Sweet dreams at last for Kitson

Dave Kitson outjumps the Forest defence and team-mate Ricardo Rocha to double Pompey's advantage over Steve Cotterill's side in the second half
Dave Kitson outjumps the Forest defence and team-mate Ricardo Rocha to double Pompey's advantage over Steve Cotterill's side in the second half
Pompey hero Paul Walsh

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Dave Kitson was left to savour a good night’s kip after burying his Crystal Palace nightmare.

The Pompey striker grabbed a goal and produced an impressive all-round display to spoil the Fratton Park return of Steve Cotterill.

Erik Huseklepp also netted twice in the 3-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest which made it three successive home wins under caretaker duo Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray.

For Kitson, though, the match yielded the opportunity to put to bed his Selhurst Park embarrassment early last week.

On that occasion, the 31-year-old failed to hit the target from close range during the final few minutes of that clash as Pompey settled for a 0-0 draw.

Instead, he headed Huseklepp’s left-wing cross over the bar – a moment which prompted him to apologise to his team-mates afterwards.

Kitson admitted that miss had provided him with sleepless nights ever since.

But in the 76th minute on Saturday he did net, heading home Huseklepp’s corner from an almost identical position.

And he was delighted to have swiftly banished the sour memories of Pompey’s midweek trip to south east London.

He said: ‘In football, you do end up playing against your old clubs and old managers.

‘I remember playing against Reading once and getting absolutely bashed.

‘You want to do well and sometimes it doesn’t happen for you, it’s just the way it goes.

‘On Saturday, I didn’t really have a point to prove to Steve Cotterill.

‘I had one to prove to myself because I hadn’t scored for a little while and I missed a great one against Palace, which I still have sleepless nights over.

‘It was a header, much the same as Saturday’s one, so to get another chance and put it in was a nice feeling.

‘At the time it flashed through my head because it was exactly the same. The lads said to me afterwards, too.

‘I just decided to head it down instead of up.’

Kitson’s goal was his third of a season which has been hampered by injury and illness.

But he believes it was Huseklepp’s spectacular 45th-minute opener which was the decisive moment in the match.

And the man christened ‘Erik the Viking’ by the Fratton faithful continues to impress.

He added: ‘At one point David Norris turned round to me and said we’ve got to keep it tight because it’s looking as though the first goal was going to win it. That proved to be right.

‘It had all the hallmarks of a game that whoever scored first was going to go on and win.

‘Erik was tremendous, he just waits for that half a chance and has got that quality.

‘That first goal was one of those that as soon as he hit it you did actually know it was going to go in.

‘It just had that about it, that connection, and it left the keeper stranded.

‘The second one was good as well – he got across the front post, got the shot off and it squirmed over the line.

‘You have got to be in there to score them and he’s doing that for us.’