Striker McLeod: There’s plenty more to come

122969_CRAWLEY_PFC_9/9/12''Izale McLeod scores Pompey's third goal. ''Crawley Town FC V Portsmouth at Broadfield Stadium, Crawley.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122969-670)
122969_CRAWLEY_PFC_9/9/12''Izale McLeod scores Pompey's third goal. ''Crawley Town FC V Portsmouth at Broadfield Stadium, Crawley.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (122969-670)
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Izale McLeod reflected on his coolly-taken strike at Crawley and promised Blues fans: There’s more to come.

The striker notched his second goal of the season, rounding the keeper to slot home and seal a 3-0 success.

His first came in the opening league game of the season against Bournemouth.

The former Barnet man had endured four matches without scoring but he was back on the goal trail in fine style at the Broadfield Stadium.

Crawley had been reduced to nine men thanks to two dismissals before Ashley Harris and Luke Rodgers put Pompey 2-0 up and in command.

McLeod added the gloss to the victory in the 85th minute.

He took advantage of Crawley’s absent defence to round keeper Paul Jones and hit the net.

It was a great moment for the striker, who was delighted to get his name on the scoresheet – and doubly pleased to see it crown a Pompey victory.

He said: ‘It’s always nice to score. That’s what I am about – scoring goals.

‘Hopefully that is two of many now.

‘As a striker, when you score, there is no better feeling, so I’m really pleased.

‘More importantly, I’m pleased we got our first win of the season.

‘You come away from home and score three goals and keep a clean sheet and you can’t not be happy.’

During his four-game run without scoring, McLeod has been the subject of some criticism from Blues fans.

He’s had to shoulder some of the blame for Pompey’s League One struggles.

The club’s failure to get a win on the board in their opening four league matches of the season had left a sour taste.

But despite it all, McLeod remained unflinching in his belief things would turn in his favour.

He possesses the steely mentality of a striker who knows opportunities will continue to come his way.

And he has broad enough shoulders to keep taking the responsibility – even when things are not going right.

McLeod added: ‘I always believe in my own ability.

‘I know I can score goals. It is just a matter of time and now I just want to kick on from here and score more.

‘If I can get the goals and others in the team – like Luke and Ashley – can chip in as well then we will push on.’

Michael Appleton’s men have found it tough to combat the physical approach of rivals in the early stages of the League One season.

But during a tepid first half at the Broadfield Stadium, Pompey stood strong against a barrage of crosses whipped in from deep.

Centre-backs Kevin Long and Gabor Gyepes came to the fore, making many clearances to keep the scores level.

McLeod was impressed with the way the team dug in when needed.

The striker said: ‘A lot of people have been saying we have been playing good football but not getting the right results.

‘I think we showed another side of the team. We had to dig in and be patient.

‘The gaffer has been saying that we have to keep sticking to what we do, keep working hard and eventually it will turn for us.

‘We were patient, played good stuff at times, had to work hard and grind in.

‘People will look at the circumstances and say they had 
two men sent off but it is what 
it is.

‘We took our chances and the end result was a 3-0 win for us.’

Referee Darren Deadman sent Josh Simpson off for two bookable offences, both for fouls on McLeod.

Hope Akpan later received a second yellow, also for fouling the Pompey striker.

Deadman was faced with a barrage of abuse from the home fans throughout the second half and at the end of the contest.

But McLeod felt the referee was right to brandish the cards.

He said: ‘I think the referee got them right.

‘I might be wrong but it is the referee’s decision and he’s made the decision and that’s that.’