Pompey defender digs himself out of a hole

Joe Devera celebrates his match-winning goal against Stevenage. Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Devera celebrates his match-winning goal against Stevenage. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Joe Devera admitted his relief at digging himself out of a hole after becoming Pompey’s unlikely match-winner against Stevenage.

The Blues defender appeared to have cost his side a much-needed victory when his misplaced defensive header allowed Chris Beardsley an easy chance to level things up at 2-2.

But Devera went from head-in-hands to celebrating in front of a jubilant Fratton end just five minutes later as he cracked home a sweet left-foot drive to seal a vital 3-2 success.

Devera said: ‘I was obviously very disappointed when I made the mistake for their goal.

‘But at the same time, I was thinking we would always get another chance.

‘I was hoping someone would dig me out of a hole but I managed to do it myself.

‘It was an amazing feeling to know that I had really dug myself out and dug my team out.’

With Jed Wallace cancelling out Dean Wells’ early strike, Miles Storey then put Pompey ahead after the break before Devera took centre stage.

And he admitted he had little choice but to try and make amends for his error.

He said: ‘I made the wrong decision and there was nobody else to blame but me.

‘Mistakes happen but it’s how you respond to them.

‘You have to show a bit of character and you have to get on with it. You can’t hide.

‘You feel terrible that you think you have cost the team but everyone makes mistakes and you have got to deal with it.

‘I knew everyone was annoyed but most people have been in that sort of position themselves.

‘They also knew how gutted I was feeling and they didn’t need to say much to me.

‘But it just goes to show that you can never predict what happens in football.’

While it was his first goal for the club, it was also his first goal since May 2013 and only the fifth of his career.

Devera said: ‘I got a few knockdowns in the first half and then that one came to me.

‘I just put my head down and struck it.

‘It seemed like it went between a few bodies and I’m not sure if the keeper dived for it or if he was unsighted.

‘But it went in and I think everyone was in shock that I scored so they all just jumped on me. It was all a bit of a blur.

‘I don’t really know what I did because I didn’t have a celebration planned – I never score so there’s not much point!

‘I think that’s the fifth goal of my career and I don’t think I’ve scored a better one.

‘It was a winner and it was at the Fratton end. I will 
definitely remember that one.’

The 27-year-old also believes the result will be a major boost for Pompey as they picked up their first win in six League Two games.

He said: ‘It was a massive result for us, especially off the back of the defeat at Bury.

‘That has to be a confidence-booster for us.’