Awford praise for troops after Exeter opener

Jed Wallace celebrates his equaliser at Exeter Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace celebrates his equaliser at Exeter Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has praised his Pompey troops for the second-half transformation which kicked off their season.

Blues fans were contemplating another League Two opening-day defeat after entering half-time 1-0 down at Exeter,

It capped a disappointing opening 45 minutes from the visitors, who leaked another poor goal during a below-par showing.

After the break, however, Pompey conjured up a pulsating showing to deservedly level through Jed Wallace.

In the end, the Grecians were hanging on for the point and Awford spoke of his delight at his side’s reaction.

‘The important thing in that first half was not to be out of sight because we didn’t play particularly well, we could all see that,’ said Awford.

‘But they dug in and in the second half gave their absolute everything and deserved a point, definitely, and maybe could have nicked all three.

‘Overall, I am pleased with the point. I said to the lads we got one more point than we had this time last year and go again tomorrow night and then Saturday.

‘Sometimes you get caught up in the euphoria of the first game and it’s a little bit nerve-racking. We have all played in them and that is my first as a manager, obviously.

‘We got caught up maybe in that, which was a bit disappointing, but the players had an excellent second half. I can’t give the players enough credit for turning it around.

‘We have created a lot of chances in the second half, a lot of opportunities, but haven’t been able to take another one.

‘However, if you would have offered me a point at half-time I would have taken it, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘Obviously, once you have scored and are in the ascendancy you are looking to go on and win it, and we just didn’t quite get there. But, overall, I am pleased and we will look to improve as we go on.’

Creator of Wallace’s equaliser was substitute Nigel Atangana, marking his Football League debut.

Along with Miles Storey, the pair made a real impact coming off the bench during the second period to pep up Pompey.

And Awford recognised the summer arrivals’ contribution in the subsequent 1-1 draw.

He added: ‘In the second half we moved the ball a lot quicker from side to side and the spare players were our full-backs.

‘Nicky Shorey and Adam Webster had so much of the ball it was frightening, but we couldn’t quite get the second goal which was a shame.

‘Nigel came on and went in there and it was a great ball, a great weight of pass, and Jed has done the rest. He practices that a lot – coming in off the line all day – and I am really pleased for him.

‘Miles Storey has got pace, as we can all see. You have got to have those options to come off the bench and allow us to make those changes – and they were positive.’