Gareth Evans praised Pompey’s set-piece improvement as the Blues battled to an impressive 1-0 win over promotion rivals Luton yesterday.
Christian Burgess’ first-half header settled an entertaining Fratton Park encounter between the two sides who started the day in fourth and fifth place in the League Two table, respectively.
Hosts Pompey pulled clear of the Hatters with the victory, despite substitute Gary Roberts’ late penalty miss, and are now within four points of the top three.
And for Evans, it was an ‘excellent’ display, crowned by the Blues’ set-piece play at either end of the pitch.
He said: ‘I thought we were excellent.
‘The game panned out how we expected it to.
‘It was always going to be a feisty affair and to a man I think we stood up to it.
‘It’s pleasing to keep a good run of form going and come away with the three points.
‘But I think the most pleasing thing at the minute is our set pieces.
‘Defensively, I thought we were excellent with the set pieces.
‘It was a bit of a problem for us earlier on in the season but it is something we have been working on.
‘And for the set pieces to be going the way they are offensively as well is great.
‘Burgess obviously scored the goal from a set piece which got us the points.
‘That is the most pleasing thing for me.’
Evans also paid tribute to the Blues’ character as they dug deep to register a victory that extends their current form to one defeat in the last 10 games in all competitions.
And while the right-back was pleased to learn Pompey had closed the gap on the top three, he insisted they are concerned only by their own performances and results.
He said: ‘All wins are important.
‘But Luton were only one point behind us before the game so it was important to show what we were about once again and get the result that we needed.
‘To hold on like we did at the end was all the more pleasing really.
‘We saw the scores elsewhere after the game and it’s always pleasing when you win and not everyone else does.
‘But the most important thing is our own performance and to keep the run going.
‘There is a really good confidence at the minute and togetherness in the camp and I think that’s starting to show.
‘I think that is one loss in 10 now and hopefully we can take that into Doncaster on Thursday night (7.45pm) and get the three points.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN