Portsmouth old guard endure rocky starts to life away from Fratton Park on opening day of new League One season

None of Pompey’s old guard contributed to wins for their new sides as the new League One season kicked off yesterday.

By Mark McMahon
Sunday, 8th August 2021, 2:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th August 2021, 2:48 pm

The Blues said goodbye to 13 senior players at the end of last season, with nine of them moving to rivals in the third tier.

Fresh starts were the order of the day as Danny Cowley was charged with overseeing a huge Fratton Park overhaul.

But only Bryn Morris was celebrating a victory come 5pm on Saturday evening – and even he couldn’t take any of the credit as he watched all of Burton’s 1-0 win at Shrewsbury from the bench, with boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink failing to call on the midfielder.

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Morris’ vantage point would have been better than the one afforded to former team-mate James Bolton at Plymouth, though.

The defender had to sit out the Pilgrims’ 2-0 defeat at Rotherham because of an ankle injury he picked up at the start of pre-season training with his new club.

That prevented him taking part in any of Plymouth’s seven pre-season friendlies.

And it’s likely to cost him an immediate impact at Home Park, with the 26-year-old expected to be missing from action until October.

Craig MacGillivray made his Carlton debut in the Addicks' goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Jordy Hiwula took no part in Doncaster Rovers’ season-opener against AFC Wimbledon – a game that saw the Dons claim a 2-1 win at the Keepmoat.

The striker is currently out with an ankle injury as well and had to watch on from the stands as Donny suffered defeat on day one of the season.

Ben Close did play, though, as he made his competitive debut for his new side.

He was one of 10 Doncaster debutants and featured for the entire 90 minutes as the hosts came up short.

Keeper Craig MacGillivray also got a full game under his belt as Charlton could only manage a goalless draw at home to a Sheffield Wednesday side that had former Fratton Park loanee George Byers on the bench.

The midfielder wasn’t called into action, though, as he builds up his fitness following his recent Hillsborough arrival.

Ryan Williams saw his Oxford debut cut short after he was substituted on 57 minutes in the U’s’ 1-1 draw with Cambridge.

Yet he still had a productive day as he set up Steve Seddon’s goal in the Abbey Stadium.

Tom Nayor was also substituted on his maiden Wigan outing as the Latics lost 2-1 at Sunderland.

The midfielder was replaced on 88 minutes at the Stadium of Light as the away side chased the game.

Yet fellow new-boy Jack Whatmough played the entire match as Wigan’s campaign got off to a losing start.

There was better news for Andy Cannon in the Championship as last season’s League One winners secured a 4-1 win at Hull.

He was named on the bench for the fixture at Deepdale.

But minutes after coming on as a stoppage-time substitute, he popped up to score Hull’s fourth goal on his debut.