Downing, Danny and Dack – 3 things we learnt from Portsmouth

Following on from our match review, @camydeaks21 discusses the talking points from the victory

Rovers got themselves back to winning ways on Saturday with a brilliant 3–0 win over Portsmouth in a game that ended with many talking points. The team was changed up, the tactics were changed and the way the team played together definitely changed.

This is 3 things we learnt vs Portsmouth.

Downing’s defensive masterclass

When we signed Downing on loan from MK Dons at the last possible point in the summer’s transfer window a lot was said. Some were happy with the fact that we had actually signed a defender and others were hearing a lot from MK Dons’ fans about how bad he was.

However, since he’s started playing for us, he and Mulgrew have been brilliant at the back. 4 starts for Downing, 4 clean sheets and consistent solid performances.

Downing’s style of play really works well with Mulgrew. While sometimes Mulgrew can be irrational and make bad decisions, Downing has been there to help clear up the mess. Downing collects and Mulgrew punts the ball downfield.

He’s really been a surprise signing who has truly shown up and has really helped contribute to a massive improvement in our defence since switching out Ward. Long let this form continue and hopefully he can be a real help in pushing for promotion this season.

Danny’s back

It really has been a while since we’ve seen a performance off Danny Graham like we did yesterday.

He really bossed Portsmouth’s back two, holding up the ball, pressing defenders and some brilliant interplay passing which helped contribute massively to his goal. Danny really put in the performance of a mad man, or a man who knows that he has been given the opportunity to take back his place in the first team.

I think what we saw yesterday was the result of competing for places in the squad, it really looks as if he wants his place back and it showed with the celebrations after the goal.

Everyone in the squad running to the corner at the Blackburn End and piling on top of him, his goal obviously meant a lot to him and to the squad.

For the first time in a while, he looked fit and ready for a fight. Also with Samuel’s red card marring the good performance, maybe this game signals the real beginning of Danny’s season and hopefully the first of a run of goals to come.

The Dack and Chapman connection

This was the best thing about the match yesterday, the unveiling and hopefully the beginning of a real force to be reckoned with.

Dack has been in good form in recent games and yesterday’s performance topped the lot after Harry Chapman started for Rovers. Chapman finally started alongside Dack yesterday and the two connected brilliantly.

Dack’s brilliant technical ability alongside Chapman’s skill and pace worked perfectly and it was all showed off in Dack’s goal which opened the scoring and the two looked threatening from start to finish.

Both of them love to turn and run at defenders, which is something that our squad has been missing for such a long time and for the first time we looked like a very good team –  we looked like a skillful team, a powerful team and a title challenging team. After a lot of scrutiny towards our forwards over the past few weeks, they finally turned up and showed us what they can do.

I’ve said that Dack and Chapman looked brilliant, but the truth is our whole attacking 4 of Bennett, Graham, Dack and Chapman all played brilliantly. Bennett absolutely dominated the left side and his brother yesterday, and also showed another side to him that we haven’t seen this season.

Hopefully, performances like this aren’t going to be few and far between. There isn’t a team in this league that we can’t beat if we play like this every week, and there isn’t a height that we shouldn’t be aiming for.


Thanks for reading this article. You can follow me on Twitter at @RoversReports21 or you can visit my website by clicking here.

Don’t forget to read the review from yesterday’s game. This can be found by clicking here.