Keeper Jamie foiled Norwich City days after emergency op
Jamie Ashdown was paid a glowing tribute by Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill after becoming the first goalkeeper in 10 matches to keep a clean sheet against the Canaries.
The 30-year-old made some crucial saves – and just one first-half error – as Pompey secured a 2-0 victory, their first at Carrow Road since 1987.
And Cotterill revealed that Ashdown, who made two appearances for City on loan during Peter Grant's spell as manager, had returned to action just days after suffering appendicitis.
'We had to show a lot of character today, probably no one more than Jamie Ashdown,' said Cotterill.
'He had an emergency appendix operation nine days ago and managed to get himself out there today and I thought that epitomised the spirit and character in the dressing room because that was a tough game for him today and he came through it with flying colours.
'That's a very big win for us. I saw Norwich last week and they've come into the Championship and Paul Lambert's done a tremendous job and they've played very well.'
Cotterill hopes his team's second successive away win – they had a 2-1 success at Swansea a fortnight earlier – could be the springboard for a play-off push.
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He said: 'I'm delighted to get 28 points at this time if year. We're not quite at Christmas yet so if we can get into the 30s before Christmas, who knows where that can take us?
'We've had two fantastic wins on the road against two really good clubs.'
Cotterill said he needed new players to bolster a small squad. Despite the first-choice eleven being widely perceived as one of the strongest in the Championship, Pompey named just five substitutes at Carrow Road.
'The only trouble is when you put an eleven out there, it's what you have left after that, and we're getting less and less,' he said. 'So within that eleven, what they mustn't do is have a loss of form, they mustn't get injured or have a suspension. I've never known an eleven go through a season and not get any of that.
'I'd like three or four players. We definitely have to buy because we have a team full of loanees.
'It's almost a luxury for us to have five on the bench – I think we've filled our bench once this season.'
Cotterill praised striker David Nugent for setting up the first goal and winning the penalty in a much-improved second-half display.
He said: 'When you play against a diamond, sometimes if they monopolise the ball and the full-backs run you back, what they will do is they will leave spaces down the side.
'We just felt maybe if we got a bit higher up the pitch with our front three we may cause a bit of a problem in the second half and, thankfully, we did cause a couple.
'We felt David Nugent would be a threat out there – lucky enough that worked for us.'