Free-scoring Portsmouth prove there’s goals beyond Brett Pitman

Pompey's players celebrate Ben Close's first goal against Bradford in a season which has seen them surpass last year's scoring tally. Picture: Barry Zee
Pompey's players celebrate Ben Close's first goal against Bradford in a season which has seen them surpass last year's scoring tally. Picture: Barry Zee
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Pompey have exceeded last season’s League One goal tally – with 11 matches remaining.

Kenny Jackett’s side thumped Bradford 5-1 on Saturday, marking a maiden win in nine league games.

It also took them to 60 goals so far in a season which is shaping up to yield play-off qualification at the very least.

That’s in comparison to the 57 totalled last term, as Pompey finished eighth in the table upon their League One return.

Brett Pitman was the stand-out performer that year, becoming the first Blues player to break the 20-goal barrier since Svetoslav Todorov in 2002-03.

The former Bournemouth striker’s final tally was 25, with only Peterborough’s Jack Marriott netting more in 2017-18.

However, Pitman is currently out-of-favour at Fratton Park, with Jackett preferring a team goal-scoring formula which has proven far more prolific.

The outcome is the fourth-highest scorers in League One, while residing in fourth place and still in the hunt for the two automatic promotion spots.

Jackett has focused on creating a unit which no longer relies on goals from one source, instead spreading them around the side.

As a consequence, Gareth Evans and Jamal Lowe presently share the top-scorer berth with 12 goals each.

Behind them is Ronan Curtis (11), while Oli Hawkins has hit the back of the net nine times this season.

Even Ben Close, previously with three goals in his opening 98 Pompey appearances, has unearthed a goal touch to have yielded four in his last five league games.

Incidentally Pitman, who has not featured in the Blues’ last six league matches, has scored seven times in a hugely-frustrating personal campaign.

Last season, 13 clubs netted more than Pompey in League One, including half a dozen below them in the table.

Pitman struck 24 of their 57 league output – with Hawkins next highest with seven.

Overall in 2017-18, apart from Pitman, no player totalled more than eight goals during the campaign.

This term, in additional to their 60 goals in 35 league matches, Pompey have also registered 25 times in cup competitions, chiefly the Checkatrade Trophy.

In total, that’s 85 goals already this season – compared to 68 last term.

What’s more, there remain 11 League One matches, a Checkatrade Trophy final and, potentially, play-off fixtures.