Dan Butler recalled his darkest moment as a professional footballer and admitted: It has made me a stronger person.
The 18-year-old Pompey left-back turned in a string of impressive performances in his first season in the first-team after making the step-up from the youth ranks.
But the Isle of Wight-born defender suffered a chastening experience in Pompey’s defeat at Leyton Orient back in March, as his misplaced backpass allowed Shaun Batt to score the only goal of the game.
The result derailed a good run of form for Guy Whittingham’s side and might have affected lesser characters.
But Butler believes it strengthened his resolve.
He explained: ‘I still remember it.
‘I will never forget how that felt.
‘It was probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life and it felt like I had let a lot of people down.
‘We had worked so hard, we were on a good run and it came to an end from a silly mistake I made.
‘But I’ve learnt from it and it won’t happen again.
‘I think it helped me mature, grow up and made me a stronger person.
‘And I got a lot of support after that mistake at Leyton Orient.
‘I had a lot of fans getting in touch on Twitter saying “don’t worry about it” and that helped a lot.
‘Guy helped me out and a lot of the players stuck by me.
‘That was the main thing.
‘Most players make mistakes at one time or another but it’s about how you respond to them.
‘That made me stronger as a person and I won’t be passing back to the goalkeeper anywhere near as much in future!
‘It’s all about your character but I had a lot of close friends at the club who help you through those times and didn’t let me dwell on it.
‘It was a negative at the time but I have taken a lot of positives from it.’
Understandably for the teenager, last season was a steep learning curve.
After spending time on loan at the Hawks before Christmas, Butler was recalled by Pompey in January to become a regular in the first-team.
He certainly didn’t look out of his depth at any stage and is expected to be the first-choice left-back again next term after signing a new two-year deal this month.
‘I went from the reserves to playing in Conference South and then into League One,’ said Butler.
‘It was a big step-up going from the reserves to Havant & Waterlooville and that really helped me a lot.
‘The biggest lesson I learned was that you don’t get anywhere near as much time on the ball.
‘But then I started playing in League One and you got even less time.
‘It has boosted my confidence playing regularly and I felt like I did quite well for the majority of the time.’