Bristol Rovers 1 Pompey 2: Gaffer For A Day

Gary Roberts was Ben Sturt's star man. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts was Ben Sturt's star man. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Stuart O'Keefe Picture: Joe Pepler

O’Keefe: I’m up for Pompey’s midfield scrap

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Ben Sturt, 16, from Denmead gives his considered verdit on the Pompey win at Bristol Rovers.

Happy with that then?

Overall, it was a much better performance from Pompey.

They are at the top of League Two and with Exeter at home on Tuesday and Yeovil at home on Saturday, there’s a perfect opportunity to stay there.

It was their best 90 minutes since the first few games of the season.

In the first half, we were untroubled and we had enough about ourselves to get the winner after conceding a soft goal early in the second half.

It equals last season’s away win tally – which says a lot about how much better our team is this time around.

Who made the difference?

For me, Gary Roberts changed the game in an instant.

As soon as he came on, he turned a solid away performance into a dominant one. He was involved in every attack, including the goal.

And you could tell the second he stepped on the pitch it gave others around him a lift – the attacking four all stepped up and secured victory.

For that, Roberts gets my man of the match.

Anyone else catch your eye?

Gareth Evans also had a better game and once again scored a headed goal. He is dangerous if you get the crosses in.

Just before that, he was unlucky to not top off a wonderful solo run where he beat about three Bristol Rovers players with a goal. It would have been a brilliant goal.

Pompey looked good out wide then?

Kyle Bennett shut a few people up who were questioning whether he was a one-game wonder.

We all saw what he did on the first day of the season but I thought he had his best game since Reading.

He was involved in many flowing attacking moves and swung in a wonderful cross for Evans’ header.

He also had a mazy run in the second half but blasted his shot wide after being caught in two minds whether to shoot or square to Jayden Stockley.

I was very impressed with Kal Naismith when he came on, too.

He looked composed and sharp on the ball and gives us something a bit different.

Good to see Pompey cope with the late change to the side as well?

It was a shame for Adam McGurk to miss out. But Stockley came in and had a great game.

He won almost everything in the air and linked up with the three behind him well.

He also showed the hunger and desire to get in front of his man and tuck away a peach of a cross from Ben Davies.

But it was a really good team performance.

Ratings

McCarey 7, Davies 8, Burgess 7, Clarke 6, Stevens 7, Hollands 8, Barton 7, Evans 9, Chaplin 6 (Roberts 9), Bennett 8 (Naismith 8), Stockley 9 (Tubbs 7).