Davis Saves Pompey From Capitulation

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 30 November 2008
Pompey almost threw away another two goal lead against Blackburn but were saved by an unlikely source in Sean Davis after a thrilling second half at Fratton Park.

The first half is barely worth talking about. Glen Little struck an early shot straight at Paul Robinson and Peter Crouch headed over from close range in a poor half that was reflected by the poor atmosphere at Fratton Park.

Tony Adams responded to that by bringing on the returning Niko Kranjcar for Little who had been poor for the majority of the first half. That change seemed to make an impact as Pompey began the second half brightly and took the lead when Crouch nodded in Glen Johnson's cross.

The home fans were even more happy when Jermain Defoe scored a second after some woeful Blackburn defending allowed a simple through ball by Kranjcar to split them open and allow Defoe to beat the onrushing Robinson.

It looked like the visitors could be in for a second half thrashing but from a position of apparent comfort Pompey let a two goal lead slip to a team in red and black for the second consecutive game.

Matt Derbyshire had barely been on the pitch for 30 seconds before he headed past David James and it wasn't a surprise to see Pompey panic and allow Rovers to score again when the team backed off of Tugay and gave him space to strike in a 25 yard thunderbolt.

It could have been even worse when Derbyshire had the ball in the net again only for Mark Halsey to disallow it for a foul on James. I couldn't see the incident clearly from where I was sitting but apparently it was harsh on Paul Ince's men and for once we have got a bit of luck at home.

The travelling Rovers fans must have been riled by that decision and were soon made even more angry after Sean Davis (of all people!) came off the bench and scored the winner.

Papa Bouba Diop's surging run and shot could only be parried by England's former number one and Davis was right on cue to lob him and score his first goal since netting in the 4-2 win at West Ham in March 2006!

The last ten minutes felt like a lot longer as Pompey were put under the cosh and the whole ground held its breath when Rovers were awarded a free kick in the second minute of stoppage time but the wall did its job and the ball was kept in the corner for Tony Adams to record his first home win as Portsmouth manager.

I think there is a general feeling of relief coming from Pompey fans at the moment. We almost blew it again and Tony needs to sort out that defence because a better team would probably have gone on to win that game today, especially seeing as their third maybe shouldn't have been disallowed.

Still, Adams should take credit for his inspired subs today. Bringing Kranjcar on for the ineffective Little at half time swung a poor game in our favour whilst putting Davis on for a tired looking Traore seemed to work too.

Another positive is that many fans expected the players to be tired after giving everything against AC Milan but we played well in the second half, scored three goals and got a result that takes us back to eighth in the league.

So it's happy days for now at least!

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 6 - Did well under pressure.

Glen Johnson: 8 - Another great all round performance.

Noe Pamarot: 5 - Looked very shaky in place of injured Kaboul.

Sylvain Distin: 6 - Solid enough.

Nadir Belhadj: 7 - Good attacking threat and some crucial interceptions.

Glen Little: 5 - Could have scored early on but very ineffective otherwise.

Richard Hughes: 6 - Not as good as he was against Milan.

Papa Bouba Diop: 7 - Another good showing.

Armand Traore: 6 - Tired as the game went on.

Jermain Defoe: 6 - Scored but did little else in truth.

Peter Crouch: 7 - Gave the Blackburn defence some problems.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Hermann Hreidarsson

Niko Kranjcar (Little 46): 7 - Gave Pompey an added creative outlet.

Arnold Mvuemba

Sean Davis (Traore 77): 7 - Scored that crucial goal.

David Nugent

Kanu (Crouch 69): 6 - Didn't have much impact.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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