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League Two

Andy Awford hails Portsmouth's 'fantastic' fans

5 April 2014

Caretaker manager Andy Awford praised his side's support after Portsmouth beat Hartlepool United 1-0 to ease relegation worries at Fratton Park.

Awford called upon the Portsmouth fans to make a 'wall of noise' ahead of his first home game as caretaker manager, and he feels the supporters created an intimidating atmosphere for the Hartlepool players.

"I wouldn't have wanted to be a Hartlepool playing in that atmosphere in the first 15 minutes," he said.

"That's what I wanted and that's what we got.

"It was absolutely fantastic from everybody, the players, the fans and the staff. That was everybody pulling together for the football club and making sure we got three points.

"It was terrific, it made the hairs on the back of your necks tingle. That's the benchmark on the pitch and it was also the benchmark off it.

"The relationship I've got with the supporters is fantastic. They know me and I know them.

"We all know what we need to do. The players have got it, because that was some effort from the boys today, they were terrific.

"That's what it's about for me and that's Pompey.

"If I was to have one gripe today we should have scored more goals in the first half."

Portsmouth took the lead in the second minute when right-back Adam Webster tapped into an open net, after goalkeeper Andy Rafferty denied Ryan Taylor.

Webster, 19, had been out on loan and did not return from his loan spell at Aldershot until Thursday.

Awford said: "Adam came back on Thursday afternoon, I had a chat with him. He trained on Friday and then he's gone out there and got the goal.

"It's a dream for Adam and I'm delighted for him, he's a great kid.

"He's been out on loan learning his trade, which we thought was best for him at the beginning of the season. He's come back today and I thought he was fantastic."

The hosts had a great chance to double their lead just a minute after when they were awarded a penalty after Wes Fogden was tripped in the box, but Rafferty saved Taylor's spot-kick.

Hartlepool manager Colin Cooper was unhappy with his side's horror start to the game.

"First half wasn't good enough, it's that simple," he said.

"In the second half we came out and set our ground a little bit better but at least there was more huffing and puffing in their half.

"What can you expect from Portsmouth in front of their own fans? They want a few points and they won away last week with some really grit and determination so why wouldn't they be up for it?

"To allow the ball in your own box and defend the way we did, that's not good enough."

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