How Ronan Curtis' crucial Lincoln free-kick was masterminded on Portsmouth's training ground
Honed on the training pitch and executed with devastating results.
Now Kenny Jackett is hoping Ronan Curtis’ goal-scoring free-kick against Lincoln will become a permanent part of his Pompey armoury.
The Blues boss has on occasions been disappointed with the Irishman’s approach to shooting from dead-ball positions, too often focusing on curling the ball.
That has prompted work to take place on the training ground, including developing the successful routine demonstrated in Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory.
Ben Close provided the initial dummy, Steve Seddon faked to shoot, and then Curtis stepped up to drill a right-footed shot past the keeper.
And Jackett believes Curtis can now become more effective from similar free-kick situations.
Pompey’s boss said: ‘That goal came from the training ground.
‘For Ronan, he has the striking ability to do that and sometimes tries to curl them – and it’s not necessarily his best.
‘His best and truest strike is to put his foot through it and then his power takes it in, that's how he gets most of his goals.
‘I haven’t seen him score too many curlers in open play – and we’ve been telling him that in terms of the free-kick taking.
‘During the course of our season we’ve had too many free-kicks which we’ve tried to curl, putting them over the bar.
‘That one hit the target and paid off. There was somebody in the keeper’s line of sight and then the ball came in with pace.
‘As ever, it’s important you hit the target and there’s pace on the ball.’
The timing of Curtis’ 13th goal of the season proved crucial, arriving in first-half stoppage time.
Up until that point the Lincoln encounter had been a drab after. Yet, once again, the importance of set-pieces was highlighted.
Jackett added: ‘Improving at free-kicks is something we have been working at, hopefully giving the players some confidence that they can go and do it, because it is one thing saying it and another doing it.
‘It was the original scrappy game first half because of the pitch, then Ronan scored.
‘In the second half we were strong and the second goal was also coming. We deserved the win.’