DANNY ROSE savoured the big promotion-battle occasion and admitted: That’s why I signed for Pompey.
Rose helped his side to a 1-1 draw against Plymouth yesterday on a crackling afternoon at Fratton Park.
The port battle produced a game worthy of the occasion in front of a crowd of 18,625 – the Blues’ biggest of the season.
Gary Roberts’ 57th-minute leveller cancelled out Pompey old-boy Jake Jervis’ 12th-minute opener.
A Pilgrims win would have seen them promoted after Luton and Leyton Orient played out a 2-2 draw. But that result means Paul Cook’s men can now seal promotion at Notts County on Monday.
Rose was proud to have played his part in such an encounter, after his summer arrival from Northampton.
He said: ‘The thing that was in mind as I walked out of the tunnel is this why I signed for this club.
‘It was a packed house, it was on TV and it was a promotion battle against a rival.
‘It was the kind of occasion you’ll remember when you retire.
‘Signing for Portsmouth as a professional was the pinnacle of my career – but this was up there.
‘To be competing for promotion and playing on TV in front of crowd of well over 18.000 – they’re the games you want to be playing in.
‘I’ve played for Newport County in the Conference South in front of a home crowd of 600. Maybe, they’re the games you don’t want to play in, but you have to play in to get to where you want.
‘You can get lost in the occasion and moment a little bit.
‘But it was in my mind beforehand. You can appreciate the occasion, even if you’re in the mindset of playing the game not the occasion – as the saying goes.
‘I knew heading in it was a special day, probably for most people, even though we’ve got people who’ve played in higher divisions.
‘For us and this club at the moment, this is the biggest thing right now.’
Rose felt his team had the better of it as they racked up 22 shots to Plymouth’s eight and had 67-per-cent possession. But breaking the mass of Pilgrims bodies in the box proved a challenge.
He added: ‘It was probably quite entertaining for the neutral. The goal gave them the incentive to sit back, which we knew they’d do at some point when we gained a bit of control.
‘Their away record speaks for itself and they’ve got those results from sitting back and nicking a goal here and there.
‘They work on that a lot, and I know that because I’ve spoken to a couple of their lads. They’re good at it.
‘We work a lot on being in possession, and I think you also saw that.
‘We created a lot of clearcut chances. We didn’t maybe penetrate as much as we like, because when we did we caused them a lot of trouble.
‘But that’s how it goes sometimes – and we move on to a big game Monday now.’