Caretaker boss hails Blues after triumph at Newport
Andy Awford had asked for a united front in the lead-up to Pompey’s match against Newport.
And that’s exactly what he received as the Blues stopped the rot with a 2-1 victory at Rodney Parade.
Ryan Taylor’s penalty and a Jed Wallace header defeated County, who had a man sent off in each half.
Adam Chapman saw red for a lunge on debutant Danny Hollands, while Darcy Blake picked up a second booking after Ismail Yakubu had reduced the hosts’ deficit.
Awford admitted that there is still plenty of room for improvement, but revelled in a much-needed Pompey win.
The caretaker Blues boss said: “The lads’ attitude, spirit and togetherness was fantastic – just what we needed. I’m delighted with them, but that’s the standard we have to keep now.
“The result was all that counted – how we got there didn’t really matter. We got a reaction and we got the three points.
“The message I gave them was that we didn’t have to try to score every time we had the ball – we needed to build and be patient.
“If I’ve got a criticism it’s that we didn’t keep the ball well enough when they went down to nine men.
“The first challenge was a definite red card and there was a pull on Ryan Taylor for the penalty, although I’m not sure if it happened outside the box.
“I don’t think the referee had much choice for the second sending off either, so Newport can’t have too many complaints.
“They scored from a corner and put a lot of balls in, but you know that’s going to happen in this league and we have to do a lot better from set-pieces in both boxes.
“It’s something that’s been a problem for us all season and we’ll definitely be working to improve that.
“But our confidence hasn’t been great of late for obvious reasons and hopefully that will now start to improve.”
Awford was pleased with the performance of Taylor, who excelled in his role as a lone striker.
He said: “I told him before the game that there was a player here called Benjani and all he used to do was run around.
“I asked if he could that for me and he chased a lost cause to win the ball before being as cool as a cucumber with the penalty.”