Appleton delighted as Blues add end product

Boaz Myhill is beaten by Chris Maguire's far post shot for Pompey's first goal
Boaz Myhill is beaten by Chris Maguire's far post shot for Pompey's first goal
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Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Mark Robinson

Jackett’s Juniors all set to go again

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It was deja vu for Michael Appleton, only this time Pompey added goals.

Now the Great Escape is up and running as the Blues look to build on their Birmingham breakthrough.

Appleton’s men produced a storming second-half display to rout the promotion contenders 4-1 last night.

Just 72 hours earlier they had responded in similar fashion following a disappointing opening 45 minutes against Bristol City,

Except on that occasion failure to score ensured Pompey weren’t rewarded as they were held to a goalless draw.

Last night, having gone in at the break 1-0 down, the hosts rallied with goals from Chris Maguire, David Norris, Kelvin Etuhu and Marko Futacs.

And Appleton couldn’t help but draw comparisons with the Bristol City victory that never was.

He said: ‘It was ironic that over the past three or four days we’ve had two first-half performances that have been very average then two outstanding performances in the second half.

‘I was probably very similar to how I was at half-time on Saturday in terms of being frustrated.

‘I was almost saying the same things at half-time as I was against Bristol City.

‘It was literally about getting around the pitch and being a threat in behind, more than anything.

‘I was really disappointed with the goal we gave away, but I said to the players at half-time “Look, what are you waiting for? You need to go out there and express yourself because it is last-chance saloon”.

‘They then worked their socks off. They were running harder for longer in the second half and had that little bit of energy we probably lacked in the first half.

‘As soon as the ball went into the back of the net, everywhere I looked on the pitch everyone was chest out, six foot tall, even if they were 5ft 5in.

‘That’s what it looked like and it gave everyone a bit of belief.

‘We had a bit of good fortune with the sending off. But we haven’t had fortune at this place for a long time.

‘From then on I thought we played some really good football.

‘The first goal had a little bit of a deflection but I think we deserve our bit of luck, having had 15 opportunities on Saturday.

‘Chuck (Norris) was a true one and I’m delighted for Marko (Futacs) and Kelvin Etuhu coming off the bench.

‘Both took their opportunities really well and it’s nice we have got the odd option or two off the bench for once to maybe change and affect the game. We have not had that for a while.’

There were euphoric celebrations which greeted the final whistle from fans and players alike.

It had been 10 matches since Pompey last tasted victory, when they triumphed 3-0 at Peterborough.

During that time they picked up only three points, losing six matches.

No wonder there were smiles come the end of the 4-1 win.

Appleton added: ‘I couldn’t shut them up for five minutes or so in the dressing room.

‘I basically had to bring them back down to earth and just say to them to enjoy the evening, look after themselves and have a rest tomorrow (today).

‘Come tomorrow, the game goes out of their heads completely.

‘We will train at the ground and start preparing for Coventry.’