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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
C Palace 2-3 Portsmouth
Dele Adebola (left) tussles with Portsmouth's Arjan de Zeeuw
Portsmouth got the better of their hosts

Portsmouth heaped more misery on Trevor Francis by roasting Crystal Palace with a sensational comeback victory in scorching heat at Selhurst Park.

Francis faces investigations by the Football Association and the police for allegedly punching goalkeeper Alex Kolinko in the face during a 1-1 draw with Bradford on Tuesday.

And his week of woe continued when the Eagles blew a two-goal cushion to lose after a stunning four-minute spell from the visitors.

Dougie Freedman opened the scores with a stunning solo effort and Tony Popovic doubled the Palace lead before half-time.

But Hayden Foxe struck back for Portsmouth before Jason Crowe, who spent two months on loan at Selhurst Park three years ago, struck a quick-fire double in the second half.

Both sides seemed to be suffering from sun-stroke, with hesitant defending and sloppy passes the order of the day until Freedman brought the game to life with a moment of magic.

The Scottish international danced round two defenders into the penalty area before firing high into the top corner after 39 minutes.

And Popovic made it two with a header from a Danny Granville free kick after 42 minutes to stun lethargic Pompey.

Portsmouth defender Linvoy Primus was at fault for both goals, allowing Freedman to get away from him for the first and Popovic to rise above him for the Australian's second goal in two games.

Eagles keeper Matt Clarke had to be alert after 55 minutes to parry a fierce Matthew Taylor drive from a short corner, and he saved well again seconds later from Merson.

But Danny Butterfield came within the width of a post to making it three on the hour mark. Primus was again the culprit, giving away a free kick on the edge of his area, and Butterfield's curled shot skimmed the far upright.

He was made to regret his miss when Portsmouth struck back with three goals in a sensational four-minute spell.

Todorov won a corner from Palace keeper Clarke, and Taylor's delivery found Foxe for a near-post header on 67 minutes.

Almost immediately from the restart it was Taylor again who did the damage, with substitute Crowe sliding in to convert his inswinging left-wing cross.

And Portsmouth rounded off their comeback when Merson made a fool of Clarke, drawing him hopelessly out of position before feeding Crowe, whose shot beat two defenders on the line.

Francis could only watch gloomily as the home fans flooded away in disbelief before the final whistle.


Crystal Palace: Clarke, Powell, Popovic, Granville, Thomson, Derry, Mullins, Riihilahti, Butterfield, Freedman, Adebola. Subs: Kolinko, Fleming, Black, Austin, Kabba.

Portsmouth: Hislop, De Zeeuw, Foxe, Primus, Taylor, O'Neil, Merson, Robinson, Quashie, Burton, Pericard. Subs: Crowe, Burchill, Todorov, Hughes, Kawaguchi.

Referee: S Dunn (Avon).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp
"We were getting bullied"
Portsmouth's Paul Merson
"I believed we would get back into it"

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