Portsmouth began life in League One with a well earned draw against south coast rivals Bournemouth.
Debutant Izale McLeod’s long range effort managed to squeeze under Bournemouth keeper Shwan Jalal before Southampton loanee Lee Barnard headed home with just over ten minutes to go.
Portsmouth started the game with eleven debutants as Appleton signed ten new players on short term deals and wrapped up loan deals for four others on Thursday. With the financial troubles surrounding the club, the fans poured into Fratton Park to get a look at the new players and support their team, knowing that the end could be round the corner.
They won’t be disheartened by what they saw from their new team. A bright start saw central defender Paul Connolly wastefully head over at the back post after good work from Jack Compton. A momentary lapse saw Bournemouth striker Wes Thomas nearly silence the Fratton faithful but his effort hit the post and was cleared to safety.
That let off sparked Portsmouth into life. After good work by Izale McLeod, he opened his Portsmouth account by hitting a shot from 25 yards and somehow Jalal managed to let it go under his legs when it should have been a routine save.
Portsmouth were gaining momentum and certainly did not look like a team who had been brought together just two days before. Good efforts from Compton and Jon Harley tested Jalal and he had to be quick off the line to deny Luke Rodgers after summer signing Tommy Elphick miss-kicked.
Another gaffe from Jalal almost allowed Portsmouth to double their lead. Luke Rodgers’ low cross was poorly dealt with and McLeod fired over when he should have scored.
Into the second half and Portsmouth started brightly. McLeod brought out the best out of Jalal as he raced through one on one. But Bournemouth were creating more chances and should have been equal on the hour. Portsmouth keeper Andersen could only parry Thomas’ effort and Lewis Grabban fired over with his first touch since coming on.
Grabban was again causing problems. His effort was struck into the ground but then looped up and Andersen had to be at his very best, pulling off a fantastic save to tip the ball over for a corner.
Minutes later Bournemouth got their rewards for their pressure in the second half. Simon Francis whipped in a great cross and Southampton loanee Lee Barnard had the simple task of heading in from six yards.
With the game poised to finish as a draw, there was one last effort from Portsmouth youth product Ashley Harris to send the home crowd home happy. But his long rangestrike struck the post and was eventually cleared to safety.