Burton's Portsmouth Reaction
The stage for Callum Burton’s first league start for Argyle was perfectly set.
The goalkeeper, stepping in for the injured Mike Cooper, took his place in the Argyle line-up at a sold-out Home Park, against Portsmouth, and was part of a fine performance at the Greens won 3-1.
The game was not without its nervy moments for Burton and for Argyle. Sam Cosgrove and Finn Azaz gave Argyle a 2-0 lead, but when Reeco Hackett got one back for the visitors, several recent 2-2s against Pompey, with the men in blue claiming late equalisers, loomed.
Instead, Ryan Hardie broke away and scored in injury time to seal the victory.
As one might expect, the goal sent Home Park into rapture, and the atmosphere throughout was a good one. From 1,700 visiting supporters vociferously backing their side, to 15,000 or so of the Green Army enjoying their team heading back to the top of Sky Bet League One, there was little let-up.
For Callum, it was nice to experience that from the pitch rather than the bench.
He said: “You appreciate the atmosphere when you're on the bench and you see and hear it, but when you're in the middle of it, it's completely different.
“It was brilliant. I loved every second of it. The result helped massively.
“It was a great performance. When it went 2-1, I thought 2-2 was going to come back, maybe the fifth or sixth time in recent years. But the lads are brilliant. We should have put it to bed earlier, to be fair. It’s nice being at the background to see good performances in front of you, and I think we looked solid throughout.
“They had spells, but they're going to, because they're a good team in this league. I think we weathered them really well, reduced them to very little chances. As performances go, it's one of the most complete of the season.
“It was a good day all around.”
As soon as the news broke than Mike Cooper’s season was over because of his ACL injury, attention turned to Burton, but despite only playing a handful of games since arriving at Argyle in the summer of 2021, 26-year-old Callum has experience of a promotion whilst number one goalkeeper at Cambridge United, and has shown in his appearances in cup action that he is an accomplished stopper.
When his name was read out in the team read before the match, his name was met with a roar of encouragement.
After getting the victory on his league bow at Home Park, Callum thanked the Green Army for that, and for their backing leading up to the game.
“The support's been unreal,” he said. “I've been getting messages from last Saturday, all the way up until a few hours before the game from every reach of people. I had one from an Argyle fan from America saying: ‘good luck from across the pond.’
“It's such a special fanbase. From the game, the build-up, from everything, you've got the backing of the whole city.
“Sometimes it can feel like pressure, but it's the pressure you want. You want to have that backing. I've been on the other side of it as well, where you've not got it, so to have the whole city behind you, it's special. It's something that the whole team embraces. We feed off it in the games and it helps us.
“To have only dropped three points at home all season is a special achievement and I think we can keep it going. There's not many teams that come here and look like they're going to defeat us. Long may it continue.”