Yakubu gives Pompey comfort

Portsmouth 1 Fulham 1
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The Independent Football

Portsmouth's place in the Premiership is now guaranteed, barring the most unthinkable of consequences. The club's 17th point from the last 21 available left goal difference as the only way the south-coast side could end back into the First Division.

Portsmouth's place in the Premiership is now guaranteed, barring the most unthinkable of consequences. The club's 17th point from the last 21 available left goal difference as the only way the south-coast side could end back into the First Division.

Harry Redknapp, Ports-mouth's manager, was happy to settle for a draw. This hard-fought point effectively cements their status among the élite. "I thought it would go to the last game of the season," said a jubilant Redknapp. "I did not think that we would be clear with three games to go, and it is a great feeling."

His side's seven-game unbeaten run has saved them from a tense end to the campaign, and he added: "We have been in some tough games here but the boys have stuck together through it all. They have been outstanding and I am very pleased that we will be staying up. But we still have a few games left to go and we will be trying to finish as high up as possible."

It was 10 minutes from time when Portsmouth broke through as full-back Matthew Taylor crossed low into the penalty area, and when goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar spilled the ball, Ayegbeni Yakubu pounced to score from two yards.

Five minutes later, Fulham were level as substitute Brian McBride launched a low drive from 25 yards past Shaka Hislop, who appeared to dive late in attempting to make his save. The visitors could have snatched it in injury time, Junichi Inamoto supplying a cross which McBride, this time free in the penalty area, failed to convert.

"We came up against the form side in the division," said Fulham's manager, Chris Coleman, whose side sit in the top half of the table with ambitions of qualifying for the Uefa Cup. "But if you had given us this at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off. We are still there and we will still go for Europe."

Two minutes from the break, the home supporters were in uproar as Lomana LuaLua was seemingly bodychecked by Carlos Bocanegra as he ran towards goal. But the defender escaped with only a caution.

Fulham's Sean Davis, one of the better performers in a dull first half, found himself free 20 yards from goal after the break, and the midfielder's lethal drive struck the underside of the crossbar with Hislop beaten.

Luis Boa Morte also went close with a header as the Londoners took advantage of some generous defending, before the game burst into life with those two late goals.

Portsmouth 1
Yakubu 80

Fulham 1
McBride 85

Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 20,065

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