Awford's assessment - Pompey 2-1 Cambridge
What an enjoyable game that was eh!
Yep, we 2-1 won, which I know always helps a game be more enjoyable but it really was a good game of football from two good sides that played some very good football on the afternoon.
Ryan Taylor was the man who headed us into a half time lead, and what a good goal that was too! Miles Storey again impressed with a clever ball in that was met by an equally clever and genius deft flick of a header.
Andy Awford, quoted on the Pompey Site, had plenty of praise for his side in general with Taylor and Storey coming in for particular mention: 'you saw effort, desire, spirit and organisation - all the things we demand of them was there in bundles.
'I can't praise them enough for that performance because they were absolutely superb.
'I'm delighted for Ryan because he deserved the goal for all the effort he put in and it was a great cross from Miles Storey.'
It might have taken a while for the breakthrough to come, and Cambridge did cause a few problems, but once that goal did come it 'settled us down' according to AA with a lead taken into the half time break something that we 'deserved', which I feel we did too.
The Adam Webster sending off, just before half time, was something that I feared coming and it did - I assume he got a roasting from AA in private, not that he will share such thoughts in public!
Webster going meant a 'change of game-plan' obviously, and made it a little more difficult than perhaps it might have been but we still played well, defending well and looking to break: 'it's difficult when you go down to 10 men because you have to completely change your game-plan.
'Then it was about defending doggedly and catching them on the counter-attack, which almost happened a few times.'
Fortunately, despite of course giving Cambridge hope, it did not have too much of an impact on us and as we increased the pressure a bizarre own goal made it 2-0. We had to hold that for a while, but could not hold it for long enough as they got a goal back.
We were well worth the win though, yep we had some luck with the bar saving us twice but it did also deny Storey a stunning goal.
I think AA is right to pick out Taylor and Storey for the contributions that they made but we all battled away really well - some, they will know who they are, did not quite deliver as they can, but it was a real team effort.
Joe Devera had a 'difficult' first season at Fratton but he was solid at the back when he came on, it was just a shame that Nigel Atangana had to be sacrificed for Devera after Webster went.
Atangana was immense in that 1st half; it looks like the guy is going to be awesome for us!
I think Paul Jones also deserves a mention, and probably just about deserved the man of the match award handed out to him on the day as he made a few good saves but it was his handling and command of the area that made such a difference.
A slight early mix-up at the back, when he should have come but did not, might have left some thinking 'here we go again' with another dodgy goalie but he literally punched everything away he wanted to and showed a real safe and clean pair of hands with everything else.
Scott Bevan also looks a character with our goalkeeping coach literally coming for every cross too, I am not sure if anyone else watched the bench at times and saw how he was leaping around as if he was playing!
Definitely the best game that I have been at for a while, we played well, they played well and the atmosphere was great from all fans.
And it is the atmosphere that AA finished on: 'it gave me goosebumps - they're brilliant and never let you down. If that backing doesn't inspire you then nothing will.
'The support is phenomenal - it always has been and it always will be.'
I think 'awesome' best sums up the day, may many more like that follow this season...
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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