, Popular Portsmouth star makes clear statement after surprise starting XI return

Popular Portsmouth star makes clear statement after surprise starting XI return

Portsmouth continued their march towards the League One title with a 2-1 win over Burton Albion last night, surviving a late scare to pick up maximum points.

Portsmouth headed into last night’s gaming looking to put another brick in the wall in their promotion bid. The lineup was one that raised eyebrows among some of the Fratton Park faithful pre-game though.

John Mousinho stated pre-game that Callum Lang was ’50/50′ and left-back Jack Sparkes had been cleared to feature. However, neither player was in the matchday squad, and their absences prompted a reshuffle.

Pompey fielded a back three with Abu Kamara and Paddy Lane in wing-back roles.

Up top though, leading talisman Colby Bishop was dropped to the bench and Kusini Yengi was handed a first start in four League One games. The popular Australian more than warranted his place in the side though, scoring what would prove to be a match-winning brace.

After a dreadful open-goal miss, the 25-year-old would convert from the spot with a delicate panenka just before the break. He added his second from close range as Portsmouth emerged 2-1 winners, holding on after John Brayford pulled one back for the Brewers.

, Popular Portsmouth star makes clear statement after surprise starting XI return
Image courtesy of: ANDREW COULDRIDGE/REUTERS.

A statement performance

Yengi started life at Portsmouth with a bang. He scored in his first two league appearances and scored a brace in the EFL Cup against Forest Green Rovers between those games.

A spell on the sidelines through injury halted that momentum somewhat and between his return in October and his departure for international duty with Australia, he was mainly playing off the bench with Bishop locking down the starting spot.

Last night was a timely reminder of just what he’s capable of though. As Mousinho said himself post-game, the penalty was him ‘summed up’. His return to the starting XI came amid a desire from the manager to give go-to striker Bishop a rest and Yengi’s performance displayed that he can have a vital role to play in Portsmouth’s effort to return to the Championship.

Portsmouth sit five points clear of Derby County at the top of the League One table. With eight games remaining, Bolton Wanderers remain in hot pursuit while Peterborough United and Barnsley can also reduce the gap by winning their games in hand.

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