Making his debut for Portsmouth after joining on a youth-loan until the end of the season on Friday, Ryan Fulton capped his Football League bow with a stunning double save.
Fulton was thrown straight in to the Pompey starting XI for the visit of high-flying Oxford United on Saturday afternoon, little over 24-hours after signing for the club.
It would prove a memorable first professional appearance for the young ‘keeper, who took no time in introducing himself to the Fratton Park faithful with an eventful first outing for the League Two side.
After rushing off his line and bringing down U’s striker Danny Hylton in the box, Fulton stared a debut sending off in the face.
The Reds academy product could perhaps count himself slightly fortunate that he was awarded the chance to make amends for his error by Premier League referee, Neil Swarbrick.
But in spectacular fashion, he did just that, producing a stunning double save – on a day that saw Simon Mignolet struggle to make any – from Oxford’s Liam Sercombe to keep the score at 0-0 in the clash of the promotion hopefuls.
The Reds loaned stopper firstly dived to his right keeping out the well-hit spot-kick, which kindly fell back to Sercombe.
With the goal gaping and looking certain to find the net, the midfielder was denied with his rebound by a stunning follow-up save from the 19-year-old, much to the delight of the impressive 17,800 crowd.
Fulton had gone from zero to hero in an instant as he endured a real baptism of fire for Paul Cook’s side, on a first senior appearance he will certainly remember for years to come.
Despite redeeming himself with the double-save, the Scottish under-21 international couldn’t prevent his side falling to defeat against Michael Appleton’s men, as his penalty heroics eventually amounted to nothing.
With 14 minutes remaining, new Oxford signing – former Aston Villa striker Jordan Bowery – fired home the killer blow, precisely finding the far corner of Fulton’s net with what proved to be the winner.
The result cemented Oxford’s place in the automatic promotion places, while Portsmouth remain in the thick of the play-offs, trailing Saturday’s victors by seven points.
It wasn’t the desired result on his big day for Fulton, but it was certainly a memorable afternoon for the youngster.
Fulton will hope to do it all again in the FA Cup when Bournemouth arrive at Fratton Park next Saturday.
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