Pompey stopper savours high spot of Fratton career

Coventry City's Callum Wilson challanges Portsmouth's Simon Eastwood
Coventry City's Callum Wilson challanges Portsmouth's Simon Eastwood
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Simon Eastwood savoured the highlight of his Pompey career and vowed: We’ll keep on fighting.

Eastwood delivered an outstanding man-of-the-match display to help the Blues to a 2-0 success over Coventry City on Saturday.

The 23-year-old made a vital early penalty save and then followed that with a string of big stops to help his side to three points.

It was the perfect reply to some elements of support who have been critical of the keeper.

The win stretches Pompey’s unbeaten run at Fratton Park to four games – a mark which dates back to the start of February – and means they have lost just two of their past nine games.

The performance represented a high for Eastwood since he arrived at the club last summer, too.

Pompey are now five points from climbing out of the bottom four with six games to go.

Eastwood promised his team would battle to close that gap until the end of the season.

He said: ‘I’m really happy with everything – the penalty save, the result and the clean sheet.

‘We’ve conceded the penalty early on and to save that in front of the Fratton end is the highlight of the season so far.

‘With it being early on, the save really helped us to push on and get the result.

‘It doesn’t get much better than saving a penalty in front of the Fratton end. And it’s a clean sheet against a good side, so it is the highlight.

‘They attacked us well and put us under pressure in the second-half.

‘The penalty save was the highlight but there were some good chances in the second half I had to make saves from, too.

‘It’s a special day for me and now we’ll keep fighting to the end.’

Pompey fans recognised Eastwood’s display by singing his name throughout Saturday’s win.

The keeper insisted his confidence in his own ability had remained strong in some testing periods.

Eastwood said: ‘It’s nice to hear the fans singing my name. Everyone says you block it out but it’s so loud here you can always hear it.

‘In football you need a bit of luck and you need a chance.

‘When it comes you have to take it. I feel I’m doing that.

‘It’s been a massive difference from last year to now but if you believe in yourself and your own ability – which I do – you can get where you want to be.

‘You have to be confident and confident in your ability or you will make mistakes.

‘People may get on your back but you have to be mentally tough enough to get through it. And I’m definitely that.

‘You learn from your mistakes and kick on. It’s going well.’