Delfouneso keeps Villa dream alive

Portsmouth 1 Aston Villa 2

One down, four to go. Aston Villa left it late, but they did exactly what manager Martin O'Neill wanted.

The exotically-named Nathan Delfouneso was the man to score the winner that put Villa back in the top six and in the European places. O'Neill had said before this fixture that if they were to stand any chance of getting into Europe – he's gone from "Champions League" just to "Europe" – they would have to win their five remaining games. Not that he has given up entirely on catching fourth place because, mathematically at least, they are still in with a shout.

"We will need all the available points if we want to finish in the top six. We have some difficult fixtures coming up – Hull away on Wednesday – but to give ourselves a chance we have to win all of our games," O'Neill said. "Everton are still there, Liverpool are obviously still there. The only thing we can do is win all our games."

Portsmouth's Michael Brown scored his side's first goal for five league matches nine minutes into the match – and it was well worth the wait. Defender-cum-winger Anthony Vanden Borre did excellently to claw the ball back from the byline, Kevin-Prince Boateng dummied the ball past him for Brown to half-volley home from 15 yards for his first of the season.

But it only took six minutes before John Carew brought the sides level, immediately after he had hit the post. The Norwegian ghosted in unmarked to collect Stephen Warnock's punt upfield, as Marc Wilson seemed more concerned with appealing for offside – he wasn't – before scoring from eight yards out.

But Boateng came close to restoring Portsmouth's lead on the half-hour mark, but his curling free-kick from just outside the box was kept out by a one-handed Brad Friedel save.

Aston Villa had a penalty shout waved away 10 minutes before half-time when Vanden Borre put down Agbonlahor with what would have been a decent judo move. But referee Lee Probert blew his whistle, waited a couple of seconds for dramatic effect – before awarding a free-kick to Portsmouth.

Then, two minutes later, an even stranger thing happened. Carew was tripped in the box by Papa Bouba Diop as he dribbled the ball away from goal and Probert awarded a penalty. Shame for the enormous striker that it was kept out by an excellent James save.

The goalkeeper was lucky to get away with taking Stiliyan Petrov down but he could do nothing about Birmingham-born Villa academy product Delfouneso's close-range shot with nine minutes left, as the 19-year-old substitute got on the end of Emile Heskey's flick into the box.

For Portsmouth manager Avram Grant, the game was an exercise in damage limitation, as he had only 10 first team players to choose from.

Frédéric Piquionne was stranded in France after the birth of his third child, which added to the massive list of Portsmouth absentees.

Portsmouth (4-5-1): James; Vanden Borre, Mokoena, Wilson, Sowah; Diop (Ritchie, 88), Yebda, Brown, Boateng (Ward, 80), Kanu (Smith 65); Utaka. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Pack, Ciftci.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Ashley Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing; Carew (Heskey, 72), Agbonlahor (Delfouneso, 80). Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), Sidwell, Reo-Coker, Beye, Clark.

Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).

Man of the match: Agbonlahor.

Attendance: 16,523.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game