Cambridge 0 Pompey 1: Chaplin shows his head for fine finishes
Conor Chaplin believes his match-winning goal showcased another weapon in his armoury.
The teenager striker’s header proved the difference as Pompey eked out a 1-o win at Cambridge United.
Decent movement saw Chaplin perfectly meet Christian Burgess’ ball forward – between U’s defenders Brad Halliday and Leon Legge.
Despite standing at just 5ft 5in, the homegrown talent already had a stunning header to his name this season against Wycombe.
And he feels it is an area of his game he can threaten from despite his comparative lack of inches.
Chaplin said: ‘Two out of five goals have come from my head this season.
‘I like to back myself in the box with my head and space.
‘It poses a different test when I go up against a 6ft 5in defender.
‘We work on it in training – getting across defenders and near-post runs.
‘You have to get in front of them. You aren’t going to get the ball standing next to them.
‘They need to think you aren’t there. Once you see the number on their shirt you shoot in front of them, and that’s when you get goals.
‘It’s another way to score goals. You have to have that all in your armoury.’
Victory against Cambridge narrowed the gap on the top three to three points for the Blues.
But it’s still 11 points to leaders Plymouth, who continue to set an outstanding pace.
Chaplin outlined chasing them down is still the aim for his side.
He said: ‘We’re not top of the league and we’d like to be there.
‘Plymouth are doing very well but we went to Plymouth a few weeks ago and played them off the park at times.
‘They are top and that’s where we’re expected to be because we’re the biggest club in League Two.
‘You can’t have that as a given right. You have to earn it.’
Chaplin felt Pompey showed traits to their game which many fans feel they have lacked of late.
In a game low on real quality, the Blues were forced to battle for the win after Amine Linganzi’s second-half red card.
Showing such resolve is an area Pompey have worked on.
Chaplin added: ‘I think we’re starting to show the grit now.
‘We get criticised for not having that to our game. So it’s nice to go down to 10 men and scuff out a win.
‘It’s testament to the work we put in during the week.
‘It’s good to show different sides to our game and what we’re capable of doing. That’s exactly what we’ve done.’
– JORDAN CROSS