Boss thrilled with resolute display in Oxford victory
But the manner of the Blues’ latest League Two victory at Oxford delighted Andy Awford.
The Blues boss said: “Good teams win games when they’re not necessarily playing at their best.
And Awford knows that success could depend on the points Pompey collect when they are not performing to their potential.
But they were much improved after the restart and secured a fourth successive victory in all competitions.
His troops were below-par in the first half and fortunate not to fall behind when the hosts hit the woodwork just before the break.
“We didn’t play as well as we can in the first half – the standard wasn’t quite what we set ourselves in recent games.
“So to dig in, get the result and come away with three hard-earned points is excellent.
“We kept giving the ball away too easily and it meant that we couldn’t gain any momentum.
The winning goal arrived 10 minutes from time when Craig Westcarr bundled Nicky Shorey’s cross over the line.
“I thought the goalkeeper was outstanding for us, but it was a great team performance and everyone played their part.”
“But then I thought we were much better in the second half and controlled the game.
“We had a little bit of luck when the ball was bouncing around our box and they hit the post – sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it doesn’t.
Awford said: “Craig worked hard all game and we thought that bringing on Ryan Taylor – who’s a physical presence – up top would help him.
“That’s exactly what happened and I’m delighted for Craig. It’s great that he’s full of confidence at the moment. “When we were keeping the ball better, we were able to get it out wide and he put in a great cross.”
“Nicky’s been around the block and knows when to get forward and when to stay back.