The day route one rattled Shakers

Wes Fogden celebrates his last-gasp equaliser against Bury Picture: Joe Pepler
Wes Fogden celebrates his last-gasp equaliser against Bury Picture: Joe Pepler

IT WAS an approach which sparked the great Gigg Lane fightback last April.

And Andy Awford promised he won’t be afraid to return to a route-one approach again, if it’s needed to change a game.

Last season’s 4-4 comeback draw against Bury was one of the highlights of a memorable finale to the campaign.

That kept up an unbeaten run which spanned seven games, as Pompey secured their place in League Two.

A leftfield call from Awford to throw on Sonny Bradley in the 79th minute when the score was 3-1, and use the defender as a makeshift striker, sparked the late charge.

It may not have been the boss’ preferred approach to the game but it was a decision which paid dividends.

Bradley forced an own goal in the 88th minute to make the score 4-3 before Wes Fogden struck in stoppage-time to level.

‘We brought Sonny on late at Bury with the score 3-1,’ said Awford.

‘There was 11 minutes left, so we sent him on to cause a bit of chaos – which he managed to do.

‘We got a goal back, but then it went 4-2, so, after that, we really knew we had to do something different.

‘Then Danny Hollands’ long throw came out, which I’d never seen before.

‘So that surprised everyone, really. All that went into it.

‘I didn’t want to make the change if Sonny didn’t want to but he was as good as gold and said “I’ll have a go, gaffer”. So on he went – and it paid off.

‘Their keeper, Brian Jensen, ended up coming to punch the ball from a long throw and totally missed it to make it 4-4. Sometimes it takes that.

‘You see it sometimes these days, people throw another body up and throw caution to the wind. You have nothing to lose at the end of the day.

‘Managers sometimes get to that stage with five minutes to go – and sometimes it pays off.’

Awford pinpointed John O’Shea’s late equaliser for Republic of Ireland against world champions Germany this week as an example that mixing things up can have success at the very highest level.

He feels all options have to be considered to get a result – and isn’t snobbish about how it’s achieved.

Awford said: ‘Look at John O’Shea. He goes and plays up front for five minutes against the world champions – and scores.

‘Sometimes doing something a bit out of the ordinary works.

‘I had Jake Jervis on the bench that day, who most people thought would come on if we went direct.

‘But I felt we needed something totally different to give the shock or wow factor.

‘You have to be prepared for making changes. There’s nothing wrong with having a direct option.

‘It’s not my preferred option but if plan A isn’t working you need plan B or C.

‘If Sonny Bradley going on and chucking it long to him is one of those options, then do it.

‘You have to try everything to win a game of football.

‘Last Saturday, plan A was clearly not working, so we went with plan B and, when that fizzled out we threw on Miles Storey with his pace.

‘You are always trying different things chasing a game or trying to get a goal to win it.’