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.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit