Oli Hawkins toasted his first goal of the season and admitted: It's a weight off my shoulders. The striker's second-half effort helped Pompey move to the summit of League One with a 2-1 victory at Peterborough United on Saturday.
Hawkins' header in the 62nd minute broke the deadlock in the top-of-the-table clash.
Pressure was building on the marksman after failing to net in his previous seven outings – especially with last term’s top goalscorer Brett Pitman on the substitutes’ bench.
However, Hawkins broke his duck at London Road when he diverted Ronan Curtis' cross beyond keeper Aaron Chapman.
The ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man told of his relief as he played a key role in Kenny Jackett's men leapfrogging the Posh to go top of the division.
And he feels he can now go into upcoming games more relaxed now he’s hit the goal trail.
Hawkins said: ‘I won't lie, I'll admit at the back of my mind I knew I needed to score at Peterborough.
‘There were people telling me that I needed to score.
‘Not any of the players but maybe family members and friends were saying "what is going on?"
‘The fans and everyone have hopefully seen I have been performing really well and I hadn't had to score.
‘It might have been different if I had have been playing and we had been losing and drawing and I hadn't been scoring.
‘Then there's a claim to that.
‘But we have been doing well, were unbeaten and had four assists under my belt.
‘Maybe at the back of my mind I was itching to get the goal.
‘After I headed it and it went I thought "what am I going to do here?"
‘I first was going to celebrate lightly and then just thought "you know what I'm going to get this out of the way."
‘I've been waiting for the goal. Now that it's come I can be a little bit more relaxed now going into games.
‘I aimed for the ball to go in the way it did.
‘I headed it down and back from the way it came from. It had everything – bounce and good height.'
Filled with confidence, Hawkins played a key role to help Pompey double their advantage on 75 minutes.
The former Hemel Hempstead man's cross from the byline picked out Curtis, who teed-up Jamal Lowe to score his fifth of the campaign.
‘It was a team goal again,’ added Hawkins.
‘I knocked it to the back stick, Ronan heads it down to Jamal and he fires home.
‘It was good and we really enjoyed it.’
Some sections of the Fratton faithful had criticised Hawkins' goal record this season prior to the trip to Peterborough.
However, the 26-year-old knows his remit is more important than just putting the ball in the back of the net.
He said: ‘The fans and supporters are all entitled to their opinions.
‘I'm just going to focus on my part in the team and what the management and players want from my role.
‘As long as I can do that it helps the team.
‘Everyone gets their chances and everyone is going to get opportunities.
‘It's a squad game.’