Joy for Ryan Fulton as he breaks Pompey duck
The prized clean sheet had been achieved at the tenth attempt.
So understandably Ryan Fulton was all smiles following Saturday’s 2-0 success at Stevenage.
The previous week had seen the on-loan keeper deprived of shut-outs against Cambridge United and Exeter courtesy of last-gasp levellers.
Even a fellow member of the goalkeepers’ union denied him last month, the stoppage-time goal from Barry Roche arriving at Morecambe in Fulton’s third outing.
At the Lamex Stadium, however, his long-awaited moment finally arrived after Marc McNulty and Kal Naismith had netted in the victory.
Even there then was the sight of Tom Conlon striking the bar with a shot from outside the area during six minutes of time added on.
But Pompey hung on – and the 19-year-old collected a maiden clean sheet in senior football.
Fulton said: ‘For me that clean sheet was just massive.
‘Obviously a win was more important to the team, but to get my first clean sheet is a nice feeling for me. While it also shows how we defended as a team throughout the game.
‘We’ve actually defended well during the past few matches, it’s just those last few minutes in those games.
‘Conlon had a late shot and it would have summed it up if that had gone in, it had some power in it.
‘I got a touch on that, though, to push it onto the bar – I am having that don’t worry about that!
‘It had been frustrating for me, as a team you play so well then lose out of one at the death.
‘I try my best each game and there is nothing you can do if it’s a good goal, but I try to have as much impact as I can during a match, whether it’s a save or coming for a cross.
‘Most of all you want a clean sheet.
‘Having waited so long for one it finally arrived and after the game we were congratulating each other, it was a great feeling.
‘Hopefully we can kick on and there are plenty more clean sheets to come.’
Paul Cook’s side had gone 11 fixtures without a clean sheet before yesterday’s result.
That arrived in the 3-0 Fratton Park victory over Crawley on January, when Brian Murphy was in goal.
Meanwhile, a seventh point in a week keeps them in fifth spot in League Two heading into Tuesday’s trip to Accrington.
Fulton added: ‘There are plenty of games left and we have to take this onto a run now, we have not done it recently.
‘We need a run to push our promotion hopes.’
– NEIL ALLEN