Portsmouth 0 Blackburn Rovers 1

Last updated : 15 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Two Portsmouth players were sent off and there were eight more booked from both sides as Blackburn Rovers piled on more misery at Fratton Park.

Referee Andy D'Urso sent off Lomana Lua Lua for head-butting an opponent in the 51st minute and then dismissed Amdy Faye in injury time for a second bookable offence after he had collided with Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

D'Urso was a busy man booking Ryan Nelsen, Aaron Mokoena, Nils-Eric Johansson, Brett Emerton, Tugay and Paul Dickov from Blackburn and Portsmouth's Gary O'Neil and Faye; his actions masking an otherwise unimpressive match.

LuaLua faces a three-match ban while Faye will be banned for one, although his dismissal in the second of six minutes added on made no difference to the result.

The only goal came in the 55th minute soon after LuaLua had been sent packing for clashing with Andy Todd in an off the ball incident.

David Thompson's perfect pass gave Morten Gamst Pedersen the chance to squeeze a shot past Shaka Hislop after Portsmouth had lost their defensive shape and discipline.

There might have been more goals later as Portsmouth committed themselves to an equaliser, but Emerton had a shot blocked near the line by Dejan Stefanovic, while Thompson shot wastefully over the bar after Emerton had set up an easy chance.

Portsmouth failed to muster a single clear opening and Friedel was pressed into action only once to turn over a fierce shot from Diomansy Kamara in the 71st minute.

The rest of the match belonged to the referee as he issued yellow cards at regular intervals and blew for a total of 37 fouls in a match lacking real malice or a genuinely nasty foul.

LuaLua blazed over from six yards early in the match, but Portsmouth found it difficult to find a way through a stubborn Blackburn defence in which Nelsen and Mokoena were in the starting line-up for the first time.

Near the end as Portsmouth pressure became intense, the fourth official indicated six minutes to be added on for the numerous stoppages and substitutions.

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes leapt from his place in the dug out to remonstrate but for once the referee could not be blamed.

Portsmouth lacked their midfield driving force, Nigel Quashie, who was left out of the starting line-up pending his projected £2 million transfer to neighbouring Southampton on Monday. It was at Southampton that referee D'Urso earned his own ban for failing to send off Blackburn's Barry Ferguson in a league match earlier this season.

D'Urso booked Ferguson twice, but failed in his duty to send off the Scottish international.

Sadly for Faye, even amongst the referee's many bookings he had remembered an earlier yellow card transgression and quickly added a red.

The referee needed an escort as he left the Fratton Park pitch with home fans chanting "1-0 to the referee", but in truth Portsmouth struggled to make any impact and cannot use the double sending-off as an excuse for another home failure.

Man of the Match: David Thompson - Showed the quality missing in many of the other players on the pitch with some shrewd passing and an all-action display.