Emotional Adam Webster has been backed to learn from his red-card nightmare.
Danny Hollands believes the Pompey defender will learn from his first-half dismissal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Cambridge at Fratton Park.
Webster was given his marching orders for a reckless challenge on U’s winger Harrison Dunk.
The 19-year-old lunged in on Dunk when there was little threat and the ball deep in the visitor’s half.
That left referee Darren Sheldrake with little option but to dismiss the West Wittering talent for a second booking.
The incident made it hard work for Awford’s men, who were gaining the ascendancy after Ryan Taylor’s breakthrough.
But a mixture of grit and attacking play on the break saw Pompey gain the three points.
Hollands revealed Webster was floored by the first red card of his senior career.
He said: ‘We came in at half-time and Adam was devastated. He probably felt he let the team down.
‘But you have to come in, pick him up.
‘He’s made a mistake, but he has to learn from it.
‘He’s a young player who has to learn from the experience.
‘Adam is a good, young player and he will do well for the club over the season.
‘It’s a tough one what to say to him, because you go into the changing room and he’s almost in tears.
‘But we’ve dug him out and we can now come into training today and give him a bit of banter. We got the win, that’s the main thing.’
Webster’s dismissal paved the way for a second-half performance full of hard running from Pompey in the face of a tough test from the newly-promoted U’s.
Hollands believes the Fratton faithful would have learned plenty about the character that resides in their squad of players.
He said: ‘Some of the players who perhaps aren’t known for doing the ugly side of the game dug in.
‘It was a real team performance.
‘There were people throwing their bodies on the line.
‘It’s a pleasure to be part of because it’s games like that which will allow you to be part of something over the course of the season.
‘You have to win the three points and show character.
‘Hopefully there’s a few fans who went away from the game thinking we can do the ugly side of the game.’
Awford made five changes for Saturday’s game from the side which beat Peterborough in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
That included leaving out the likes of captain Ben Chorley, Andy Barcham and Johnny Ertl.
Hollands knows there will be rotation with Pompey possessing a decent squad.
He added: ‘It’s the manager’s choice.
‘Everyone is applying themselves in training. Whoever takes to the pitch has to take the chance.
‘The people who have come in have done really well
‘I’m sure those who are out of the team want their chance.
‘There’s a lot of games coming very, very quickly. Everyone has to play their part if we want to achieve something.’