Appy sees the future as Blues leave it late

Ashley Harris heads home the opener. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122969-541)
Ashley Harris heads home the opener. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122969-541)

Michael Appleton revealed he had to preach patience to his Pompey troops to help them record their first league victory of the season.

The Blues boss was determined his side would make the most of their numerical advantage when Crawley were reduced to 10 men before half-time and then nine men with 20 minutes to go.

But along with many of his other roles at Fratton Park in recent times, Appleton appears to be something of a clairvoyant after predicting Pompey’s success to his troops.

He smiled: ‘Ironically, I told them at half-time we would win the game after 70 minutes and that’s how it turned out.

‘It’s always the risk when the opposition go down to 10 men that you can go really sloppy and lose your patience.

‘The opposition will work their socks off for 70 minutes and then someone will switch off and you get opportunities.

‘We were fortunate in terms of them going down to nine men but two bookings make a sending off these days.

‘We had to be even more disciplined when they went down to nine men because it became like defence versus attack and something you do in training.’

A key component in Pompey’s success was the late introduction of Ashley Harris and Appleton was pleased with his other young substitute, Adam Webster, who also made a big contribution.

Appleton said: ‘I could have quite easily made two more experienced changes.

‘When I brought Adam Webster on, I could have easily pushed Darel Russell into the back four or brought Jonny Ertl on.

‘But I just felt the way they were set up and the way we needed to beat them meant that those were the substitutions to make.

‘Ashley did well when he came on. I was pleased because he scored the goal and it was a fantastic ball from Adam, so we had two 17-year-olds contributing to getting us under way.

‘The fans played their part yet again. Every time we play away, it feels like a home game. The supporters have come helped us massively.’

Meanwhile, Pompey have been drawn at home to Wycombe Wanderers in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

The tie will be played in the week commencing October 8.

– STEVE WILSON