Awford: Improved Pompey tempo sparked transformation

Jack Whatmough wins an aerial dual at Exeter. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough wins an aerial dual at Exeter. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dan Smith was involved in both Pompey goals as the Blues' academy side lost 3-2 at Southend Picture: Colin Farmery

Late heartache for Pompey Academy

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Andy Awford believes Pompey’s improved tempo sparked their St James Park transformation.

The below-par Blues headed it at the break a goal down against Exeter, Tom Nichols’ strike giving the hosts a deserved lead.

But it was a very different Pompey in the second period, with Jed Wallace’s left-foot finish levelling in the 74th minute.

Such was their dominance, Awford’s men could well have clinched victory as the Grecians clung on for a point.

And Pompey’s manager pinpointed a change in approach to that second half.

He said: ‘When people talk about tempo it is not running around and tackling and charging around the pitch, it is using the ball quicker and stretching Exeter, which we’ve worked at.

‘We didn’t move the ball quick enough in the first half when in control of it and that was the theme of the half-time team talk.

‘I asked them to up the tempo with the ball and take less touches, get it wider, retain it a lot better.

‘I think overall in the second half we were lot better and unfortunate not to win the game in the end.’