Portsmouth 2 Blackburn Rovers 2: Portsmouth's rich seam of belief suits Redknapp fine

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The Independent Football

If Portsmouth avoid relegation this season, the scent of their success will have a sweaty pungency. Their manager, Harry Redknapp, had worn the same suit and shirt for three successive victories, and a draw against a team still challenging for Champions' League qualification was not about to dissuade him of the efficacy of his lucky clothes, even if his side created enough chances to have beaten Blackburn several times over.

"I'll keep believing," Redknapp said. "Although I might change it for the Arsenal game [on Wednesday] - I don't want to ruin it."

With four of their six remaining games at home, though, Portsmouth will surely survive if they keep playing as well as this. "We battered them," Redknapp insisted, and, while Mark Hughes saw it differently, Blackburn escaped with a point only because of two extraordinary goals from Craig Bellamy and a string of dreadful home misses.

As a forward, and one signed for £4.1m at that, Benjani Mwaruwari will inevitably take the bulk of the blame, but he was not the only culprit on Saturday. Dejan Stefanovic put a free header over from six yards and then drilled into Brad Friedel's shins in injury-time and Andres D'Alessandro twice snatched at presentable chances in the first-half.

The image that will linger, though, was that of Mwaruwari, suddenly presented with a one-on-one by a kindly ricochet just after the half-hour. It was a simple opportunity, but he reacted like a vertigo-sufferer stepping out on to a high-wire, jabbed tentatively and gave Friedel a routine save.

Little wonder that Lomana LuaLua has so little confidence in his strike partner that a few moments earlier he opted to shoot from a narrow angle rather than square for the Zimbabwean. Theirs is an uneasy relationship and it cannot help Mwaruwari that LuaLua is such an idiosyncratic forward, yet there are moments when they gel.

Just after the restart, for instance, Mwaruwari found LuaLua's diagonal run with a gloriously calibrated through-ball. "I was right behind it," said Redknapp, "and it was in all the way. And then it just veered away at the last moment, but that's how it is sometimes."

Such phlegm is probably wise. Portsmouth, after all, are unrecognisable from the side they were even two months ago, with a zest and a belief about them. As Redknapp pointed out, it took great heart twice to battle back from Bellamy's two moments of brilliance - the first driven in from the corner of the box after a surge from midfield, the second lashed on the turn into the top corner.

LuaLua clipped the first equaliser four minutes before half-time, but for all Portsmouth's dominance it was only with 12 minutes to go that Svetoslav Todorov nodded the second. Just as well Redknapp's lucky suit was still working its magic.

Goals: Bellamy (32) 0-1; Lua Lua (41) 1-1; Bellamy (62) 1-2; Todorov (78) 2-2. Portsmouth (4-4-2): Kiely; Priske, Primus, Stefanovic, Taylor; O'Neil, Davis (Routledge, 68), Mendes, D'Alessandro; Lua Lua, Mwaruwari (Todorov, 68). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Karadas, Hughes.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Nelsen, Khizanishvili, Gray (Mokoena, h-t); Bentley, Reid, Savage, Pedersen (Emerton, 82); Dickov, Bellamy. Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Kuqi, Sinama-Pongolle.

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

Booked: Portsmouth Mendes; Blackburn Dickov, Bellamy, Emerton.

Man of the match: Bellamy.

Attendance: 20,048.

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