Baker aims for perfect 10 after second successive Pompey goal
Carl Baker could not hide his delight after scoring another crucial Pompey goal.
And the winger commended his team-mates for sticking the game out so well at Field Mill.
Baker’s 57th-minute strike was the deciding factor in the Blues’ 1-0 win at Mansfield on Saturday.
Having soaked up a barrage of pressure after the break, the ex-MK Dons man cleverly took down Kal Naismith’s lofted ball inside the Stags’ penalty area.
He created space by swivelling past Krystian Pearce, before firing his shot beyond the reach of Jake Kean.
It was Baker’s second goal in as many matches.
He also broke the deadlock in the defeat of Cambridge United at Fratton Park the previous weekend when the game was at a stalemate.
And with the midfielder now on nine or the season, he’s aiming for at least one more strike in Pompey’s last game against Cheltenham on Saturday.
‘It was another important goal,’ said Baker.
‘I took it down and found space, and managed to get my shot away.
‘Conor Chaplin tried to claim it was his, saying it hit his chest on the way in!
‘We had a bit of banter about it in the changing room afterwards.
‘But I spoke to their defender after the game and he said it came off his knee.
‘I always aim for 10 goals a season.
‘That’s my target every time at the start.
‘Throughout the majority of my career, I have achieved that.
‘It would be great if I could reach it again on Saturday.’
Paul Cook’s men were made to work for their victory at Field Mill.
Mansfield had 14 shots, compared to Pompey’s six, and they put the visitors under a significant amount of pressure throughout the game.
Matt Clarke counted his blessings when he managed to avoid a red card when the game was goalless.
Just minutes into the second period, the centre-back miscontrolled Danny Rose’s pass and the Stags’ Danny Rose pipped Clarke to the ball.
Through on goal, the 20-year-old, who was the last man, fouled his opponent with David Forde’s goal in sight.
But referee Lee Swabey produced just a yellow card from his pocket – much to the surprise of the majority in the stadium.
Baker believes his team-mate responded well after the incident and luck went the Blues’ way.
He said: ‘Clarkey was a bit lucky to stay on the pitch with that challenge when their lad was through on goal.
‘But sometimes, that’s how it is, and luck was on our side.
‘There have been times this season when decisions have gone against us. It was about right we had one go our way.
‘After that, I thought he was brilliant and was our man of the match.
‘Everyone defended well – him, Christian Burgess, Jack Whatmough, who came on off the bench, and David Forde collected some big crosses.
‘It was more nerve-racking when I was sitting on the bench after I came off.
‘It’s not too bad when you’re out there. But we dug in deep and it was nice to get the points.’