Ward: I should have had two

Joel Ward in action during the clash against Hull
Joel Ward in action during the clash against Hull
Kal Naismith celebrates his match-winner in Pompey's League One victory over Plymouth at Fratton Park in November. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

Pompey's recent record against Plymouth Argyle

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Joel Ward netted his first goal since his memorable south coast derby equaliser and smiled: It should have been a double.

The versatile 22-year-old capped a fine display against Hull with a smart finish for his third goal of the campaign as the Blues ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

But Ward should have extended Pompey’s lead even further after the interval when he failed to convert from close range following a mesmerising run from Scott Allan down the left flank.

Ward admitted: ‘The second chance I had was probably easier than the first one.

‘It was one of those things. It came to me quite quickly and I didn’t make a good connection but you also have to say fair play to the keeper for making a good save.

‘It would have been nice to have a second but I will celebrate the goal that I scored, so I’m happy with that and the win.

‘We’ve been working on set-plays and came close on the first two but then it was third-time lucky to get the goal.

‘I was delighted to get it because it’s been a long time coming.’

After the weekend disappointment of a limp display at fellow strugglers Coventry, Pompey showed they are ready for the battle ahead with a performance that underlined their hunger to put things right.

‘We had to make sure we bounced back from the Coventry game and I thought we did that,’ said Ward.

‘We knew we had to prove ourselves. It was our game in hand, so we knew we had to take advantage of that and we didn’t want to leave anything in the tank.

‘We came out of the gates sharply, got an early lead and that was the most important thing.

‘We knew that Saturday wasn’t a good performance but we stuck at it and it showed we have some real character in this group to move on.

‘We made the tempo of the game, we played at our pace and made it hard for them to play.

‘We neutralised their dangermen, we were positive and worked hard as a unit.’

But Ward also praised the efforts of the Pompey fans and believes they can now continue to build on the momentum at home to Burnley this weekend.

He said: ‘I thought we looked solid and when we work hard together, work for each other and have the crowd behind us like that, it’s phenomenal.

‘It gives us all such a lift.

‘It’s a fantastic result and it gives everyone a lift around the club.

‘Hopefully, we can carry on the momentum from here now.’