Walsall 0 Pompey 1: they said what?

Gareth Evans scored Pompey's winning goal in their 1-0 victory at Walsall. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South
Gareth Evans scored Pompey's winning goal in their 1-0 victory at Walsall. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South
The late Ray Wilkins. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Images

Former Pompey midfielder pays heartfelt tribute to Wilkins

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POMPEY won 1-0 in their League One match at Walsall this afternoon.

Here’s what those closest to the action had to say about the Blues’ victory.

Kenny Jackett – Pompey manager

It was quite a dominant performance, I thought we were the better team, the stronger team, and I was wondering how many chances we were going to need and how many chances we were going to miss.

There were some terrific balls into the box which we didn’t look like we could quite capitalise on today.

Gareth’s strike was a decisive one, I was stood behind it and as soon as he struck it it was in all the way, a key moment in the game, obviously.

It was a game we negated Walsall and it’s never an easy place to come. The first match for the new manager and a high motivation level with their players and supporters.

It’s a terrific win and quite a dominant performance, keeping our season alive.

Dean Keates - Walsall manager (via saddlers.co.uk)

We’re disappointed that we’ve fallen to a defeat but the lads showed a performance full of desire and commitment.

If they show that desire and commitment towards getting out of the situation we’re in, we’ll be okay come the end of the season.

We showed a lot more structure defensively and defended better.

On the attacking side, we didn’t create too much. We had a couple of half-chances but didn’t test their goalkeeper.

We’re disappointed with their goal. A little bit of composure with the clearance would have helped us out and on the second phase the lad produced a good finish.

Gareth Evans

It was a good win for us and it was nice to come back into the side.

We put the pressure on them but missed a number of chances in the first half - some of them I’d say were gilt-edged opportunities.

For my goal, I just kept my head down and made sure I made good contact with the ball.

Anton Walkes

The gaffer asked me to step into centre midfield at the start of the week and as enthusiastic as I am, I’m up for any challenge.

It was good to give the back four a bit more insurance and made sure we could stay nice and solid.

Thommo’s preference is full-back and me and him don’t mind swapping around and it paid off.

Neil Allen - The News’ chief sports reporter

Pompey finally made their domination at Walsall count by claiming a third-successive victory.

Kenny Jackett’s men looked the only side capable of grabbing a decisive goal and it finally arrived 11 minutes from time.

Gareth Evans was clearly the outstanding performer, even before his decisive strike, and he capped his recall by becoming the match winner.

In doing so that play-off push is gathering momentum - with Paul Cook’s Wigan next up.

Will Rooney - Pompey reporter

Pompey’s perseverance saw them grab all three points at Walsall.

The Blues were by far the better side but it looked like it was going to be one of those days at the Bescot Stadium.

Kal Naismith, Ben Close and Brett Pitman all missed chances and you started to wonder if they’d get another as the clock ticked down.

But Gareth Evans showed all of his experience to keep cool on 79 minutes and drive a stinging volley home to clinch the win for Kenny Jackett’s side.