On this day: Portsmouth start campaign with comfortable victory over Nottingham Forest

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On this day in 2002, Pompey launched their Division One campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest before a crowd of 18,910 at Fratton Park.

With seven players making their debut, the Blues played with vigour and quality.

Deon Burton gave the hosts the lead after seven minutes.

Arjan De Zeeuw cleared off the line before Vincent Pericard doubled Pompey's advantage with a header on the stroke of half time.

The game was played in tremendous heat and not surprisingly the tempo slowed down in the second half, with the Blues content to play out the clash and collect their first three points of the season.

Paul Merson had arrived on the eve on game game and declared he planned to help Harry Redknapp’s men achieve promotion into the Premiership.

Paul Merson on his Pompey debut against Forest. Picture: Matthew Ashton

Paul Merson on his Pompey debut against Forest. Picture: Matthew Ashton

He said: ‘It’s my job to get us into the Premiership.

‘In two years time I shall retire, and my job will hopefully have been done. If Portsmouth are not in the Premiership it doesn’t bear thinking about. It will be a horrible way to end my career if we don’t achieve that.’

Pompey: Shaka Hislop, Eddie Howe (Linvoy Primus), Hayden Foxe, Arjan De Zeeuw, Gary O’Neil, Carl Robinson, Nigel Quashie, Matt Taylor, Paul Merson, Deon Burton, Vincent Pericard.

Nottm Forest:  Darren Ward, John Thompson (Marlon Harewood), Marcus Hall, Jon Olav Hjelde, Des Walker, Louis-Jean, Gareth Williams, Riccy Scimeca, David Prutton, Jim Brennan (Jack Lester), David Johnson.

Deon Burton  Picture: Steve Reid

Deon Burton Picture: Steve Reid

Meanwhile, Millwall were thrashed 6-0 at home by Rotherham United – with Darren Byfireld scoring four goals for the Millers.

Brighton claimed a 3-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.

In Division Three, AFC Bournemouth drew 2-2 away to Boston United. The fastest goal in England was scored by Francis Green of Peterborough United at Luton after 84 seconds.

In the Scottish Premier League, Celtic made it six points from two matches with a 4-0 victory away to Aberdeen.

Pompey Academy made hard work of what should have been a comfortable pre-season friendly victory against Colchester United. They eventually won 3-2, the goals coming from James Crawford (2) and Matthew Harfield.

The Hawks fell to defeat in their final pre-season friendly, going down 2-0 at home to Grays Athletic while Bornorbeat Radcliffe Borough 2-1 with their goals being scored by Kevin Murphy and Mark Jackson.

A fan attacked an injured a referee David McHugh at the start of the second half in the Tri-Nations rugby union match between South Africa and New Zealand.

- ROGER HOLMES