Yebda lifts spirits as Pompey solve the Carlisle conundrum
Burnley 1 Portsmouth 2
Sunday 28 February 2010
It was hardly the joy of falling to his knees in the Champions League but not far off, as Avram Grant leapt over the barriers to hug and celebrate with the Portsmouth supporters.
Flying north on Friday, there only seemed dark clouds but travelling home on the coach yesterday there was plenty to smile about despite the club entering administration and being due to be deducted nine of their 19 points next week.
That will leave them 14 points from safety but the manner of this victory fuelled Pompey fans' hopes again. These have been dashed enough already this season and although Burnley can grumble that they are also likely to be relegated, having stuck to their budget, administrator Andrew Andronikou has a 100 per cent record in charge at Fratton Park.
Frédéric Piquionne gave the visitors the lead and after Martin Paterson equalised, Clarke Carlisle gave away two penalties. The first, from Jamie O'Hara, was saved by Brian Jensen before Hassan Yebda managed to beat the Danish goalkeeper.
Grant, who remained vague about whether he is even being paid, is not prepared to be drawn into who was at fault for the mess that Portsmouth has become saying: "I don't know. But it's not that I'm working for nothing. We have to get the coach home now. We can't get a plane.
"I don't even know what will happen tomorrow. You ask me to be a judge, and the one thing I know for sure is football decisions should be decided on the pitch. I don't know who is taking these decisions with us but it's easy to just take nine points. But do they punish the right people?"
Portsmouth have made a habit of starting games in reasonable fashion and that continued here, with their pace causing Burnley problems.
They managed to get themselves in front as Piquionne touched in at the far post from Danny Webber's cross, with the striker getting in behind Carlisle, whose named appeared as Cralek Scilarel on the team sheet after his recent run on Countdown.
So much of Portsmouth's problems have come from lessons not being learned and that tendency resulted in Burnley pulling level. David James had earlier saved from Paterson after Steven Fletcher had easily beaten Ricardo Rocha in the air and the hosts repeated that move to equalise.
Jensen's long ball forward saw Fletcher easily outjump Rocha and Paterson lifted a shot over James with the outside of his right foot.
To add a hint of farce Nadir Belhadj became the first player to clear the David Fishwick Stand in some years, with some wags suggesting that the ball might be smuggled back to Fratton Park.
But O'Hara continued to impress, with a thumping shot that came back off the post before Webber's follow-up was blocked by Danny Fox.
After the interval, yet more disappointment for the visitors. Piquionne's movement once again did for Carlisle with the Burnley defender chopping the Frenchman down just inside the area only for Jensen to guess right and block O'Hara's penalty.
Finally there was some good fortune, as Fletcher glanced a header over from six yards from Paterson's cross. But when Carlisle failed to clear, he was forced to tug at John Utaka and referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a second penalty that Yebda converted.
Burnley threatened late on and Rocha was sent off for a second yellow card but the hosts remain in deep trouble with just one victory in 16 games since the end of October.
"Clarke has made a real mess of it but he is big enough and brave enough to be counted," the Clarets manager Brian Laws said. "We've made errors that are costly. He's owned up to it. I'm sure he'll bounce back, he's got to. You can't cave in."
As Portsmouth have proved.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the match: Piquionne
Match rating: 7/10
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