Football: Pompey survive as Walsh walks

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The Independent Online
Portsmouth. . .2

Lucchese. . . .1

PAUL WALSH, the former Tottenham and Liverpool striker, joined the lengthening list of offenders taking their leave of the accursed Anglo-Italian Cup last night but remarkably Portsmouth stay in it, two late goals from Darryl Powell swinging victory their way, which looked decidedly unlikely for most of the game.

Walsh went at the start of the second half after aiming a kick at Roberto Marta which left the Italian official with little option. The Lucchese midfielder also departed to make a round dirty dozen who have brought ignominy to the competition, designed to improve international relations.

Some chance. The Italian predilection for the theatrical dive left an unpalatable taste in the mouth afterwards. The fans have been slow to warm to it and the Pompey manager, Jim Smith, later questioned the validity of the exercise in this format.

'I think the majority of clubs have enjoyed being involved but the rules have got to be altered,' he said. 'It seems a bit silly to have to play four games in November and December.'

Brentford's away victory earlier in the day meant Smith's team had to win to stay in outside contention as the English qualifiers from Group A. Only 2,363 hardy souls believed in their ability to so, and the manager did not appear to be among them, leaving his and the country's leading scorer, Guy Whittingham, on the bench.

It looked a dubious decision at the start and even more so by the sixth minute when Lucchese were ahead, Warren Neill leaving his back-pass short and Roberto Paci happy to take advantage. Lucchese passed up a succession of openings and were punished when Powell drove in a 77th-minute equaliser. Remarkably, four minutes from time, Powell scored again.

Portsmouth: Knight; Awford, Powell, McLoughlin (Ross, 72), Symons, Burns, Neill, Doling, Walsh, Aspinall, Maguire (Butters, h/t). Substitutes not used: Whittingham, Murray.

Lucchese: Quironi; Ansaldi, Bettarini (Giusti, 55), Dellicarri, Monaco, Baraldi, Di Francesco, Marta, Paci (Russo, 71) Dolcetti, Rastelli. Substitutes not used: Mancini, Bianchi, Costi.

Referee: A Trentalange (Turin).

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