Praise for Pompey's pillars of strength
POMPEY'S attacking may have taken the headlines against Accrington.
But it was a win at the Crown Ground crafted on defensive excellence.
And Kyle Bennett saluted the class of the central defensive pairing of Christian Burgess and Adam Webster in that success.
The pair, quite simply, were outstanding in Tuesday’s impetus-injecting victory over John Coleman’s side.
With Enda Stevens and Ben Davies either side of them, it was as arguably as impressive as any performance produced by a Pompey back four this season.
It wasn’t just their solidity which shone, either.
A willingness to be brave on the front foot, attack down the flanks and step out of the middle of defence with the ball permeated the display.
One first-half moment saw Webster charge three quarters the length of the pitch and fire narrowly wide in the kind of run which is fast becoming his hallmark.
Bennett earned his own plaudits for getting on the scoresheet with the opening goal in a strong display.
But he was more than happy to afford the limelight, however, to Pompey’s forward-thinking back four.
Bennett said: ‘They were fantastic at the back.
‘They were very solid and very aggressive in their play.
‘That’s something the gaffer picked up on after the game on Tuesday.
‘Webbo (Webster) and Burge (Burgess) won everything in the air and were dominant.
‘Billy Kee is a very good striker and they marshalled him very well.
‘We’ve got a lot of talent in those areas.’
Bennett echoed the confidence currently emerging from the Pompey dressing room with 11 games to go.
The belief among the players is this is now the Blues’ time to up the ante on their rivals in the race for promotion.
With a lot of teams to meet each other in the top five, there’s plenty of action to still be played out.
Bennett said: ‘You look at the table and we’re six points off Plymouth.
‘They’ve got to come to us yet.
‘Plymouth have got to go to Accrington on Saturday.
‘It’s all to play for still.
‘Unless it’s mathematically impossible we’re going to push on for automatic promotion.
‘We’ve got the players to do it and the belief in the dressing room to put a run together.’
Bennett may have received praise for his Accrington display, but it was Gary Roberts who pulled the strings for Pompey in a big win.
The 25-year-old had praise for Roberts along with an unsung hero in Michael Smith. He felt Smith did a lot of donkey work on his first start since the draw at Yeovil.
Bennett said: ‘Gary’s unbelievable. He picks up spaces others don’t see.
‘That’s his strength. When he’s on form like that no one can get near him.
‘But there were good performances all over the pitch.
‘Michael Smith was great.
‘He held the ball up and brought people into play. He ran the channels and kept going non stop.’