Awford: Pompey comfortable but couldn’t capitalise

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  • Awford couldn’t see a Crown Ground loss
  • Yet there was no deciding goal either against 10-man opposition
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For Andy Awford, it was a second-half which saw Pompey in ‘total control’ and comfortable in defence.

Yet crucially, his Blues side didn’t possess the attacking instincts to fulfil the travelling supporters’ expectations of putting 10-men Accrington to the sword.

It was a day of frustration at the Crown Ground on Saturday as Awford’s side made it three matches without a win.

Certainly many would have anticipated them to have collected the full three points following the 53rd-minute dismissal of Anthony Barry.

Having been fortunate to escape to the interval on level terms at 1-1, suddenly the visitors had a numerical advantage.

However, Ryan Taylor’s left-foot shot on 75 minutes was the Blues’ sole effort on target as they barely tested the keeper following Barry’s marching orders.

Andy Barcham on the attack. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Barcham on the attack. Picture: Joe Pepler

Despite enjoying plenty of possession, they failed to break down a spirited Accrington defence.

The opportunity for victory was there but the match ended in disappointment for February’s League Two manager of the month.

Awford said: ‘We have all seen it, 10 men seem to raise their game but I also thought we were in total control just before the sending off.

‘Once we got the numerical advantage I felt we coped quite well with that because they can sometimes be a problem.

I didn’t see them scoring in open play, once they went down to 10 we were quite solid and it was unfortunate we couldn’t get the second goal.

Andy Awford

‘I didn’t see them scoring in open play, once they went down to 10 we were quite solid and it was unfortunate we couldn’t get the second goal.

‘They kept their shape and went 3-5-1, which allowed Joe Devera and Jack Whatmough to step up with the ball so we had complete control of the game.

‘We were hoping it was going to be our day – and something would fall to someone in the box to prod it in – but it wasn’t.

‘I was shouting for patience from the touchline, to keep moving the ball quickly, which we did.

‘Barchy (Andy Barcham) got down the sides a couple of times, Dan Butler has got down the sides a couple of times but it didn’t happen for us in the box.

‘We didn’t create enough and that’s the disappointing thing. It wasn’t through effort or desire.

‘Wes Fogden goes on, Barcham goes on, Craig Westcarr goes on, we put attacking players on the pitch to try to do that.

‘Dan Butler was unlucky with his free-kick.

‘I thought it was going to dip at the last minute instead of hitting the bar and then another at the other end from Jed.

‘But we go again next time.’

Pompey have now lost once in the their last nine matches.

On the flip side, the point sees them slip down a place to 14th and leaves them 10 points off the play-off spots with 11 fixtures remaining.

With relegation not a realistic proposition, the Blues will be aiming to continue the push up the table to ensure a good end to the League Two campaign.

And next up is the visit of Luton Town on Saturday.

Awford added: ‘You hear every manager say every point away from home is a good point but Accrington will only be a good point if we get a result on Saturday and that is the focus.’