Hollands right on the ball for Awford

Danny Hollands in action against Stevenage on Tuesday night Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands in action against Stevenage on Tuesday night Picture: Joe Pepler
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With his left foot, he delivered a sublime pass from his own half to create Miles Storey’s spectacular strike.

But for Andy Awford, Danny Hollands deserves just as much praise in recognition of his all-round display in the 3-2 victory over Stevenage.

The midfielder produced a man-of-the-match performance as he roared back to form in Tuesday night’s Fratton Park game.

Jed Wallace and Joe Devera also netted for a first win in seven for the Blues to bolster confidence ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Shrewsbury.

Partnering James Dunne, Hollands dominated the central midfield area as Boro could find no way back to secure a draw.

And Awford considered it a masterful display from the 28-year-old, who has largely struggled to replicate his superb form at the end of last season.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Forget the ball for Miles’ goal, it was about the rest of Danny’s game as well, such as the second balls he picked up in the middle of the park.

‘You will probably think James Dunne won more because he wins the more eye-catching ones, but I get the stats and Hollands’ second-ball retention the other night is as high as any other footballer in the country.

‘It’s all the little bits, not just setting up goals.

‘Everyone talks about the ball for the goal, but 10 seconds earlier the ball is on the edge of our D and the ball breaks and Jed Wallace makes a tackle, Dunne makes a tackle, Hollands makes a tackle.

‘Then it breaks and Hollands makes the pass.

‘Away at Bury the other day, Wallace didn’t make the tackle, Nigel Atangana didn’t make the tackle and we concede. That is the bit that matters.

‘If we don’t make the tackles we don’t get the ball so the mentality has to change – and it has.

‘Hollands led that. I talked about it before the game that you don’t let your mate do it, you do it and he went: “Okay, I’ll do it”.

‘Before we went out I said in the dressing room: “Don’t wait for your mate next door and think Wallace will score or Westcarr will do a bit of magic or whatever, you take the game by the scruff of the neck and if we all do that we will have a team performance we can all be proud of”.

‘They did it, they were great.’

Hollands scored seven goals in seven appearances last season while on loan from Charlton to win a permanent Blues deal.

He has played 16 times so far this season, including two substitute appearances, but has yet to open his goal account for the season.

The sole two matches he has missed have come in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.