System will get Pompey going

Shrewsbury's James Wesolowski scored the equaliser after Pompey failed to defend a set-piece. Picture: Joe Pepler
Shrewsbury's James Wesolowski scored the equaliser after Pompey failed to defend a set-piece. Picture: Joe Pepler
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury

From patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland to steering the Hawks to potential new heights

Have your say

Andy Awford is adamant Pompey’s new-look set-up will get the best out of his players.

But he was left angered by the manner in which his team refused to respond to his instructions for Shrewsbury’s equaliser on Saturday.

The Blues went down to a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat at the high-flying Shrews.

Connor Goldson’s ‘fluke’ goal settled the game at Greenhous Meadow in frustrating fashion.

That was after Pompey started at a ferocious pace and took the lead from the penalty spot through Jed Wallace.

Micky Mellon’s side came back into it and levelled through James Wesolowski 12 minutes later, in what was an entertaining first half.

Pompey opted to keep it steady after the break and looked to have frustrated the life out of the home side, until the game’s decisive moment.

Awford continued with the same team who defeated Stevenage last Tuesday and kept a 4-4-2 formation.

He was happy with how that went and believes they are working well in the system. Awford said: ‘We looked solid and I was happy with how we set up.

‘We had to change slightly where they were passing it through our two (in central midfield).

‘We asked for a pressing game and got that, and the players look happy.

‘Then the game settled down and they started to pierce through our front two and get the extra midfielder on the ball against our two.

‘Dunney and Hollands were very good but they had the extra player.

‘So we tucked in our wide player who was on the opposite side to not get outnumbered.

‘At times it happens, though.

‘So we went a bit deeper and let their defenders have it.

‘I think they ran out of ideas in the end.

‘Then comes the fluke goal and that’s it.

‘In the tunnel they were joking about it at the end.

‘If it was world class, I’d say it was a fortunate world-class goal.

‘Micky (Mellon) is a good lad and knows when it’s meant or not.’

Despite seeing cause for optimism in much of Pompey’s play, Awford was infuriated by the manner of Shrewsbury’s equaliser.

He is adamant Wesolowski’s strike, after a free-kick was blocked, could and should have been dealt with.

That was after the players didn’t set up for the dead-ball situation as they were told by their boss.

Awford said: ‘We’re not set right. We have to do that better. If there is one thing which really frustrated me it’s that goal.

‘I can see it happening and I can’t effect it. The players haven’t taken instruction – and they have to do that.

‘There’s lads who have played with me long enough to know how we should be set up and we weren’t.

‘The players are drilled for that and they haven’t done it. That’s a big disappointment.

‘But we will learn and they will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

‘That’s probably their hardest game here this season.

‘It was a similar display to the win at Oxford really.

‘We, as a team, needed to build on Tuesday night and we’ve done that.’