APPLETON SAVOURS SUPERB SHOWING
Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton hailed his struggling side's 2-0 win over play-off chasing Hull as the best performance of his time in charge at Fratton Park.
Two goals in four first-half minutes from Scotland striker Chris Maguire and midfielder Joel Ward reignited Pompey's hopes of a miracle relegation escape.
Appleton said: "I was delighted. It was total dominance from minute one to 95.
"It was the best performance since I have been in charge by an absolute mile. They had one shot on goal and I lost count of the number of chances we had.
"I have never not believed. There are going to be lots of twists and turns and ups and downs in the next seven games. Who knows how many points we will need to stay up?"
Pompey's hopes of retaining their Championship status looked forlorn after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at drop-zone rivals Coventry.
But they defied their place at the bottom of the table with a confident and vibrant performance and would have won by more but for the heroics of Hull goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Luke Varney had already come close to breaking the deadlock when he narrowly failed to connect with Maguire's cross when the Scot opened the scoring on 21 minutes with a well-taken goal.
Scott Allan's hopeful ball down the line bought Mannone racing out of his goal and Maguire kept his cool to lob a precision shot over the Italian's head and into an empty net from an acute goal.
Ward doubled the hosts' lead in the 25th minute with a close-range finish after Hull had failed to deal with a corner and George Thorne had pulled the ball back.
Only superb goalkeeping from the overworked Mannone to deny Ward, Maguire and David Norris in the second half kept the score respectable.
Appleton hailed man-of-the-match Maguire, saying: "I was aware of Chris' qualities long before he came to England at Derby.
"He has had a fantastic night. He really enjoys playing and gets the same kick out of blocking a ball down the line as he does scoring goals.
"He and Luke Varney were the catalyst for the win."
Hull manager Nick Barmby said: "Portsmouth were the better team. We were not good enough and they wanted it more than us.
"I apologise to the fans who made the long trip down. It was not us so I am disappointed.
"It is not over and we are still in with a chance (of the play-offs) so we will keep fighting. We will never give it up.
"Whoever is in the team I expect them to give a performance and win."
Latest Football News at 10:00 BST