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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 01:11 GMT
Portsmouth 6-2 Derby
Paul Merson and Matthew Taylor enjoy Portsmouth's success
Merson congratulates Taylor after the win

Portsmouth maintained a two point lead at the top of Division One after a demolition of Derby County at Fratton Park.

The home side moved confidently three-up before Derby responded by pulling two goals back.

But Portsmouth responded by adding three more goals to their tally.

Portsmouth went ahead in the third minute when Matthew Taylor released Yakubu Aiyegbini and he crossed low into the area for Paul Merson.

Merson's shot hit the underside of the crossbar before the former England international tapped home the rebound.

Derby manager John Gregory watches from the Fratton Park sidelines
Derby boss Gregory was sent from the dug-out

Pompey doubled their advantage from a fine move involving Svetoslav Todorov, Kevin Harper and Taylor.

It ended with Aiyegbini slamming the ball high into the net from close range.

And just as Derby were recovering from the shock, Harry Redknapp's side stunned them with a third.

This time Todorov found Taylor in space and he drew Lee Grant from his goal before tucking the ball into the corner of the net with his left foot.

Derby manager John Gregory's visitors mustered only long-range efforts which failed to trouble Pompey keeper Shaka Hislop.

Gregory's frustration boiled over to the point where he was sent from the dug-out after becoming involved in an argument with the fourth official.

But his players pulled one back when Lee Morris, from his side's first real chance of the game, converted the rebound after his initial strike had been parried by Hislop.

It gave Derby a new lease of life and their comeback was being inspired by Georgi Kinkladze.

The Georgian played Morris through for Derby's first and netted the second from the penalty spot after Todorov fouled Warren Barton.

However, the visitors' hopes of taking anything from the game were ended 18 minutes from time when Todorov beat the offside trap to latch on to a ball from Aiyegbini and slot the ball under Grant to make it 4-2.

The Bulgarian returned the compliment for Aiyegbini to complete his brace and then took his goals tally for the season to 15 as Derby succumbed to a drubbing.


Portsmouth: Hislop, Primus, Foxe, Tavlaridis, Harper, Quashie, Sherwood, Merson, Taylor, Todorov, Ayegbini. Subs: Kawaguchi, Heikkinen, Diabate, Burton, Pericard.

Derby: Grant, Barton, Elliott, Evatt, Zavagno, Bolder, Lee, Kinkladze, Boertien, Morris, McLeod. Subs: Oakes, Jackson, Ravanelli, Murray, Tudgay.

Referee: C Penton (Sussex)

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Graham Richards
"Pompey were utterly supreme"
Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp
"They pulled us back and it looked like game on"
Derby boss John Gregory
"Defensive errors have cost us today"

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