revealed: It’s a weight off my shoulders.

The Blues Academy graduate slammed home an 80th-minute strike in his side’s thrilling 3-2 victory against Blackpool on Saturday.

Close, 20, has been banging on the door in recent weeks to break his goal duck.

The midfielder had a decent chance saved in the League One defeat against Bradford City.

And he then saw an effort superbly thwarted at the death in the Blues’ FA Cup loss at Luton Town.

But Close finally managed to bag his first competitive goal for his hometown club at Bloomfield Road.

He revealed it is something he has been dreaming about since he was first on the books at the Blues.

‘It was a great feeling and once I saw it hit the net it was a weight off my shoulders and a bit of a relief,’ said Southsea’s Close.

‘I’m absolutely delighted with the goal and it helped us earn the three points.

‘I’ve been dreaming of occasions like that for years – ever since I started playing for the club. It was really special.

‘When I celebrated, I could see people in the crowd I have grown up with.

‘It was an incredible feeling to celebrate with the supporters.

‘I’d like to think the goals will come like buses now for me.

‘I’m more worried about picking up three points but hopefully I can bring goals to the team as well.

‘I was scoring goals in pre-season and playing well, I thought.

‘I knew if I kept performing like that and training well my chance would come.

‘Hopefully I can keep my place in the side now.’

The game at Bloomfield Road was a pulsating second-half affair that produced five goals in 34 minutes.

It was an important victory for Kenny Jackett’s troops – ending a three-match losing streak in League One.

Brett Pitman and Close had strikes cancelled out by Viv Solomon-Otabor and an Oli Hawkins’ own goal.

However, Pompey’s skipper led by example and nodded home the winner four minutes from time.

Close revealed it was one of the most thrilling affairs he’s ever played in.

And he hailed his team-mates’ resilience to hang on to clinch all three points.

Close added: ‘I’ve not really played a in a game like that before – with goals coming in such a short space of time.

‘Thankfully, we held on at the end.

Even at 3-2 they had good attacks but we showed good spirit and good quality to earn the three points.

‘We had to really rely on our defenders to win the balls that were being put into the box.

‘Then it was up to us to win the second balls and hook it on and get ourselves up the pitch.

‘The squad did that, eventually we did it well after going 3-2 up.

‘I am delighted to get the win.’