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?
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
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