Awford rues timing of Robinson dismissal

Paul Robinson is sent off against Aldershot   Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Robinson is sent off against Aldershot Picture: Joe Pepler

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Andy Awford had ‘no complaints whatsoever’ with the dismissal of Paul Robinson in Pompey’s 2-2 draw with Aldershot in the FA Cup first round.

But the Blues boss accepted that the timing of the Millwall loanee’s sending off effectively cost the hosts any chance of winning the tie.

The experienced defender – who had been booked in the first half for a challenge on Brett Williams – was guilty of a mistimed tackle on Jordan Roberts in the 82nd minute, leaving the hosts to play out the remainder of the game with a one-man disadvantage.

The most frustrating part for Awford, though, was that Robinson’s early bath came less than a minute after skipper Danny Hollands had grabbed a late equaliser.

Awford said: ‘I’ve got no complaints whatsoever on the red card.

‘I don’t think the referee has any choice on that.

‘Paul is a very wholehearted player, though and I’m not going to stop him tackling.

‘That is the last thing that I want to do.

‘You’d like to think with his experience he could’ve maybe just held him (Roberts) up a bit more.

‘But Paul knows that – I dont need to tell him that.

‘We had the momentum then to maybe go on and win it.

‘But if you can’t win, you make sure you dont lose – and we made sure of that.’

Awford, though, did express his concern at the manner in which Pompey surrendered their first-half advantage on the stroke of half-time.

With the Blues ahead through Jed Wallace’s early penalty and seemingly set to take their advantage into the interval, disaster struck.

Nicky Shorey’s throw-in on the halfway line was underhit back to him by Craig Westcarr with Sam Hatton able to slide in to clear the ball down the line.

That allowed the impressive Dan Holman a free run at Joe Devera which the Shots winger made the most of to fashion an inviting cross that Jordan Roberts tapped home from two yards.

It was an opening that the hosts should not have allowed their visitors and Awford was quick to recognise that fact.

He said: ‘We’ve got the ball at a throw in and we were sloppy with that.

‘We need to be more professional, which we will make sure that we are next time.

‘We let them off the hook.

‘If we go in 1-0 up then I think that we go on and win the tie.

‘But they (Aldershot) got their tales up from the goal that they scored.’

Pompey will now travel to The Recreation Ground next week for the right to progress into the FA Cup second round.

– JEFF MARSHMAN