Andy Awford paid tribute to Pompey’s professionalism as they claimed a well-earned 2-0 win over Northampton.
Two quality goals from Jed Wallace and Craig Westcarr proved to be the difference in a first-half display that produced some exceptional attacking play at times.
While the second period did not quite hit the same heights, the Blues saw the game out with Paul Jones barely called into action as the players ahead of him ensured he remained protected.
Awford said: ‘I thought we were thoroughly professional in the way we went about it.
‘We got 2-0 up and deservedly so.
‘But I thought we saw the game out magnificently after that.
‘The players did exactly what was asked of them and I couldn’t be more pleased with them.
‘I think Northampton will have a good season so it’s a big win for us.
‘It was a great performance against a good side.’
Awford was also delighted that his decision to go with a two-man strikeforce had paid dividends with new striker, Craig Westcarr, grabbing his first goal for the club.
Awford said: ‘I just thought Ryan Taylor and Craig Westcarr were better suited to this game.
‘Against Cambridge, I felt Miles Storey’s pace was better in a wide area.
‘But I’m glad that Craig got off the mark.
‘I knew he would score when he went through.
‘I was really confident and I think he was as well. He practises a lot and he took it really well.
‘Centre-forwards want to be scoring goals.
‘We played two men up front – it wasn’t a split between the two of them with one playing behind the other.
‘I told them that I wanted them both to play up front because I felt we could cause them some problems having two right up there.
‘It worked well and the work-rate that Tayls gets through is ridiculous.’
Awford added: ‘Jed’s was a really good finish as well.
‘We joked with him about the one at Exeter bobbling in but that has flown in.
‘He works very hard on his left foot and that has paid off.
‘I’m delighted for everyone. It was a good team display.’
- STEVE WILSON