Last-gasp Varney rescues point at Boro

Luke Varney celebrates his late equaliser
Luke Varney celebrates his late equaliser
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Luke Varney was the stoppage-time hero as he rescued Pompey an opening day point at Boro.

The debut boy pounced late on to salvage a 2-2 draw at the Riverside in the first game of the Convers Sports Initiatives era.

It looked like a goal in each half would send Steve Cotterill’s men tumbling to a loss in their Championship opener.

But Varney was there to fire home from new-boy Christian Dailly’s blocked shot to collect a pleasing point.

Marvin Emnes opened the scoring after 24 minutes for Boro following an even start, when he spun Ricardo Rocha and beat Jamie Ashdown.

But Varney’s fellow newbie David Norris levelled two minutes after the restart with a great 20-yard drive.

Norris danced a jig of delight in front of the 600 travelling fans who had made the trip north in the teeming rain.

Boro were back in front seven minutes later, though, when Rhys Williams took advantage of more sloppy defending to finish.

It looked as if it wasn’t going to be Pompey’s day as they pushed for a leveller late on.

Cotterill threw on Ryan Williams and Dailly for their debuts as he searched for an equaliser.

And it was Dailly who played a key role in earning the draw as he let fly with a 30 yard drive – which Varney latched on to in predatory fashion to send Pompey fans home happy.