Football: Grayson saves blushing Villa

Portsmouth 2 Foster 6, 40 Aston Villa 2 Staunton 41, Grayson 8 8 Attendance: 16,013

Terry Venables' influence at Portsmouth extends to a foam-clad mascot in his image, who paraded in front of a drenched and nonplussed bank of Villa fans before the match began.

Venables has made a more concrete impact in recommending a clutch of Australians to the Pompey manager Terry Fenwick. One of these, the pacy midfielder Craig Foster, put Portsmouth two up in the first half - a lead which an increasingly frantic Villa only managed to cancel out in the dying minutes of the game.

Foster, who played in both of Australia's World Cup qualifiers against Iran, scored his first within six minutes in a move which typified Portsmouth's direct approach. Fellow Australian John Aloisi played him free in the area and a shimmy and a turn gave Foster enough space to rifle a fierce, deflected shot past another Australian - Mark Bosnich in the Villa goal.

For the next half an hour Villa retained much of the possession but they were too short of ideas in front of goal. Stan Collymore, who had one of his infuriatingly lethargic days which ended in substitution, was the worst culprit, and when Foster scored his second it looked as if it might be Portsmouth's day. A Pompey victory would have virtually been assured if John Aloisi's second-half shot had not deflected back from the underside of the bar.

Villa clawed back one goal just before half-time but Fenwick was aggrieved that both this and the late equaliser had an element of offside to them. The entire Portsmouth defence was standing with arms raised when a ricochet allowed Steve Staunton to volley the first under Alan Knight. The second saw Mark Draper retreating from an offside position but Portsmouth's Andy Thomson dallied on the ball long enough for Simon Grayson to dispossess him and chip the ball in.

"I've never seen a clearer need for a fourth official or a TV link-up," complained Fenwick. "The officials need help, particularly as there is so much money at stake now."

But Fenwick is still hopeful of a result in the replay: "Terry [Venables] and myself worked hard this week on tactics and we are well capable of turning them over at Villa Park."

By contrast, the Villa manager Brian Little acknowledged that he had had a lucky escape: "We're grateful to still be in there," he admitted.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining an ISO 9001...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?