Portsmouth showing the absent qualities which cost them last term

The mind drifted back eight months as Pompey made it the best start to a season in 38 years.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 6:33 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:16 pm
Ronan Curtis showed resolve to net Pompey's winner after conceding penalty. Picture: Joe Pepler

The venue on both occasions was Bristol Rovers' Memorial Ground but the mood polar opposites.

Kenny Jackett's men saw in the new year by conceding two goals in six minutes - the second in the 90th minute as they slipped to a disappointing 2-1 loss.

It was to mark a run of late goals costing Pompey dearly, a habit which can ultimately be seen as a major factor in their play-off bid coming up short.

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Ronan Curtis showed resolve to net Pompey's winner after conceding penalty. Picture: Joe Pepler

Fast forward to Tuesday night and Jackett's side found themselves in the eye of another attacking storm from their hosts. This time, however, Pompey stood firm with a rearguard action which saw them repel Darrell Clarke's men.

Yes, Ronan Curtis' handball allowed the Gas the chance to cancel out Gareth Evans' opener from the spot.

But the Irishman was soon rewriting his perfect Pompey copybook after that blot, as he delivered the winner three minutes from time.

With the stoppage- time, however, there was still another nine minutes of Rovers pounding the Pompey door to negotiate.

Craig MacGillivray's world-class stop to deny a dumb-founded Kyle Bennett arrived in that time,  along with Brett Pitmam, of all people, making a key goal-line clearance.

So the win continues the highly-encouraging start made as Pompey go in search of equalling the best start in the club's history at Doncaster '“ ironically a sight of an early collapse last October as two goals were shipped in five minutes.

They do so now following a 72-hour period in which they've shown both their attacking quality and defensive resolve.

Despite the flying start, it remains clear there's still much work to do  and this team of Jackett is a work in progress.

But they have generated that intangible qua lity of momentum and when that marries with supporter conviction we've witnessed many times here, what an irresistible force that can be.