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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Saturday, 3 April 2010 16:53 UK

Portsmouth   0 - 0   Blackburn

Anthony Vanden Borre is sent off
Anthony Vanden Borre receives his marching orders

By Stuart Roach

Portsmouth slid closer to relegation, despite slugging out a goalless draw with Blackburn in the Fratton Park mud.

Jamie O'Hara saw a first-half header cleared off the line by Gael Givet but Rovers dominated as Christopher Samba and David Dunn both hit a post.

To add to Pompey's misery, a red card for Anthony Vanden Borre rules him out of the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs.

The point keeps Pompey mathematically in the survival hunt but a West Ham win at Everton on Sunday would end hopes.

Portsmouth knew before kick-off that only a victory would ensure a stay of execution for at least another week and Avram Grant's side had promised that, if and when they did face the drop, they would go down fighting.

Grant calls for 'common sense' from ref

"Are we going to back off, or are we going to die like soldiers?" defender Aaron Mokoena had said in midweek, offering a hint of Charge of the Light Brigade bravado.

The problem for Grant has been assembling an army to go into battle with and Pompey were again forced to go short-handed on the bench with not enough fit bodies to name a full squad.

David James's calf strain kept him out of action, Jamie Ashdown replacing him in one of four changes for Pompey, while Mokoena suffered a fifth-minute injury.

Filling in at centre back in a patchwork quilt of a Portsmouth line-up, Mokoena soldiered on, showing the kind of commitment he had promised, but Portsmouth were put under increasing pressure by a side searching for a third successive Premier League win.

Samba had the best two chances of the first half, the first gifted to him after stand-in keeper Ashdown had flapped at Morten Gamst Pedersen's 12th-minute free-kick.

Jason Roberts mis-kicked the loose ball but his sliced effort fell at the feet of Samba, who was denied by a smart save that afforded Ashdown some redemption.

Samba was denied again in first-half stoppage time, this time by a post after he headed another Pedersen free-kick beyond Ashdown but against the woodwork.

Grant calls for 'common sense' from ref

Dunn had earlier seen a low shot skim the same post and Ashdown reacted smartly to push away a Phil Jones header as Blackburn dominated.

Against the run of play on 28 minutes Portsmouth came close to opening the scoring.

The lively John Utaka's cross-shot was palmed away by Paul Robinson but only into the path of O'Hara, whose close-range header was somehow headed off the line by Givet's brilliant anticipation.

Portsmouth's FA Cup run has been the only silver lining in an otherwise miserable season, but even that ray of sunshine was clouded when on-loan defender Vanden Borre was sent off for a second yellow card on 60 minutes.

Having already been booked for a first-half sliding challenge on Steven Nzonzi, the Genoa defender's deliberate handball gave referee Steve Bennett little choice but to produce a red card that leads to his suspension for the semi-final against Spurs at Wembley next Sunday.

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With O'Hara ineligible against his parent club and Richard Hughes limping out of this game soon after Vanden Borre's departure, Grant's biggest selection headache could be finding 11 players able to play.

At least Grant had the consolation of a first point in three games, but Blackburn should have denied him even that as they pushed for a late winner.

Jonas Olsson forced Ashdown to save with his legs and the young keeper also kept out Roberts' shot on the turn before Blackburn substitute Nikola Kalinic blocked from his own player, Jones, at the death.

Then, in stoppage time, Olsson again had the chance to snatch victory but shot straight at the alert Ashdown.

Hull's defeat at Stoke ensured the draw did not prove fatal for Pompey, but a West Ham victory at Everton on Sunday or a home win for either the Tigers or Hammers next Saturday would mean that it is a relegated side that walks out at Wembley to face Spurs on 11 April.


Portsmouth coach Avram Grant:

"We were effectively relegated in January when we were docked nine points and all we can do now on the pitch is to keep on fighting. We have done that all the way through and did it again today, even though we could only bring 13 senior players.

"I have to be realistic and I have to use common sense, but all I ask is that others use common sense too. Steve Bennett is a referee I have a lot of respect for but I think if he had decided not to book Vanden Borre for the handball no-one would have been complaining.

"It is a matter of pride for us now. So many things have gone against us all season and continued to go against us today. The easy thing would be to give up but I don't want to take the easy way out."

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:

"We've done this so many times. We've created so many chances to win a game away from home and failed to do it.

"It's not the performances. The final touch or the final quality in front of goal has been lacking away from home. That's why we only have two Premier League victories on the road instead of four or five."


Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn FT
(HT 0-0)

      Portsmouth

      Substitutes

      Blackburn

      Substitutes

      Ref: BennettAtt: 16,207
      PORTSMOUTH
      BLACKBURN

      Possession

      • Portsmouth 45%
      • Blackburn 55%

      Attempts on target

      • Portsmouth 4
      • Blackburn 8

      Attempts off target

      • Portsmouth 3
      • Blackburn 8

      Corners

      • Portsmouth 1
      • Blackburn 9

      Fouls

      • Portsmouth 11
      • Blackburn 10
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+3:10 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
      • 90:00+2:49 The ball is swung over by Vincenzo Grella, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 90:00+2:23 Martin Olsson takes a shot. Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
      • 90:00+0:59 Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the right by-line, Phil Jones takes a shot. Blocked by Nikola Kalinic.
      • 90:00+0:50 Morten Gamst Pedersen produces a cross, Leonard Sowah makes a clearance.
      • 89:56 The ball is swung over by Martin Olsson.
      • 89:02 Centre by David Hoilett, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 87:25 Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a outswinging corner. Effort on goal by David Hoilett from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
      • 87:19 The ball is swung over by David Hoilett, Hayden Mullins manages to make a clearance.
      • 85:53 David Hoilett crosses the ball, save made by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 85:15 The ball is crossed by Jamie O'Hara, Shot on goal by Nwankwo Kanu from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 84:11 Nikola Kalinic is caught offside. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 83:57 The ball is sent over by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance made by Aaron Mokoena.
      • 82:22 Frederic Piquionne is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
      • 80:14 Free kick awarded for a foul by Aaron Mokoena on Martin Olsson. Morten Gamst Pedersen crosses the ball in from the free kick, Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
      • 79:29 Substitution Nikola Kalinic joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Dunn.
      • 77:21 Headed effort from inside the area by David Dunn misses to the right of the target.
      • 75:51 Substitution El-Hadji Diouf leaves the field to be replaced by David Hoilett.
      • 74:35 Michel Salgado takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 73:55 Morten Gamst Pedersen delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance by Hayden Mullins.
      • 73:55 Booking The referee cautions Michael Brown for unsporting behaviour.
      • 73:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Brown on Martin Olsson.
      • 72:26 Vincenzo Grella has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
      • 71:24 Substitution Frederic Piquionne is brought on as a substitute for John Utaka.
      • 70:03 Unfair challenge on Martin Olsson by Nwankwo Kanu results in a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
      • 69:47 Jamie O'Hara delivers the ball.
      • 69:14 A cross is delivered by David Dunn, clearance by Angelos Basinas.
      • Correction - 68:29 The ball is sent over by El-Hadji Diouf, Jason Roberts takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 68:29 El-Hadji Diouf produces a cross, Jason Roberts takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 67:03 The ball is delivered by Martin Olsson.
      • Correction - 66:06 David Dunn concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie O'Hara. Jamie O'Hara takes the direct free kick.
      • 66:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara by David Dunn. Jamie O'Hara takes the direct free kick.
      • 65:36 Martin Olsson takes a shot. Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
      • 63:40 Substitution Leonard Sowah is brought on as a substitute for Richard Hughes.
      • 63:19 Substitution Vincenzo Grella on for Steven Nzonzi.
      • 63:10 The ball is crossed by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
      • 59:27 Free kick crossed by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
      • 59:27 Sent off Anthony Vanden Borre sent from the field by the ref for second bookable offence.
      • 59:18 Anthony Vanden Borre is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick.
      • 58:36 Foul by Steven Nzonzi on Richard Hughes, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Jamie O'Hara.
      • 57:36 Unfair challenge on Nwankwo Kanu by Christopher Samba results in a free kick. Hayden Mullins restarts play with the free kick.
      • 56:41 Martin Olsson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
      • 55:07 Anthony Vanden Borre gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Martin Olsson. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
      • 54:24 The ball is sent over by Hayden Mullins.
      • 53:10 Jamie O'Hara delivers the ball, Gael Givet makes a clearance.
      • 51:11 Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Hughes on Michel Salgado. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
      • 49:54 Jamie Ashdown takes the free kick.
      • 49:54 Booking David Dunn receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
      • 49:48 David Dunn challenges Richard Hughes unfairly and gives away a free kick.
      • 46:29 Jason Roberts is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nwankwo Kanu by El-Hadji Diouf. Free kick crossed by Jamie O'Hara, Paul Robinson makes a save.
      • 45:57 The ball is sent over by Martin Olsson, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 45:48 Centre by Martin Olsson, Ricardo Rocha makes a clearance.
      • 45:19 A cross is delivered by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Anthony Vanden Borre gets a block in.
      • 45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+2:21 The match has reached half-time.
      • 45:00+1:19 Foul by John Utaka on Michel Salgado, free kick awarded. Morten Gamst Pedersen delivers the ball, Christopher Samba has a headed effort at goal from close in that bounces off the post. Jason Roberts takes a shot. Ricardo Rocha gets a block in.
      • 45:00+1:12 The ball is delivered by Gael Givet, clearance made by Hayden Mullins.
      • 42:34 Free kick crossed left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from left wing, save made by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 42:34 Booking The referee shows Anthony Vanden Borre a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
      • 42:30 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Nzonzi by Anthony Vanden Borre.
      • 41:02 The assistant referee signals for offside against Jason Roberts. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 39:50 Michel Salgado gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nwankwo Kanu. A cross is delivered by Jamie O'Hara, Effort on goal by Aaron Mokoena from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
      • 37:09 Inswinging corner taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the right by-line, clearance by Ricardo Rocha. Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Christopher Samba concedes a free kick for a foul on Ricardo Rocha. Jamie Ashdown restarts play with the free kick.
      • 36:56 The ball is sent over by El-Hadji Diouf, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 34:57 The ball is swung over by Michel Salgado, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 34:44 El-Hadji Diouf crosses the ball, Hayden Mullins gets a block in.
      • 33:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Utaka by Christopher Samba. Jamie O'Hara takes the free kick.
      • 32:32 Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the free kick.
      • 31:02 The ball is crossed by John Utaka.
      • 30:23 Anthony Vanden Borre takes a shot. Blocked by Martin Olsson.
      • 28:55 David Dunn produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that bounces off the post.
      • 28:10 El-Hadji Diouf delivers the ball, blocked by Hayden Mullins.
      • 26:50 The ball is delivered by John Utaka, Jamie O'Hara takes a shot. Blocked by Gael Givet.
      • 26:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jason Roberts on Ricardo Rocha. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 24:35 Aaron Mokoena challenges Jason Roberts unfairly and gives away a free kick. Morten Gamst Pedersen crosses the ball in from the free kick, Aaron Mokoena makes a clearance.
      • 22:31 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Jason Roberts challenges Jamie Ashdown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jamie Ashdown restarts play with the free kick.
      • 22:23 Michel Salgado delivers the ball, Richard Hughes gets a block in.
      • 19:56 Hayden Mullins takes a shot. Blocked by Christopher Samba.
      • 18:36 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by El-Hadji Diouf.
      • 17:58 Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the right by-line, Phil Jones takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 17:48 El-Hadji Diouf crosses the ball, Aaron Mokoena manages to make a clearance.
      • 17:09 Centre by David Dunn.
      • 16:14 Steven Nzonzi fouled by Aaron Mokoena, the ref awards a free kick. A cross is delivered by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Phil Jones takes a shot.
      • 14:50 The ball is swung over by Hayden Mullins.
      • 13:33 John Utaka challenges El-Hadji Diouf unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
      • 12:28 Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen to the near post, Close range header by Christopher Samba misses to the right of the goal.
      • 11:35 Jamie O'Hara concedes a free kick for a foul on El-Hadji Diouf. Free kick crossed left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from left wing, save made by Jamie Ashdown. Christopher Samba takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 11:15 Morten Gamst Pedersen produces a cross, save by Jamie Ashdown.
      • 9:34 John Utaka takes a shot. Paul Robinson makes a save.
      • 8:30 David Dunn produces a cross, Nwankwo Kanu manages to make a clearance.
      • 7:21 Martin Olsson produces a cross, Michael Brown gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by El-Hadji Diouf, clearance made by Ricardo Rocha.
      • 4:00 The referee blows for offside. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
      • 1:07 Corner taken right-footed by Angelos Basinas to the near post, clearance made by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
      • 0:44 Effort from the edge of the area by Nwankwo Kanu goes wide of the left-hand post.
      • 0:00 The match has kicked off.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 3 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Chelsea 33 54 74
      2 Man Utd 33 50 72
      3 Arsenal 33 41 71
      4 Man City 32 24 59
      5 Tottenham 32 26 58
      6 Liverpool 32 21 54
      7 Aston Villa 32 12 54
      8 Everton 32 8 49
      9 Birmingham 32 -4 45
      10 Stoke 32 -3 42
      11 Blackburn 33 -15 42
      12 Fulham 31 -3 38
      13 Sunderland 33 -7 38
      14 Wolves 33 -23 32
      15 Bolton 33 -25 32
      16 Wigan 32 -33 31
      17 West Ham 32 -17 27
      18 Hull 32 -35 27
      19 Burnley 33 -39 24
      20 Portsmouth 33 -32 14

      see also
      Saturday's football photos
      03 Apr 10 |  Premier League
      Saturday football as it happened
      03 Apr 10 |  Football
      Pompey bidder to start data trawl
      03 Apr 10 |  Portsmouth



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