Evans climbs Pompey midfield goal list

Gareth Evans celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey opened their League One account with a 2-0 win against Rochdale at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 2 Rochdale 0: Highlights

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HE’S GOT a long way to go until he catches Jed Wallace.

But Gareth Evans now has a couple of Pompey greats in his sights as he continues his impressive goalscoring form.

Evans took his Blues tally to eight for the season with his deft finish against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

And that is seeing the 27-year-old climb the ranks of best goal returns from a Pompey midfielder.

Of course, Jed Wallace rewrote the record books last term, with his 17 strikes equalling Joe Laidlaw’s post-war record from the 1979-80 campaign.

Evans’ impressive return to date now sees him move in on Blues heroes Robert Prosinecki and Matt Taylor’s goal returns from a single campaign.

The summer arrival from Fleetwood needs one more to equal Prosinecki’s nine-goal haul from 2001-02, with the latter getting the same amount in the 2006-07 season.

Taylor needed 40 games to reach that amount, though, in the Premier League, with Prosinecki taking 35 games in the Championship.

Evans has delivered his tally with 32 appearances in all competitions.

Viewed through just league outings, it’s eight from 26 games – or a goal every 3.25 games.

Given the benefit of looking at the return from 23 league starts, the haul drops to an impressive goal every 2.875 games.

The Rovers goal puts Evans level with the total amount scored by David Norris in the 2011-12 season and Liam Lawrence (2010-11).

He’s already ahead of Wallace’s seven goals from 2013-14 and six strikes in 2012-13.

But there’s still some distance to travel until he matches another Pompey hero in Paul Merson. He ended the season with 12 goals – all in the league – from 48 appearances as he orchestrated the rise to the Premier League in 2002-03.

Keeping the goals flowing is set to see Evans reel in a number of illustrious midfield names and their goal hauls from campaigns in the Blues’ recent history.

Looking at midfielders over the past 30 years, some memorable midfield names leap out for their finishing exploits.

Alan McLoughlin was a consistent scorer in his long Pompey career.

Evans has yet to get near the 11 efforts he finished his first full Pompey campaign with in 1992-93.

McLoughlin also notched 10 strikes in both the 1995-96 and 1998-99 seasons.

Darren Anderton memorably burst into Blues consciousness in the 1991-92 season with 13 goals in 53 appearances.

Paul Hall was used in wide and advanced roles when he finished the 1996-97 season with an impressive 15 from 50 outings.

Goals flowed at the highest level of the game for Kevin Dillon in 1987-88. He picked up the moniker ‘Deadeye’ for his penalty-taking qualities and finished the season with 12 goals.

Evans may be happy with his form in front of goal this season, but he has not yet matched his best goal return.

Wearing Bradford colours, he delivered 11 goals in 2009-10 and went two better the previous season when playing for Macclesfield.