Awford praises Wallace strength of character

Jed Wallace hits the winner. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace hits the winner. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford saluted Jed Wallace’s character after the midfielder bounced back to inspire a late, late Pompey victory.

The Blues’ leading scorer fluffed a 73rd-minute penalty against Exeter on Saturday, firing the ball high into the Fratton end.

Regardless, he never lost heart and just as the match appeared headed for a goalless draw the 20-year-old popped up in the 90th minute to grab a win.

For Awford, it was gutsy stuff from Wallace following his spot-kick disappointment as Pompey made it four matches unbeaten.

But the Blues boss believes, once again, the youngster demonstrated his mental strength.

He said: ‘Jed got better after that penalty miss and you could see his character is there.

‘From the day he walked into the football club out of non-league at the age of 16 I could see that character in him and the drive. You know what you are going to get out of him.

‘He frustrates me at times and he frustrates himself as well, but fair play to him, he keeps putting himself into those positions and the more you keep doing it, the more you score.

‘His character really stood up on Saturday, he still wants the ball, it would be easy out there in front of 14,000 to crumble but he has a proper attitude.

‘I am delighted for him, the goal was a quality finish.

‘I love those goals there is not so long to come back, but I think that is the spirit we are generating.

‘The players have worked so hard in the last batch of games we’ve had and I think should have had more points for that run for the performances.

‘Now we are starting to get the points, which is great.’

Wallace had previously netted from the spot against Dagenham & Redbridge, Shrewsbury and Aldershot this season.

That return had taken him to 12 goals before Saturday’s visit of the Grecians.

He will certainly not want to be reminded of his failure to net his penalty after Christian Ribeiro had felled Matt Tubbs.

Nonetheless, Awford believes the ever-confident Wallace will not want to relinquish his spot-kick duties at Cambridge next weekend.

He added: ‘There was a bit of a delay in taking it.

‘Was it a sending off for Christian Ribeiro, was it not? I think it was a sending off personally, he was last man and the referee got that wrong, thankfully it didn’t cost us.

‘But Jed has changed sides, he normally goes to the keeper’s right but there was a long time delay between getting it and taking it.

‘I don’t know the full reasons, I have never taken a penalty in that arena, I was never brave enough to step up.

‘He will want to take the next one though, that is the way he is.’