Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett saluted plenty of spirit and character shown by his side as they edged a 1-0 League One win at Fleetwood.
John Marquis’ predatory early header handed Pompey a fourth win in five league games as they remain hot on the heels of Lincoln and Hull in the automatic promotion places.
“It was a great win for us,” said a delighted Jackett. “The lads showed tremendous spirit throughout.
“In the second half in particular we limited a very good Fleetwood side to few chances. It was good to see us make sure they didn’t create too many opportunities.
“Ultimately, though, this was a game that was decided by a real quality goal.
“It was a brilliant ball in from Ryan Williams I thought, and John Marquis has done what he does best. The ‘keeper had no chance.
“It would have been nice if we had made the game a little bit more comfortable towards the end, but that team spirit and a fantastic defensive awareness has worked for us.
“We’ve made sure we closed the opposition down, and restricted them.”
Jackett was delighted to triumph in what was Pompey’s first league fixture in almost a month.
He added: “We’d been disappointed that the season had semi-stopped for us, in a time when we were going very well.
“Today, this was a performance full of character, but we have to keep concentrating one way or another.
“We have to prepare for the next game as best we can now, and it’ll be like that now for a few months.”
Marquis netted the winning goal in the 16th minute, diving in to head home his 12th goal of the season in all competitions from Ryan Williams’ pinpoint cross.
The hosts went closest through debutant Kyle Vassell and Callum Camps as they sought a leveller before the interval.
Marquis threatened to double Pompey’s advantage in the second period, while Jordan Rossiter went close for Fleetwood when Craig MacGillivray saved his arrowing drive.
Pompey hung on for the victory, though, ending Fleetwood’s four-match unbeaten league run and condemning Simon Wiles to defeat in his first league game since taking over as interim boss following Joey Barton’s departure.
Wiles said: “It’s disappointing not to have come away with anything from the game.
“The way we started the game impressed me, and the chances we created in the first half.
“Possibly we could have done better with them, but in terms of the way we played, I’m pleased.
“All points are huge at this level, though, and though I am disappointed, there were a lot of plusses to take from the game and the overall performance.”
Marquis’s winner is one which Wiles and his players can learn from.
“That was pretty much the only chance he had in the first half and he’s buried it,” added the Fleetwood interim boss.
“It’s one we can learn from and also one we can move on from.”