Ben Close: Pompey need return of clean sheets

Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Close has called on Pompey to rediscover their defensive resilience following a 1-1 draw at struggling Yeovil.

Gary Roberts’ 85th-minute strike earned a point for the Blues, who had trailed to Francois Zoko’s opener.

Paul Cook’s side also had to see out the final seven minutes with 10-men following Christian Burgess’ dismissal.

Aside from Saturday’s disappointing result, Pompey have now gone eight matches since claiming a clean sheet.

That was last achieved on January 2 in the 3-0 Fratton Park victory over Crawley.

And Close recognises the importance of knuckling down to tighten up at the back.

He said: ‘Obviously we’re disappointed with the draw and to concede a sloppy goal.

‘It came from a set piece, Zoko has found a bit of space inside the box and finished it – but we have got to stop conceding goals if we are going to win, especially away from home.

‘We haven’t got a clean sheet for a while, clean sheets are going to get points. If you are conceding a lot of goals you are making things hard for yourselves, so we have to put that right.

‘The manager has mentioned it but we all know, the stats are there to see, we are not keeping sheets and that is something we have to look to improve on.

‘It is definitely affecting our league progress.

‘You could say we should be scoring more goals but if you are keeping clean sheets then you don’t have to. We are trying to improve everything, scoring goals, keeping clean sheets.

‘Any goal is disappointing to concede but when it is a set piece for which you should be set and solid to defend, it is even more disappointing, even if we still got a point.’