Ryan Taylor believes Andy Awford’s quick thinking saved him from a red card at Newport.
It was a mixed day for the Blues striker who won and converted a first-half penalty to put Pompey on their way to a 2-1 success that gave them some much-needed breathing space near the bottom of League Two.
But he also walked a dangerous disciplinary tightrope and looked like he was about to be sent off at one stage when the caretaker boss acted swiftly and substituted him instead.
Taylor was booked during a meleé involving several players from both teams in the immediate aftermath of the dreadful tackle on Danny Hollands that saw Newport’s Adam Chapman sent off.
And Taylor was then probably fortunate to avoid a red card when a mistimed tackle early in the second half left the home fans baying for blood and imploring referee Steve Bratt to even things up and show the Blues front man a second yellow.
But as the referee took his time to issue a final warning, it meant the Blues boss hurriedly got Jake Jervis ready to come on to ensure it stayed 11 v 10.
Taylor said: ‘I said at half-time to the manager and coaching staff that I thought the referee was dying to send me off.
‘He kept pulling me to one side and telling me it was my last one any time I did anything.
‘It was probably the right thing to do to take me off, to be honest.
‘The home fans were going crazy trying to get me sent off when it wasn’t evan a bad tackle.
‘But when the referee pulled Johnny (Ertl) over as captain, I thought I’d got away with it and he told me it was a last warning.
‘Then I saw Jake was ready to come on and I was going off.
‘Thankfully, I was substituted rather than sent off.
‘Obviously, I would have rather stayed on the pitch to help the boys out and it was pretty hard watching the last half-an-hour or so.
‘But I had no problem being subbed. I understood the decision.
‘I’m experienced enough to know why he (Awford) did it.’
Taylor, who took his goal tally to four in Pompey colours since his January arrival from Bristol City, was honest enough to admit he could have walked moments after Chapman did.
He said: ‘When the incident happened where I got booked, I thought he was going to send me off there and then.
‘I went rushing over and it’s not really like me to get involved like that.
‘I didn’t actually mean to shove their lad but when you see a tackle go in like that on your team-mate, you want to back him up and things can get a bit heated now and again!’
Although he was forced to watch the remaining 37 minutes from the bench, Taylor was delighted with the win.
He said: ‘It’s exactly what we needed.
‘We’ve opened up a five-point gap between ourselves and the relegation zone but we need to take each game as it comes and keep racking the points up to get ourselves safe as soon as possible.
‘That’s the main aim, but the sooner we get ourselves safe, the better.’