Magnificent new-look defensive pairing earn Portsmouth praise after battling Doncaster win

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Doncaster can preach injustice, yet the backbone to Pompey’s smash-and-grab victory was provided by two magnificent centre-half displays.

Man-of-the-match Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett marked their second outing together with a belligerent defensive display.

Under pressure for long spells, their superb efforts underpinned Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Doncaster.

Although Ellis Harrison clinched it with a stoppage-time header, the centre-back pairing were just as crucial in securing a maiden League One away victory this term.

And Jackett was quick to praise the contribution of his sixth different centre-half partnership of the campaign.

He said: ‘We needed that defensive display. Sometimes the centre-halves and keeper are really required, because Doncaster dominated possession and we built up as it went on.

Man-of-the-match Christian Burgess celebrates Pompey's 2-1 win over Doncaster. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/PinPep

Man-of-the-match Christian Burgess celebrates Pompey's 2-1 win over Doncaster. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/PinPep

‘The big thing is, when you come to the Keepmoat Stadium, similar to where we were last year, you have to defend very well, you have to defend with your live, you have to put your body on the line, you have to get blocks.

‘Then, when you do break up the play, you have to be one or two passes from a chance. In the second period we did get that right.

‘We’ve obviously tried a few different combinations, the injury to Oli was the last one and that has then put Sean and Christian together.

‘That was a good performance from them and, if they can settle down, both are experienced-enough players and have enough physical presence in both boxes, which was a big plus for us at Doncaster.

‘It was a very, very hard-earned three points and all the players showed both commitment and spirit. We need now to build on this, confidence is hard-earned and very easy to fall away.’

Pompey had taken the lead against the run of play, Ben Close teeing up Gareth Evans on the counter-attack to net on 60 minutes.

Reece James equalised eight minutes from time – but Jackett’s men weren’t finished.

He added: ‘We defended our box very well, there were very few strikes from inside the box, all were outside.

‘Then, in the second half when we could break up the play, mainly with Ben Close, we had some good chances and opportunities, we were a threat.’