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Awford Slams First Half Display

4 December 2013

Contrasting quality bemuses caretaker boss

Pompey deservedly trailed at the break following an abject first half display against Wycombe.

But Andy Awford’s interval words clearly did the trick as they controlled the second.

Goals from Andy Barcham and Patrick Agyemang put the Blues in the driving seat after David Connolly had seen his spot-kick saved.

But Anthony Stewart’s last-gasp header denied Pompey their first victory in more than a month.

And Awford was left struggling to comprehend why his troops were so sluggish at the start of the game.

The caretaker Blues boss said: “The first half wasn’t good enough – simple as that. What was said at half-time will remain private, but it shouldn’t take me doing that for a response.

“With even a 10-15 per cent better performance in that half we would have won the game.

“I can’t fault the players in terms of tempo, effort and application after the break, but I don’t understand how it can be so different.

“We were rabbits in the headlights in the first half – they were scared to play out there.

“It’s an intimidating place to play, but they have to get used to it because they’re representing Portsmouth.

“We went out for the second half and what a performance – and then we switched off at the end.”

Pompey looked a lot more threatening once first Connolly and then Agyemang were introduced from the bench.

Awford said: “Dave wasn’t fit to play 90 minutes with his knee because he hasn’t trained for a few weeks. The plan was to bring him on if he was needed, which he was.

“Patrick was in the same situation and was only ever going to get 15 minutes maximum.

“We needed him as well and it was a great goal. It’s disappointing for him because it looked like it would be the winner.”

Awford is waiting for more news about Danny East after the defender was taken to hospital following an awkward fall.

He said: “I haven’t had an update since he left the ground, but he was feeling pain in his neck and you can’t take any risks.”

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