Dave Kitson breathed a sigh of relief after shrugging off a striker’s version of the golfing yips.
The Blues frontman looked like a player shorn of confidence against his former club as he made a total mess of a gilt-edged first-half chance when he was put clean through on goal by David Norris.
But Kitson went from villain to hero early in the second half as he struck the winner – timing his run to perfection to volley home Liam Lawrence’s corner to claim Pompey’s first victory of the new season.
And after likening his earlier miss to a golfer struggling to hole short putts, Kitson believes he’s now up and running again.
He said: ‘I was annoyed with myself for missing that chance I had in the first half.
‘When you are short on confidence, instead of putting your foot through it, you try to dribble it into the net.
‘I don’t know what I was doing.
‘The crowd is on you a little bit and you want to run it over the line rather than put your laces through it.
‘When you are flying, you put your laces through it and it flashes in the corner before you even think about it.
‘It’s a bit like having the yips in golf – it’s a funny thing and I’ve never had it before.
‘But that was exactly what I needed. I couldn’t miss, middle of the goal and bang – it was in the back of the net.
‘My nan could have put that in, really, but sometimes those are the ones you need.
‘You just need that one to drop for you right in front of goal, stick your leg out and then you’re away again.
‘I’ve never been a one-on-one player, I’m not going to dribble around anyone.
‘But, generally, I’m the kind of Johnny-on-the-spot player from five yards out. I’ve made a career out of it.
‘That’s what happened this time.
‘Nobody could quite see what was going on but I poked out a long leg and it went in.’
Having picked up a win at the third time of asking this season, Pompey have ensured their dire start to last season has not been repeated.
And Kitson admits it’s given the team a major lift after Saturday’s disappointing loss to Brighton.
He said: ‘It was so important to get that win, if only for the fact that it was our second home game.
‘Our changing room has been pretty angry lately – there was a lot of anger after the Barnet game and the Brighton game.
‘I don’t think it mattered who was turning up at Fratton Park next but they would have been on the receiving end of some of that anger.
‘I was trying hard not to celebrate – I don’t know why.
‘There’s some sort of unwritten rule that you’re not supposed to celebrate scoring against your old club.
‘But I really needed that goal and we needed the win.’