AW­FORD’S BAT­TLE CRY IS ECHOED

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Thomas Han­nah To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

ANDY AW­FORD got ex­actly what he wanted and more from ev­ery­one at Portsmouth af­ter claim­ing the Frat­ton Park faith­ful fright­ened the life out of Hartle­pool.

The stand-in boss called on the home faith­ful to make life un­com­fort­able for Hartle­pool and how they did it in a dream start.

With his play­ers fired up and the crowd rau­cous, Pom­pey were ahead in the sec­ond minute and had a penalty to dou­ble their ad­van­tage two min­utes later.

That Hartle­pool keeper Andy Raf­ferty saved Ryan Tay­lor’s penalty but it didn’t mat­ter in the over­all pic­ture, as the tap in by right-back Adam Web­ster was enough to win it.

A sec­ond suc­ces­sive win put his side five points clear of the drop zone and Aw­ford in­sisted the crowd has been the stars of the show.

“It’s a dream start, I would not have wanted to be a Hartle­pool player in that at­mos­phere, in the first 10-15 min­utes. Ev­ery­one bought into it – play­ers, staff, sup­port­ers and that’s ev­ery­one pulling in the right di­rec­tion,’’ he said.

“We got the win and that’s what it’s about for me – that’s Pom­pey. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up, that’s the bench­mark on the pitch and that’s the bench­mark off it as well.

“If we get that in the next two home games, we can have the same out­come. It’s a spe­cial day.

“The re­la­tion­ship I have with the sup­port­ers is fan­tas­tic. I know it, the play­ers are get­ting it and they’ve got it – they were all ter­rific. My only gripe is we didn’t score more and kill the game off.’’

The dream start ar­rived when a deep Ricky Holmes free-kick was headed at goal by de­fender Jack What­mough, Raf­ferty saved and Web­ster tapped in.

He only re­turned from a loan spell at Alder­shot on Thurs­day and this was his first start of the sea­son.

“I got Adam back from Alder­shot and we man­aged to keep it quiet that he was com­ing back. I thank them for that,’’ said Aw­ford. “I didn’t want Hartle­pool know­ing and we will take any ad­van­tage we can use. He’s gone out there, scored and I’m de­lighted for him, he’s a great kid.We are still five points in front of the bot­tom two, we keep go­ing. If we play at that in­ten­sity we can reach higher.’’

Other chances on goal for both sides were scarce. Pom­pey’s high en­ergy game scared Pools in the firsthalf, who never got started and have now lost four games in a row.

Boss Colin Cooper said: “First-half was not good enough, not ac­cept­able. Sec­ond-half we came out and stood our ground a bit bet­ter and had a bit more huff and puff in their half.

“I ex­pected them to come out fly­ing, in front of their home fans, seek­ing points to stay up and they had a good win last week. Why wouldn’t they? To de­fend in the way we did wasn’t good enough and we

did it again two min­utes later.”

PIC­TURES: Joe Pe­pler/Dig­i­tal South

POACHER: Adam Web­ster scores the open­ing goal

SPOT OF BOTHER: Ryan Tay­lor misses a penalty

STAR MAN MICHA

EL DUCKW

ORTH Hartlep

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