Portsmouth silenced doubters at Fleetwood but Wimbledon clash pose more questions

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Pompey writer Jordan Cross looks back to the Fleetwood win to see what Pompey learnt as they prepare for the visit of AFC Wimbledon to Fratton Park.

Response To The Doubters

Anton Walkes celebrates scoring Pompey's third goal in today's 5-2 win at Accrington. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Anton Walkes celebrates scoring Pompey's third goal in today's 5-2 win at Accrington. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Behind at the break after somehow losing a first-half advantage.

That coming off the back of a Boxing Day defeat which had many asking questions of Pompey’s promotion calibre.

Kenny Jackett’s men were facing being knocked off top spot in League One for the first time in three months at the turn of the year - an obvious psychological blow.

The four-goal second-half response to the doubters was an emphatic reply and obvious box-tick of the Blues’ credentials to last the course this term.

And they did so by overcoming an in-your-face approach from Joey Barton’s side who were on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run on their own patch.

There was some rough treatment from the home side, who did all they can to disrupt Pompey’s fluency and hurt them with their own fire power.

Jackett’s side rode their luck with a crucial double hit of Craig MacGillivray’s woodwork 10 minutes from time.

But they took their fortune and were ruthless in putting Fleetwood to the sword in a big riposte to those doubting their quality and credentials to make it to the Championship.

Walkes Gathers Pace

It was his first league start since the start of the November.

And in that time Anton Walkes has found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

An arrest warrant was issued for the 21-year-old last month, when he failed to show at court after being caught driving while banned.

The defender has also harshly found himself the focus of some criticism for his performances, with fans doubting his suitability to replace the injured Nathan Thompson.

Walkes delivered a clear answer in his showing at Fleetwood, with the former Spurs man producing an impressive showing capped with an excellent and crucial goal for his side.

The right-back melded together a simple and effective defensive display with an impressive willingness to get forward and hurt Joey Barton’s side with his forays down the right.

Now the challenge is to maintain the standard set against AFC Wimbledon, with a run in the side likely with Thompson out for a four-week period.

Brandon Rocks

Being shorn of two key figures from Pompey’s back four after 18 minutes at Fleetwood was a major cause for concern.

It’s one which was alleviated by the competent showing of Brandon Haunstrup on his return to the fray.

Given his first minutes since the start of the month with Lee Brown forced off with a hamstring injury, the 22-year-old delivered a performance which was a big contribution to victory.

The biggest compliment you could pay to Haunstrup was Brown’s rock-solid dependability wasn’t missed.

Now Haunstrup has to show what he can offer his side in one of the biggest weeks of the Waterlooville lad’s career.

A first league start since the opening day beckons against AFC Wimbledon before a trip a Norwich side with ambitions of reaching the Premier League.

Ensuring Pompey’s defence remains watertight is a challenge Haunstrup has to show he’s up to.