A Portsmouth first for 2019 - the true significance of victory over Rotherham

Share this article
0
Have your say

Rotherham represented Pompey’s first League One top-six scalp of 2019.

And, remarkably, only a fifth such feat for Kenny Jackett during his 109 league matches in charge of the Blues.

Ben Thompson celebrates scoring in Pompey's December 2018 win over Sunderland. It would take 340 days until their next win over top-six opposition. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Thompson celebrates scoring in Pompey's December 2018 win over Sunderland. It would take 340 days until their next win over top-six opposition. Picture: Joe Pepler

Not since the 3-1 defeat of Sunderland in December 2018 had Pompey tasted victory over a side occupying League One’s promotion and play-off spots.

At the time, Jack Ross’ side were third and facing the long-time leaders at Fratton Park.

It would take more than 11 months before Pompey next triumphed over a top-six club in league competition – Rotherham.

On Tuesday night, Ben Close’s second-half winner secured a 3-2 success over the Millers, who entered the Fratton Park match residing in fourth.

In all competitions, it portrayed a fourth-straight win and seven games undefeated for Jackett’s men as they gather encouraging momentum.

Perhaps most significant of all, however, was the feat of beating high-flying opposition, a challenge which has largely eluded Jackett during his time at the helm.

The former Wolves boss possesses an outstanding record of 52 triumphs from 109 league matches for Pompey, at a win ratio of 47.70 per cent.

Yet a mere five of those victories (9.6 per cent) have been registered against top-six opposition.

Jackett's maiden Fratton Park campaign was 2017-18, a season in which the Blues memorably defeated the returning Paul Cook’s Wigan 2-1 in April 2018.

Jamal Lowe was the matchwinner over a Latics side leading League One – a position they retained at the campaign's end, regardless.

Earlier that term, Pompey claimed a 1-0 success at sixth-placed Charlton in December 2017.

An own goal from Josh Magennis settled matters, allowing Jackett’s men to sit one place behind them in the table.

In 2018-19, there was the notable scalp of Peterborough, the 2-1 win catapulting Pompey to the top of League One in September 2018.

Hosts Posh had previously led the table, only for second-half goals from Oli Hawkins and Lowe to snatch their crown.

Then, three months later, Pompey defeated promotion rivals Sunderland at Fratton Park.

Yet it wouldn’t be for another 340 days before the next triumph over top-six League One opposition was recorded.