Ward winner gives Pompey much-needed victory

Greg Halford puts Pompey ahead from the penalty spot
Greg Halford puts Pompey ahead from the penalty spot
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Picture gallery: Pompey 1 Walsall 1

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Joel Ward netted the winner as Pompey secured their first victory under new boss Michael Appleton in a 2-1 success over Coventry at Fratton Park.

The home-grown youngster hammered home a crisp low drive just before the hour mark to seal the points after Coventry had hit back in the second half.

Pompey bossed the first period and were deservedly ahead at half-time, shaking off their tag of slow starters for once.

Greg Halford opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Ward capitalised on an error from Coventry goalkeeper Joe Murphy before being tripped up.

Halford kept his nerve and rolled home from 12 yards to send the keeper the wrong way and give Pompey a half-time lead for only the second time this season.

But while struggling Coventry were distinctly second best in the first half, they upped their game after the break and were back on terms in the 54th minute.

Lukas Jutkiewicz was on hand to to stretch out and rifle home into the roof of the net beyond a helpless Stephen Henderson.

Pompey should have been further ahead when they were pegged back, but Ward made sure of the points as he was alive to a quick free-kick and angled a cracking shot into the far corner.

While the Blues had further chances to put the game to bed, they eventually held out for the win and put the week’s dark off-the-field events to one side.