McLeod: Debut goal was worth the wait

Izale McLeod, left. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-192)
Izale McLeod, left. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-192)

Izale McLeod toasted his Pompey debut delight and insisted: It was worth the long wait.

The former Barnet player was finally able to sign for the Blues on Thursday after more than a month training with the club.

He responded with a goal on his Pompey bow in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Admittedly that opener was largely down to the generosity of Cherries keeper Shwan Jalal, who let the ball go through him to enter the net.

Nonetheless, it was an encouraging start for Michael Appleton’s new-look side, with 12 players in total making their debuts.

And McLeod was relieved to at last call himself a Pompey player after patiently waiting over the summer for a deal to be struck. He said: ‘There are a few of us here who have been in the building five or six weeks now, so we were always hopeful we would get signed up in time – and we did.

‘It has been testing but personally I always had the belief we would get everything done.

‘We are not completely there yet but are at a stage where we can play football, that’s all I want to do really.

‘The gaffer has shown faith in me and said he wanted to bring me here and I wanted to come.

‘As far as I was concerned that was it, there was no other club I wanted to go to. I am here and I am happy.

‘I have always had the bug. It’s just nice to get the season started really and I can’t wait to run out again tomorrow night.

‘We like to try to play football and I think that’s what we did on Saturday, especially in the first half.

‘In the second half Bournemouth came into it more and got the goal but I think there’s a lot to look forward to with the team we have got here.

‘As for my goal, I got the ball and turned inside and thought I would have a pop. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score.

‘I actually struck it quite well but it was straight at the keeper, thankfully it went in anyway.’

Despite netting on his debut, McLeod still couldn’t help but feel disappointed he didn’t grab a second.

A sublime Luke Rodgers 30-yard pass put the ex-MK Dons man clean through in the 49th minute, only for his attempted lob to be saved by the on-rushing Jalal.

That would have given Appleton’s men a 2-0 lead.

But instead Lee Barnard levelled in the 77th minute to secure a 1-1 draw.

McLeod added: ‘It was a great ball from Luke and I should have scored. I was a bit disappointed.

‘I didn’t really have to do much because the ball was so good. I just needed to chest it down.

‘I knew exactly what I wanted to do – lift it over the keeper – but I didn’t get enough on it. You score some, you miss some.’