Two From Two

Last updated : 12 August 2018 By Jim Bonner

Pompey earned their first away win of the season at the first attempt yesterday courtesy of two goals from Ronan Curtis.

Many fans on social media were critical of Kenny Jackett's team selection as he selected Oli Hawkins up front rather than Brett Pitman whilst David Wheeler only made the bench.

However, the manager's decisions were totally justified as Hawkins contributed to both goals and his game plan worked for the majority of the match, as plenty of other chances were wasted in the game.

Of course, when Blackpool got one back (and it's still unclear if the goal should be credited to Mark Cullen or be registered as a Matt Clarke own goal), the inevitable panic ensued and hearts skipped a beat when the ball was put in the net in stoppage time, only for the offside flag to deny the hosts an equaliser.

Still, if there are lessons to be learned from this match it would be not to be too critical of the starting eleven even if it doesn't seem right. There's a reason Kenny Jackett has won promotion twice from League One, after all, and only he would be privy to how fit his players truly are.

Take Pitman, for instance. Whilst Jackett claimed his withdrawal at half-time against Luton was tactical, he would be foolish to let people know if his star striker is actually carrying a knock or worse. One of the key aspects of football management is to keep your opponents guessing, is it not?

The other main observation to come from Bloomfield Road was just how good Ronan Curtis looked. His strength and tenacity coupled with an eye for goal means Pompey seemingly have a top quality player in their squad.

However, it's best not to get too carried away as there have been Pompey players in the past who have made a great impression early on only for their career to soon take a nosedive. John Utaka, anyone?

Speaking of not getting carried away, whilst yesterday's performance was seemingly much improved, this was still only a narrow victory over a team that looks like it will be relegation fodder. If the linesman doesn't put his flag up and Pompey squander a two goal lead in the last ten minutes, the mood amongst fans will have changed dramatically.

So, there's still plenty of work to be done but the staff will know that ahead of the next league game against Oxford. Again, nothing too much should be read into the fact they're bottom of the league after two games. It'll still be a tough match.

Before that is the upcoming League Cup tie with AFC Wimbledon and it'll be interesting to see how diluted the Pompey team will be for that one, if at all.