Rovers show trademark Allardyce grit

Blackburn Rovers 2 Portsmouth 0

Well schooled as he is in the statistics of his Blackburn Rovers rescue, Sam Allardyce knows how far to the good he is in one comparison.

By inspiring his team to the "magical 40" mark that will ensure survival in the Premier League with plenty to spare, he has overseen the harvesting of 14 points more than his predecessor Paul Ince, from only two extra matches. What Allardyce declines to underline, though, is that the 27-from-19 return achieved during his reign is the sort for which his former club Newcastle United would have killed in their slide towards relegation.

Much as Blackburn's fans are happy to poke fun at Alan Shearer, a man whose goals helped Jack Walker's Rovers to the Premier League title in 1995, Allardyce insists Tyneside now belongs in his distant past.

But he would not be human if he did not enjoy pulling up a chair to see how Shearer's Newcastle cope with the pressure at its fiercest against Middlesbrough tonight.

Having reached safety, Blackburn can now see which of the others do not, among the possibles a Portsmouth team who would be much happier about their prospects if they knew they were not going to repeat performances like this.

Despite the admirable efforts of Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin, they provided exactly the type of unconvincing opponents an Allardyce side habitually overpower – and that they did thanks to the first goal of the season for Morten Gamst Pedersen and Blackburn leading scorer Benni McCarthy's 13th.

Just when Blackburn needed points, they have pulled out three successive home victories, while Portsmouth have won only three of their last 21 matches and none of their 12 league trips going back to November.

They should still be OK, with their interim manager Paul Hart insisting after John Utaka's late penalty miss: "We have Sunderland next and that's a game we must put away. I don't want to be looking at other results."

Blackburn can start planning, the Allardyce way, for 2009-10. "He is so organised and has been good for us," Pedersen said of his manager. "He knew we couldn't take chances and sometimes we've had to play a little ugly."

Blackburn Rovers (4-1-3-2): Robinson; Andrews, Nelsen, Givet, Warnock; Tugay; Diouf, Grella, Pedersen; Samba, McCarthy (Mokoena, 82). Substitutes not used: Bunn (gk), Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Treacy, Olsson, Doran.

Portsmouth (4-5-1): James; Kaboul (Pennant, 63), Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson; Johnson, Mullins, Davis, Hughes (Kanu, 82), Belhadj (Utaka, 52); Crouch. Substitutes not used: Begovic (gk), Nugent, Crane, Basinas.

Referee: M Riley (West Yorkshire).

Booked: Blackburn Rovers McCarthy, Andrews; Portsmouth Johnson.

Man of the match: Tugay.

Attendance: 24,234.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'