Pompey learn art of winning


Portsmouth 3-2 Blackburn: Sean Davis was the unlikely hero of Portsmouth's first home win under new boss Tony Adams after another two-goal give-away against Blackburn gave Fratton Park a fright.

On Thursday, Pompey blew a 2-0 lead against Italian giants AC Milan and had already surrendered vital Barclays Premier League points under Adams with late  collapses from winning positions.

It looked like more of the same when brilliant strikes by Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe had Pompey skating ahead again eight minutes after the break but Matt Derbyshire dragged one back with a simple header after replacing Benni McCarthy 30 seconds earlier in the 62nd minute.

Tugay, the brilliant Turkish veteran, rifled Rovers level with Pompey ball-watching again four minutes later.

This time, though, Pompey were still up for finishing the job. It took a cool finish by substitute Davis - on two minutes earlier for Armand Traore - after Paul Robinson beat out Papa Bouba Diops shot for his first goal since March 2006.

With Bolton, Wigan and Fulham picking up points on Saturday, Pompey - still without skipper Sol Campbell and with Niko Kranjcar only on the bench - had slipped from eighth to 11th in the table.

Pompey had an outstanding chance to go ahead in the fourth minute. Glen Johnson, fed by Crouch, chipped a lovely ball into the box for Glen Little but the winger put a poor left-footed shot straight at the advancing Robinson.

Four minutes later it was Pompey's turn to have a narrow escape when Crouch almost scored an own-goal, glancing a Brett Emerton corner across his own goalmouth with the ball appearing to brush the far post before going out.

Rovers had another chance in the 12th minute when Stephen Warnock was allowed time to get in a shot from 12 yards after Morten Gamst Pedersen crossed from the left but his effort was high and wide.

Eight minutes later Roque Santa Cruz drilled a low drive across goal and just past the far post when McCarthy outwitted Noe Pamarot to slip the ball through.

For a sustained spell Rovers held sway and the home crowd were waiting in trepidation for the next Pompey wobble at the back.

But suddenly it was Chris Samba who made the error for Blackburn and Crouch pounced to send Defoe away only for the returning striker to slip and lose his footing at the edge of the area.

Pompey were in charge again and Crouch should have done better with a far-post header which he put over the top from Traores perfect cross from the left.

But the England striker's aim was firm and true four minutes after the break when Johnson reprised the double delivery he employed to bring both Pompey's goals in midweek against Milan.

Unlike Little, who had been replaced by Niko Kranjcar at half-time, Crouch did not spurn this latest opportunity afforded by Johnson's accuracy and headed past the helpless Robinson with Rovers' defenders asking who was supposed to be marking him.

And it looked all over when four minutes later Defoe shrugged off two challenges on the edge of the area and ran past former Tottenham team-mate Robinson to make it 2-0 and join partner Crouch on eight goals for the season.

But then it all started to unravel again for Pompey.

Out of nowhere Derbyshire headed Pedersen's bouncing cross from the left over David James in the 62nd minute.

And as Portsmouth panicked and their defenders backed off, Tugay struck a daisy-cutting 25-yarder into the England goalkeeper's bottom right-hand corner.

On came Kanu for Crouch to try to turn the tide again for Portsmouth and Johnson landed an outrageous shot from just inside his own half on the roof of the net - with Robinson hurriedly back-pedalling.

There was then a controversial moment when Derbyshire had a goal disallowed for what referee Mark Halsey saw as a foul on James.

So when Davis came up with the winner it was a major surprise on several counts - and, for Adams, a major relief.