Pompey character delights Awford

Josh Passley and Matt Tubbs put pressure on Plymouth's Reuben Reid on Monday Picture: Joe Pepler
Josh Passley and Matt Tubbs put pressure on Plymouth's Reuben Reid on Monday Picture: Joe Pepler
Joe Pigott celebrates Southend's winner against Pompey in League Two. Picture: Joe Pepler

Southend’s sterling record in November ahead of Pompey clash

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IT WAS heartbreak which struck five minutes and 46 seconds into stoppage-time.

But Andy Awford believes Pompey displayed their strength of character to respond by triumphing over Plymouth on Monday.

As a unit they have good character, there are good characters in that dressing room and that was evident against Plymouth

Andy Awford

It was Good Friday in nothing but name for the Blues, who were denied a victory at Carlisle in the cruellest of manners.

Charlie Wyke’s last-gasp leveller prevented Awford’s men picking up only a third league win on their travels this season.

Barely 72 hours later and Pompey had a home visit from the play-off chasing Pilgrims to contend with as they strived to bounce back.

The outcome was an impressive second-half showing as the hosts ran out 2-1 winners.

And for Awford, that performance demonstrated plenty about his side’s sturdy make-up.

He said: ‘I was really pleased how we reacted to Carlisle, having gone behind early, because we showed a lot of character to come back.

‘We should have seen the game out, which was disappointing, but the response we got was brilliant and I think that played a part against Plymouth.

‘The impact on that last-gasp equaliser had no effect on us whatsoever.

‘We spoke at the start of Monday’s game to make sure we didn’t have another mountain to climb like at Carlisle. We wanted to make sure we were right in it and we were. We took that into the second half and did well.

‘As a unit the team have good character, there are good characters in that dressing room and that was evident against Plymouth.

‘The momentum we got going at Carlisle was carried into the second half on Monday, it was good.’

Pompey’s second win in nine games keeps them in 14th spot in League Two.

Their play-off aspirations realistically have long since ended, while safety has also been assured for many weeks.

Instead, the challenge for Awford is to beat last season’s placing of 13th – a position he oversaw for the final seven games as caretaker boss.

There are five fixtures now remaining for the Blues to clamber higher up the table to be able to point out progression.

And Awford reiterated that goal remains the players’ intentions.

He added: ‘We have now got to get as many points as we can from the last five games to finish as high up the league as we can.

‘That will be the approach, as it has been for the last however long.’