Awford insists Pompey’s desire cannot be questioned

Miles Storey rues a missed chance for Pompey in their 2-2 draw with Aldershot in the FA Cup yesterday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Miles Storey rues a missed chance for Pompey in their 2-2 draw with Aldershot in the FA Cup yesterday. Picture: Joe Pepler

ANDY AWFORD saw Pompey booed off the pitch after the 2-2 FA Cup draw with Aldershot but promised the Fratton faithful: We are giving our all.

The Blues took an early lead in the first-round tie when Jed Wallace fired home a penalty after Craig Westcarr had been upended in the box.

But the Conference Premier outfit fought back to equalise on the stroke of half-time through Jordan Roberts.

And an upset appeared on the cards when Mark Molesley netted in front of 2,446 travelling Shots fans after substitute Ben Close had been caught in possession.

But Awford’s League Two side fought back to equalise through Danny Hollands’ header before holding out for a replay after Paul Robinson had been sent off following a second yellow card.

The Blues failed to live up to the highs of recent Fratton Park victories over Stevanage and Carlisle.

And despite a late rally to ensure their proud record of never losing to a non-league club in the Cup continued, some sections of the Blues support felt a replay at the Recreation Ground next week was an unacceptable end to a disappointing performance.

That led to one angry supporter confronting Awford on his way to the tunnel.

The Pompey manager said: ‘The fans pay their money and they support the football club through thick and thin throughout the game – of course they do.

‘If a couple of fans want to boo then they are entitled to do that – they pay their money.

‘I’m not going to criticise them for that.

‘All I can say to the fans is that we are giving it our absolute all.

‘If they think that’s not the case then I can reassure them it is.’

Awford, though, had no complaints with the result.

He said: ‘We weren’t quite good enough to beat Aldershot but hopefully we will be in the replay.

‘The bit I’m annoyed and disappointed with is the first half where we didn’t turn the screw.

‘We should have kept going and got a second goal.

‘We allowed them to counter attack and score, which gave them a massive lift and deflated us a little bit.

‘Credit to Aldershot, they have come out in the second half and pushed us back and got the second goal – it’s a mistake, which happens.

‘But we’ve shown character to come back into the game, equalise and make sure we are still in the hat.

‘I think overall it was probably a fair result.’

The draw for the second round of the FA Cup takes place tonight (7pm).

And with Pompey still in the reckoning, Awford is keen to see his side continue their unbeaten record against non-league opponents.

He said: ‘I’m pleased that record is still there and I’m hoping it will still be there in eight days time.’