Portsmouth avoid Milan repeat with battling win

Portsmouth 3 Blackburn Rovers 2

For the second time in three days Portsmouth surrendered a two-goal advantage, but Blackburn Rovers are no Milan and so this time a Sean Davis strike with 11 minutes remaining was enough to secure victory.

It was also Tony Adams' first home win since replacing Harry Redknapp as manager and moves Portsmouth up to eighth in the table, a point behind the top six, but if this continues any longer the Fratton Park crowd will be hoping they never again see their team go two-nil up. "It was just fortunate that they scored with 10 minutes to go which gave us an opportunity to reply," Adams joked afterwards.

The first half was a turgid affair, with Roque Santa Cruz and Stephen Warnock going close for Blackburn, while Peter Crouch and Glen Little both should have given Portsmouth the lead. "I think we were flat after the Milan game," Adams admitted. "I needed to get into the guys at half-time."

His words had the desired effect as Portsmouth began to play some football in the second period, and two goals in the space of three minutes from Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe should have given them the platform for a comfortable victory. Crouch opened the scoring with a free header inside the six-yard box from a Glen Johnson cross four minutes after the restart.

Moments later Defoe, returning to the starting line-up after an ankle problem, skipped past Christopher Samba and placed a left-footed shot under Paul Robinson in the Blackburn goal. That should have been that, but 2-0 is when Portsmouth start to lose their confidence.

First, Matt Derbyshire came off the bench to halve the deficit with his first touch after 62 minutes. The Portsmouth defence, which looked hesitant all afternoon, failed to deal with a high cross from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Derbyshire stole in ahead of Sylvain Distin to loop a header over David James.

At that point the events of Thursday night must have come flooding back as Portsmouth lost all sense of shape and composure. As they backed off, the 38-year-old midfielder Tugay was allowed to set his sights from 25 yards and rifle a low shot past James.

Derbyshire even had a second strike disallowed, sweeping home a loose ball after James had fumbled, but the referee, Mark Halsey, felt there had been a push on the goalkeeper. "It was a poor decision by the referee," said Blackburn's manager, Paul Ince, whose side remain second from bottom without a league win in nine games.

"He gave a foul on Jamo, but I've seen it on a replay and he didn't touch him. It should have been 3-2. They're the things that happen when you're down there. Four or five weeks ago [Nemanja] Vidic abused my goalkeeper Jason Brown and the referee gave a goal and we lose to Manchester United. Today no one touches him and he disallows the goal."

Moments after that incident, Davis – who himself had only been on the pitch for three minutes – got the winner with a rare goal, his first of the season. The impressive Papa Bouba Diop waltzed through the Blackburn midfield and hit a powerful shot which Robinson did well to save. Andre Ooijer hesitated in clearing and Davis nipped in and lifted the ball over the advancing Robinson.

"In my footballing career I experienced everything because I played for so bloody long," Adams said of the chaos and the drama of the second half. "I'm not relieved." He was just about the only Portsmouth supporter in Fratton Park to hold this view.

Goals: Crouch (49) 1-0; Defoe (52) 2-0; Derbyshire (62) 2-1; Tugay (67) 2-2; Davis (79) 3-2.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Johnson, Pamarot, Distin, Belhadj; Little (Kranjcar, h-t), Diop, Hughes, A Traoré (Davis, 76); Crouch (Kanu, 69), Defoe. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Hreidarsson, Mvuemba, Nugent.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock; Emerton, Tugay, Andrews, Pedersen (Villanueva, 86); Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Derbyshire, 62). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Simpson, Mokoena, Fowler, Roberts.

Booked: Blackburn Ooijer.

Referee: M Halsey (Hertfordshire).

Man of the match: Diop (Portsmouth).

Attendance: 18,101.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence