Former Blues coach happy to escape with a point

Lee Barnard equalises for Bournemouth. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-338)
Lee Barnard equalises for Bournemouth. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122768-338)

Paul Groves was pleased to escape from Fratton Park with a point.

The Bournemouth boss expected a tough examination from Pompey on the opening day of the League One season.

And he got just that in front of the vocal Fratton faithful.

The former Blues first-team coach said: ‘We knew it was going to be a difficult day.

‘With [Pompey] being able to sign players and from the atmosphere the fans set, we knew it would be tough out there.’

And to make matters worse for the Cherries, Pompey took the lead – albeit via a huge mistake from visiting goalkeeper Shwan Jalal.

But Groves backed his stopper to bounce back, while praising his side who coped well in the absence of three strikers.

‘Top goalkeepers all make mistakes but it’s how they respond and recover from that,’ said the boss.

‘If you take three strikers out of anyone’s squad, it leaves a bit of a hole.

‘I felt with Lee [Barnard], he is good quality and a good character.

‘He’s proven at this level and he fared well in the game.

‘I think we need to concentrate on what we’ve got in respect of trying to build a team.’