Ronan Curtis on Portsmouth character and cool heads at Harrogate
Ronan Curtis hailed Pompey’s character as the Blues successfully negotiated their way past Harrogate Town in the FA Cup.
A tricky test was always guaranteed at the non-league side’s Wetherby Road ground.
Simon Weaver’s outfit had lost just once in 11 outings prior to Pompey’s visit, their last defeat on home soil came back in August, while the 3G surface meant Kenny Jackett’s side were playing on a pitch that was unfamiliar.
When Mark Beck put the hosts ahead on seven minutes, it was the type of scenario the BT Sport cameras had hoped for, with a giant-killing firmly on the cards.
But, to their credit, the Blues responded well and denied the Town added momentum when Brandon Haunstrup and then Curtis popped up with spectacular individual efforts to hand the visitors the lead before half-time.
It was a slender advantage Pompey maintained until the final whistle – although both John Marquis and Lee Brown could have added to it in the second half.
And after the Blues completed their first comeback win of the season – a campaign that has thrown up many challenges to date, especially in the league – Curtis was quick to hail the spirit displayed by his team-mates.
The Republic of Ireland international told BT Sport: ‘We dug in deep. We knew what they were about – a big, strong physical side – and I think we showed good character in the wind and the bad weather to come back.
'We're not used to playing on a 3G pitch so the boys had to dig in deep and we got the result in the end.
'We’ve got off to a sticky start so far (this season) but hopefully it's a good run we’re on now.
'We've won the last two games now - that's something - so hopefully it's a turnaround.’
Curtis was also delighted with the way Pompey failed to let the late kick-off hamper their approach to the tie.
The game was close to being called off because of a power cut in the area – guaranteeing another 500-mile round trip for the travelling Fratton faithful.
The problem was eventually solved, however, allowing the game to being at 8.40pm – 55 minutes late.
Curtis was pleased with the focus displayed throughout the Blues dressing room before and during the game.
He added: 'It (the power cut) was a bit annoying – we travelled six-seven hours to play such an important game and the floodlights kept going off every 20 minutes.
‘We didn't know what was going on.
'But we still kept our focus and kept our cool and we did the job.’
Pompey will now face National League North side Altrincham in the second Round.
A date for the Fratton Park fixtures is still to be decided.