Alan Knight: I never lost belief in Pompey

I maybe an old grouch at times but I was honestly upbeat about our chances of defeating Newport County.

Tuesday, 27th December 2016, 5:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:23 pm
Kal Naismith missed from the penalty spot. Picture: Joe Pepler

Yes, even when 2-0 down after 56 minutes on that bobbly old pitch.

Granted, at that stage at Rodney Parade there was a mountain to climb but this was against a struggling side who had not been in the position of a two-goal lead all season.

The Exiles had scored with their only two shots of the game – then went majorly defensive.

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Regardless, Pompey’s opposition were very poor and the match was there to be won.

In the first half, Graham Westley’s side twice cleared off the line, Michael Smith missed a couple of good chances and I always fancied us to get a draw at the very least.

Even after Kal Naismith’s penalty miss it was clear the players were reacting in the right way to being behind and I was confident the result would arrive.

Having said that, for all Naismith’s brilliant delivery from free-kicks on an awful surface, that spot-kick was one of the worst I have ever seen!

I think the manager will be focusing on the superb character demonstrated during the subsequent 3-2 victory.

Sometimes people question the character of sides but, as we also saw at Grimsby, this team possesses plenty.

You could see how much Naismith’s winner meant to them, especially the Scot having missed that penalty, while David Forde also ran towards the bench to celebrate.

The Blues’ keeper has a question mark over how he dealt with the first goal, while he will be very disappointed in the second.

Like Naismith, he would have been relieved.

It was great to see Noel Hunt handed a start in a 4-4-2 and, while many people gave Danny Rose the man of the match, he was the outstanding performer in my eyes.

The striker worked his socks off and won more balls in the air than Smith. His spring really is magnificent.

Elsewhere, Naismith deserved his first league start for almost three months, whenever he has played this season he hasn’t let anyone down.

His confidence is high and gives a new dynamic to the team, I particularly liked his positivity and willingness to dribble on what was an awful playing surface.

Now it’s on to Yeovil on Friday night and will be interesting to see the manager’s team selection.

Pompey really need to build on the Boxing Day victory and maintain pressure on that top three in League Two.