Naylor applauds Portsmouth’s fighting spirit at Scunthorpe

Tom Naylor celebrates after opening the scoring against Scunthorpe. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South
Tom Naylor celebrates after opening the scoring against Scunthorpe. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Tom Naylor reflected on a magnificent 10th win on the road – and hailed Pompey’s fighting spirit.

The battling Blues stretched their club-record unbeaten away run to 12 matches following a 2-1 triumph at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

Naylor opened the scoring as two goals in six minutes inched Kenny Jackett’s men a step closer towards Championship football next season.

Yet Pompey were forced to withstand a late battering from Stuart McCall’s side in pursuit of what for most of the game appeared an unlikely point.

As demonstrated on many occasions this term, Jackett’s troops relish a scrap and excel when challenged to defend a lead.

And they are qualities Naylor is proud to recognise in his promotion-hunting team-mates.

He said: ‘We were a bit scrappy at times, but dealt with it – and week-in, week-out we do that.

‘We have the fight among every one of us, there is togetherness in the changing rooms and if you have got that I think it’s a very good thing to have.

‘We’ve had a few iffy games this season and still come out of it with good results. We are top of the league for a reason and want to stay there

‘We have the players to grind out matches. I know it’s not nice for fans to see the last 15 minutes of games putting the balls into the box and the big man on top, but I thought we did very well and the defence at Scunthorpe were brilliant.

‘We've got experienced players out there and know if we go down 2-1 have the experience to see the game out, which I thought we did it superbly on Saturday.

‘It was great for me to get that opener, Watty’s (Jack Whatmough) shot came to me and I thought I would swizzle on it and hit it hard and low, luckily it went in. If I had missed that with no-one marking me it would be a bit embarrassing.

‘And in the second half we defended well to get the win.’

Gareth Evans was the other scorer, netting his seventh goal of the campaign.

However, with the score at 2-0, he spurned an open goal from four yards out following an excellent cross delivered by Naylor from the right.

Within minutes Lee Novak had reduced the deficit to hand the hosts hope.

But Naylor believes his skipper’s miss was not as bad as initially deemed.

He added: ‘I spoke to Gaz about it.

‘I put the ball into the box, it hit Hawks (Oli Hawkins) on the back and fell to Gaz and was going in, only to hit the defender on the back.

‘That's what Gaz said and what it looked like from where I was.

‘It went for a corner but the referee didn’t see it and gave a goal kick. Still, we got the three points.’