Blues fall just short of first victory
David Connolly’s brace was not enough for Pompey to record their first victory of the season at the Store First Stadium.
The Blues fell behind early in the second half courtesy of Peter Murphy’s fine long-range finish.
But Connolly soon fired them level and his second from the spot got the 1,001 travelling fans dreaming of three points.
Accrington refused to accept defeat, however, and Murphy’s header meant the spoils were shared in front of the Sky cameras.
Guy Whittingham made three changes from the side that lost to Oxford on the opening day.
Phil Smith replaced John Sullivan between the sticks, while Danny East and Romain Padovani came in for Dan Butler and the suspended Johnny Ertl.
There was a familiar face in the hosts’ line-up, with former Pompey striker Danny Webber starting for Stanley.
Accrington made a flying start and almost broke the deadlock after just 32 seconds.
Nicky Hunt whipped a fine cross into the box from wide on the wide, but Marcus Carver could not quite guide his header on target.
But Pompey soon settled and only some disappointing final balls saw them fail to test Ian Dunbavin in the hosts’ goal.
The Blues were dominating possession, although it was Accrington enjoying the better chances and debutant Kal Naismith went close with a free-kick that curled narrowly over on 14 minutes.
However, the visitors were so close to taking the lead soon after, with Michael Liddle forced to clear off the line after Sonny Bradley had met Jed Wallace’s corner with a thumping header.
A moment of uncertainty from Dunbavin then allowed Andy Barcham to race onto Wallace’s pass, but the winger’s low cross was turned wide by Patrick Agyemang.
Both sides were looking dangerous going forward, though, and Smith did well to deny Murphy on 28 minutes.
Bradley was a particular threat for Pompey from set-pieces and again rose highest In the box to head Wallace’s corner inches past the post.
Agyemang then tried an ambitious over-head effort from just inside the area, but the ball flew comfortably into Dunbavin’s arms.
The striker was making life difficult for the Stanley defence and almost fired Pompey ahead just before the break.
Agyemang shrugged off a couple of challenges and played a neat one-two with Connolly, but his stinging low drive was just about kept out by Dunbavin.
The keeper could not hold onto the ball, however, and had to grab it at the second attempt before Connolly could take advantage.
Barcham then embarked on an amazing run from inside his own half, waltzing past three players and sliding the ball goalwards, but Hunt was well-placed to hack clear from the line.
Half Time: Accrington 0 Pompey 0
Pompey looked in total control at the end of the first half, but found themselves behind just after the restart.
Webber pulled the ball back for Murphy, who spotted Smith off his line and sent a superb 30-yard lob over the keeper and into the net.
Things almost got worse for the Blues, but Bradley managed to clear off the line after Michael Richardson had prodded the ball goalwards.
That let-off seemed to shock Pompey back into life and they were back on level terms thanks to a well-worked goal on 57 minutes.
Padovani whipped in a fine cross from the right and Agyemang headed the ball down for CONNOLLY to coolly convert.
And they almost found themselves ahead moments later, with Dunbavin having to move quickly across goal to keep out Padovani’s audacious snap-shot from distance.
The Blues were now full of confidence and Barcham was next to go close, firing into the side netting following good build-up play from Agyemang and Connolly.
And the visitors thought they should have won a penalty on 67 minutes when the ball bounced up in the area and struck Rob Atkinson on the arm.
But the Blues were awarded a spot-kick on 78 minutes after Agyemang was hauled down by Tom Aldred and CONNOLLY kept his composure to stroke the ball home.
Accrington tried to hit back immediately and it took some fine defending from Yassin Moutaouakil to stop Kal Naismith from converting a cross at the far post.
They did level on 85 minutes, however, when Aldred swung in a cross from the right and Murphy rose highest to head home from close range.
But Pompey wanted more than a point and Barcham’s low drive clipped the post, while Wallace’s follow-up was kept out by Dunbavin.
And substitute Ryan Bird fired over the crossbar in stoppage-time as the Blues were forced to settle for a draw.
Accrington: Dunbavin; Hunt (c), Aldred, Atkinson, Liddle; Naismith, Murphy, Richardson (Joyce 65), Hatfield (Mingoia 65); Webber, Carver (Gray 71)
Goals: Murphy 48, 85
Subs not used: Winnard, Wilson, Miller, McCartan
Pompey: Smith; Moutaouakil, Devera (c), Bradley, East; Wallace, Ferry, Padovani, Barcham; Agyemang (Bird 88), Connolly
Goals: Connolly 57, (pen) 79
Subs not used: Sullivan, N’Gala, Butler, Holmes, Harris, Craddock
Referee: Eddie Ilderton
Attendance: 2,531 (1,001 Pompey fans)