Awford: We had to bounce back

Jed Wallace nets from the spot. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace nets from the spot. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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It was a victory branded as a ‘must’ by a relieved Andy Awford.

A run of three successive league defeats brought to an end with a win over Dagenham & Redbridge last night.

The 3-0 scoreline was secured through James Dunne, Jed Wallace and substitute Andy Barcham at Fratton Park.

Suddenly the blip is over, with Wycombe the next visitors to the south coast on Saturday.

For Blues fans, the prospect of four straight league defeats would have been a hammer blow to the season’s progress.

And for Awford, the order of the day against the Daggers had to be three points.

He said: ‘It was a must, although I didn’t say that in the press!

‘I knew we would win last night, I fancied us, it was needed, definitely.

‘We are not going to get promoted or get relegated if we won last night or didn’t win.

‘I am just saying we need to break the run of defeats.

‘People would have been saying it was four games without a win if we had drawn – and it can’t be said now!

‘It wasn’t a must-win, or do or die, I just felt on the back of three league defeats we needed a performance and a result.

‘The result was more important than the performance and we got it.

‘Now we need another result on Saturday, maybe I need to put more pressure on the players and be more bullish, maybe that is something I am learning all the time, I am still learning, as we all are.

‘I asked them for a performance last night – and I got it.’

Victory saw Pompey re-enter League Two’s top 10, having slipped out following Saturday’s defeat at Southend.

Irrespective of the recent run of defeats, the Blues find themselves one point off the play-offs.

Following Burton Albion’s shock 3-0 loss at AFC Wimbledon, there are no unbeaten teams left in the division.

Last night’s encounter with the Daggers was a tight affair until Dunne’s thunderous finish broke the deadlock five minutes before half-time.

And it would put Awford’s men on the road to a first league victory since defeating Oxford on home turf on August 23.

The Blues boss added: ‘I think in the first half we were tetchy at times, a little bit edgy, we gave the ball away a little bit, but wasn’t for want of trying.

‘The energy levels and tempo were better, it was back to an Andy Awford team.

‘I think you saw more of an energy and a tempo and that is not against any of the players played Saturday, it’s just what we did as a group and it was much better.’