Awfs salutes ‘special’ Academy moment

Nick Awford's shot from long range booked Pompey's place in the next round of the FA Youth Cup
Nick Awford's shot from long range booked Pompey's place in the next round of the FA Youth Cup

Andy Awford has saluted the ‘special’ moment which took Pompey’s Academy into the third round of the FA Youth Cup.

The youngsters defeated 10-man Woking 2-1 at Fratton Park on Tuesday evening.

They have now been given a tough trip to Bolton in a fixture yet to be scheduled.

The match-winner was Nick Awford, who struck a magnificent 30-yard effort to clinch victory.

It was only the second goal the midfielder has netted since becoming a Blues scholar.

Earlier, Liam Triggs’ close-range goal had been cancelled out by the visitors’ Danny Taylor.

Then, in the 57th minute, Awford struck in front of the Fratton end.

Academy manager Andy Awford said: ‘We won it with a great strike.

‘It was a 30-35 yarder from Nick which flew into the top corner.

‘Sometimes in a cup competition you need something special to get you through and that was what it was.

‘It was Nick’s second goal for the youth team in two years. The other was a tap-in against Aldershot at home this year.

‘If you don’t buy a ticket you don’t win a raffle and I’m just pleased it nestled in the top corner.

‘It was going to need something like that because our final-third play wasn’t good enough on the night.

‘It might have needed a set-piece, shot from distance or mistake from them to win the game.

‘Fortunately, it was a great strike which did it and it is Bolton away next, which is a toughie because they are top of their league.’

Woking impressed during the first half and the match was square at 1-1 at half-time.

Yet, within two minutes of the restart, Isaac Nkosi was sent off.

The Cards’ captain received a second yellow, with his latest infringement being a foul on substitute Jae Heon Kim.

That handed the initiative to the hosts and in the 57th minute Nick Awford swooped.

It was a stunning strike from the second-year scholar which gave keeper Liam Allen no chance.

The majority of the 561 Fratton Park crowd stood on their feet to applaud.

But Awford remained disappointed with his team’s overall performance.

He added: ‘The first half we didn’t move the ball quick enough – right from the goalkeeper, right the way through the team.

‘In the second half we did, it was better, we passed it and we moved.

‘Their lad got sent off – which I thought was a bit harsh – and once they had 10 we kept the ball really well.

‘But then when we get the opportunity in the final third we have got to kill them off.

‘Our final-third play was either a sloppy ball or a bad decision, or didn’t quite finish it for whatever reason.

‘At 2-1 they were always in it. If it had gone 3-1 up it would have gone four or five.

‘Maybe their heads would have dropped a little bit, they were running out of steam. A lot of their lads had cramp, which I could understand.’