There were some shocked reactions when the Pompey team was revealed an hour before kick-off.
Jamal Lowe had been expected to miss out after injuring his ankle in the previous week’s friendly against FC Utrecht.
So it was a surprise to see his name in the starting 11 for the opening day of the 2018/19 campaign against Luton.
And there certainly did not appear to be any fitness concerns as he scored the only goal of a hard-fought victory.
Lowe said: “I didn’t expect to play with the injury I suffered last week, but thankfully my ankle felt better.
“I returned to training on Thursday, strapped it up and took some painkillers, so that I was able to play.
"Wen I saw all three substitutes had been made, I knew I was playing for the full 90!"
“There was no reaction when I trained, so we took it from there and when I saw all three substitutes had been made, I knew I was playing for the full 90!
“The goal was on the stretch and on my weaker side, so it wasn’t easy. I also had to take it first time, which makes it harder.
“There were a few of their players on the line as well, so I was just happy to see the ball end up in the back of the net.”
It was Ronan Curtis who provided the assist and Lowe was impressed with how the forward performed on his Blues debut.
He said: “When he plays up front, it’s a similar style to Jamie Vardy. He’s strong, athletic and works the centre-halves.
“There was lots of pace and persistence and it was good for him to be able to show what he can do at Fratton Park.
“It will take time for him to adapt, so when you look at how he performed, it’s encouraging that he’s going to get better.”