Awford thrilled with spirit shown in Tranmere triumph
It looked like Pompey’s fine unbeaten run was about to come to an end.
Trailing to a first half strike from Jennison Myrie-Williams and a calamitous Paul Jones own-goal – with Kayode Odejayi appearing to handle in the build-up – the Blues looked beaten with less than 15 minutes remaining.
But Craig Westcarr emerged from the bench to reduce the deficit and raise the hopes of the Fratton faithful.
And Ryan Taylor then netted twice in the space of just three minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
It left Andy Awford feeling delighted about the never-say-die attitude of his troops.
The Blues boss said: “We set out to get three points at the start of the evening and that’s exactly what we got.
“It probably wasn’t the way we expected to get them, but the important thing is that we won the match.
“I’ve always said that Fratton Park is a special place under the lights and the fans played their part again.
“They saw a team full of spirit keeping going right until the bitter end and the players fully deserved that result.
“The spirit and character has always been there, but confidence is massive in football and we’ve inched a bit higher up the league.
“There was a definite handball for Tranmere’s second goal and I’m amazed our players didn’t make more of it, but thankfully that didn’t cost us.
“It was a great header for Craig for our first and I’m really pleased for Ryan because he does so much work for the team.”
After taking the lead, Pompey were left with four strikers on the pitch having already made all their changes.
Awford said: “Sometimes you have to go a bit silly, but on this occasion it paid off – that’s the risk you take as a manager.
“We’ve had a settled side and a settled shape for the last six games, but when things aren’t going your way you need to be able to try something else.
“I called James Dunne over to the touchline when it was 2-2 and I think he expected me to say let’s keep it tight. But I wanted us to not hold back and to go on and win the game.
“Then when we scored the third you would obviously like to bring on a defensive player.
“I had Andy Barcham at right-back and doing a great job for the team which shows what kind of group we’ve got here.”