Writer: Neil Dawson
Date:Saturday August 18 2012
18th August 2012, 3pm
Bournemouth and Portsmouth slugged out an opening day draw in a steamy Fratton Park. A calamitous Jalal error had Pompey fans dreaming of a great start against the odds........but on loan Saints star Barnard was their pantomime villain with a late equaliser.
Groves rang the changes after the insipid defeat at Oxford. Arter, Tubbs and Zubar made way for debutants O'Kane, Barnard and Elphick respectively. It made little change though with Pompey, cheered on by a raucous large home support making all the running. Corner after corner rained in on Jalal but were well dealt with by the solid Addison and Elphick.
Bournemouth though had the best early chance when Thomas was played in by Barnard but his first time shot smacked back off the post when he should have buried it.
Thomas would have been rueing that miss when Portsmouth took the lead with a goal that Jalal will not want to watch back tonight. When MCCLEOD lined up a shot 30 yards out it should have caused no problem as it went hard and low straight at the keeper. To the shock of the 2800 away fans though it went through Jalal's legs as he got his dive horribly wrong and trickled over the line to make three quarters of the stadium explode.
Jalal was clearly shaken and moments later he dropped a Roger's cross at the feet of Mccleod but he fired over when it was easier to score. Portsmouth were fired up and Bournemouth could not keep the ball or muster any shape other than to play on the break with only Barnard looking lively out of the front six. There was a drastic lack of width and with Daniels and Francis pinned back by Pompey's flying wingers it was poor change for the travelling thousands. We deliberately condensed the game to play quick football but with Macdonald off the pace and Partington careless we got swamped - allowing Portsmouth to double up out wide. Strange that it took 70 minutes to spot.
Bournemouth rallyed before half time but once again the old weakness of finishing hampered their efforts. Thomas headed over at the far post from two yards - Macdonald fired over unopposed from 15 yards and Addison fired weakly at a defender on the line when he could have smashed it.
HT Portsmouth 1 Bournemouth 0
The second half started as the first half ended. Groves made no tactical or manpower changes and Portsmouth exploited us down the flanks as we tried to play through the middle with misplaced passing. Rogers fired wide with a golden opportunity to double the lead after one dreadful Partington back-pass and Mccleod fired over after a barnstorming run.
At the other end Thomas again missed a great headed chance from Francis's cross and O'Kane thumped a long range effort just wide but again it was all on the break and not the product of sustained football.
Eventually Groves made some changes and it paid off. Grabban arrived to give natural width on the right - O'Kane moving into the middle and Macdonald departing. Grabban then had an instant chance to be a hero but fired badly over with Pompey keeper Andersen stranded having beaten out Thomas's fierce drive. It was a golden opportunity and with Bournemouth now starting to find width and stretch Portsmouth's tired legs Grabban thumped another drive that was brilliantly tipped over by Andersen.
Arter then replaced Partington and Tubbs arrived for Thomas as Bournemouth threw the kitchen sink at it. Tubbs was first into the action missing a gilt edged header as Pugh's cross found him six yards out and it was beginning to look like the Cherries would never score. BARNARD had other ideas though. Barracked senseless throughout the match by unforgiving Portsmouth fans he produced the perfect answer as he rose to meet Francis's exquisite cross with a thumping header.
Portsmouth had a late rally but a tremendous Elphick block stopped Roger's in his tracks and Jalal saved brilliantly when Mcleod was clean through.
FT Portsmouth 1 Bournemouth 1
Jalal 5 - Nervy and costly. Kicking Ok.
Francis 7 - Main flank threat and great crossing. Solid at back.
Addison 7 - Dominant physical presence on the pitch.
Elphick 7 - Assured and comfortable some great tackles and blocks.
Daniels 6 - Quieter going forwards and some rushed distribution.
O'Kane 6 - Quiet on wing - looked great when restored to centre.
Partington 5 - Gave ball away too much and dominated by Howard.
Macdonald 5 - Stuttered before being removed - fully fit?
Pugh 6 - Kept drifting position and in and out of game.
Thomas 5 - Worked hard but finishing dreadful again
Barnard 8 - Industrious and goalscoring debut and my MOM.
Date:Saturday August 18 2012
Pitman: No-one expected us to go up that day (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Mitchell: Season ticket sales are fantastic (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Mitchell: We can't break the rules (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Howe: We are going to need an edge (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Tubbs: Howe & Tindall turned the club on its head (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Arter linked with Premier League move (Monday May 20 2013)
Meades departs Dean Court (Monday May 20 2013)
Howe: We delivered when the pressure was on (Friday May 17 2013)
Ritchie: It`s my best achievement (Friday May 17 2013)
Addison: Biggest challenge of my career (Friday May 17 2013)
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