Robinson’s rallying call pays off

Paul Robinson    Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Robinson Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Robinson revealed a few words of wisdom to his Pompey team-mates might have sunk in as they completed their stunning late fightback.

The Blues skipper never gave up hope that his side could find a route back into the contest, even at 2-0 down with just 15 minutes of the contest remaining.

While the former Millwall man was probably in the minority within Fratton Park at that stage, substitute Craig Westcarr’s deft glancing header and Ryan Taylor’s late double completed a memorable turnaround as Pompey ran out 3-2 winners.

And Robinson felt it was vindication for a few rallying words of encouragement to the troops.

He said: ‘Even when it didn’t look like it was going to be our night, it was important to stress that to the lads that we kept going until the final whistle.

‘I was trying to press home to the lads that if you get one, you can get two and it’s amazing how the momentum swings – especially at a place like this when the atmosphere really builds.

‘It’s important that you keep at it, no matter how long it takes.

‘If you keep going, you can get something out of it. I’ve seen it plenty of times down the years and it just goes to show what can happen.

‘Games can change in an instant. You get that one goal and you see the belief coming back and the opposition start looking a bit more tired.

‘Westcarr got the goal and it gave us a big lift. Then Taylor gets his goals and we came away with a crucial three points.

‘It was a brilliant feeling.’

After the 6-2 win at Cambridge, Pompey struggled for the same kind of attacking fluency in the first half.

And Robinson felt Pompey conceded the initiative.

‘Maybe it was always going to be difficult to back up that sort of performance and result,’ he said.

‘There might have been a bit of a hangover from that.

‘I was a bit disappointed because I felt we were a bit lacklustre at the start.

‘If we had been at the intensity and tempo as we have been in recent weeks, the game would have been ours for the taking much earlier.

‘It was a bit frustrating but I fancied us going forward and that showed in the second half.

‘We know the performance level wasn’t as high as it has been recently.

‘But we dug deep and we managed to get the result so we will take a lot of belief from that.’

With Awford ditching his favoured 3-5-2 formation as he chased the game, the Blues boss threw on all of his available strikers to leave Robinson, Jack Whatmough and Dan Butler as his last line of defence.

And that meant some unfamiliar defensive shifts from Andy Barcham, Craig Westcarr and even young Conor Chaplin, who came on as a second-half substitute.

Robinson said: ‘It was just a case of getting it away anywhere at the end.

‘After we got our noses in front, I was thinking “okay, what’s our formation going to be now then?”

‘It was funny when you are thinking how we would marshal things because we had a lot of attacking bodies on trying to get the result.

‘But everyone put in a fantastic shift to make sure we saw the game out. Even Conor Chaplin came on and played his part in defence to help us see the game out towards the end.’